The highly anticipated Khawa Dune Challenge and Cultural festival that took place in the small village of Khawa, located in the southern Kgalagadi district this past weekend attracted even more participants and tourists than last year’s event. “At a glance the number of people who graced this year’s event are double that of last year which shows that this event is growing,” said the chief executive Officer of Botswana Tourism Organisation (BTO), Myra Sekgororoane. She added that nowadays Batswana like to travel and are hungry for adventure. “They don’t mind travelling because the distance from Gaborone to Khawa is quite far.
It is no secret that tourism has developed more in the Okavango area so we wanted to have more of these events that will cater for kids, as couples nowadays prefer to visit places where their kids will be free.” When asked why there weren’t many foreign tourists, Sekgororoane said they had not advertised the Khawa event yet in other countries. “When you market and tell people to come to your house, it must be prepared and perfect and we are not perfect yet but very close. When we are ready we will tell them to come join us,” she said. The event which was sponsored by Botswana Tourism Organization (BTO) in collaboration with the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Culture (MYSC), Botswana Motor Sport (BMS) and Kgalagadi District hosted a family-oriented event involving a quad and motor bike challenge traversing the Khawa sand dunes, a camel race, cultural activities showcasing the cultures of the Kgalagadi, as well as fun Camel rides and a football tournament sponsored by Botswana Post comprising of four teams.
“The estimated cost of this event is about 1.5 to 2 million; that is the whole mobilization. Last year we did not have many activities as there were no football matches for example and this year there was an additional activity which was the quad bike ride. We also had to outsource the camp site to the private sector to supply us with mobile safari tents. We would have loved to have a hot air balloon this time around but unfortunately the wind speed did not allow us to and we wanted to have more sand related activities like sand gliding. We need to keep adding more fun activities,” Sekgororoane said. When aksed on how the activity is contributing to the economy of the country, Segororoane said Khawa dune challenge and cultural festival was a door opener to introduce the village of Khawa (which means ‘morning dew’) to the people.
“A lot of opportunities have opened up as community vendors were given temporary licenses to sell at this event so that they boost their businesses and make sales. Government infrastructures have also been put in place to cater for the crowd that was coming here. Tourism businesses, Filling stations and other shopping outlets on the way to Khawa have also benefited from this activity,” she said. For her part, the Public Relations officer of BTO, Lebogang Maruapula said they wanted to create another tourism activity that was different from others that already exist so that other parts of the country like Khawa can be recognized and explored. “Most people know that there are sand dunes in the Kgalagadi district but they haven’t actually been to those places to see and explore them,” she said.