Chobe Baskets Push Tourism Diversification

  • Explore cultural aspect of tourism offering
  • Chobe Baskets Union registered as a collective mark


In a bid to diversify the tourism product offering of Botswana’s wildlife and natural resources, Chobe Basket Weavers Cooperative Union is well on its way to offering cultural experiences for today’s discerning traveller.

Addressing this year’s Travel Expo in Kasane last week, the Minister of Tourism, Philda Kereng, said today’s traveller wants to heal and hungers after more experiences. “Travellers want moraka tours and storytelling and to learn about the stars,” she stated.
“The onus is on you as the tourism industry to be creative and give travellers the experiences they want. Lessons learnt from the COVID-19 pandemic is that the value chain needs to be developed.”


Chobe Baskets
Chobe Basket Weavers Cooperative Union is a collective of basket weavers from the BaSarwa, BahaMbukushu, BaSubiya, and BaTawana tribes of the Chobe District. It houses 128 basket weavers who are mostly women.

While their main daily business is to weave and sell baskets, the collective also offers basket weaving lessons that are usually accompanied by storytelling that informs their curious clientele about their culture and way of life.

Said the Chairperson of Chobe Basket Naledi Rugugu in an interview: “Basket weaving is transferred knowledge from our elders who used baskets as domestic utensils for use around the home.

“Once people were exposed to this side of our culture, they became keenly interested and we decided to embark on a business journey while sharing our narrative with the world.
“The basket weaving process became even more innovative with development of patented designs to protect them. These designs are mainly inspired by our way of life and what we see around us.

“Every tribe has their unique basket patterns but the difference is
not much between the BahaMbukushu and other people of Ngamiland.”


More visibility
Meanwhile, the Minister of Entrepreneurship, Karabo Gare, recently launched a new brand for Chobe Baskets. As a project by CIPA in collaboration with the Department for Cooperative Development, the new brand meant to give the baskets more visibility in local and international markets.

The new brand was registered with
CIPA as a collective mark and is owned by the Chobe Basket Weavers Cooperative Union. Only superior export quality baskets qualify to have the Chobe Basket mark. The project was funded by the World Intellectual Property Organisation.

“The new brand indicates the originality and the story of the people who created the products,” Rugugu noted in her interview with Time Out.

“We were told that our brand is now protected and to renew the patent protection after 10 years so

that no one can use it for business without our consent.”
“Foreigners love what we do. We just started marketing our products but we have already sold to Japan twice and are expecting to gain more clients from the tourism expo.”