The 2015 Khawa Dune Challenge & Cultural Festival attracted an estimated total of 6000 spectators from across the country and internationally.
The Botswana Tourism Organization (BTO), Ministry of Youth, Sport and Culture (MYSC) and Botswana Motor Sport (BMS)-backed Khawa Dune Challenge will return to Khawa village in the Kgalagadi District on 5th to 8th May 2016.
The event now in its fifth year is a sports, culture and adventure family oriented event that has attracted masses over the years.
“The event is one of the tourism product diversification initiatives aimed at stimulating domestic tourism market demand. The total number of spectators who attended the event in 2014 was estimated at around 3 700 and the number almost doubled to 6 000 in 2015,” said the CEO of BTO, Brian Dithebe.
He said the event grew in leaps and bounds with additional activities introduced every year to make it more appealing. The latest addition to the festivities is the hot air balloon that will allow revelers to enjoy the landscape of the village, expansion on the motor spot race distance and contemporary festival featuring Motlabaseyo of Mahempe fame, Pablo from Hukuntsi and Wizards of the Desert.
For his part the permanent secretary of the MYSC, Kago Ramokate said they were responsible for the arts and culture aspect of the event, and they wanted to ensure that artists around the area of Khawa earn a living through the event with the guaranteed performance fee. “Entertainment of this program starts with Polka night on Friday where cultural groups from in and around Kgalagadi will be performing. The mandate is to expose all these artists and to have a cultural exchange,” he said.
Khawa village has secured a prominent place on the map and has gained recognition as one of the top tourist attractions in Botswana. According to Dithebe, BTO carries out a socio economic survey every year and the results continue to suggest positive socio economic gains on the livelihoods of the community of Khawa and surrounding places, before and after the event.
“The host community is involved…There are short term employment to all volunteers in all aspects of running the event. Local businesses are also given an opportunity to have vending stalls and other business enterprises enroute to Khawa also benefit substantially,” he said, adding that BTO has developed a land use plan for the village and has assisted the village trust to secure a campsite plot for use in generating sustainable income for the community.