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The Kgalagadi Through The Eyes Of Two Batswana Travel Enthusiasts

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They are on “The Big, Big Trip” to explore the desert for the best of Kgalagadi

GOSEGO MOTSUMI

Surreal semi-desert wilderness, red sand dunes, warm people and starry skies not polluted by artificial light have been an outstanding segment in the lives of travel enthusiasts Thalefang Charles and Sonny Serite who recently concluded their exploration of Kgalagadi.

In collaboration with Botswana Tourism Organisation (BTO), the two men embarked on an expedition styled “Re-Discovering Botswana” to help ignite and inspire domestic travelling. The Kgalagadi was the first in an itinerary that will end at the Three Dikgosi Monument at the Gaborone CBD on August 27. In the desert, they visited Tsabong, Khawa, Bokspits, Kang, Hukuntsi and Charleshill among several places they traversed in search of the best of Kgalagadi.

For Charles, travelling locally does not only open one’s mind but also contributes to the economy by creating employment in the hospitality sector. “To travel is to live,” he says. “It shapes your mind as you explore different destinations and people’s cultures.”

He is on a mission to change the narrative that tourism is about checking into luxury accommodation when there is experience of interaction with people elsewhere, unfamiliar landscapes and wildlife. That is what tourists set out to explore and experience different ways of life. This is why Charles has been sharing stories about people of Kgalagadi and its breathtaking landscapes.

He highly recommends a new route they discovered while exploring the sand dunes in an off-road vehicle. This experience may be topped off with fun activities on the sand dunes before reaching Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park that is contiguous with Kalahari Gemsbok National Park in South Africa and Gemsbok National Park in Botswana. The red sand dunes form a magnificent backdrop for wildlife viewing and photography.

But before reaching the park, Charles also recommends taking in Tsabong Camel Park which lies approximately 10km from the town of Tsabong in southwest Botswana about 500km by road from Gaborone. The company’s aim is to diversify the country’s tourism offering to include cultural and heritage tourism, entertainment, recreation and leisure. The facility operates fully-serviced meru tents, a camping ground with five campsites with ablution blocks, as well as dining and braai areas. Activities for tourists include camping, quad biking, camel rides and nature walks.

Serite says he and Charles’ “The Big, Big Trip” has been exciting and revealing because they keep unearthing hidden gems that Batswana are unaware of in the Kgalagadi. He says most Batswana do not travel not because they cannot afford to but for the reason that they do not know where to go. One of the most intriguing activities Serite discovered in the Kgalagadi is how the people are passionate about livestock farming, which belies the arid climate of the desert.

“A small village called Zutshwa has beautiful salt pans and the people produce salt for cattle that they sell to the BMC. Those are some of the discoveries that warmed my heart about my Botswana,” says Serite.

The two-man team will this week explore Ngamiland, or, as the natives call their place, Nhabe. They are on a month-long countrywide expedition that started on the 27 July at Matsieng Footprint in Kgatleng and is scheduled to end on 22 August at Three Dikgosi Monument at Gaborone CBD. Serite and Charles are helping advance BTO’s mandate of marketing promoting Botswana as a destination of choice for both Batswana and international community.

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