The ownership of this area of approximately 100,000 hectares has been transferred to the people of the northern border region of the Okavango by the Botswana government and the Tawana Land Board.
In this way the local population derive a direct benefit from the wilderness, the environment, and the projects undertaken in this region.
In order to assure that all benefit from this arrangement equally, all profits from the projects in the region are paid into the Okavango Community Trust. This
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trust represents the interests of all the people living in the five villages to the north of the Okavango.
They also enjoy first rights to any job opportunities, training and the benefits of other community projects that are run in the area from time to time. The five villages involved in this initiative are Seronga, Gunitsoga, Eretsha, Betsha, and Gudigwa.
This trust has selected Wilderness Safaris as their joint venture partner, to run and manage the lodges and the tourism activities in this area. With this arrangement come hunting permits for the region, including the ability to hunt elephant, leopards and so on.
Wilderness Safaris has elected NOT to take up these permits, losing in the process something in the order of US$300,000 yearly.
The reasons we have elected not to hunt are many and varied, but one of the most important reasons is that hunting and photographic tourism cannot mix in the same area for many reasons. One of them is that the animals in the area quickly catch on that hunting is taking place, and they either move away or become very skittish.
However, a result of this “photos only” policy in the Kwedi area (and because of the wide ranging habitats and permanent water in the floodplains) the Kwedi now has some of the best wildlife viewing in all of Botswana.
The vegetation ranges from the vast open flood plains to dense Mopane bushland and offers spectacular game viewing and bird watching opportunities all year round.
Wilderness Safaris offers a new luxurious refuge in the midst of this amazing landscape: Vumbura Plains Camp. Consisting of a mere six chalets, Vumbura offers the visitor maximum privacy and undisturbed safari pleasure mixed with a friendly atmosphere.
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