A History of Safari Companies in the Ngamiland, 1960-1990

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Puso Sezuka


This paper investigates the History of safari companies in Maun and surrounding areas in the period between 1960 and 1990. In the mid-twentieth century the government of colonial Botswana (Bechuanaland Protectorate) encouraged hunters from the West to come and hunt in Ngamiland in a desperate bid to help control the spread of Tsetse fly (Trypanosomosis) and also to boost the economy of the region which was dependent on precarious cattle production. This initiative led to the establishment of safari companies. In addition, some hunters came to Botswana and established hunting safari companies given the territory’s rich and abundant fauna which was good for sport hunting. This was during the time when East Africa was experiencing overcrowding of sport hunters. Consequently, some professional hunters migrated to other parts of Africa. Earliest safari companies were established in Ngamiland and Chobe Districts makingthese two regions an increasingly popular safari destination for predominantly international clients. On investigating the History of these safari companies, this paper also examines the challenges faced by the companies, among which are the perceptions of local communities on the establishment of the companies in their area. Interestingly, the post-colonial government of Botswana did not pay much attention to safari tourism industry until 1990 when the industry was recognised as important for economic diversifi cation drive. Archival records and oral interviews are made use of in the paper to substantiate the arguments andobservations.

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