In a bid to improve accessibility into the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, the Botswana government is in the process of establishing a fourth entrance into the park.
The development was revealed by Phildah Kereng, Minister of Environment and Tourism, Botswana.
According to the Minister, the fourth entrance would be on the Botswana side of the park, which is jointly owned by Botswana and South Africa.
Speaking during a tour of tourism projects in Khawa on the sidelines of the Khawa Dune Challenge and Cultural Festival recently, she said tenders had been published for the gate’s construction as well as staff houses.
Kereng further said that the gate, which would be an addition to TwoRivers, Kaa Pans and Mabuasehube gates, would enhance adventure tourism and lessen the distance travelled by tourists coming from the side of Khawa.
She said currently, tourists had to go via Bokspits and then use the TwoRivers gate to enter the park. The new development would half the distance and boost dryland tourism expeditions where tourists could come and explore the Kgalagadi region’s abundant archaeological, historical, wildlife and rich cultural heritage, the minister said.
Kereng said a route from Khawa leading directly into the park, through the Nossop River as well as Melkvei, had been developed.
Aimed at boosting Botswana’s tourism portfolio through the development of value chains, the route, spanning about 22km from Khawa and a further 35km to Melkvei picnic spot in the park, was developed last year.
“We noticed that it is not enough to just enjoy the dune challenge held once a year, the area is rich with natural resources and so it is important to develop it to attract tourists to enjoy other adventures throughout the year,” she said of Khawa renowned for its spectacular sand dune landscape, the dune challenge and cultural festival.
The minister said it was important to develop facilities such as accommodation, road transportation as well as aviation to facilitate tourists in their expeditions.
In addition, she stressed the need for the development of community trusts to run campsites to enable them to cater for tourists’ needs.
The minister also visited the Khuis Nature Reserve, which was being developed to boost tourism.
On her part, Claudia Zuze, tourism development manager, Botswana Tourism Organisation, who is based in Tsabong, said a trail linking Khawa, KD15 and dune trail, the KTP sand dunes, and the ones in Bokspits, Rappelspan, Vaalhoek and Struizendam have been created to attract tourists.
The tourists would also experience farm life along the dunes, she said. Zuze added that the Khawa tourism project value chain presented opportunities to strengthen linkages between local small, medium, and micro enterprises and the tourism sector to capture more tourism revenue locally hence the development of a tourism development plan.
It encompasses different aspects of tourism including nature, culture, sports, events as well as rural agro.
Samuel Brooks, MP for Kgalagadi South, said the development was critical for fast-tracking the development of a campsite for Khawa.
He called for the creation of another route inside the park that would link Khawa to Mabuasehube. Brooks noted that the new developments would also link the BORAVAST and Khawa trusts both of which have been allocated campsites inside the park.
He encouraged the trusts to collaborate and share with clients as well as to engage professional tour guides.