The history of Okavango Wilderness Safaris (OWS) began in Botswana 38 years ago with one single purpose – to use life-changing journeys to help conserve and restore Africa’s wilderness and wildlife. The company was the first with the passion and courage to pioneer conservation tourism as we know it today, growing its positive impact through southern Africa. Today, Wilderness curates authentic and intimate wildlife encounters across two million hectares of pristine areas in seven countries and around 40 camps and lodges across Africa. It all began in Botswana, and today, the company is excited to further cement its commitment to, and with, Botswana.
Acutely aware of the effects of COVID-19 on Botswana and Batswana, OWS does not take its role in the industry lightly. The company has taken a very serious look at how it can protect and grow conservation tourism to Botswana in the future. One of the things it has done in the short-term is enhance its community work with food deliveries and anti-poaching initiatives over the past year. As part of its Conservation Heroes COVID-Relief programme, OWS has delivered over 4 500 food parcels to community partners in Botswana to date, positively impacting over 18 000 people, with more handovers planned for the coming months.
As part of its longer-term strategy, OWS is focused on expanding internationally to help customers build a desire to not only travel to Botswana, but to understand the logistics involved when travelling to its remote wilderness areas. “Botswana remains a key element in the Wilderness story, one we want to further showcase for her true beauty and magic in a responsible and sustainable way, and in line with the national vision for socio-economic development and tourism strategies. With that in mind, we are delighted to appoint Kabelo Binns as Chairman of the OWS Board”, notes Keith Vincent, Chief Executive Officer of Wilderness.
“This is a key step towards further buttressing our commitment to Botswana, ensuring we never lose our vision to protect the very best of Botswana and interests of the country, her people, and economy, through high-end conservation tourism”, adds Keith “Kabelo is passionate about the sustainable development of Botswana, the preservation of her rich culture, and the promising future she holds as a beacon of excellence for business, and indeed, conservation tourism. We have every confidence that Kabelo will be an integral and valuable asset to the team, helping take OWS into its next era of growth and progress. We are excited about what he brings to our Board and look forward to our next chapter in Botswana, with additional members of the Board to be appointed in the next few weeks”.
A successful entrepreneur and community advocate, Kabelo is Founder of the Hotwire Family of Brands, as well as a number of industry-leading enterprises in Botswana committed to making a meaningful commitment to her economy and growth. He is passionate about community development, citizen empowerment, and nurturing talent amongst the youth of Botswana to allow them to truly thrive. Over his 26-year working career, Kabelo has worked across Africa in communications, stakeholder relations, governance, public affairs, and public education. He has headed major national and regional public communication and public education drives. Kabelo is also a board member of a number of organisations, including Business Botswana, has previously served as Chair of the Media and Creative Subsector at Business Botswana, as a member of the Presidential Task Team that developed Botswana’s National Vision 2036, as Vice Chairman of the Botswana Agricultural Board (BAMB), and more.
“It is an honour to join the Board of OWS in Botswana, an organisation I believe has much to show in terms of social impact, and indeed, is a model for ecotourism that has been exported around the world. This is a Botswana-born business that proudly boasts a deep pool of talent with 95% Batswana employed – the remaining 5% imported from key talent hubs around the world. OWS has as a genuine desire to empower communities and small businesses to grow the tourism sector further up and down the value chain. The impact on communities, as well as on the economy, that Wilderness makes is not something one can ignore; it is something we need to learn from, emulate and encourage from others across all businesses and industries in Botswana. This is how we build the future we want, a sustainable and bright future for all, that makes a positive impact on conservation and community empowerment, while celebrating culture at the same time”, comments Kabelo.