Calling Detective Rocco! Important Question


Sep 19th, 2004, 08:25 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2004
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Calling Detective Rocco! Important Question

I am brand new to africa- but i couldn't help but notice this on the kwando information web site. i wonder if you could investigate and let us know what this means- are kwando still part of this hunting company?

From the kwando web site: "In the early 1950's a company formed under the name of White Hunters of Africa. It grew to have hunting operations in much of Southern and East Africa. In the early 1960's the company changed its name to Hunters Africa and regionalised it's operations with Hunters Africa (Botswana) (Pty) Ltd. formed.

This company, along with 2 other predominantly hunting companies, controlled much of the wildest parts of Northern Botswana, long before the days of photo tourism.

In the late 1980's the government developed a new conservation and tourism strategy that recognized the value of the great tracts of wilderness that remained in Botswana. This strategy involved intensive study and debate that finally led to complete restructure of the control and management of the wilderness areas.

During the transition, Hunters Africa, like the other large hunting companies lost considerable portions of its former concessions to new companies. The new operators mostly concentrated on photo tourism. Kwando at 232 000ha (550 000 acres) is the largest of these concessions resulting from the new policy. This concession was awarded to Hunters Africa."

kerikeri is offline  
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Sep 20th, 2004, 12:44 AM
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Posts: 5,553

I researched this before, as I am very interested in staying at Kwando's camps (Lagoon, Kwara and Songwe Village). I was very satisfied that Kwando did not engage in any hunting activities, neither now or in the last few years. I am not concerned about anything that may have happened 5 - 10+ years ago, otherwise, half of the current game lodges in all of Southern Africa may be guilty of hunting operations, including the Sabi Sand reserves.

I did, however, spend a little more time researching Kwando due to your enquiry, and AGAIN, I found them to be totally clean.

This is especially to be commended because it appears Kwando has triple or more the land per each one of their camps as does Wilderness Safaris, yet they seemingly do not allow any trophy hunting, whatsoever, all while keeping costs down mostly below Wilderness Safaris AND offering the guide and tracker system that is so important on night game drives. Wilderness Safaris only provides a guide on night game drives and I find this akin to the carnival performer that plays four musical instruments concurrently.

I mean how can a guide possibly:

1. Drive competently at night
2. Communicate with his guests, giving them his full attention
3. Hold the spotlight
4. Competently search the night for surrounding game
5. Listen for the sounds of game

It is just not possible, and with the prices that some of the higher end WS camps such as Mombo, Vumbura, Jao and Kings Pool charge their guests, I just don't see how they cannot find it in their budget to employ trackers for the game drives, DAY AND NIGHT. I have been told by Wilderness Safaris, via e-mail, that this is more complicated than it seems, because they are only allowed a certain amount of workers per camp. However, anybody that has been to most game lodges knows that they seem OVERSTAFFED. This is what makes the service so excellent at most camps. So, I don't think it would hurt, one bit, to trade in that extra cook or housekeeper for a tracker. After all, isn't the gameviewing the #1 reason why anybody would go on safari, and pay $500-$1,000 USD per person per night to begin with??? It is just sad that I can pay $200 per person per night in Zambia and be provided with the guide/tracker system but cannot expect the same at presumedly Botswana's premier safari company, Wilderness Safaris.

In any case, Kwando does receive my full-fledged endorsement. If anybody has any information to the contrary regarding Kwando and any possible current involvement in hunting, please let me know.
Roccco is offline  
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Sep 20th, 2004, 07:27 AM
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Just for the record, I find WS response about "only so many workers" ridiculous. First of all, they used to use the tracker system a few years back, and didn't have a problem with number of workers. Second, I believe that in the community areas, the communities would very much like them to employ more people, particularly in the skilled positions like trackers. These are coveted jobs! Third, if you talk to most of the folks working at the bar, as waiters, etc. they are studying to be guides! I think they would LOVE the opportunity to be a tracker (for experience, training and tips) even if it meant working more shifts.

Perhaps James, who writes so knowledgeably and comprehensively on Southern Africa wildlife safaris can provide more info on this issue?

Finally, I haven't been to any Kwando camps, but this issue alone will make me try them on my next trip!
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