Sankuyo Plain Camp

Old Jan 7th, 2008, 01:32 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 171
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Sankuyo Plain Camp

Sankuyo Plains camp is scheduled to open October 2008. Does anyone know anything about it? Was there another camp at this same location or is this completely new? I believe it is located in NG33 which seems to be surrounded by a hunting concession. Should I forget it an look elsewhere?

cj
KIBOKO is offline  
Old Jan 7th, 2008, 01:34 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 8,675
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Which country?
sandi is offline  
Old Jan 7th, 2008, 01:43 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 1,064
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
As far as I know this is a new camp. Santawani Lodge is in the same concession. NG33 is bordering Moremi Game Reserve and NG34. NG34 is a multi-purpose concession which also hosts photographic operations.
nyama is offline  
Old Jan 7th, 2008, 02:09 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 1,715
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Sankuyo Plains is actually taking the place of Santawani at the exact location so there has already been tourist habituation of animals in this area. It borders Moremi and the concession that contains Chitabe. The concession has also been the base for Tico McNutt's African wild dog research so I believe it should be a good quality game area and one that I hope to visit in the future.

Sandi: Botswana
PredatorBiologist is offline  
Old Jan 7th, 2008, 03:05 PM
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 171
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thank you for the info. I was interested in including Sankuyo with Mapula and Deception Valley Lodge and possibly one other camp. My interest is primarily game drives and the predators.

cj
KIBOKO is offline  
Old Jan 7th, 2008, 03:13 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 1,064
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
PB -- sad news about the camp's location, which means that the first community-run lodge in the Delta is dead. Can't say that I'm happy about this.

NG33 borders Moremi south of Maqwee Gate (South Gate). Chitabe is at a different location more to the West. You first have to go through NG34 and NG32 before entering NG31 (Chitabe).

The hunting activities in NG34 are in the nort-eastern part of the concession, while the concession's border with NG33 is in the West. You have the Okavango Lion Research Project in this part of the concession, south-west of Santawani, also Starlings Camp. So indeed, wildlife should be habituated.
nyama is offline  
Old Jan 7th, 2008, 03:59 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 579
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
nyama,
I don't understand, are you saying that Sankuyo Plains Camp is "dead"? Is it not going to open? Please explain.
Thanks-Chuck
safarichuck is offline  
Old Jan 7th, 2008, 04:13 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 1,064
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
safarichuck -- Santawani was the first community lodge in the Delta, run by the Sankuyo Tshwaragano Management Trust (www.santawanilodge.com). If Sankuyo Plains is built on that site then Santawani is dead (not Sankuyo Plains).

Even if Sankuyo Plains is run in close collaboration with the community, if you look at the factsheet on the Footsteps in Africa website (www.footsteps-in-africa.com/sankuyo_camp.html) you don't find a single word about the Sankuyo Tshwaragano Community. IMO a set-back to community-based tourism in Botswana.
nyama is offline  
Old Jan 7th, 2008, 04:15 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 579
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
nyama,
Thank you for your explanation, now I understand.
Regards-Chuck
safarichuck is offline  
Old Jan 7th, 2008, 04:22 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 1,715
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
cj: sounds like a great itinerary. I don't know if you have seen my recent trip report but I visited DVL and Mapula and I believe Sankuyo Plains should be a very nice compliment to those two locations.

Nyama: I thought there was a lion research project in the area too but wasn't sure what it was called. Apparently the Sankuyo Tshwaragano Management Trust is supposed to be among the best (possibly the best) community groups for ensuring conservation of their land and deriving benefits for their people. In making the change they had public presentations of proposals made to them before selecting to partner with Lodges of Botswana (Peter Sandenbergh) which also operates Delta Camp and Oddballs, all marketed by Footsteps in Africa. It seems that the community thought the process out very well and hopefully this decision will be to their benefit. I would expect that it will remain completely staffed by local employees and tied directly to the community.
PredatorBiologist is offline  
Old Jan 7th, 2008, 04:36 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 1,715
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Nyama: what I have posted are the things that I know. What I would speculate is that the Botswana market has been driven up so far by the dominant players --especially WS that the community is leaving a lot of money behind by not offering the higher end tourism. Of course to do so they need cash to upgrade the facility offerings and then they need effective marketing thus a coalition provides them with upgraded facilities and better marketing without more investment on their end. I assume the income projections for the community are better or there would be no need to make a change. I agree that its too bad that the entire market is being driven upward but I like it much better when the rack rates will still be well below WS levels and the community is deriving a much higher piece of the rewards as well as maintaining the management jobs.
PredatorBiologist is offline  
Old Jan 7th, 2008, 04:47 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 1,064
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
PB -- I know all that (I posted parts of the initial Sankuyo Plains press release some time ago) but if looking at how it evolves (see FiA website) then I have my doubts.

The refurbishment of Santawani was funded by international organizations only a few years ago (2004), and now this relative 'new' lodge is teared down to make place for a tented camp. What a signal to any further international support of Batswana communities!

Btw, is your info confirmed?
nyama is offline  
Old Jan 7th, 2008, 06:54 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 1,715
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Nyama: it's definitely at the Santawani location. I was worried after posting that in my trip report thread so I double checked the location with Footsteps, and that is it.
PredatorBiologist is offline  
Old Jan 7th, 2008, 07:28 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 1,064
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
So now we have a new "Lodges of Botswana" camp, marketed by "Footsteps in Africa"... the name of the community is no longer of interest.

I definitely prefer the way how such projects are handled in East Africa (for instance Il N'gwesi, Sarara, Tassia, etc).
nyama is offline  
Old Jan 7th, 2008, 09:40 PM
  #15  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 1,715
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Nyama, I was told the camp was being named Sankuyo Plains specifically for that reason, to highlight the connection of the community who owns the concession and the village where the people come from so I think the tie to the community and recognition of them is being highlighted. I was also told that the Santawani lodging would most likely be converted to staff quarters giving them some of the best living conditions around.

There is a long track record at Delta/Oddballs of being involved with the local community, employing them including in the management positions, and bringing tourists to the village. Mapula had the best community/staff atmosphere that I have ever encountered so I fully expect that the community of Sankuyo will be similarly embraced. This is a relatively new development and Footsteps website has just a brief summary aimed at agents rather than tourists, I would not base too much on that or assume that the camp will be marketed with no mention of the community effort. It's early on this, I'd wait and see how it develops.
PredatorBiologist is offline  
Old Jan 8th, 2008, 12:21 AM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 1,064
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Come on, PB. I know about Delta/Oddballs for some 10 years now but never associated this with any special community. It never has been mentioned on LoB's websites or in the travel literature. Even today I don't know the name of that community.

On the Mapula/Modumo websites any references to the local community were removed when the new investor jumped in.

Looking at this I don't expect big changes on the FiA website regarding Sankuyo Plains. And btw, the FiA website is a public website not specially targeting at agents (unlike 5 Rivers or Kalahari Summer).

Actually this doesn't tell much how far the communities are involved, it only isn't marketed in any way.

But I see a big difference how this was handled with Santawani and how it is handled now. The "we" is missing.
nyama is offline  
Old Jan 8th, 2008, 06:54 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 1,715
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Nyama, I would suggest you email that point to Lodges of Botswana and Footsteps in Africa that they should be highlighting the community involvement and what the benefits are. I don't think Lodges of Botswana site even has Sankuyo Plains up yet. You are much more versed in websites and the history of promotion in this area than me, I've been lucky to not be dependent on websites for my info here.

I am much more focused on what I have actually experienced. I have seen some operators in Botswana who tout great contributions to the local communities in their marketing materials and then see all white South African management teams. At such camps staff have never given me any impression of an 'ownership' type stake in the operation -- it just seems like good employment.

With Footsteps I have been able to exchange emails, have a lengthy phone conversation, and an in person meeting during all of which the community involvement philosophy was the center piece of what was shared with me. It would seem the websites are not getting across the emphasis that the community aspect has received in these other mediums. It was a big reason that I visited Mapula and Delta Camp and unlike some other visits where the community marketing hyperbole did not seem to be in actual practice I was very pleased with my experiences where every single staff and managment member was local people and the ones I spoke to about it felt the community involvement. Mapula guides went as far as to say they felt like for the first time they worked at a lodge that they owned because their community was the backbone and deriving the direct benefits. A condition they said they did not feel was happening at most other camps in N. Botswana including the ones they previously work at. At Delta Camp a visit to the village was a point of emphasis as an activity and they do things like provide the emptied soda and beer cans to the village as building materials for their huts. Unfortunately websites tend to be the best source of info for many tourists so they do need to do a much better job of emphasizing the communities involved but based on my visits I believe this group is doing a better job in real practice with the local communities than the other operators that I am familiar with and thus think it will be a point of emphasis with Sankuyo but I guess time will tell.
PredatorBiologist is offline  
Old Jan 8th, 2008, 09:22 AM
  #18  
sniktawk
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
This is the perfect example of what is going wrong in Botswana.
This community lodge was recently refurbished to include en-suite facilities, and was accepting bookings. For my part I had reservations for 4 days September this year, but my agent can get no responses from the camp, and expects that they will not. Just out of interest the rate at Santawani was less than $200 the new camp is $700. What can you get for the additional $500, the game viewing will still be the same. I doubt that the community will receive much of this.
I expect that the new camp will be of a sufficiently high standard to amuse the new breed of tourist that Botswana intends to attract.
So it goes!
 
Old Jan 8th, 2008, 12:06 PM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 1,064
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
PB: "I believe this group is doing a better job in real practice with the local communities than the other operators that I am familiar with and thus think it will be a point of emphasis with Sankuyo but I guess time will tell."

I fully agree, and this is one of the reasons why I learned to avoid certain operators. What you told about the Mapula staff's motivation is something I've experienced in several small operations. I also experienced how all this can change when one of the big players overtakes such a place. But as already said, when talking about community-run operations I always have good examples from East Africa in my mind, and in this regard I'm missing something here.
nyama is offline  
Old Jan 8th, 2008, 01:41 PM
  #20  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 1,715
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
nyama: no doubt there are often good intentions when things are small and unfortunately they can often fall by the wayside as things become a large corporate operation. Hopefully the core initiative of community partnership that I have been told of and seen in action remains the norm. I will unhappily trumpet in loud complaint should I see differently in the future but at present I like how their model stands vs. other operators in Botswana. I am not nearly as knowledgeable about east African community initiatives but will make my first trip to Tanzania next month and then will find some good time to study up on the examples you posted above.

Sniktawk: I feel terrible that you learned your booking wouldn't be fullfilled via my post on my trip report. That was clearly poor and I would say more than one party dropped the ball by not being proactive with existing reservations. I also agree with you that the chase upward for the big dollars is a terrible trend. No doubt in the short run it is a good strategy for maximizing their income. With the high end dollars they can make more without full occupancy in todays climate but of course the world travel market can be very fickle and if something goes wrong its the high end tourists that will go somewhere else while the dedicated budget travellers would likely continue to come so I think the lack of diversity in offerings puts Botswana at some risk as many people are forced to look at other countries and will continue to visit those in the future.

I of course have no information on how the revenues are split but I do believe the community is getting a nice splash of the $500 price increase and that is why they wanted to do the conversion. Even if they got only $100 of the $500 additional dollars that would be a 50% increase in their revenues if the occupancy is similar. I cannot fault the community at all for wanting to maximize their revenues and it would appear they could be in for a big increase. I of course agree with you from the tourist end of things, you now have to pay a lot more for the same environment and wildlife, the only change is you have more luxurious accommodation when the existing lodging was comfortable enough for many of us. Of course even at the new pricing it will cost more than 15% less than similar offerings in the high season and as much as 50% less in the green season, likely had for under $300 pppn. so with the endangerment of all such budget lodging this will be one of the best remaining values despite the steep increase. I have a feeling that mobiles to remote campsites is going to be the way of the future if you need under $600 pppn lodging during the high season in Botswana. I'm an offseason traveller only to Botswana at this point and the unaffordability dictated by increasing luxury is very troubling.
PredatorBiologist is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Your Privacy Choices -