It's diamonds that have brought stability, infrastructure, government services, and capital to
After diamonds, tourism is Botswana's ticket to prolonged success, and the country has taken a very proactive approach to
While the conservation-focused luxury travel model certainly has its advantages, it also brings up an important debate – should access to the world's most amazing places be limited only to those with deep pockets? On one hand, this type of travel has its benefits for the environment and the economy; on the other hand, restricting access to those with extensive financial resources prevents most of the local population from experiencing their own backyard.
Let's look at a few of the pros and cons of Botswana's tourism strategy.
Focusing on low-volume visitation means fewer negative environmental impacts on the sensitive African bush and wildlife (fewer people, fewer jeeps, less water, less fuel, less waste, etc).
High taxes, fees, and levies are charged from luxury travelers, which are put towards further conservation efforts.
Luxury travel providers have the financial means to invest in cutting-edge eco and sustainable tourism projects. Some of the world's leading eco-lodges can be found in the Botswana bush.
With only a handful of operators, less money is spent on monitoring and oversight, directing more money towards other important conservation initiatives.
Nature is meant to be shared by all, and everyone should have the opportunity to experience the African bush. First and foremost, the people of Botswana should have reasonably-priced access to their own natural wonders.
If locals don't have the opportunity to enjoy the bush, how can they be expected to fight for its protection?
Low-volume tourism means fewer employment opportunities for the people living near the parks and reserves.
Should the government restrict access to help curb environmental impacts? Or should conservation sacrifices be made in the name of making nature accessible to all? In Botswana's case, it's a complicated issue with many additional factors to consider. Whether you agree with the country's approach or not, one thing is for sure – Botswana's nature reserves and wildlife are worth a visit... if you can afford it.
Tips on how to get around Botswana, from avoiding the local wildlife and vehicle safety to night driving and trip planning.
Hitchhiking can be a dangerous game, but Nomad Laura hitchhiked her way through Botswana solo, and shares her top tips on how to do it safely.