Wilderness Safaris Responds

Chris Roche of Wilderness Safaris contacted me following our article “Assessing Puma’s Practices”.  You can read their 5 page press release responding to a 3 page letter from Survival International, and some additional information, online at Wilderness Safaris website.

Wilderness Safaris won the right to operate their camp as part of a public tender process by the Botswana Government in 2008.  Bushmen apparently won the right to live in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve in a 2006 high court ruling, which also suggested that the prior evictions of the Bushmen from their ancestral home (the Reserve) were wrong, reports Survival International.  It would be nice if the new kids in town would play nicely with the ones already there!

Wilderness Safaris also explains that the nearest Bushman community to their camp is more than 50 km away at the village of Molapo.  However, the camp is on the boundary of the core traditional area of the Kgei Bushmen. 

The water borehole at Mothomelo was drilled in 1992 and used by the government to provide water to the Bushmen in the CKGR, more than 150 km away from the camp.  So what’s the water issue, you may wonder?

Wilderness Safaris uses a nearby borehole plus a reverse osmosis process to produce around 400 litres per day for laundry, guest showers and the swimming pool.  They also have the capacity to capture rainwater and make 150,000 litres of drinking water once it has been filtered and purified.  This drinking water is supplemented by daily round trips of over 100 km to a public borehole north of the camp.  This is for a low-impact, 10-tent camp.

Considering the quantities of water, I tend to agree with Survival International’s point that if some water was made available to the Bushmen community, it would transform their lives and might well even save several of them.  Such a positive humanitarian action by Wilderness Safaris could generate some great publicity that ultimately would benefit their bottom line.  Wilderness Safaris does a lot of things right, as in Namibia, and it would be great if this issue would be solved proactively and positively.

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Alison Wheatley

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