Awarded in recognition of the company’s important role in the development of Botswana’s EcotourismWilderness Safaris has announced that His Excellency the President of Botswana, Ian Khama, has bestowed the Presidential Order of Meritorious Service award on the company, in recognition of the important role it has played in the development of ecotourism in the country over the past 33 years.
Wilderness Safaris CEO, Keith Vincent, accepted the award on behalf of the company at a ceremony held at the National Stadium in Gaborone to mark Independence Day on the 30th of September. The award highlights Wilderness Safaris’ exceptional service to Botswana and President Ian Khama thanked Keith Vincent for the company’s contribution and continued service to the nation.
“We are genuinely humbled and honoured to receive this prestigious recognition from the Botswana government, which has been instrumental in creating and enabling an environment where responsible tourism and wildlife can thrive – a model so successful that it has been replicated in many other parts of Africa”, said Vincent.
Wilderness Safaris was created with the vision of securing a sustainable future for Botswana’s pristine wilderness areas and wildlife, by ensuring that the financial benefits of tourism flowed to Botswana and its people. Today, this approach forms the cornerstone of ecotourism all over the world, but in 1983, when Wilderness Safaris was started, the concept was revolutionary and set the company apart. This pioneering vision enabled Wilderness Safaris’ growth, not only in size, but also in its ability to positively impact Africa, with the company now operating in seven African countries.
Botswana is home to many of Wilderness Safaris’ flagship projects, all of which are focused around its sustainability platform of the 4Cs (Commerce, Conservation, Community and Culture). For example, the Botswana Rhino Conservation Project, an ongoing partnership with the Botswana government dating back to 2000, has seen the reintroduction of healthy breeding populations of black and white rhino, which had previously been declared locally extinct.
It was also at Wilderness Safaris Mombo Camp in the Okavango Delta, that the company piloted its solar conversion project which has since been replicated in various other regions. Not to mention one of Wilderness Safaris’ non-profit organisations, Children in the Wilderness, which held its first camp in Botswana in 2001 and now operates in six other southern African countries.
“More than three decades ago, Wilderness Safaris had its humble beginnings in Botswana, and while the company has grown significantly over the years, our roots remain here and everything we do is underpinned by the same values that inspired its conception”, says Keith Vincent, Wilderness Safaris CEO. “We are excited about our future plans for our operations in the country, with the launch of Qorokwe Camp on track for 2016, as well as camp rebuilds and key conservation projects all currently underway. We look forward to hosting many more guests on life-changing wilderness journeys for many years to come”, he concluded.