Desert and Delta Safaris – Making an impact amidst Covid-19

While the COVID-19 pandemic has devastated the tourism industry more than other sectors of the economy, one of the oldest and well established Safari operators in Botswana, Desert and Delta Safaris, has during this difficult time been working on new initiatives aimed at developing its employees through travel operations into the future.

Desert and Delta Safaris started its operations in 1983, and then operated only Camp Moremi in the Okavango Delta. Today, DDS operates eight luxury lodges and Camps in some of the most pristine and wildlife rich areas in Botswana and Namibia.

Its luxury safari establishments are Chobe Game Lodge, Chobe Savanna Lodge, Savute Safari Lodge, Camp Moremi, Camp Xakanaxa, Camp Okavango, Xugana Island Lodge and Leroo La Tau - all of which guarantee travellers unique Safari experiences.

At the onset, following the pandemic outbreak, and world-wide travel restrictions imposed, DDS took the daunting decision to keep all its permanent employees on the job. This is despite camps being closed due to border closures which meant no tourists. During this time, the industry experienced a sudden decline of income, but had to continue enduring costs.

Desert and Delta Safaris’ Marketing Manager told Echo Travel that further to keeping their staff on their job, the company has been busy with other initiatives during this period of lockdowns. Among them, was the rebranding exercise for the company, which saw the change and modernisation of their logo and tagline.

Also achieved during this time was the decision by the company to be among the inaugural founding members of the newly formed Victoria Falls Tourism Association (VFTA).

“The history that comes with this brand makes a significant impact on the experiences that our guests have. What really makes a safari with us special is the people. We have always had our people at the core of our decisions. In fact, the Chobe Holdings group was the first luxury safari group in Botswana to have all citizen management in all of our camps and lodges, which has fostered an incredible sense of pride and ownership of the brand from everyone who works for the company. It is these very people that deliver flawless, but relaxed and welcoming hospitality to every guest that walks through their doors,” Flatt emphasised the company’s people centred approach.

Flatt said during the halt in operations due to the pandemic, they saw the need to work on new projects.

“During this halt in operation, we used the time to get some new projects done, including a rebrand of the famous Desert and Delta Safaris logo and tagline. Many hours went into this project, which has been going on since April.,” he said.

“Where we are going is to is to empower the country through people – using tourism as the vehicle. And through this, we came up with – ‘Empowering Botswana Through Tourism.”

Desert and Delta Safaris became one of the founding members of the Victoria Falls regional Tourism Association, or Africa’s Eden earlier this year.

“Recognizing the power of a joint tourism body in one of Africa’s most sought-after tourism regions, we jumped at the opportunity to be a part of this, which will benefit Botswana for years to come.

Given the importance of wildlife to the tourism industry as attractions, our last point of conversation had to be conservation.

Flatt outlined the company philosophy saying, “Conservation has become such a popular tag word in tourism today, and rightly so. But the reality is that in Botswana, conservation has been a part of operation for a long time. We have been involved in, started or helped fund countless initiatives over the years and will continue to do so because without our wildlife and natural environments, we do not have a tourism product and we do not have a vehicle to empower our people.”

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