Thamalakane Flooding: Opportunity ForTravel Boom
The Thamalakane River in Maun has received its fair share of water from the Okavango River System after a dry spell, bringing hope and prospects to the tourism industry in the area. The industry has been on pause because of the covid-19 pandemic restrictions.
The arrival of the water downstream has aroused travel excitement for locals who are eager to visit the tourism location for leisure, to enjoy water-based activities and game drives post covid-19 restrictions. Thamalakane has flooded and is currently filling up, and more good news is that the water has now travelled further downstream and reached the Nhabe and Boteti Rivers junction, 20 days since its arrival in Maun. The water two rivers are now flowing in their different directions towards Lake Ngami and Lake Xao respectively
With the second push of the Okavango flood on its way, it remains to be seen if this year the water will flow down the Boteti River all the way past to nourish its ecosystem, further enhancing travel prospects of the area.
The same is needed for the iconic Lake Ngami, another wetland with great tourism value.
All these changes in the system will undoubtedly see domestic travel boom, and an opportunity to develop and solidify it at a time when global travel remains paused due to the pandemic. It is evident that travellers are eager to take their next trip. It would also look like during the lock downs, mother nature rejuvenated itself. It is not only the Okavango system that got nourished, the Chobe ecosystem also received floods.
For Botswana, there is no doubt that domestic travel trends will lean more towards the Northern parts of the country.
Maun is all bliss for the hospitality facilities on the Thamalakane River front – and water-based activities like Mekoro, boat cruises, sport fishing and bird watching are in abundance with adherence to health protocols to ensure social distancing.
With national parks and game reserves now open, Moremi Game Reserve and Makgadikgadi National Park provide an opportunity for game drives from Maun and Boteti. The industry can also tap into regional travel by luring travellers from the SADC region once regional border travel restrictions are eased.
The industry players in these tourism locations have huge opportunity to capitalise on the apparent domestic travel demand. Locations that have been perceived expensive to visit can also take this opportunity and come up with permanent domestic rates to encourage domestic travel to those prime areas.
It is clear that world travel will take time to fully recovers, and these gives Botswana and other African countries with unique product offering have to drum up domestic travel with the right policies and patronage.