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Wildlife Tourism Safaris, Vehicle Decongestion Routes and Impact Mitigation at Chobe National Park, Botswana

  • Naomi MosweteEmail author
  • Kenosi Nkape
  • Mpho Tseme
Chapter
Part of the Geoheritage, Geoparks and Geotourism book series (GGAG)

Abstract

The Chobe National Park River Front (CNPRF) is renowned for a high population and variety of wildlife species in Botswana. The park has become popular for nature-based tourism and wildlife safaris. With increased numbers of wildlife tourists there have been reports on problems of overuse and vehicle congestion in some parts of the Chobe National Park. In order to mitigate crowding and vehicle congestion on the popular Chobe River Front route, the DWNP introduced and implemented Upper and Nogatshaa routes. The purpose of the study is to assess wildlife tourists’ frequency of use and potential environmental impacts on the Chobe River Front, Nogatshaa and Upper routes of the Chobe National Park. Data were collected in June 2013. A semi-structured questionnaire and face-to-face interviews were employed to elicit information from guides operating from fixed lodges, guides from mobile tour safaris and wildlife officials based at Sedudu gate. In addition, participant observation was also used to collect additional data for this study. The results revealed that the Chobe River Front of the CNP was heavily utilized by wildlife tourists, followed by the Upper route and the least used was Nogatshaa. The Chobe River Front route was the most preferred, while Nogatshaa is the least preferred route. The study revealed that there are benefits associated with the newly created vehicle decongestion routes at the CNP. Observations have been made to indicate that the two new routes have relatively relieved the Chobe River Front from tourist vehicle pressure; lessened the congestion of tourist vehicles particularly at animal sightings or encounters of predators (leopards, lions), have relatively relieved the Chobe River Front from tourist vehicle pressure; lessened the congestion of tourist vehicles particularly at animal sightings or encounters specifically predators (leopard, wild dogs, lions) and also creation of a few waterpoints along the Upper and Nogatshaa routes appears to have contributed towards spreading of wild animals over a large area thereby alleviating competition for foraging and water and thereby reducing grassing pressure at the CRF. However, there are still issues of congestion during game drives particularly along the River bank route and at the CRF viewing site. Hence, we still can make a general statement that the decongestion strategy that was meant to alleviate tour operators and tourists’ traffic pressure from the Chobe River Front has possibly not achieved the intended purpose as yet. Managerial implications include improving the use of Upper and Nogatshaa routes by providing better facilities and service to all types of visitors and tourists to make it appealing. It is recommended that the park management should consider devising a strategy to attempt to demarket the Chobe River Front route to reduce visitor pressure, vehicle congestion and alleviate negative impact on animals and associated resources of the CNP.

Keywords

Wildlife safaris Decongestion strategy Park management Impacts Chobe national park Botswana 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environmental ScienceUniversity of BotswanaGaboroneBotswana
  2. 2.Department of Tourism & RecreationBotswana Wildlife Training InstituteMaunBotswana
  3. 3.Department of Wildlife and National ParksWildlife WardenKasaneBotswana

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