Reserve opens up for tourists while Bushmen told to walk 400km for water

May 12, 2008

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Botswana’s government is this week promoting the Central Kalahari Game Reserve as a top tourist destination, but it has banned the reserve’s Bushmen from accessing their own water.

At this week’s INDABA tourism fair in Durban, the Botswana Tourism Board is promoting Botswana as a top travel destination, and the government has just awarded a safari concession in the reserve to a South African tourist company, the Safari & Adventure Company, close to the Bushman community of Molapo.

But despite the Botswana High Court ruling that the Bushmen have the constitutional right to live in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, the Botswana government is doing everything it can to keep them out, denying them access to water and the right to hunt for food.

The Safari & Adventure Company will need to sink boreholes to obtain water for its guests and staff to drink, shower, and cook with – but the Botswana government still refuses to allow the Bushmen to use even a single borehole inside the reserve. It has instead told them to make a 400km round trip to fetch water. The Bushmen have not been consulted about the tourist lodge that will be built on their land.

Survival’s director Stephen Corry said today, ‘Who does the government think will want to sip their drinks and gaze at the Kalahari sunset while desperately thirsty Bushmen look on? As long as the Bushmen are kept off their land, refused the right to hunt for food, and even refused water, the government’s efforts to promote tourism will be tainted with injustice.’

For further information contact Miriam Ross on (+44) (0)20 7687 8734 or email [email protected]