Botswana Wildlife Conservation | Public versus Private Concessions

Wildebeest encounter atJao Camp
Safari companies promote the concept of private concessions as an advantage to travelling in certain areas of Botswana, but what is meant by concession areas and why is a private concession considered so important when choosing a Botswana Safari? The tourism industry of Botswana was initially based on trophy hunting and all areas outside the national parks and reserves were divided up into concession areas to be tendered for by professional hunting companies for trophy hunting safaris.

There were very few lodges catering to the photographic safaris market, and most people travelling on safari were part of a mobile safari or a self-drive camping adventure, but with the boom in photographic safaris, and to an extent the dying of hunting industry, many of these hunting concession areas were taken over by photographic safari companies.

These companies then immediately put an end to hunting practices in those concessions and over time new wildlife has settled down and in most cases the numbers of animals have increased dramatically.

Public access areas

The roads in public areas are open to private vehicles and the campsites are available in designated locations for the use of the public for camping. Many safari operators with lodges in private concessions use this aspect when marketing their properties as a pristine and remote destination.

Although there may be a feeling of seclusion in a private concession all the lodges in the public areas are private and not accessed by the general public. It is only on activities that it becomes obvious that you're in a public area.

Benefits of private concessions over public access areas

  • There will be fewer vehicles at sightings and there is more control over the length of time spent at sightings
  • There is more scope for activities in private concessions as they are not bound by the park rules
  • Night drives and limited off-road driving to sightings is possible

Benefits of public access areas

  • The public access areas are generally in some of the best wildlife locations
  • Lower cost and catering for all budgets
  • Allows for self drive and mobile safaris
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