BOPEU acquires Khawa Lodge
14 June, 2015
Situated just outside Ghanzi Township, Khawa Lodge’s humble days will soon be over thanks to a new lease of life the lodge got from Botswana Public Employees Union (BOPEU).
Through its investment arm known as Babereki Investments (Pty) Ltd, BOPEU has forked out a whooping P7.25 million to purchase the currently out of action lodge and bring it back to life once again.
Khawa lodge had been one of the promising lodging destinations in Ghanzi attracting visitors from within and outside the country, but its closure some four years ago left a huge demand for accommodation in the area.
Confirming the deal, Babereki Investments (Pty) Ltd’s chief finance officer, Mr Victor Leoketsa, said the facilities would be operated as a hotel and lodging under the principle of tourism and hospitality.
“There is an immense demand for accommodation in the Ghanzi area, particularly due to ample government offices in the area and the fact that Ghanzi is also a gateway to Namibia,” said Mr Lekoketsa.
He added that the township was an ideal stop over for tourists enroute to both Namibia and Maun; as such the lodge’s market viability and contribution to the tourism sector in the area were guaranteed.
The finance officer noted that the project was of high priority to them and that negotiations with highly reputable operators were at an advanced stage.
He also said Babereki Investments was exploring different models of how to use the property, and that there might be some maintenance works on their newly acquired business site; as such it might take a year before the business sprang back to life.
He said Babereki Investments had identified the tourism sector as a profitable sector and a potential area for diversification, and that in the Ghanzi area, the sector was still very much untapped.
He said using Babereki Investments as a path to tap into the tourism industry would give ordinary Batswana a platform and opportunity to also participate in the sector, which has been dominantly operated by foreigners especially in the Chobe and Ngamiland areas.
Although they have not yet tasted the fruits of their latest investment, Mr Leoketsa noted that they had identified a number of opportunities in the tourism sector across the country, especially in areas like Maun and Okavango, including mergers and joint ventures.
Ghanzi tourism development manager Mr John Kenalemang said the re-opening of Khawa Lodge was a blessing, especially because Ghanzi was often a venue for big events such as the Ghanzi agricultural show, which often attracted multitudes of people who needed accommodation.
Ghanzi Township is one of Botswana’s fastest growing townships, but the high demand for accommodation in the area makes it almost impossible sometimes for big events to take place in the township.
Currently there are 24 lodging facilities in the entire district, with up to three star grading; one of them is a one star facility, while four are ungraded.
Khawa Lodge was at two stars before closure, but Mr Kenalemang said upon its reopening it would go through the necessary procedures again and be graded accordingly. While Botswana Tourism
Organisation (BTO) encouraged and supported Batswana to get into the tourism industry, there was no room for compromise on standards, he said.
Most of the lodging facilities in Botswana survive on government employees for business and some of the employees are BOPEU members; as such members would enjoy the benefits of their membership, he added.