June 21, 2022
Luxury Safari Magazine interviews MC Odumetse of Desert & Delta
With safari lodges and camps in the Savute Region, Okavango Delta, Moremi Game Reserve, Makgadikgadi Pans National Park, and on the Chobe Riverfront, each of the Desert & Delta Safaris’ properties provides a luxurious sanctuary for guests to, here we interview the Managing Director Lempheditse Odumetse, or MC as he is know to his colleagues, of Desert & Delta to learn more.
What is your biggest aspiration/goal you would like to reach?
To create an all-encompassing system that provides opportunities to citizens of Botswana to enhance themselves in tourism and the tourism industry as a whole.
What is your favourite place to be and why?
At home with my beautiful family, that’s my happy place. But I am fortunate to have a big family in Desert & Delta too. So, I have many favourite places. In terms of a destination, I love being in the Okavango Delta. It’s always changing, always adapting, always something new – even after all those decades working and living in the Okavango Delta, no two days are the same.
What is the best part of being so heavily involved in Desert & Delta?
Desert & Delta is all about the people. You are always supported, always heard. We give opportunities and we support each other while we try to reach our goals. I’ve never seen a company that cares so much for the well-being of every individual. I am now fortunate to be at the helm of these efforts.
How many countries have you visited, and which is the one you liked most?
Am I going to sound cheesy if I say Botswana? Because it’s true! But seriously, I loved visiting the United States of America and the United Kingdom. The USA is where I spent 12 months working during my Disney World exchange program and this is where I met my amazing wife. But it is also where I realised how important the experiences, we offer our guests are valued and appreciated. Mass tourism made me fully understand why low-volume tourism is valued so highly and why we work towards the responsible operation.
We see that you offer a wide range of activities, which are the most popular?
Game drives are an ever-popular classic activity. But because we operate in such unique regions, mokoro and boating safaris are also incredibly popular. We’ve also got the electric game drive vehicles and boats at one of our lodges (Chobe Game Lodge), which is a huge attraction. But the activity that is getting the most attention at present is from Nxamaseri Island Lodge and its proximity to visiting and exploring the historic Tsodilo Hills. A collection of hills in the otherwise flat Kalahari Desert, bordering the Okavango Delta’s panhandle. These hills are home to one of the most significant collections of ancient art on earth – 4500+- paintings across these hills! Travellers are fascinated by the historic interpretations and awe-inspiring storytelling, that this experience gives.
What was the vision behind your company?
To be a vehicle for the empowerment of Batswana (Citizens of Botswana) through the delivery of exceptional service in pristine (and protected) wilderness areas at our luxury camps & lodges.
What sets Desert & Delta apart from all of the rest?
We are citizen-owned and managed. Our company is for our people. We have 40 years of experience operating in Botswana, so we have deep roots in the tourism industry here. In many ways, our journey is synonymous with the journey of the tourism industry of Botswana, where it came from, where it is and where it’s going. We are the example in our sector of responsible tourism.
Where do you want to take the company in the future?
We have big plans. I would say watch this space, but we are already making such big strides. Desert & Delta Safaris has just celebrated 40 years of operation, an incredible feat in the industry in Botswana. We’ve also recently acquired a new lodge and we want to see ourselves entrenching ourselves further into working with communities and local citizens to provide opportunities and support.
You have child-friendly trips as well. What is on offer for the little ones?
The best teacher in the world is nature. She is patient, wise, ruthless, and kind. Children are exposed to so much on safari. In the world we live in today, there is very little nature, something that children only see on a screen. So, to take them out of their comfort zone and show them how vast and wild the world is, is very important for their growth as individuals. It’s also so important to expose them to different cultures and people.
When we have families in the camp, we have a person we call a ‘camp hero’ who is responsible for coordinating everything for the family. They will arrange extra little activities for them such as the tracking of birds and animals in camp with the guides, preparing and cooking meals in the kitchen with the chefs, learning to pole mokoro in the shallow delta floodplains, or even sitting up front with the guides on activities.
We also provide them with an educational colouring book and playing cards to stimulate their minds in a fun and engaging way.
What is the best sighting you’ve ever had in the bush?
Oh wow, that’s a difficult one! I managed Savute Safari Lodge while the Savute March pride of lions were resident around the camp, so we saw lions in the camp almost every night! I’ve also been charged by a leopard at midnight on my way to my room. But my favourite sighting has to be watching a leopard relaxing with her cubs in Savute Safari Lodge many years ago. We spent close to an hour with her just watching them interact, play, and bond. It was so touching.
What is your strongest passion?
My passion lies with people. Empowered people, empower people. I know this because this is what happened to me. I want every person who has a passion for tourism and has drive, to have an opportunity to use and grow their skills so they can advance in their careers and reach their goals. This is the only way we will advance responsibly and sustainably.
What is your biggest achievement to date?
Being appointed as the Managing Director of the Chobe Holdings Group in March of this year.
Is there anything else you would like to add or want people to know?
Come to Botswana! Come and see for yourself. It’s one thing to read about it but let me show you my home and my people.