Tourism concern Wilderness Safaris has partnered with Great Plains Conservation in a P30-million deal that will transform one of Botswana's famous tourism properties, Duba Plains in the Okavango, into a diversified premier tourism attraction.
In a statement released this week, Wilderness says the sale of Duba Camp, whose proceeds will be used to enable further development in the Okavango and Linyanti regions, was completed in May this year when it received a payment of US$4.5 million. Duba Plains is a 300 000-hectare reserve in the Northern Okavango popular among tourists because of its lion and buffalo interactions. Says the statement from Wilderness:
"Okavango Wilderness Safaris (OWS), a wholly owned subsidiary of Wilderness Holdings Limited, entered into an agreement with Great Plains Safari Companies Limited pursuant to which OWS transferred responsibility for its Duba Plains Camp, including all its assets and obligation, the result of which is that Great Plains and OWS will work together to develop and market the Duba Business. Great Plains has paid OWS US$4.5 million (P30million) and such consideration was received on May 14 2010."
Under the deal, Great Plains Conservation will take over all management and will extend experiences offered at Duba Plains by taking advantage of the recent exceptional floods and the opportunities they present. Wilderness says the money was received in cash following the fulfilment of certain suspensive conditions, which included Great Plains incorporating a company registered in accordance with the laws of Botswana for the purpose of injecting the reservations business (NewCo).
Great Plains picks up the cue in a statement of its own: "Duba Plains will be re-positioned as one of the premier all-round Okavango experiences offering a full complement of Okavango activities. In addition to the existing game drives, Duba Plains will offer boating and 'mokoroing' in celebration of the exceptional floods. The relationship with Wilderness Safaris will continue along the lines of those that exist at the Selinda Reserve with Selinda Camp, the Selinda Canoe Trail and the award acclaimed Zarafa Camp for reservations."
As at February 28 2010, the value of the net assets of the Duba business, the subject of the transaction, was P1.05 million, representing 0.45 percent of the value of the total net asset of the Group as at that date.
Wilderness, which listed on the Botswana Stock Exchange and the Johannesburg Stock Exchange's Africa Board early this year, posted a profit of P48 million in its maiden results as a listed company for the year ending February 28 2010.