botswana safaries 22-09-10.jpgControversial Botswana tour operator, Wilderness Safaris has won a “World Savers Award” despite constructing a luxury tourist lodge on land belonging to the Kalahari Basarwa tribes who are struggling for water.

Wilderness Safaris won the health award and will be honoured at the Condé Nast Traveler World Savers Congress in Singapore in October.

The operator opened the Kalahari Plains Camp inside the Central Kalahari Game Reserve in 2009, without consulting the indigenous Basarwa tribes who owned the land.

The Basarwa were banned from accessing a well which they relied on for water.

With revelations that  the President of Botswana’s nephew, and his personal lawyer, sit on Wilderness Safaris’ board of directors, analysts have criticised the Botswana government for falling into the whims of selfish gain while sacrificing the local people’s land which is their sole source of livelihood.

The operator has lashed back saying it cannot provide water to the tribes in the reserve, claiming that it is not a water utility and its business model is not robust enough to carry this responsibility.