We ran all these questions by Steven Rann, Executive Director of the Botswana Wildlife Management Association, and his take on the new tax is, it will have virtually no impact on hunting clients. Seems there is already a 10 percent GST (Goods and Services Tax) on the daily rate of safaris, and the proposed VAT (if it's extended to tourism costs, and it may not be) would simply replace the current GST, leaving consumers where they started. Rann says the whole matter of taxes is being widely discussed, and he didn't rule the possibility that the end result would be an eventual price rise, if only indirectly by making certain goods and services more expensive for in-country operators. For the moment, though, he says the new tax is a non-starter of an issue for clients.
Before we ended the conversation, incidentally, Rann said one of his PHs that day (April 23) had just taken an elephant that should weigh in the high 70s, perhaps the low 80s. Two other operators had apparently taken jumbo that weighed 65 and 75 pounds. Low rainfall, he said, was concentrating game along rivers and making for good hunting conditions. "We are expecting a stellar season!" he said.