This was Nata’s greatest ever party!
Nata, that little village at the crossroads to Maun and Kasane, had never seen anything like it!
It seemed that the whole village turned out for the official opening of the swish North Gate Lodge and then went to the Nata Bird Sanctuary lookout point at Sua Pan to a mega party well into the night on Saturday.
It was a day and night villagers will never forget as lodge owner Seloma Tiro and his staff, led by general manager Peter McClelland and his wife Susan, deputy general manager, pulled out all the stops to make it a huge success.
The event at the lodge was attended by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-Operation,Phandu Skelemani, who unveiled a plaque commemorating the event. Also present was Oliphant Mfa, MP for Nata/Gweta and Botswana Tourism Board chairperson Myra Sekgororoane, as well as other dignitaries.
Skelemani described Tiro as “a man from humble beginnings, much like most of us” who had first opened a trading store, then built a garage and also took over a filling station - “then to our surprise he knocked down the trading store and built the shopping centre. North Gate Lodge is the latest result.”
The minister said “realising a vision needs a lot of hard work - - “this is an encouragement to all of us. Dream big and you have the stamina.”
He described the lodge – which employs 35 people - as a significant development and a milestone for Nata and surrounding areas. Predicting that the lodge will enhance business in Nata in general, Skelemani described it as an ideal location for travellers to the Chobe and the Okavango delta.
Sekgororoane told about 200 guests that tourism needed standards and that some tourism establishments were lacking in basic requirements.
“Service delivery is a source of concern,” she added.
After the formal proceedings, guests enjoyed a huge variety of food and refreshments around the pool area before many left for the Nata Bird Sanctuary, where food and refreshments were also served at a party that continued well into the night.