Jonathan Gibson, a standout figure in Botswana’s business landscape, has not only transformed his nation’s hospitality and tourism industry but has also left an indelible mark on the African business scene. As the deputy chairman and co-founder of Chobe Holdings, Gibson has cemented his position as one of Botswana’s richest individuals.
As a strategic leader who has redefined the hospitality and tourism industry, his enduring legacy is closely tied to pivotal roles in the expansion of national parks and protected areas in Botswana. Under his guidance, wildlife conservation efforts have flourished, showcasing his commitment to responsible tourism.
A true advocate for conservation, Gibson has forged partnerships with local communities, ensuring they reap the benefits of tourism revenue and empowering them to manage wildlife resources. His success is not just financial but transformative.
Co-founding Chobe Holdings four decades ago, Gibson has propelled the company to dominate Botswana’s hospitality scene. With fourteen eco-tourism lodges and camps in Northern Botswana and the Caprivi Strip in Namibia, totaling 336 beds under the brands Desert & Delta Safaris and Ker & Downey Botswana, Gibson’s impact is evident.
His 35.54 percent stake in Chobe Holdings, equivalent to 31,830,406 ordinary shares, underscores his commanding influence. This stake makes him not only one of the richest investors on the Botswana Stock Exchange but as one of the wealthiest individuals in the country.
Not confined to Chobe Holdings, Gibson served as an Executive Member at the Hospitality & Tourism Association of Botswana and made a significant impact on the thriving Far Property Company. Going beyond traditional safaris, he promoted cultural tours, birding trips, and diverse activities, expanding Botswana’s tourism appeal.
In his role as Deputy Chairman, Gibson’s vision has cemented Chobe Holdings as a cornerstone, embodying a legacy of responsible tourism that influences conservation efforts and empowers local communities.
Billionaires.Africa has identified and cataloged various companies and holdings linked to Jonathan Gibson. Here are five companies where he holds direct or indirect ownership:
- Chobe Holdings
Chobe Holdings Limited, headquartered in Gaborone, is a leading tourism firm under the strategic leadership of Jonathan Gibson. The company operates 14 eco-tourism lodges and camps in Northern Botswana and the Caprivi Strip in Namibia. These establishments, operating under the brands Desert & Delta Safaris and Ker & Downey Botswana, boast a combined capacity of 336 beds. Safari Air, another subsidiary of Chobe Holdings, provides air transport services to these camps and lodges. Jonathan Gibson holds a substantial 35.6-percent stake in Chobe Holdings, amounting to 31,830,406 ordinary shares.
- Desert and Delta Safaris
Based in Maun, Desert & Delta Safaris is a lodge operator within the Chobe Holdings umbrella. Originally established by Jessie Neil in 1982, the company is now owned by Chobe Holdings and operates under the visionary leadership of Jonathan Gibson, who serves as the Executive Chairman.
- Safari Air
Safari Air Africa (SAF) is a reputable aviation company in Mozambique and Southern Africa, offering charter flights, shuttles, specialized missions, and fleet management solutions. Established in 2006, SAF specializes in connecting lodges, remote destinations, and business centers. Recently, they collaborated with Medi Response Mozambique to introduce medical evacuation and repatriation services. SAF’s local expertise ensures businesses and tourists thrive in Southern Africa’s skies.
- Desert and Delta Safaris
This bespoke safari company, operating in Namibia’s rugged landscapes, is another jewel in Jonathan Gibson’s portfolio. Established in 1997, Desert & Delta Safaris (SA) specializes in providing unique experiences, including fatbike excursions, horseback riding, and cultural immersions with local communities. The company actively supports local conservation initiatives, employs sustainable practices like solar power and water conservation, and engages local communities in the tourism industry.
- The Bookings Company
Founded in 1992, The Bookings Company is a subsidiary of Chobe Holdings Limited. As a licensed tour operator in Botswana and a member of the Hospitality and Tourism Association of Botswana (HATAB), the company offers personalized services such as tailor-made safaris, lodge and safari bookings, and flights. The Bookings Company covers Botswana’s prime tourist destinations and facilitates seamless travel experiences across neighboring countries like Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia, and South Africa.
- Chobe Game Lodge
Chobe Game Lodge stands out as a pioneering and historic establishment within Chobe National Park. As the only permanent game lodge on the banks of the Chobe River, it holds the distinction of being the oldest 5-star Lodge in Botswana. Under Jonathan Gibson’s ownership, the lodge provides guests with an unparalleled opportunity to explore the game-rich Chobe National Park.
- Wilderness Safaris
Established by Jonathan Gibson in 1982, Wilderness Safaris has become a trailblazer in ecotourism and responsible travel within Botswana. The company, which Jonathan Gibson founded, has set high standards for the industry by minimizing environmental impact and actively supporting local communities through its camps.