This chapter traces safari from colonial enterprise and bucket list imaginary to community asset and human–wildlife conflict. We argue that safari rose from colonial images of taming the wild and continues to be shaped by neocolonial models of Western wildlife management. Botswana’s hunting ban and its recent repeal provide a case for the contestation of the narrative around safari.
Drawing on both ethnographic data collected in three rural communities in the southern African country of Botswana and media and policy analysis, the chapter focuses on the staging of safari experiences and the back stage challenges of living next to and acting as stewards of the country’s wildlife in the time of Community-Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) and hunting bans. Questions concerning the benefits from new revenue streams pit national government against local communities, the old against the young, dominant against subordinate tribes, and nationals against expatriates. In Botswana, elephants are ripe for investment, as professional hunters and community members challenge animal rights activists and eco- and cultural tourism promoters to control the ways safari is conceptualized and commodified.