5 Fascinating Facts About Botswana

by Sandy Salle on September 4, 2018

  1.  According to National Geographic, the Kalahari Desert covers about 70 percent of Botswana. Basically all of the south, west and center of the country.  Although the climate is arid and the vegetation sparse, the Kalahari provides a home for a surprising number of animal species, from elephants and cheetahs to lions, hyenas, African wild dogs, and those cute little meerkats.  Among the best places to experience Botswana’s desert are the vast Central Kalahari Game Reserve (reputedly the world’s second largest wildlife sanctuary), the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park (which Botswana shares with South Africa), and Makgadikgadi Pans National Park near Maun.

2. Botswana’s other great landform is the wildlife-rich Okavango Delta in the northwest. One of the world’s largest wetlands gets most of its water from the Angola Highlands. But a rare endorheic basin — which means it has no outlet to the ocean.  Nearly all of the Okavango is protected within the confines of national parks and game reserves. Depending on which time of year you visit (the rainy season or the dry season), the best way to explore the park and eyeball the prolific wildlife is boat, airplane or 4×4.Some of the best safari lodges and camps in all of Africa are scattered around the Okavango. In addition to wildlife drives and boat trips, many of the lodges arrange visits with the indigenous people who still dwell in the swamps.

  1. Chobe National Park in northern Botswana is considered the best place in Africa to see and photograph elephants in the wild. The park’s pachyderm population is estimated at around 50,000 — Africa’s largest concentration of the huge beasts.During the dry season, they gather on the grassy floodplain of the Chobe and Linyanti rivers in herds that often surpass hundreds of individual animals. It’s not unusual to have your safari vehicle completely surrounded by elephants as they go about their daily routine of grazing, drinking and cooling off with a mud or dirt bath.  You can even enjoy them off your lodge deck while eating breakfast!

  1. In case you didn’t know already, a bestselling murder-mystery series called The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency is set in Botswana. The series of 18 books revolves around private-eye Precious Ramotswe and her friends as they solve various mysteries against a backdrop of daily life in Botswana.Author Alexander McCall Smith was born and raised in neighboring Zimbabwe. After earning a law degree in Scotland, he helped found the University of Botswana law school and penned a very serious tome on criminal law in Botswana.Having already dabbled in fiction during his university days, McCall Smith was inspired to write the Ladies’ Detective Agency series. A prolific author, he’s also written a number of other fiction and nonfiction books set in Africa, and was heavily involved in the creation of a version of Macbeth set among baboons in the Okavango.

  1. Since independence from Britain in 1966, Botswana has gone from being one of the continent’s poorest nations to one of its richest. In terms of gross national income, it ranks No. 4 in Africa.  Prosperity is largely based on diamonds. In total, Botswana produced around 17 percent of the world’s diamonds. Those glitzy rocks account for nearly half the government budget each year. And much of that revenue has been invested back into education, health care and other human services, as well as tourism and wildlife conservation.

Hills of Africa can give you the full lowdown on where to stay, what to do, what time of year to go and which part of Botswana would best fit your vacation needs.

Contact us at 1-800-940-9344 if you’re ready to start planning your African Safari Vacation.  Or email us at hoainfo@hillsofafrica.com.

 

 

 

 

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