In the heart of southern Africa, Botswana offers one of the finest wildlife experiences in the world. It is comprised largely of the Kalahari Desert, within which lies the Okavango Delta, a wetland considered by many to be Africa’s most incredible wildlife sanctuary.
Botswana is a landlocked country, with Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe as its immediate neighbors. The most striking features of the country are its flatness and aridity. Three-quarters of Botswana is technically a desert. This is what makes the Okavango Delta even more remarkable. It is a wonderful wetland within a desert, getting its waters from rain falling in central Africa, 1000km away.
Botswana is one of Africa’s success stories. Prior to independence in 1966, it was one of the world’s poorest countries. Diamonds were discovered in the Kalahari shortly after independence and this kick-started the economy. Sir Seretse Khama was the country’s first post-independence president. He was a wonderful leader. Seretse laid the foundations that Botswana needed to propel forward, without compromising democracy; the result is a booming economy in a stable country.
Seretse’s son, Ian, is one of the country’s conservation heroes. When head of the military, he positioned his troops to secure Botswana’s borders from poachers. The game concentrations within the country multiplied. Many people owe their jobs and careers to his actions. The country abandoned mass tourism and focused on high quality / low volume tourism as the best way to create a sustainable industry that would employ a large percentage of its people, while still preserving the environment. Today wildlife and tourism employs about 45% of all the people in northern Botswana.