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Southern Sky Adventures: Botswana

In 1841, when Dr. David Livingstone first arrived in Botswana to explore and do missionary work, the nation was but a poor African stepchild. Yet, following Botswana’s move to democracy in 1966 and soon thereafter, when the gift of diamond was bestowed upon the country, Botswana was transformed into one of Africa’s richest countries, enjoying a high standard of economic stability, education and health care unmatched in sub-Saharan Africa this side of South Africa.

Botswana is a land of amazing variety, dramatic landscapes and unforgettable safari destinations. Botswana’s great rivers—the Chobe, the Linyanti and the Kwando—are teeming with herds of elephants and packs of wild dogs known as the “painted wolves” of Africa. Herds of zebra, wildebeest, and other mammals migrate in the Makgadikgadi & Nxai Pans National Park searching for stable water and food supplies. The world’s largest inland delta, the Okavango Delta, is located in the northwest of Botswana, its lush beauty and its abundant supply of wildlife and birds standing in stark contrast to the Kalahari Desert, while a large saltpan called the Makgadikgadi Pan, lies in the north. Most of Botswana’s population lives in the more hilly eastern side of the country. Botswana’s infrastructure is excellent and it is a very safe destination, where the country’s policy of low-impact, higher cost tourism has ensured the wilderness remains pristine and exclusive.

Landlocked, sparsely populated and semi-arid, Botswana is about the same size France and slightly smaller than Texas. Botswana is predominantly flat – tending toward gently rolling tableland – bounded by Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa, and dominated in the western part of the country by the great Kalahari Desert, which covers roughly 70 percent of its land surface. At Kazungula, four countries – Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Namibia – meet at a single point mid-stream in the Zambezi River.

For visitors interested in stepping back in time and meeting some of Botswana’s most fascinating people, the desolate Central Kalahari Game Reserve is home to one of the world’s most rapidly disappearing indigenous populations, the Kalahari Bushmen, who listen to dissonant music and dance a dance seemingly as old as the land itself.


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