Botswana: the Gem of Africa

Botswana is a land-locked country of southern Africa that is surrounded by neighbors South Africa, Zimbabwe and Namibia. It is one of the most prosperous countries in Africa and its economy is fueled by its robust tourism and large-scale diamond mining. It also has the longest uninterrupted democracy in the African continent. Botswana’s landscape is dominated by the vast Kalahari Desert which home of the indigenous people is called the San Bushmen who has been there for over 20,000 years.

Apart from being the largest producer of diamonds in the world, as it is aptly tagged as the Gem of Africa, Botswana is also famous for its safaris. The country has diverse areas of wildlife habitat. It also is home to the world’s largest inland delta, the Okavango Delta, which can be seen from outer space. The main safari destinations for tourism are the Moremi Game Reserve in the Okavango Delta, and the Chobe National Park.

The Okavango Delta has large numbers of animal population such as crocodile, elephant, hippopotamus, giraffe, lion, leopard, cheetah, hyenas, antelope, rhinoceros, buffalo, and the endangered wild dogs, as well as other common mammals and hundreds of bird species. The best time for game viewing in the delta is during the May-October period. Game viewing on a vehicle is used on land, as well as walking safaris.  On the other hand, rainy season is best for bird watching since migratory birds are returning because trees and plants are lush. Safari by the water in a “Mokoro”, a dug out canoe, is the best way to appreciate the waterways of Okavango.

In Chobe National Park, Botswana’s first national park, is home to the largest elephant herds in the world. These elephants are also of the largest in body size of all living elephants. Lion, leopard and buffalo are also residents of the park.

To experience the Botswana safari, a traveler can get in to the country by plane in Gaborone, the country’s capital or through the town of Maun. Flights come from Johannesburg since there are no international flights aside from South Africa and Zimbabwe. By land, all road access are good as all primary roads are well-maintained.

When taking the Botswana safari, it is advisable to have the national currency handy, which is called the pula, which in Botswana language means “rain”. And before taking the trip, it is also a must to visit a doctor for health precautions. A well planned adventure is required if one wants to get the best out of the Botswana safaris.