The Okavango Delta is one of the world’s most beautiful wilderness destinations and is sought after by tourists, photographers, and researchers alike.
Going to the Okavango Delta brings you through several unique landscapes, from wetland to dryland. Just the journey itself is already an adventure as you find your way through the world’s biggest existing inland delta.
The delta is called the jewel of the Kalahari, as it is located deep within the Kalahari Basin. The name alludes to the rarity of such a place; how this remarkable ecosystem exists in such an unforgiving place is a miracle.
The fan-shaped delta is fed by the Okavango River. A multitude of species – including buffalos, elephants, zebras, giraffes, crocodiles, leopards, lions, and cheetahs – live on and around the delta.
The Okavango Delta is being proposed for listing as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The government of Botswana is ensuring that the location is properly taken care of, as it is one of the most precious treasures of Africa.
The Tsodilo Hills rises up from the Kalahari, towering over an otherwise calm landscape.
The Tsodilo Hills is a sacred location for its inhabitants – the San tribe, the original inhabitants, and the Hambukushu tribe, who are periodic residents. They believe that the spirits of their ancestors still dwell here – and in earlier times, they regularly performed rituals to ask for help from these spirits.
Paintings and carvings on the face of the rock are also present; each of them symbolizes a certain aspect of the tribes’ lives.
The three main hills of Tsodilo are named Male, Female, and Child. Thirty years’ worth of archaeological research in the area has led to estimates that the hills have been inhabited for the past 100,000 years. Iron, pottery, shells, glass beads, stone tools and carved bones have been found dating back to 90,000 years in the past.
All these findings make Tsodilo one of the oldest historical sites in the world.
There are several walking trails in the Tsodilo Hills. Some of these are the Lion Trail, the Rhino Trail, and the Cliff Trail. A guide will assist you through these trails so that you can safely appreciate the true beauty of Tsodilo.
Chobe National Park
Chobe National Park is a wondrous sight to behold. Tourists visit the park either by air or by road, and whichever way you choose, the beauty of Chobe National Park can be seen even from a distance.
The park is fed by its namesake, the Chobe River. This river allows the park to have one of the most diverse wildlife concentrations in the whole country.
Chobe National Park, established in 1968, covers an area of approximately 11,700 square kilometers (4,247 square miles). Within the park are swamps, floodplains, and woodlands, each catering to a different lineup of species.
One of the most famous sights in the park is the massive herds of elephants that live near the Chobe Waterfront. The herd visits the waterfront more often during the winter months, when the dryness makes the elephants unusually thirsty.
Lions, leopards, jackals, hyenas, crocodiles, hippos, owls, geese, eagles – these are just a few of the animals that you can see on your visit to the nature wonderland that is Chobe National Park.
The Kgalagadi is Botswana’s name for what the rest of the world calls the famous Kalahari Desert.
Covering more than 80% of the total land area of the country, the Kgalagadi is not like most deserts because, unlike the barren sand pits associated with the term, the Kgalagadi is actually teeming with life and natural resources.
The grasslands in Kgalagadi support several species of wildlife in the region, including its fast-growing herds of cattle.
The Kgalagadi landscape is a plain with shrubs dotting the field. Trees also stand on the ridges, providing landmarks in the otherwise monotonous scene. After a period of bountiful rain, the desert looks even livelier.
The vast expanse of the Kgalagadi houses five national parks and game reserves, namely the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, the Makgadikgadi Pans Game Reserve, the Khutse Game Reserve, the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, and the Nxai Pan National Park.
The impression that the Kgalagadi leaves on its visitors is that of humility and amazement, as such a wide piece of desert retains its beauty through supporting life.
The city of Ghanzi is Botswana’s center for the industry of cattle farming. More than 200 cattle farms – which cover roughly 6% of the land area of the country – are situated here, connected and bordered by fence structures.
The quality of cattle products in this region of Botswana is renowned the world over. The cattle farmers of Ghanzi provide 75% of the beef exports of the Botswana Meat Commission, which exports meat primarily to the United Kingdom and the rest of the European Union.
As a bonus, when you visit Ghanzi in August, you may also find yourself joining the Kuru Dance Festival, which is a showcase of the traditional dance and music of the residents of the region.
Khama Rhino Sanctuary
The Khama Rhino Sanctuary is only a short 20 kilometer (12 mile) drive from the town of Serowe. The people who manage and work in the park are local residents, and they offer game drives, bird watching, safari walks, and arts and crafts shopping to tourists.
The Khama Rhino Sanctuary was established in 1989 as a response to the then alarming poaching of rhinos in the country. Both the black rhino and white rhino species were in danger of extinction due to these poaching activities, even though the rhinos were granted a protected status since 1922.
The sanctuary received its first four white rhinos in 1992, transported from Chobe National Park. An additional eight white rhinos came from South Africa’s North West National Parks.
The black rhino, likewise highly endangered, was reintroduced in 2002.
Now, the Khama Rhino Sanctuary is thriving. The park is currently the source for rhinos that would be reintroduced to other reserves in the country. Additionally, the first baby black rhino was born in 2008, signaling the start of the species’ resurgence.
Gaborone was once referred to as Africa’s fastest growing city. The capital city of Botswana has been continuously expanding since the country gained its independence in 1966.
Gaborone has its roots as a small administrative town. There used to be only a small settlement area near the railway, and a small administrative center not far off. Now, it is a sprawling metropolis, with development fast tracked by the foreign experts who helped build the city since day one.
The Gaborone of today now has four huge American-style shopping malls with massive cinema complexes, a bevy of hotels and guest houses for travelers, restaurants for every taste, an international airport, night clubs and discos, a cultural center, an art gallery and national museum, and sports facilities such as two complete golf courses.
However, a unique characteristic of Gaborone is its very close proximity to the rural side of Africa. While tourists can enjoy the familiar conveniences from back home in the city, a short drive of a couple of minutes will take you right into the heart of the desert and wildlife of Botswana.
Francistown is one of the oldest towns in Botswana and was formerly the center of the first gold rush in South Africa. It is located roughly 436 kilometers (271 miles) north of Gaborone.
Africans living in the region around Francistown have been mining gold for centuries before the Europeans arrived in the mid-19th century. Named after British miner and prospector Daniel Francis, the original settlement was erected near the Monarch Mine in 1897.
Today, Francistown is Botswana’s second largest city. It has developed into a hub for industry and transport, featuring a railway that leads up north all the way to Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.
There is an economic boom in Francistown, fueled by the revival of gold mining in the area. The transport and property sectors of the city are given new life with all the activity, along with all the developments and improvements in infrastructure.
Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park was founded when Botswana and South Africa signed a treaty in 1999 for its formation. It is Africa’s first transfrontier park and was officially opened in 2002.
With a land area of 37,000 square kilometers (14,286 square miles), the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is a joint project of the two countries, with both of them having managing duties on the park. There are no fences in the entire park, leaving the animals free to roam for their survival in the desert.
Facilities for customs and immigration in the park have been designed to allow you to gain entry to the park from one country and then leave on the other side, into the other country.
Tourists have three main areas to explore in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park: the Nossop River Valley, which is located along the border between the countries; the wilderness trails in the Botswana area of the park; and the northeastern part of the park, which was once the Mabuasehube Game Reserve.
Baines’ Baobabs are one of the highlights of the Nxai Pan National Park. They are located roughly 30 kilometers (19 miles) away from the park’s entrance.
Despite the distance, all tourists take time to see these towering structures.
This spectacle is a collection of seven massive baobab trees, which are named after Thomas Baines, a 19th century explorer.
Baines was also an artist, cartographer, and naturalist. Over a hundred years ago, Baines stood on this site and made paintings of these baobabs.
Baines’ records of his journey are resplendent with appreciation of Africa. His diaries, drawings, sketches, and paintings provided a unique glimpse of the Africa of old – an Africa that we still admire to this day.
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