An African success story, Botswana achieved independence from Britain in 1966 and immediately thereafter, in a mad stroke of luck, discovered three of the world’s richest diamond mines. And just like a good mystery story, it takes time to unravel the country’s secrets. Beyond the narrow eastern corridor, where the majority of the population is concentrated, Botswana is a largely roadless wilderness of savannas, deserts, wetlands and salt pans. As freedom of speech and equality are all guaranteed under the country’s constitution, the greatest threat to Botswana’s stability is posed by the AIDS virus.
Situated in the southern reaches of Africa, Botswana is renowned for its pristine wilderness areas characterised by deep lagoons, wetlands, lush palms, rugged hills and desert plains scattered with scrubland. The country’s primary tourist drawcard is undoubtedly the vast red expanse of the Kalahari Desert and its remarkably beautiful Okavango Delta, the largest inland delta in the world. These natural wonders provide a tranquil haven for an abundance of African wildlife to thrive. Other highlights include the impressive Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, where visitors are privy to massive zebra migrations during the flood season; the Savuti plains, which host large prides of lions; and the Tsodilo Hills, where 4500 rock paintings form a unique record of human settlement over many millennia.
Best time to visit
April to August (the dry season) for wildlife viewing
Mabele (sorghum) or bogobe (porridge made from sorghum) which form the basis of most Batswana meals. Or take a plunge and try their Mopane works.
Bojalwa, a sprouted sorghum beer that’s brewed commercially as Chibuku