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Botswana Travel Tips & Information
Once upon a time a river took a journey and lost its way in the desert. Instead of drowning in despair, it luxuriated in its solitude, spread its liquid resource into a delta and created nature's greatest kaleidoscope. It became known by the mokoro boatmen as Okavango. It became known by conservationists as the jewel of the Kalahari.

The Okavango, however, is only one facet of the wilderness we parcel up for you. For the optimum wildlife experience, we annex the other great gameviewing areas: the drylands of the Okavango in the Moremi; Chobe National Park including Savute - the kingdom of the lion; the endless stretches of the wild Kalahari and Makgadikgadi; the big tusker country of the Tuli. This is a country of adventure, challenge and discovery: mokoro trails up secret waterways; overnight camping on islands and highlands; fighting the mighty Tiger Fish; surveying the vastness from elephant and horse back; admiring the abundant bird and wildlife; discovery of weird and wonderful plant and tree species on bush walks; sampling the Okavango bream, the sweetest eating fish of the realm. Most of all, it's a unique experience just being there.

With a population of about 1.5 million people and covering almost 582 000 square kilometres, Botswana is one of the most sparsely populated countries in Africa. Having scarcely been developed under a British colonial administration between 1885 and 1966, the discovery of diamonds, a year after independence, has allowed Botswana to develop rapidly.

Sir Seretse Khama, the country's first post-independence president, being one of the most remarkable and far future thinking leaders that any nation could wish for, laid the foundations for a free and uncompromisingly democratic society, which with continuing political stability and economic growth, truly makes Botswana a role model for success in Africa. With the exception of the eastern part of the country, which receives slightly higher summer rainfall and hence is the most densely populated region, most of Botswana is technically desert. This makes the Okavango Delta, situated in the north-west of the country, particularly unique. At around 17 000 square kilometres the Okavango is the world's largest inland delta and is an extraordinary wetland environment surrounded by the strikingly flat and arid Kalahari Desert, the world's largest expanse of sand.

The northern portion of the Okavango Delta is known as the "panhandle". Here, the river is mostly still confined to its banks with seemingly limitless beds of papyrus. The area is attractive to birdwatchers and those hoping to glimpse the rare and elusive Sitatunga antelope. It is also popular with sport fishermen for the renowned Tiger Fish. The Okavango Delta is a labyrinth of islands, secret lagoons and hidden water channels. It varies in size throughout the year, being dependant largely on the rains which fall in the Angolan Highlands, 1 000 kilometres to the north. Although the flood arrives in the panhandle in March, it doesn't reach Maun at the southerly end of the delta until August.

The Moremi Wildlife Reserve occupies a large portion of the Okavango Delta. It contains diverse habitat, ranging from permanent swamp to floodplains, islands and large areas of dry land including "Chiefs Island" and the "Mopane Tongue" of dry scrub and Kalahari sands, which results in prolific bird and animal life.

The Chobe National Park in the north of Botswana is noted for the superb game viewing year round along the river front and famous for the heaviest concentrations of elephant to be found anywhere in Africa today.

The Kwando, Selinda and Linyanti areas do not perhaps symbolise Botswana in the same way that the Okavango and Chobe do, yet tucked along the border with Namibia's Caprivi Strip these areas remain Africa in its most untouched form. Those who have visited the area, speak of it with reverence and awe.

The complex of salt pans found in eastern Botswana are a striking feature and some of the largest in the world. The Makgadikgadi Pans cover nearly 12 000 square kilometres. The remains of an ancient super lake rich in archaeological evidence, undergoes a radical transformation in the rainy summer months from a landscape offering nothing but sand, salt and sky to one teeming with tens of thousands of migrating zebra and wildebeest and countless water and wading birds. More than 17% of Botswana is set aside for national parks and a further 15% devoted to private reserves and game is prolific both inside and outside the boundaries thereof. More than 160 species of mammals and nearly 600 species of birds can be found. With its pristine wilderness and policy of exclusivity, Botswana provides an authentic safari experience for the discerning traveller.
About the Author
Gerald Crawford was born in South Africa, studied electronics, telecommunication, eco-travel and african travel concepts. He taught responsible tourism in South Africa. If you have any questions or comments please e-mail me on. E-mail address: southafricantravelarticles@12234455.co.za. Website address: www.12234455.co.za.
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