Giraffe © Justin Jensen
Botswana is an African success story. Transformed since independence into one of the world's fastest growing economies, the country also houses Africa's oldest continuous democracy. However, tourists venture to this expanse of Southern Africa for one reason: the great outdoors.
Synonymous with Botswana is the Okavango Delta, carrying life-giving flood waters from the Angolan highlands down countless waterways and lagoons. The abundance and variety of wildlife to be found in this oasis is astonishing. Chobe National Park has the world's largest herds of Elephant, and Moremi Game Reserve is renowned for having some of the densest populations of wildlife on earth. The delta is all the more breathtaking for being on the edge of the barren Kalahari Desert.
The Kalahari is home to the largest unbroken stretch of sand on the planet. These great dunes give way to the remarkable salt plains of the Makgadikgadi and Nxai pans, and the 3,000-year-old baobab trees on Kubu Island. On the southern edge of the Kalahari lies the characteristic red dunes and sparse scrub of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park. 'Place of thirst' in the local tongue, the rains are said to fall here just once a century. However, the park is home to iconic predators and huge herds of Springbok, Gemsbok, Wildebeest and Eland. The enormous Central Kalahari National Park is ruled by black-maned lions, and still witness to the hunter-gatherer lifestyle of the indigenous San people.
All the wildlife and wilderness leaves little foothold for people in this sparsely populated country. Gaborone, the capital, houses around ten percent of the total population and is fast-growing, with blossoming attractions of its own. Botswana promises the ultimate safari adventure, and visitors can be sure of the trip of a lifetime.