Situated in the centre of Southern Africa, landlocked Botswana has Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe as its neighbours. With the exception of the eastern part where the summer rainfall is slightly higher, the Kalahari Desert forms the majority of Botswana. This predominance of arid land makes for a remarkable phenomenon. The Okavango Delta one of the 7 natural wonders of the world is a magnificient wetland within the Kalahari Desert.
It is one of the largest inland delta systems in the world, an area of 16 000 sq. km (6 000 sq. miles) filled with water channels, lagoons and islands. Each year, floodwaters flow from their catchment areas in the moist central African highlands of Angola over 1 000 km (620 miles) away into the Delta to create the miracle that is the Okavango as it continues to feed the river system well into the dry season.
Here the Moremi National Park and the Khwai Concession form part of the many conservation areas that is the Okavango Delta, supporting a diverse variety of fauna and flora.
In the north-east of the country, the Chobe, Savuti and Linyanti Reserves are renowned for their predators and large concentrations of game. South of the Okavango Delta and dominating central Botswana, the five million-hectare (12 million-acre) Central Kalahari Game Reserve is one of the biggest protected areas in Africa, its diverse wildlife and wonderful scenery offering an amazing contrast to the rest of the country. The Kalahari Desert is the largest unbroken stretch of sand in the world and at its core is the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, a vast flat expanse of scrub-covered fossil dunes interspersed with ancient river valleys. This area is home to a fascinating spectrum of very different plants and animals that have successfully adapted to living in such a harsh environment.
Historically Botswana is one of Africa’s outstanding success stories. Prior to independence in 1966, it was one of the world’s poorest countries and an unexplored land only visited by hardy adventurers. Botswana embarked on innovative and proactive ways to deal with tourism, the second largest export sector after diamonds. The country’s leaders took the view that high quality, low volume tourism was the best way to create a sustainable industry that would employ a large percentage of its people while still preserving the environment.