The earliest inhabitants of the region of Botswana were the San, who were followed by the Tswana; today about half the country is ethnic Tswana. The term for the country’s people is Botswana, and refers to national rather than ethnic origin.
Encroachment by the Zulu in the 1820s and by Boers from Transvaal in the 1870s and 1880s threatened the peace of Botswana. In 1885, Britain established the area as a protectorate, then known as Bechuanaland. In 1961, Britain granted a constitution to the country. Self-government began in 1965, and on Sept. 30, 1966, the country became independent. Botswana is Africa’s oldest democracy.
Although Botswana is rich in diamonds, it has high unemployment and stratified socioeconomic classes. In 1999, the nation suffered its first budget deficit in 16 years because of a slump in the international diamond market. Yet Botswana remains one of the wealthiest and most stable countries on the continent.
After 17 years in power, President Ketumile Masire retired in 1997, and Festus Mogae, an Oxford-educated economist, became the new president. Mogae has won high marks from the international financial community for continuing to privatize Botswana’s mining and industrial operations.
Botswana is a land-locked country dominated in geographical terms by the Kalahari Desert – a sand-filled basin averaging 1,100 metres above sea level. Botswana is bordered by Zambia and Zimbabwe to the northeast, Namibia to the north and west, and South Africa to the south and southeast. At Kazungula, four countries – Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Namibia – meet at a single point mid-stream in the Zambezi River.
Botswana’s jewel is the Okavango Delta – an oasis of winding channels, open flood plains, lily-pad lagoons, small islands and rich pastures. This all literally floats on a saturated sea of sand with water levels that rise and fall with the seasons. As channels fill up, they carve out new routes which means the landscape is always changing. Maps therefore have to use safari lodges as permanent landmarks. There is so much game here in the Okavango Delta, that there will always be something to witness like Lion feeding on a kill, a Leopard up a tree and plenty of Elephant, Antelope and birds of prey.
Pride of Africa has several safari options on offer in Botswana.
- 11 Day Okavango Delta Safari – North Bound
- 11 Day Okavango Delta Safari – South Bound
- Lodge add on to 11 Day Okavango Delta Safari
- 8 Day Makgadikgadi Pans and Okavango Delta
- 9 Day Okavango Delta Safari
- 10 Day Central Kalahari and Moremi
- 7 Day Western Delta Experience
- 7 Day Swamp Safari Experience
- 17 Day Best of Botswana Safari
- 18 Day Central Kalahari and Kgalagadi Transfrontier