By Carissa Hickok
Botswana is a landlocked country in southern Africa. Botswana is bordered by South Africa to the south, Namibia to the north and west, Zambia to the north, and Zimbabwe to the east. It is currently the largest producer of diamonds in the world. Botswana is sparsely populated with a population of only about 2 million. The capital city of Gaborone, located near the South African border, houses about 10% of the Botswana and is its largest city. Seventy percent of the country is part of the Kalahari Desert and therefore is topographically flat.
In Botswana, there is no place more exciting than Chobe National Park and the Okavango Delta. Around 70,000 elephants live in and around Chobe. Chobe is where Lion King comes to life as you watch animals clash against each other for survival and dominance. Take a boat cruise to get a closer view of some of the animals. Accommodations in Chobe vary from open campsite to private lodges. The public campsites are unfenced so animals are free to roam through. The closest airport to Chobe is Kasane Airport (BBK), which you can reach via a connecting flight from Johannesburg, South Africa.
A World Heritage Site, the Okavango Delta, is a sight to behold. Okavango is home to elephants, buffalos, lions, hippos, giraffes, zebras, leopards, wild dogs, and antelopes. The Okavango Delta has been virtually left alone to nature and is a freshwater wetland at the intersection of the Okavango River and the Kalahari Desert. The best time to visit the Delta is during the winter months of July and August when the floods come from the rain in the Angolan mountains. The floods make the dry season of July and August the best time to explore the Delta by mokoro, the traditional Delta dugout canoe. To get to the Okavango Delta by air (which is highly recommended for the aerial view), you have to fly into Johannesburg before taking a connecting flight to Maun.
Moremi Game Reserve is located in the Okavango Delta. Moremi is a Big Five destination as well as a sight to see more than 400 species of birds and other wildlife. As the only protected area of the Okavango Delta, Moremi cover approximately 1,506 sq. miles of land. The Third Bridge campsite and Mombo Camp are two popular lodges at Moremi, not only for their location but also for viewing of spectacular sunsets in the Okavango.
A different type of attraction is Tsodilo Hills, an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Tsodilo Hills is an outdoor art gallery with around 400 sites showcasing more than 4,000 ancient rock paintings by San Bushmen, a local indigenous hunter-gathering tribe. The art depicts hunting scenes, ritual dances, and safari animals. The Tsodilo Hills is a sacred area to the San Bushmen who believe man were first created here.
Carissa enjoys traveling so much that she left the corporate world to work as a freelancer, which allows her to up and go on a regular basis. She lives with her dachshund, Daphne in central Florida.