Botswana is a small country (only twice the size of Arizona) in south-central Africa. Botswana is bordered by Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa. Most of Botswana is near-desert, the eastern part of the country is hilly and the north has many salt lakes.
Botswana is actually very rich in diamonds, but it has a very high unemployment rate. Despite the stratified socioeconomic classes and the slump in the diamond market recently, Botswana is one of the wealthiest and most stable countries in Africa.
Things to Do
If you are seeking adventure, you’ve come to the right place. During your Botswana holiday, take a little time to mountain bike through the bush of the Mashatu Game Reserve, but be careful, you’ll have to occasionally stop to watch passing elephants (don’t forget your camera).
If you don’t enjoy riding a mountain bike, maybe you’ll like riding an elephant better. Jump on the back of an elephant and head out on a safari trek that you’ll never forget. During your ride, you’ll learn all about elephants and you may even see a wandering giraffe, zebra, gazelle or other wild animals. The best part … you won’t have to deal with the noise of vehicles.
Don’t worry, if you don’t want to ride an elephant during your safari, you can try a walking safari. Yes, you read that right … go on a walking safari. Your guide will lead you through the savannah, you’ll get a close-up look of the African wild and see wildlife in their natural habitat (just hope you don’t cross the path of a hungry lion). A walking safari is an experience of a lifetime, but it’s not for the faint-hearted.
If you’re looking for something a little less exhilarating, head over to the Tsodilo Hills, a sacred site that was inhabited for at least 100,000 years. The Tsodilo Hills have thousands of rock paintings for you to examine and learn about.
And finally, if you are a romantic at heart, you won’t want to miss a sundowner. During your sundowner, you can sip a cool drink and enjoy a beautiful sunset at the end of your busy day of exploration.
Tips on Botswana Cuisine
There really isn’t anyone “native cuisine” in Botswana – the food varies based on where the person lives and their ethnic group. Most safari camps, Botswana hotels and lodges will cater food for overseas visitors, supplying international and high-quality foods. When you head to Botswana, the biggest problem you’ll have with food is putting on weight … that’s how good they cook for you! If you are driving yourself around and plan to do your own cooking, you can buy your food and supplies in Maun or Kasane. They both have very large supermarkets, but Maun’s is the best.
If you’re a drinking man (or woman) you should know that Botswana has two distinct types of beer – clear and opaque. Most visitors in Botswana drink the clear beers because they are pretty similar to European alcohols and are always served cold.
Picking up a Gift
In Botswana, you’ll find a large variety of handicrafts, especially hand-woven baskets (made from fronts of real fan palm) and jewellery (the coolest if the stuff made from ostrich eggshells). You can shop in either an outlet, the people or shops. The stops are well-located and usually have the best pieces, but the prices are high. There are plenty of shops in Maun you can buy from. If you are out visiting any villages during your stay, try to buy directly from them … you’ll get great pieces at a lower price (plus you’ll be helping them survive).