Botswana is a country in south-central Africa, bordered by Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa. The north-central area is home to the Makgadikgadi Pans (a sizeable salt pan), and the Kalahari occupies the western part of the country. The northwest is dominated by the Okavango, an immense inland delta.
The climate in Botswana is semi-arid. Rainfall is scarce and tends to be erratic and unpredictable, with the driest season lasting from May to October. The temperature is coolest in June, July and August, with a temperature that ranges from 6ºC to 28ºC. In September and October, the average temperature rises to about 34ºC, with the thermometer soaring to around 38ºC during the hottest parts of the day. The ‘wet’ season lasts from November to April. In November and December, the temperature hovers between 20ºC and 33ºC. January is also hot, with temperatures of around 31ºC in the daytime. March and April are a sunny 30ºC.
Botswana is one of Africa’s most visited countries, since it is home to magnificent animals such as elephants, giraffes and lions. This country actually has the largest elephant population in all of Africa and is therefore a top choice when it comes to safaris. Botswana is home to some of the most impressive parks and reserves into the world, including the Moremi Wildlife Reserve, the Chobe National Park, and the Makgadikgadi and Nxai Pans National Parks. The Okavango River, which flows into the Okavango Delta, is named after the Okavango people of northern Namibia. The first ever European to visit the river was Scottish missionary and explorer, David Livingstone. The Tsodilo Hills are a must when visiting Okavango Delta; decorated with thousands of paintings, the area has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The San people, then the Tswanas, were the earliest settlers in Botswana. The Zulus arrived in the early 19th century and the Boers in the late 1990s, disrupting the peaceful life of the inhabitants. In 1885, the area became a British protectorate and was called Bechuanaland. The latter was granted its own constitution in 1961 and achieved its independence in 1966. The new country was renamed Botswana. In 1967, a vast area filled with diamonds was found at Orapa, close to the edge of the Kalahari desert. Botswana’s wealth grew exponentially and today, it continues to be one of the world’s largest diamond producers.
Most of Botswana is covered in savanna grassland. Its most characteristic tree is the baobab, some of which are thousands of years old. Dense clusters of trees can be found in the east, the Okavango and Chobe, while the centre is populated by tall shrubs. Botswana is home to the lion, African elephant, rhinoceros, leopard, and buffalo. The Botswana lion is currently in danger of extinction, largely because of the actions of trophy hunters, though efforts are being made to protect this and other endangered species. Botswana is home to many more beautiful animals, including the cheetah, giraffe, zebra, hippopotamus, and African buffalo.
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