Botswana? Why Botswana? Many people often asked me this question, and my answer will be “why not?” haha
What many people doesn’t know about this amazing country, Botswana, is actually one of continent’s most political stable countries, boast the longest continuous multi-party democracy in the Africa continent. Best of all, Botswana happens to be one of the safest countries in Africa, no civil war, less corruption, human rights, no natural disasters e.g earthquakes or tsunamis. Don’t you think it sounds a little like Singapore? haha
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Botswana is an interesting country in my opinion. I felt more safer walking on the streets of Botswana, feeling more carefree and clean (in certain aspect) than their African neighbours. It is a land-locked country in between South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Zambia. The country boast producing the largest diamond in the world. So for ladies, this might be a good place to be! haha Yes it is safe, but I think with some basic common sense will keep you safe, especially from the predatory wildlife in rural areas.
I was contemplating what should be the title for this post entry, but I guess the most straight forward objective is to get you INTERESTED in this amazing country! There are actually many things to do in Botswana, but first of all, let me share with you my 8 special reasons why you should visit this special country in Africa!
Reason 1: Unspoilt wilderness with NO crowd!
When I was at Kruger, Serengeti or Masaai Mara National Park, there were always many vehicles around, many tourists! As long as you spotted something, others will come “chase” them away with their “AH WA… LIONS AH LIONS!!!!” All you need in the safari is to enjoy and admire the animals living in the wild, not to scare them away with some human noises which doesn’t belong to the wild nature. Worst of all, scare the animals away! 🙁
Only in Botswana, I can truly enjoy the stunning landscapes, pristine wilderness, and fantastic game viewing all year round, most important, with NO CROWD! Isn’t it awesome? haha
Reason 2: Unlimited Wildlife
Another reason why we should take a look at this country is because of Botswana’s commitment to conservation of environment, wildlife, and cultural heritage. Botswana display a true leadership in ecotourism with a whopping 38% of land protected for wildlife and nature conservation. That is considerably remarkable effort in comparison to many African countries, who may be struggling with problems i.e. lack of support towards conservation or the threats from poachers.
Perhaps the animals I saw in Botswana were protected and free, you could feel the serenity in the national park in Botswana. My heart wanders freely as the animals roam freely in the wild! haha
Botswana is also a bird lovers’ paradise, with almost 600 species of birds including some unique and rare species which can be seen throughout the land-locked country. Botswana is also the home of world’s biggest bird – the ostrich, the heaviest flying bird – the kori bustard, and the most populated birds – the red-billed quelea, only in this country has a truly impressive breeds of bird species.
Reason 3: Luxurious & Clean Camps – Nata Lodge
Nothing can beat having a perfect stop over or resting point in a nice clean lodge especially when you are out in the wild Africa safari. Botswana has many small luxurious camps & lodges providing an outstanding overall guest experience. I stayed over at Nata Lodge campsite when I was in Botswana, the quality accommodation and friendly service warrants the costs.
This place was so beautiful and clean. There were individual units on stilts with big windows. The interior of the lodge blew me off with it’s freestanding tub, outdoor showering facilities (whoo hoo…) which was clean, lovely outdoor deck for chilling out and most importantly, the comfortable bed EVER, in the middle of the wild. haha An added bonus to this, there is WIFI inclusive for you to connect to the rest of the world. Throughout my days in South Africa, didn’t have much chance to update my facebook status and stay connected! haha So, I updated my status in Nata! I was also contemplating whether should I upgrade my tent stay and stay in this lodge instead, but some of my new mates were discouraging me to upgrade, so I ended up crawling back to the tent! haha
Even my fate for that night was again sleeping in the tent, but it was totally worth it! During the evening dinner, we setup the campfire. We sat beside our tents , watching the dark night lighted up by the beautiful shining stars, listening to the amazing wildlife adventure stories shared by my guide Timon Chanyuka (South African), it was one of my personal highlight in Botswana! Perhaps, Timon shared a few stories of how some American travelers were eaten alive by the lions in the wild (specifically one incident was from the campsite), I didn’t sleep very well that night! 🙁
Reason 4: Sunset and Moonrise
NEVER in my life I have seen such magnificent sunsets and amazing stargazing. It was like being on the moon. A live painting of the natural sight with horizon perfectly flat and I couldn’t see where it ends. The serenity of the place was so quiet that I could hear my own breathing, the time was like hauled for me to enjoy.
The sun sets in the west and the moon rise in the east concurrently, it was like a GREAT SHOW which I never seen before, such amazing natural sight. The sunset and moonrise seems to last much longer and turned the entire place orangy and blueish. At that magical moment I did not wish to be disturbed from the surreal quality of experiencing that moment.
Sunset on the West
Moonrise on the East
Capturing both Sunset and Moonrise
KJS At Such Natural Phenomenon Sight
Reason 5: Interaction and Relaxation with the locals
Never a dull moment on the safari game drives. Unfortunately, somewhere in the middle of the greatest salt pan in the world, the Makgadikgadi Pan, our safari vehicle was stuck. My guide was very patience, he entertained us with his humourous stories about the wildlife, and was trying to “distract” our attention from the fact that we were really stuck in the middle of no where, where predators of the wild may threaten our safety. haha
Interestingly, I realised the Batswana (Botswana people) were genuinely warm, welcoming, and respectful, made me feel like at home. Some locals served me drinks and we had some sincere chat, generally most of them were curious about Singapore. Many of them heard about Singapore as a well-developed nation in Asia. Pretty much that’s about all people know. Ouch! haha… Therefore, of course I worked my magic and gave them an idea how amazing my country is. haha It was a splendid evening, probably “smoking” the locals! haha 🙂
*Singlish – Smoke: Is used to conceal tactical operations, means to bluff, cause a diversion, or to confuse someone. 🙂
Reason 6: To See The Great Salt Pan – Makgadikgadi Pan
Salt pan is a geology term for flat expanses of ground covered with of course, salt plus other minerals! Usually they are found in the dessert and formed when salt water evaporates and leave a deposit of salt. The Makgadikgadi Pan, a salt pan situated in the middle of the dry savanna, North East of Botswana, is one of the largest salt pan in the world. The greatest salt pan is the remains of the formerly gigantic Lake of Makgadikgadi, which was once covered an area bigger than Switzerland. This salt pan was resulted after it was dried up several thousand years ago.
This place is spectacularly beautiful and unique. You shouldn’t miss this out if you are in Botswana! It was great experiencing the vast area of nothingness and going out onto the salt pan was amazing! The salt pan where I stood was a stark grayish white combination of colour. As the bright sunshine shone down, the vastness of the flat surface appeared like crumpled paper, resembling the surface of the moon. So I gotta make a photo as if I was “moon-walking”. haha
It was wonderful to have a total sense of being alone (for a while), away from the intense city life, away from everything and literally lived with nothing! You can easily attain Nirvana in the salt pan! haha That was really an awe inspiring experience in a truly mesmerizing salt pan! 🙂 Only in Botswana! 🙂
“To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.” – Aldous Huxley