Botswana, officially the Republic of Botswana, is a landlocked country located in Southern Africa. The citizens are properly referred to as "Batswana", but many English‐language sources use "Botswanan". Formerly the British protectorate of Beuchanaland, Botswana adopted its new name after becoming independent within the Commonwealth on 30 September 1966. It has held free and fair democratic elections since independence.
Botswana is flat, and up to 70% is covered by the Kalahari Desert. It is bordered by South Africa to the south and southeast, Namibia to the west and north, and Zimbabwe and Zambia to the northeast. A mid-sized country of just over two million people, Botswana is one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world. Botswana was one of the poorest countries in Africa when it gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1966, with a GDP per capita of about $70 USD. Botswana has since transformed itself and is now one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, with a GDP (purchasing power parity) per capita of about $14,000 USD. The country also has a strong tradition of representative democracy.
Safari options in Botswana are extensive, as the country has devoted 38% of its land to national parks, reserves, and wildlife management areas. The vast majority of these areas are unfenced, allowing animals to roam wild and free. A Botswana safari offers some of the most spectacular wildlife and wilderness experiences in Southern Africa, offering the rare feeling of travelling through an untouched area of immense beauty. From the evocative Kalahari Desert to the surreal Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, to the mopane forests on the banks of the Chobe River and the vast seasonal floodplains of the Okavango Delta, a safari in Botswana is an unforgettable experience.
The jewel of Botswana, and one of the best wildlife regions in southern Africa, is the famous Okavango Delta, with the Moremi Wildlife Reserve at its heart. Most people regard Okavango and Moremi as 'musts' for anyone on safari in Botswana. That said, the country’s many other parks should certainly not be overlooked. They include the Chobe, in the north, and many others in the Kalahari Desert, in the south. Botswana offers walking safaris, boating, poling in mokoro canoes, day and night game drives, and even options for houseboats and fishing. Horse safaris are available in the Okavango region. Botswana is also home to some of the last remaining communities of San Bushmen, who call the harsh landscape of the Kalahari Desert home. Though Botswana is primarily a wildlife safari destination, making time to meet local people from traditional communities can be an extremely enriching experience.