HISTORY OF BOTSWANA
The first inhabitants of Botswana were Stone Age hunters that eventually, in later years, converted to a pastoral way of life.
Bantu people migrated to Botswana and became cattle herders and brought with them, lots of tools and weapons.
In the 19th century Botswana was involved in lots of wars that caused the migration of refugees.
Christian missionaries entered Botswana in the 1820’s and spread a new religion after which David Livingstone moved to the Northern Cape. There was though, a new threat, the Boer People.
The Boers were Dutch speaking farmers from South Africa. In 1836 they trekked north to form the Transvaal. It was during this time when the Germans took over Namibia and the British feared they would connect up with the Boers. The British declared Botswana a protectorate in 1885 which was called “Bechuanaland”. Though they did this, they left it alone and did not develop it at all.
In 1948, the prince of the Bangwato, SeretseKhama married an English woman. The South Africans were against the cross racial marriage. To put the South Africans at peace, the British invited Seretse to London and then barred him from re-entering his own country. He only returned to Botswana in 1956 and had to renounce his claim to the throne.
There was, however a move towards independence. In 1960 Bechuanaland People’s Party was formed. Shortly after it was granted its own legislative council and then, two years later Seretse founded the Democratic Party. In 1963 they started building a capital in Gaborone. Shortly after that Botswana was granted self-government and became independent on the 30th of September 1966.
Botswana Tourist Attractions:
1. OKAVANGO DELTA
The Okavango Delta is the largest “inland” delta in the world. The Okavango River is the river described as “the river which never finds the sea”. It disappears into miles of lagoons, channels and islands called the “Okavango Delta.”
The Okavango Delta is full of wildlife as well as the home of hundreds of different bird species.
2. CHOBE NATIONAL PARK
The Chobe National Park is Botswana’s second largest national park. The park is approximately 10500 s q. km of mopane, grassland and acacia trees. It contains a combination of resident and seasonal species. Elephants dominant the land of this park.
The SaviteMarsj area is a very popular area where lions specialize in killing elephants.
3. KGALAGADI TRANSFRONTIER PARK
This park lies between Namibia and Botswana in the northern part of the Cape. Botswana and South Africa have joined forces in this corner to protect wildlife on both sides of their borders, forming the world’s first “Transfrontier Park”, the Kgalagadi Park.
This park is far from most major routes and full of game, birdlife, meerkats, leopards, lions and cheetahs.
4. NXAI PAN NATIONAL PARK
The Nxai pan is a fossil lakebed about 40sq. km in size. Once the rain starts, this pan becomes beautiful. Game viewing is good and the birdlife is excellent.
However December thru April rain showers can fill the seasonal waterholes and transform this landscape into a green carpet of lush grazing. Wildlife, which is usually concentrated around the permanent waters of Okavango and Linyanti, reacts to this change by migrating outwards across the plains. Nxai is one of the main focusses fothis game movement and can provide superb green season safari in particularIn the converse season, May thNovember, it is the struggle for survival of the area’s permanent residents which takes centre stage.
5. CENTRAL KALAHARI GAME RESERVE
The world’s second largest game reserve, 20 000 plus sq. miles makes this park bigger than Denmark or Switzerland. Home of the Bushmen for thousands of years, this reserve was opened in 1961 to actually protect the bushmen people, but forced migration only left about 250 bushmen there.
6. MOKOLODI NATURE RESERVE
Mokolodi is the closest reserve from Gaborone that offers a variety of activities for families.
Mokolodi also has a reptile park and a wildlife sanctuary for disabled or orphaned animals that, for one reason or another, cannot be returned to the wild. They also have an animal clinic that treats sick or injured animals.
The “Louvre of the Desert” with the highest concentrations of rock art in the world, makeTsodilo unique. Over 4500 paintings are preserved in an area of only 10 km2 of the Kalahari Desert.
Local communities in this hostile environment respect Tsodilo as a place of worship by ancestral spirits.
8. BOTSWANA NATIONAL MUSEUM
Located in Gaborone, that is the capital of Botswana, the museum is involved in the preservation of Tsodilo.
The museum was established in 1967.
9. TSWAPONG HILLS
The Tswapong Hills are about 20kms in breadth. These hills hold numerous fascinating and very beautiful archaeological, historical and natural history sites.
The hills are home to mammals such as dassies, baboons, brown hyena and leopard. Lots of bird life can be found as well as the Cape Vulture, the Black Eagle and the Black Stork as well as the Meyer’s Parrott. Lots of butterflies can be found on these hills as well.
The hills are knows to absorb water from aquifers in the ground and accumulated rain from above, releasing it in natural fresh springs scattered throughout the hills.
Kasikili Island is an island in Botswana, formed in the Chobe River, adjacent to the border with Namibia.
The island was the subject of a territorial dispute between these countries, resolved by 1999 which ruled in favour of Botswana. This island is 5km2 with no residents. For several months each year, beginning around March, the island is submerged by floods.
11. KHAMA RHINO SANCTUARY
Small reserve, only about 4300 hectare.Established in 1989 with the aim of reintroducing White Rhino into Botswana after their numbers were depleted by poachers. It is a perfect habitat for the grazing White Rhino as well as for the Black Rhino.