Boasting About Botswana – Fun Facts about Africa’s Fastest Growing Nation
Botswana shares a border with Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Botswana is the fourth largest country in Southern Africa but with a small population of only 1.5 million people, it is one of the world’s most sparsely populated countries.
Botswana has one of the most peaceful democracies in the world; no other third world country in the world has a democratic system comparable to Botswana. Botswana was a protectorate under the United Kingdom from 1886 to 1966, after which it became an independent nation within the Commonwealth. Since Independence, Botswana has had a stable democracy, contributing to its ever-growing economy.
Diamond in the Rough
Diamonds were discovered in Botswana more than 40 years ago, which has helped make Botswana one of the most prosperous nations in Africa. Just after Independence, in the 1970’s and 80’s, Botswana boasted one of the world’s highest economic growth rates, ahead of Netherlands, Germany and even Japan! By the mid-1990’s, Botswana’s diamond mining industry was the second biggest in the world. Botswana also has sizeable mineral deposits of copper, coal, nickel, silver and salt.
Tsodilo Hills, located in Botswana’s top left corner, is one of the unknown wonders of the world. It contains the highest concentration of rock and cave paintings in the world. More than 4500 paintings tell the story of how people lived in the area thousands of years ago. Tsodilo officially made it onto the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2001.
Botswana Influential Individuals
Botswana’s former Head of State, Sir Seretse Khama was one of the most influential African leaders of the 20th century. After he led the country to independence, he and his wife Lady Ruth Khama set up a democratic revolution, bringing blacks and whites together without violence. Khama’s legacy has allowed the country to maintain and protect its liberal democracy in the last few decades.
Another person to make a difference in Botswana is Mpule Kwelagobe. She was crowned Miss Botswana in 1999 and went on to the take the title of Miss Universe in a pageant held in Trinidad and Tobago. Mpule made significant strides in leading her country’s battle in the AIDS epidemic.
Chobe National Park
Chobe National Park is one of Botswana’s oldest reserves and one of the world’s most beautiful national parks. With over 120 000 elephants in the region, Chobe is home to the largest population of African Elephants in the world making it the ideal place to see these gentle giants in their natural habitat. You will normally see them in herds of up to 5000 drinking and playing at the Chobe River. That’s not all though. Chobe has an incredibly diverse wildlife population, offering glimpses of four of the Big Five as well as cheetah, endangered wild dog, kudus, zebra, red lechwe and more, and some of the less common animals such as eland, sable and roan antelopes. Over 450 bird species can also be seen in the area.