Top 10 Botswana Bucket List Countdown Part 4
Botswana is a country with so much to offer, hidden gems and once-in-a-lifetime experiences. In an exciting new series of articles, we will be counting down Botswana’s Top 10 bucket list experiences that everyone has to try at least once in their lives!
See the Rock Art in Tsodilo Hills
Tsodilo Hills is a rare and unique site with an atmosphere of mystery and history. The copper colour quartzite rock shelters and caves near the Namibian border in northwestern Botswana have been home to the San people for thousands of years. Archeological records give evidence and tell the stories of 100 000 years of human existence.
What makes this site special enough to be declared a UNESCO World Heritage site is the impressive displays of rock art, telling the tales of civilizations from the Stone Age through the 19th century. Over 4500 rock paintings at over 500 sites shed light on how the local hunter gatherers, including the San and their ancestors, interacted with their environment over time. Images of rhinos in red pigment, paintings of cows and a mysterious bird-like figure that resembles a penguin are among the paintings to be seen.
Local communities believe Tsodilo Hills is a sacred ground, a resting place for ancestral spirits. To get the most of the experience, going with a guide is essential. Book with a tour operator or stop at Tsodilo Visitor’s Center where local San villagers work as guides. Their expertise in the area’s history, culture, archeology and lore making them the perfect people for the job.
Take Flight Over the Okavango Delta
The Okavango Delta is a vast river inland delta in northern Botswana. It is a sprawling spectacle of permanent marshlands with seasonally flooded plains, turning it into a lush animal habitat. Flying over it gives you a glimpse of the reaches of this remarkable wetland system and is a sight like no other. The view from above is perhaps the only way to truly appreciate the great expanse of the delta. It stretches more than 18 000 square kilometers, from swamplands to riverine forests, savannas, open plains and sandstone outcrops.
Fed by the Okavango (or Kavango) River, when the rainy season comes, the river swells and flows from the Angolan Highlands into northwestern Botswana and spills into the delta. These floodwaters hydrate the dry Kalahari sand and bring it to life. In 2015, National Geographic launched the Okavango Wilderness Project, an expedition of discovery with the goal of documenting the entire length of the river system. In 2014, UNESCO declared the delta the 1000th World Heritage Site.
Besides flying over the delta, which can be done in hot air balloons, small airplanes and helicopters, the exploration opportunities are endless. Float down the river in a dugout canoe called a makoro or a boat cruise. Go on a sunset game drive or early morning nature walk. Each activity offers opportunities to see creatures big and small at every turn: from elephants, zebras, giraffes, lion and more than 400 species of birds.