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Botswana is truly a gem of a country. In a continent wracked by turmoil this country has been quietly developing its natural resources and improving the standard of living of its people. Botswana has been blessed by several natural resources that has allowed it to make good progress from being one of the poorest countries in Africa at the time of its independence from Britain in 1966 to being a self-sufficient nation. Of course, even today it is not without it challenges. Much of Botswana is the arid Khalahari desert which gets less than 10 inches of rain per year. AIDS is also a serious health problem.
Botswana, however, has a plethora of wildlife and there are several game reserves in the country where wild animals can be viewed in their natural environment. Botswana has a good infrastructure for tourism with first class hotels, safari lodges and game camps.
These game reserves include the Chobe National Park along the Chobe river in the north which is home to the largest concentrations of elephants in the world. There is also the Moremi Game Reserve in the Okavango Delta. This is an enormous inland river delta, the largest in the world, in the north-west of Botswana. There many waterways in the delta and it is a green oasis in the middle of the Khalahari desert. The delta teems with all kinds of wildlife such as Cape buffalo, hippo, crocodiles, lechwe, sitatunga, kudu, sable antelope, impala, baboon, cheetah, lion, water buck, elephant and ostriches.
In the Central Khalahari Game Reserve can be found animals that have adapted to the rigors of the desert environment that covers much of western and central Botswana. Zebra and wildebeest do migrations though this region in search of food and water.
The local currency is the Pula which means rain, such is the significance given to this precious resource in the Khalahari. The other great natural resource is diamonds which were discovered at Orapa in central Botswana in 1967. This resource has been developed and provides needed revenue.
The local people call themselves Batswana people and they are rightfully proud of their nation. They are steadily adapting their nation from an agrarian past to a modern economy using their natural resources while still preserving their traditional culture.
While in Maun, Chobe, or the capital Gaberones you may see locals playing Morabaraba the local version of the boardgame Mancala, or Mohele which is a variant of Nine Mens Morris. Morabaraba is usually played on a wooden board with four rows of holes carved into it. Sometimes this game is played in a set of holes scooped in the ground. The counters used for the game include stones, marbles, or seeds. If you meet locals playing the game, ask them the rules. You will have fun, meet some new friends and enrich your trip to Africa’s jewel.
write by Charles Minadeo