I have noticed that as Batswana we have not in the past been much of travellers, most of us, myself included have always preferred to stay in the comfort of our homes and the most we could move is to travel to our home villages.
But that trend is slowly changing and we are more keen on going out of our comfort zone and experiencing other parts of the world and learn about cultures. The only problem is that we choose to go see countries beyond the borders of Botswana before exploring what this beautiful country has to offer. Most of the time when we do decide we want to travel or go on holiday, the places that first pop into our minds are destinations either overseas or in neighbouring countries. Its not often that we want to go relax and unwind in some place within this beautiful country of ours. With the diverse cultures, languages and beautiful landscape and breath taking wild life, Botswana is an exceptional African getaway destination.
The first time the beauty and splendour of Botswana really captured my attention was when I saw a beautiful poster at university depicting the marvellous landscape of Botswana. I must say that the poster was not exaggerating with the emphasis it made on beautiful Botswana being the gem of Africa and introducing her as such to an international audience from over 150 countries hosted at that particular campus. It was an experience that was both humbling and made me feel embarrassed that I as a Motswana would sit on the side lines and watch somebody else sell my country to the world while at the same time it made me feel proud to know that finally the world was taking notice of my country not just because of the diamonds or HIV/AIDS but because of her beauty that she gets from nature.
That is when I decided I will start travelling Botswana so I too can experience the magic and beauty that is my country of birth, I may not have travelled the whole country as of yet but I have made it a point to know all the places I need to go to witness and marvel at the beauty of nature and if you are a traveller or would also like to take a tour of the country maybe this will be that extra bit of motivation that you need to embark on this journey. So what makes Botswana so great that she should be referred to as the gem of Africa? Well here are a few reasons:
The Okavango Delta
Being Botswana’s most famous and popular tourist destination the Okavango Delta is considered one of the largest inland deltas in the world covering an area of over 17 000 square kilometres. Some have described it as a lush wonderland which when seen from above is a mosaic of land and water that looks like a well constructed puzzle (siyabonga Africa).
Bo t s wana is home to the big five, need I say more? While people have to go to zoos and game reserves to see all the jungle animals, when you are in Botswana you just need to take a drive down most parts of the country and view the animals in their natural habitat. We have so many elephants that we have had to give them away to some countries so they too can have something to view.
Mpule Kwelagobe, Emma Wareus, Kaone Kario, the list is endless. Our diamonds are not just the ones that are mined in Orapa and Jwaneng but our parents also produce diamonds that give the rest of the world tough competition and a run for their crowns in the prestigious beauty contests that bring beauties from all over the world.
Why is Botswana special and why does she deserve to be coined the gem of Africa? If you need to find that travel the country and marvel at its beauty and wonder, take a walk down the street and meet the beautiful people that call this land home. The rest of the world might call her the gem of Africa but to me Botswana is home, it’s where my heart is and where it is buried, where my roots are, it is where I was born and where I will die. Botswana is a part of who I am.
Diamonds are a girl’s best friend and this girl comes from a land blessed in abundance with them. In 2010 Botswana was named the world’s biggest producer of rough diamond by value. It was always fun to tell everyone at school that diamonds were of no monetary value within the country as each family had its own share of the precious stone and amusing that a lot of people actually believed it. But in some sense it is true that each family has their share of the diamond as the industry has made it possible for the government to afford us a lot of things, health and education included.