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Botswana

Page excerpts taken from Wikipedia

Botswana Flag.png

Botswana is around 90% covered in savanna, varying from shrub savanna in the southwest in the dry areas to tree savanna consisting of trees and grass in the wetter areas. Even under the hot conditions of the Kalahari Desert, many different species survive; in fact the country has more than 2500 species of plants and 650 species of trees. Vegetation and its wild fruits are also extremely important to rural populations living in the desert and are the principal source of food, fuel and medicine for many inhabitants.

Three national parks and seven game reserves that are wildlife shelters occupy 17% of the land area of Botswana. The three national parks are the Chobe National Park, the Nxai Pan and Makgadikgadi National Park and the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. The seven game reserves are the Central Kalahari Game ReserveGaborone Game ReserveKhutse Game ReserveMannyelanong Game ReserveMaun Game Reserve and Moremi Game Reserve. In addition, a number of small privately owned reserves are maintained.

 

The Kalahari Desert, which extends on its western borders into South AfricaNamibia and Angola, is a flat terrain, which covers about 84% of Botswana, known by the epithet "thirstland." It is in fact covered by shrubland vegetation of trees, grasslands, scrub and thorny bushes. Apart from scattered hills and valleys, the dunes system of the southern part contains pans that fill with water during the rains, sustaining the wildlife with its nutrients and grasses.

 

Chobe National Park

  • Chobe National Park, with its four ecosystems, is known for its largest wildlife concentration in Africa, extends over an area of 10,566 square kilometres (4,080 sq mi). Initially established as a reserve area in 1960 became the first gazetted national park in 1967. Chobe River valley forms the northeast part of the park and has thick forests and lush green plains. The marshland of Savuti forms the western zone. The hinterland is hemmed between the marshland of Savuti on the west and the Linyanti Swamps on its northwest. San people or the Basarwa were the original inhabitants of this land who were hunter gatherers. The park's elephant population is the largest in Botswana, and the animals' seasonal migratory route covers 200 kilometres (120 mi) between the Chobe and Linyanti rivers. The body size of the elephants here is the largest. However, their ivory is brittle and their tusks are generally short. Some of the other faunal species seen here are sable, wildebeest, kudu, buffalo and waterbuck, apart from lion, hyena, jackal, bat-eared foxcheetah and wild dogs. Also more than 500 bird species have been recorded in Chobe National Park.

 

Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

  • Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park (KTP), a transboundary park between Botswana and South Africa, was the first conservation area to be set in the southern Kalahari Desert in May 2000. Out of a total area of 38,000 square kilometres (15,000 sq mi), Botswana has control over 28,400 square kilometres (11,000 sq mi) while the balance 9,600 square kilometres (3,700 sq mi) is with South Africa. Two ecological zones of savannahs and grasslands of Africa in semi-arid environment, with least anthropological pressure, are represented here by ungulates and large carnivores mammals. The rich faunal and floral diversity has involved several research projects. Its approach from Goborone involves road travel over a distance of 865 kilometres (537 mi).

 

Makgadikgadi and Nxai National Park

  • The Makgadikgadi and Nxai National Park, which cover a large area of 7,500 square kilometres (2,900 sq mi) were established in the 1970s. They have complementarity in wild life migrations, which necessitated merging the two parks into a single entity. It has the pans of NtwetweMakgadikgadiNxai, Baines' Baobabs and Kudiakam.

 

Khutse Game Reserve

  • Khutse Game Reserve established in 1971, covering an area of 2,500 square kilometres (970 sq mi) in Bakwena tribal land, has undulating topography of the bush savanna vegetation. It is sparsely populated due to poor water sources and wild life in the mineralised pan system within Khutse has been their major source of sustenance. The wild life of herbivore thrived on grass growing in the pans which in turn has attracted predators.

 

Central Kalahari Game Reserve

  • The Central Kalahari Game Reserve, the second largest reserve in Botswana covering an area of 52,800 square kilometres (20,400 sq mi), is a habitat of open plains, salt pans and riverbeds. It has wooded mopane forests in the south and east. The indigenous people residing here since ancient times are known as bushmen or the Basarwa or San. Its fame is also due to its Deception Valley where the study of brown hyena (Parahyaena brunnea) has been carried out. Deception was the name given to the salt pans of the valley, which gave deceptive sight (mirage) of a water body from a distance. Tree Island used to be the main camping ground here. Cry of the Kalahari, a famous book made this a popular place. Wild animals such as giraffebrown hyena, warthog, wild dog, cheetahleopardlion, blue wildebeest, elandgemsbokkudu, red hartebeest and springbok are seen in the pans and valleys, particularly during the period from December to April.

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