Abundantly rich in wildlife, culture, natural resources and artistic heritage, Botswana is an unmissable destination for adventurers, wanderers and aesthetes. Politically stable, with prosperous international trades including diamonds and eco-tourism, the southern African nation is welcoming and ethnically diverse. Nearly a fifth of its land is protected by nature reserves, which offer outstanding natural beauty and sites of archaeological and anthropological importance.
Although most famous for its safaris and sustainable tourism – key to the preservation of local customs and indigenous ways of life – Botswana is justly proud of its people and culture. National handicrafts and cuisine – which includes seswaa (pounded, shredded beef) and delicacies such as mopane worms in a peanut sauce – are among the best in southern Africa, while Botswana’s ancient San rock art is unparalleled. Declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 2001, the Tsodilo Hills contain more than 4,000 individual paintings across 400 rock art sites. The decorated hills, which evidence human occupation going back 100,000 years, have been described as ‘The Louvre of the Desert’.
"For the chance to see roaming elephants without leaving your bed, book into the Savute Elephant Lodge in Chobe National Park, which boasts the largest concentration of elephants in Africa and a dazzling riverfront."
Each community in Botswana has its own craft traditions, including weaving, woodcarving, pottery, leatherwork and textiles, while the country’s contemporary artists in bustling Francistown and the capital, Gaborone, often take inspiration from their heritage. Woven baskets are integral to Botswana’s history and rural life and have become an important export, giving many locals an independent income. Passed down through generations, their striking designs (often based on wildlife and local myths) are distinct, while their construction is complex and laborious: palm fibres are painstakingly stripped into strings, boiled with natural dyes and woven into intricate patterns.
"Woven baskets are integral to Botswana’s history and rural life."
Where to Eat
Monthly farmer's market at Motswana and Hilary's Cafe for freshly baked bread and house special iced tea in Maun. The Courtyard Restaurant for traditional cuisine in a stylish outdoor setting
Where to Shop
Botswanacraft emporium for indigenous jewellery, artefacts, baskets and more. Matseleng Fabrics for Shwe Shwe cotton textiles and Women led textile cooperative Lentswe-la-Oodi Weavers
Where to Stay
Belmond offers sophisticated sanctuaries from the water-focused safari at Eagle Island Lodge and a tented oasis at Savute Elephant Lodge in Chobe National Park, to the Khwai River Lodge, ideally positioned to see the big game of Moremi Game Reserve.