An African success story
Botswana is an African gem and a superb place to go on safari. Read on to learn a little more about the history of this beautiful country that lies at the heart of Southern Africa.
Evidence of the earliest inhabitants of Botswana, the San, or Bushmen, can be found at Tsodilo Hills. There are around 3500 paintings spread over hundreds of sites in these ancient hills. Today the hills are of important religious and spiritual significance to local people.
Later the first Bantu groups moved in and the first Setswana speaking group arrived around the 14th century. In 1836, escaping British rule in South Africa, the Boer Trekkers began to arrive and displace the others. Khama III, chief of one of the Batswana groups asked for British protection which was granted in 1885 and the country became known as Bechuanaland. Khama III was succeeded by his son Sekgoma who reigned briefly. After his death Seretse Khama inherited the leadership at just 3 years of age. The face of Botswana was about to change.
Seretse Khama moved to London to study law – here he met and married a white English woman called Ruth. The uproar that ensued in racially segregated South Africa and Rhodesia, and also in Botswana where this was a breach of tribal custom, forced him to stand down as chief and he was held in exile until 1956 when he returned and became involved in politics.
On 30 September 1966 Bechuanaland achieved independence and Botswana was born with Seretse Khama as the first President. He would lead the country until his death in 1980. Seretse Khama’s son, Ian Khama is the 4th and current president of Botswana.
Soon after independence diamonds were discovered in Botswana and the economy began to grow Botswana was re-classified as a middle income country and was considered democratic and stable. Diamonds remain one of Botswana’s biggest income sources but not the only one.
“Better to see something once, than to hear about it a thousand times”
Tourism has come to the fore. With natural beauty in the Okavango Delta, the call of the central Kalahari, and the magnificent elephant populations of Chobe, to name a few, Botswana is incredibly popular with wildlife enthusiasts wanting to experience a safari holiday.
Botswana is a jewel in Africa’s crown – and a wonderful holiday destination to boot!