Botswana is renowned for its spectacular wildlife and pristine wilderness areas and, unlike other African countries, it is winning the war against rampant poaching.
Elephants enjoying a mud bath.
Botswana is a peaceful country, and save for a small misunderstanding with its northern neighbour Namibia about an island in the Chobe River, there have been a few instances where its highly trained army has been put to use in an incident of potential conflict.
The northern boundary of the country with Namibia is also where some of the country's richest wildlife areas are located, and where there was an issue with cross-border poaching in the 1990's. The army was in the area patrolling the border and it made sense to use them to protect the wildlife. The then head of the Botswana Defence Force was Ian Khama, a wildlife enthusiast who became president of Botswana from 2008 - 2018, formed an anti-poaching unit to assist in the battle against poaching.
So successful was this unit that it became a permanent arm of the Botswana Defence Force and was the subject of a successful National Geographic Document titled Wildlife Warriors.
Botswana has one of the highest conservation land ratios in Africa with more than 25 percent of the land area set aside for parks and reserves to conserve the national heritage of the country. The government's policy of low volume high cost tourism has been successful, albeit controversial. The policy limits the number of visitors but in turn charges high prices for the privilege of intimacy.
Once were Hunters
Another controversial aspect of the Botswana Tourism industry has always been trophy hunting. Although kick-starting the tourism industry in Botswana in the 1960's and 1970's hunting has slowly been pushed aside in the last few years and it is now banned, along with elephant-back safaris.
What the ban on hunting will ensure is that the vast areas that were set aside for hunting will now be retendered for and utilised for photographic tourism. This will add more land to an already amazing selection of wilderness areas.
Into the Future
With a concerned government and firm planning the future of the Botswana Tourism industry is secure for now, and will continue to grow and provide visitors with the ultimate African wildlife safari experience.