Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Botswana: the gem of Southern Africa, the diamond of Africa

As I near the completion of 20 years in the beautiful country of Botswana, I decided to dedicate a post to it and send a postcard to lovely Bee and Jay at Jugalbandi. When I finished the postcard, I still had a lot to tell about this lovely country and I had gone through tons and tons of my old photographs. I didn’t know which picture to send in the postcard and which not to. I selected a few and the rest I show you today with ramblings here and there.

Bouganvilla outside my house: Spring arrives late in southern africa

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A marula tree outside my office: no sign of marulas yet

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Botswana countryside: comprised mostly of thorn bushes and brown mopane trees
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Botswana highway: the main highway in Botswana runs north south next to the railway line.

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Thick dry mopane bush: waiting for the rains

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Mopane leaves beginning to get green: after the rains start, they will be teeming with mopane worms.
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Most rivers are dry throughout the year and only fill up during the rainy season.

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Chibuku: the local alcoholic drink, "feel the goodness"??

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Our lodge chalets in Francistown: where we stayed recently

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Approaching the Botswana Border from South Africa: As you approach Botswana by road you will realize that the vegetation gets drier, less greener and with more thorn bushes (as we approach the semi-desert Kalahari.
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The village of Letlhakeng: This is a typical village in Botswana, huts and modern houses together and scattered over long distances. Letlhakeng is the start of the Kalahari Semi Desert which stretches all through the west, south- west of the country into South Africa and Namibia.

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Typical homes in the village of Molepolole: This a typical yard in a village; notice the little kitchen outside the house on the left.

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Elaborate fence in Letlhakeng: Some houses in the village are fences using dried tree logs dug into the ground.

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Beautiful traditional baskets: A basket weaving lady made these beautiful baskets, she was too shy to get photographed. In my opinion some of the villagers are so talented.

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A sheepskin entrepreneur in Letlhakeng: he is sitting outside his home and about to cut the skin to stitch some bags and slippers.

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Ostriches: An ostrich farm in the village of Letlhakeng. Ostriches are farmed for their eggs and feathers.
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Takatokwane Pan: A salt water pan near Letlhakeng. There are so many salt pans in Botswana, many are dry; the largest being the Makgadikgadi pans towards the north. See the emptiness of the makgadikgadi pans here.
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Khutse: Chalet lodges at Khutse Game Reserve. There are numerous game parks with luxury accommodation that bring you closer to the wild animals.
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Eland at Madikwe: In my opinion this is such a beautiful animal… a cross between a camel and a deer, the game rancher told us. They are good at jumping over fences and escaping the border fences of the game parks.
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Baby and Mother: A baby elephant hides under its mama at Kruger National Park in South Africa: cho chweet
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Elephants: at Chobe National Park in the north of Botswana

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Hippos at Chobe: It easy to think that you are watching clear ‘empty’ water. And as you wait they start appearing one by one and you realize it flooded with hippos in the water!!

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Hippo at Chobe: They all go back in and then one comes out to give a huge grunt and spray water in the air.

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Chobe National Park: Do you spot a lion in the bush?

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Lioness at Chobe National Park: Even when you know you are safe in your van; when you see the real lion out in the wild, you definitely break out in a sweat and your breathing gets short and heavier!
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Lionesses at Chobe: whoever said the lion is the king of the jungle? All he does is fight with each other for supremacy, it’s the lionesses that do the real stuff like hunt for food and take care of the cubs. From now on its queen of the jungle!

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The Madikwe boys (two young male lions) at Pilanesburg National Park. On of my favourite game parks is Pilanesburg which is located on an extinct volcano; this is where all the ranchers are on a walkie talkie. When they sight animals they keep informing each other and if our van is nearby, the ranchers lets us know that there is a lion, cheetah nearby and drive towards it. I can’t forget these particular lions because firstly they were so close to our vans and secondly I was expecting (preggy) at the time and my excitement even made my baby excited: he started kicking me from inside. It was a double scare for my husband! The next scheduled game drive I stayed behind at my camp :)
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Female Springboks: They are female because they don’t have any horns!
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A magestic Kudu: Isn’t he beautiful.
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Vervet monkey: at madikwe game park.
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Warthog in the bush: A mother warthog and her baby at Kruger National park
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Rhino at Pilanesburg: Perfect profile of a rhino
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The zebra couple at Kruger

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A rhino sleeps under the bush at Kruger National

26 comments:

indosungod said...

Rachna thanks for the totally refreshing look of Africa. It sure is a lovely country. My dream is to visit the Victoria Falls? Have you been there?

Padma said...

Lovely post Rachana, and thanks to J & B for sending it. I came over from JB…and I am glad I did..

I was once in contact with Botswana officials, I was working for BEDIA, in Mumbai. I came across this wonderful people from Botswana, though their names are lil gloomy in my memory card, I remember they used to enjoy our Indian food and our culture.
Its a developing nation and lots of Indian Businessmen are laying eyes on setting up their units there. I was dealing that part.

Thanks for sharing those wonderful pics Rachana! Its a beautiful country! All those memories gushed in when I saw Botswana on your post.

Rachna said...

indosungod - yes yes many times, its beautiful indeed... but sadly its un advisable to visit it nowadays because of the zimbabwe situation, im sure you know about it

padma - yeah BEDIA is trying to get foreign investors from lots of places into this country... but be warned there is serious xenophobia setting into the minds of the batswana people and many foreigners are leaving.... makes me so sad

Asha said...

Saw these at Bee's this morning! So so beautiful.Arvind wants to visit African Safari one day!:))
Thanks for posting these R, it's a learning experience!

bee said...

so beautiful, and that baby elephant is precious. your post doesn't show on food blog desam.

musical said...

OMG, these are some seriously great pictures! and the baby elephant and monkey are soooooooooooooooooo cute :). Botswana looks so unspoilt!

Ah, yes, Xenophobia.....wish humanity knew better!

Cynthia said...

Wow! Fantastic post, Rachna! The land is vast, almost unspoilt, such magnificent beauty. Too bad about the gaming. Let the animals live in peace.

Rahin said...

hey rachna .......beautiful photographs .....thanks for the lovely sneak peek into Africa

evolvingtastes said...

Rachna, fascinating pictures!! LOVED seeing these pictures from someone who lives there. Thanks for sharing them and letting us enjoy. You should do more posts about Africa whenever you get a chance.

TBC said...

Thanks for sharing, Rachana. I had no idea that it was such a beautiful place. You've been there for almost 20 years? Wow!
I loved the first pic & the one with the cute little baskets. I have never been on a safari before. I wish I get a chance to go on one at least once.
Thanks for sharing.

Sig said...

Wow Rachna, beautiful pictures... It is some people's life time dream to visit Botswana, and you live there!!! I am soo jealous!

Vcuisine said...

Lovely pictures. Viji

indosungod said...

Rachna, thanks, yes I have been reading about the situation in Zimbabwe but have not thought about how dangerous it might be to visit. Sometime next year was my fancy dream. Well ...

Sukanya Ramkumar said...

Nice pictures Rachna.... South African wildlife must have awesome...

lakshmi said...

look at that eland :) - love that pic. my other favs are the baby elephant and the warthog with her little one. there is just so much drama and life associated with these images - its difficult to not fall in love with them.

thanks for dropping by (@ potato pachadi @ theyumblog.wordpress.com). i left you a reply, but i guess tracking comments on a wordpress blog would be diffifult!!

here my reply:
"gosh, you are rachna from botswana aren’t you. :D. i cant tell you how exciting your postcard contribution to jugalbandi has been for our entire family!!! thanks to my brother, we’ve been on an african wildlife entertainment diet for the last 18 years. please do try the pachadi and let us know how it turned out. lakshmi"

Latha Narasimhan said...

What a visual treat! Thanks for those wonderful pictures rachna!

Rachna said...

asha - thank u...do go with arvind on a safari, its so exciting

bee - i wrote to FBD and indira and no response...and then later on I descovered that my post comes at a different time on FBD...dont know why this is happening

musical - im running away from the xenophobia too

cynthia - yes but we dont really let the animals live, no?

rahin - my pleasure

evolving tastes - i will defintely try

tbc - yes its worth it to go on one once in yur life...yu r welcome to visit us!!

sig - come over, for a visit, and fulfil yur dream?

viji - thank u

Rachna said...

indosungod - well me being in next door botswana and am still not even thinking of going to zim... inflation is so bad, u need a sack of the local currency to buy a loaf of bread, cant utter a single word against mugabe's govt. or else they put u behind bars...come to south africa... is equally beautiful

sukanya - it is.

lakshmi - "african wildlife entertainment diet for the last 18 years" meaning? thank u for the lovely compliment

latha - thank u

Latha Narasimhan said...

Rachana lakshmi means that we have watching these wild life programmes all these year on TV!
do participate in the janmashtami event.

ServesYouRight said...

Totally loved this post - done so lovingly. Will come back often.

Hugs,
Smita

TheCooker said...

Just gorgeous!
Thanks for sharing these beautiful pictures from the land of Mma. Ramotswe (No.1 Ladies Detective Agency) and the place you now call home.

Sharmi said...

hey, so many lovely photos. thanks for sharing. i feel like I took a small trip there after this and J/B's postcard.

Rachna said...

latha - oh i see... :)

smitha - please do

the cooker - gosh this book is so famous now... they are shooting a movie here based on the book

sharmi - thank u....

Arun Shanbhag said...

Rachna -
This is spectacular! I only know of Botswana from the novel by Alexander McCall: "No 1 Ladies Detective Agency" Beautiful place. Its amazing that you can see the animals so close. WoW!

We HAVE to go there! I am sure, M (Manashi, my wife) would love this!
And a belated happy Birthday!
Arun
www.arunshanbhag.com

Mishmash ! said...

Thanks a ton for these beautiful post...wonder how I missed it...those handwoven baskets are so pretty!!!

Shn

bathmate said...

nice posting....i like it...it is really helpfull to all...Lovely post Rachana, and thanks to J & B for sending it.

Bathmate