The Republic of Botswana is a landlocked country located in Southern Africa that borders South Africa to the south, Zimbabwe to the northeast, and Namibia to the west. Botswana has a population of slightly over 2 million. Its core economic activities are mining, tourism and cattle keeping. It is a member of the African Union (AU) and the Southern African Development Community. Botswana gained her independence from the British on September 30, 1966.
The Okavango Delta of Botswana is a tourist destination with the Okavango Delta one of her most visited areas. The delta is formed in the area where the Okavango River flows to a tectonic trough in central Kalahari. Annually, approximately 6.8 cubic miles of water spreads over the 3700-9320 square miles. Okavango Delta has been named one of Africa’s seven wonders. Much of the water that flows into the delta is lost through transpiration and evaporation. With only 2% of the water flowing out of the Delta to Lake Ngami, minerals deposits accumulate resulting in high salinity.
4. Historical Role
The Okavango Delta has largely influenced the ecosystem. Wildlife and plants depend directly on the Delta and water. The delta is also home to crocodiles, fish, birds, and amphibians. With the Kalahari desert covering much of Botswana, the Delta acts as an oasis and a barrier to the spread of the desert. Five ethnic groups directly depend on the Delta including the famous Bushmen. The ethnic groups view the Delta as their ancestral home. The Batawana, one of the ethnic groups, depend on the Delta for their livestock and have lived in the swamps since the 19th century.
3. Tourism and International Renown
The Okavango desert is on of Africa’s wonder. It was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2014. It is the third largest inland delta in Africa behind the Sudd and Inner Niger Delta. Due to its diversified ecosystem, tens of documentaries about the documentary have been made. The wildlife in the Delta attract thousands of tourist to the region. The Delta is home to more than 400 species of birds and is a preferred place for bird watchers. Elephants and buffalo numbering to their thousands make trips to the Delta every year.
2. Habitat and Biodiversity
The Okavango Delta has green vegetation and experiences annual rainfall of 450mm. It is home to wildlife that depends on the water and the vegetation in the Delta. The African elephant makes migrate to the delta from the Gumare park in search of greener pasture. It is home to more than 71 species of birds including various species of the catfish. The lechwe antelope make up the largest population of mammals in the Delta. Their number near 60, 000, the antelopes feed on aquatic plants. The papyrus rafts and reeds cover a large area of the As the delta floor is sandy, the two species of plants float on the water and provide shelter for hundreds of crocodiles.
1. Environmental Threats and Conservation Efforts
The Okavango Swamp in the Delta is home to thousands of species of animals, insects, and plants that depends on the water and the climate around the delta for survival. These species are under threat as the government plans to build a hydropower station in River Okavango. The construction of the hydropower station will regulate the water flow to the Delta. The Delta is also threatened by human encroachment and the plans by Angola and Namibia to use water from the tributaries of the Okavango river for irrigation.