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Where does your real-life Wakanda experience await?

Before we hit the star attraction of Botswana, the game reserves, we have to fly into the country. What better place than its beautiful capital, Gaborone? There we find the National Museum and Art Gallery, which houses a collection of traditional Botswana crafts and historical artifacts. The building itself is a simple, perfect mix of modern and old-world styles, including the outdoor terraces, massive courtyards, and viewing areas, introducing the visitor to what makes the country special.

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Gaborone, National Museum and Art Gallery

Vee Mapeezy from his facebook page-closeup

"People often say motivation doesn't last well,neither does bathing .That's why we recommend it daily."

Botswana is known for Kwaito music, a South African art form that was birthed when Apartheid ended. One such Botswanan Kwaito artist is Vee Mampeezy, born Odirile Sento. He is a multi-award-winning artist whose music is quite catchy. As an artist, his sounds have spread to other African countries as well. Born in the capital in 1983, Vee Mampeezy’s music career began at a young age, with a sound that many describe as a model of Afro-futurism in music.

Sample his music here.

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Vee Mampeezy, Kwaito, Odirile Sento

Dr. Sheila Tlou from Botswanan Government facebook page AI enhanced

"Zero HIV Infections, Zero Discrimination, Zero AIDS-related Deaths"

In both the arenas of medicine and politics, a local hero emerged, demonstrating the power of actions reflecting words. Her pivotal scientific breakthroughs played a significant role in mitigating maternal and infant mortality rates along with preventing and treating AIDS in Botswana. As a result of these efforts, Botswana now boasts double the birth rate of European nations. Moreover, these advancements have greatly enhanced women’s health and education in the country. So much so, that according to the GEM over a third of the country’s entrepreneurs are women, more than double the global average. A very impressive feat indeed that balances the high birth rate. Maybe it’s why residents in Botswana stay there or return as the country has almost 0 net migration (people leaving the country minus people entering the country). Perfectly balanced, and a testament to a country that provides for its citizens whether born there or for those who immigrate there.

Dr. Sheila Tlou, AIDS

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"I believe that through my determination and love for Botswana, I can successfully, through the United Nations Population Fund, accomplish my goal of seeing the HIV statistics drop and having the women of Botswana get the necessary reproductive health care and facilities they need,"

At the peak of the HIV/AIDS crisis, Botswana was one of the most drastically affected countries in the world. Just about one in every four adults was infected, causing life expectancy to plummet from 61 years in the late eighties to just 47 by the close of the nineties. These days, things are looking much better; life expectancy has risen back up to around 66 years.  We shed light on a brilliant doctor in the previous section who spent most of her life-fighting AIDS. Science also needs a mouthpiece to sell its inventions, so now we are celebrating a key spokesperson for the fight against AIDS that helped spark this remarkable turnaround.

Mpule was 19 when she took home the Miss Universe title in 1999. By the time she was a year older, she’d become The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Goodwill Ambassador for Botswana. Come November 2000, she inaugurated her very own Botswana-based initiative, the MPULE Foundation, and embarked on a mission to combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic. She spent her time touring Botswana, instigating positive behavioral changes among the youth.

Ten years from the opening of her original foundation she became the CEO of her organization, the MPULE Institute for Endogenous Development. Based in New York City, the key to this think tank among other things is the investment in innovative agricultural development programs.

We often find that beauty, albeit subjective, opens many doors, as it’s a path to recognition for many men and women. However, it’s usually reserved only for a few. Ultimately though, the difference between fleeting popularity and lasting influence lies in how well you leverage this advantage. And she certainly did leverage it to the fullest.

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Mpule Kwelagobe, Miss Universe 1999, MPULE, UNFPA, HIV

Residing in a tourist destination with numerous salt flats, the most common reaction I see from visitors is a curiosity I take for granted. ‘What on earth is that?’ as they gaze upon the occasional gatherings of migrating birds, notably flamingos on a huge expanse of what appears to be white sand with pools of water dispersed here and there. This white sand is actually salt. This is because most people don’t see these sights. In the bygone days, it was here where people would gather their salt supply. Welcome to Botswana, the land-locked home of salt flats larger than many countries. Hence the unknown in this episode is the Makgadikgadi Pans. It’s the one thing you have never seen that is beyond description the first time you see one. These expansive salt flats are one of the largest salt pans in the world, covering thousands of square kilometers. During the dry season, one will see an expanse of white fitting for a movie. During the rainy season, water oases sprout everywhere, attracting thirsty animals like zebras, wildebeests, and flamingos.

Makgadikgadi Pans, Salt Pans

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Every culture has its creation myths, stories, scientific theories, etc. They all have one thing in common though, the ‘Garden of Eden’ where the first humans appeared, was in Africa. Here in Botswana, they demonstrate this with the Tsodilo Hills. Can you imagine seeing actual 26,000-year-old paintings engraved in natural rock, caves, and cliffs, all at Botswana’s highest peak? Put that into perspective and realize that writing only began around 7000 years ago as did farming, but art, and the desire for it, has been around since the beginning of human time.

Tsodilo Hills

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okavongo-delta from Trip Advisor

Trip Advisor suggests all sorts of natural excursions, but at the very top of the list is the Okavango Delta. This is the Kalahari desert’s water source. The Okavango Delta, often referred to as the ‘Jewel of the Kalahari’, is a large inland delta located in the northwestern part of Botswana. It’s a unique pulsing wetland where the Okavango River reaches a tectonic trough in the central part of the endorheic basin of the Kalahari. Instead of flowing into the sea, the river empties onto the sands of the Kalahari Desert, irrigating 15,000 square kilometers of the desert. The Okavango Delta spans a few countries but it is prevalent in the Botswanan north. It’s special because it’s the water source for the Kalahari desert and everything that lives there. Its peak water volume is between June and August and as a tourist this means every animal humanly possible in Botswana will gather there, making it the ideal safari location. How many is that? 200 species of mammals and 400 species of birds.

That’s a lot of Instagram moments. Remember that Botswana is land-locked meaning the Okavango Delta doesn’t even flow into an ocean or sea, a rarity on this planet. When it doesn’t rain, somehow flooding occurs during the dry season.

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Okavango Delta, Kalahari desert

Seswaa, Pap

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Who doesn’t like pulled or shredded meats? All right we all know there are plenty of non-meat eaters out there, who do have options in Botswana but must work around the country’s most famous dish, Seswaa. Seswaa is a hearty meat stew that resembles pulled pork, but it’s made with beef, goat, or lamb, which is boiled with onion and pepper until it becomes tender. The meat is then shredded and further simmered until it reaches a perfect and juicy consistency.

Facebook (Vee Mampeezy), Botswana Harvard Health Partnership (Dr. Sheila Tlou), KA Digest (Mpule Keneilwe Kwelagobe), Okavango Delta.com, UNESCO (Tsolido)

All images are AI-generated using Fotor and are meant to describe the subject matter they portray figuratively, not factually.

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Maun, Shakakwe,Chobokwane, Jwaneng, Kanye, Lobatse, Bgotla, Bangwaketse

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