Tourism in BotswanaA map of Botswana and its major tourist attractionsMap retrieved from http: //www. sa-venues. com/maps/botswana_attractions. htmIntroduction Botswana has experienced tremendous growth in tourism within the last three decades. While only a few people visited Botswana as a tourist destination before 1980s, since then, real inception of tourism took place in Botswana leading to the tremendous growth witnessed in Botswana’s tourism industry. A wide variety of cultural and natural attractions that suit the motivations of visitors from different countries was a major factor contributing to the growth of tourism in Botswana. The tourism industry in Botswana has reacted to the global travel market by providing the market with a diverse range of facilities to satisfy tourist’s demands.
Tourism has provided Botswana with the impetus to preserve its cultures besides protecting its heritage. This project aims at providing an analysis of Botswana as a tourism destination while exploring the impact of tourism on Botswana society and culture. The project identifies the attractions or “pull factors” that attract people to Botswana and the motives that influence people to respond to the “pull” of its attractions. The project also identifies ways in which the major divisions of the tourist industry supply the needs of tourists. Botswana’s natural environment Botswana is a landlocked country with diverse natural features that are major attractions to tourists and these include wild animals, Kalahari Desert, and Okavango delta.
Lonely planet (2011) describes the country as lying at an average elevation of 1000m, and consisting of vast and nearly level sand-filled basin characterized by scrub-covered savannah. The Okavango delta in Botswana is the largest delta in the world and it is also referred to as the Okavango swamp.
A delta is a natural feature that marks where a river ends and Okavango delta is an interesting feature since the Kavango River ends in the Kalahari Desert, which is a semi-arid expanse of sandy valleys, covering nearly 85% of the country, including the entire central and southwestern regions (Lonely planet, 2011). The feature of a river ending in a desert and thus forming a delta ending in a desert provides a unique attraction for visitors and these offer beautiful sceneries for tourists. The diverse wildlife in the Okavango delta is also one of the main tourist attractions to Botswana.
The swamp is home to animals such as the lions, elephants, buck, wildebeest, and hippos besides reptiles such as crocodiles and birds such as the jacana, which walks on plants growing in swamps and appears as if it is walking on water (Gough, 2010, p. 22). These provide major attractions for tourists and activities that include photography, hunting, game walks though the shores of the swamps, daytime animal safaris and night drives through the bush, besides bird watching, boat rides through the swamps, and finding out about the rich flora and fauna that dots the swamps.
Taboos and totems in Botswana cultures have aided the preservation of various wild animals. For instance, in traditional Botswana, totems acted as virtual indicators of ethnic identity among different communities with the examples of Baphaleng community associated with Impalas and the Bakwena with crocodiles (Isar, 2011, p. 160). By providing a community’s collective identity such totems led to taboos, which are unwritten and profound social prohibitions relating to human behavior and activities that enable a society’s members to avoid making certain mistakes that may relate to environmental and natural resources.
In communities such as Botswana it was apparent that it was a taboo to kill ones totem or the animals that the totem fed on thus leading to the preservation of such animals (Baidu, 2008).