A colleague of mine at work was telling me the other day about her plans to return to her homeland of South Africa to spend Christmas and New Year. Although she loves living and working in Scotland, she is obviously excited about going home to see family and friends – at the time of the year when people tend to focus more on their families.
Now my feelings about Christmas and what it has turned into are well-documented throughout this blog. When my colleague enquired if I was going away for Christmas I gave the standard reply of no, it will be the usual routine. She suggested I should consider getting away from the festive hullabaloo one year and, although naturally biased, she recommended South Africa. But she also ventured a neighbouring country for the true taste of Africa – Botswana.
With Scotland voting next year on whether it should become an independent nation or not, I was interested to read that Botswana became independent from Britain in 1966. It has a population of two million people and what I found particularly interesting was the fact that when it gained its independence 47 years ago, it was one of the poorest countries in Africa. Today, nearly half a century later, it has one of the fastest growing economies in the world.
Tourism plays it part. Although much of the country is desert, virtually all Botswana’s famous wildlife areas are located in the north of the country. Safaris in Botswana are a must when visiting the country and there are classic viewing areas home to phenomenal concentrations of Big Game, as well as some of Africa’s finest camps.
Geographically, Scotland and Botswana are thousands of miles apart. But as two countries with untapped potential they may be closer than we think…