Geographically the country is flat and up to 70% of Botswana is covered by the Kalahari Desert. It is bordered by South Africa to the south and southeast, Namibia to the west and north, and Zimbabwe to the northeast. It meets Zambia at a single point.
Botswana is a regional leader in economic freedom. Competitiveness and flexibility are promoted by a sensible business regulatory environment, openness to foreign investment and trade, and relatively flexible employment regulations. The financial sector remains relatively well developed, with an independent central bank and little government intervention. The independent judiciary provides strong protection of property rights. Botswana was one of the most impoverished countries in Africa when it became independent in 1966. Today, it is home to a relatively stable political system and a rapidly developing market economy. Being closely tied with the economy of South Africa, the country's economy is one of the most successful in Africa and is dominated by the fast-growing service sector, world-renowned diamond industry, tourism, and manufacturing. Botswana's economic growth rate has outpaced the economic growth of even the Asian Tigers, and the World Bank cites Botswana as one of the world's great development success stories.
Tsodilo is a UNESCOWorld Heritage Site located in northwestern Botswana. It was inscribed in 2001 due to its unique religious and spiritual significance to local peoples, as well as its unique record of human settlement over many millennia. It contains over 4,500 rock paintings in an area of approximately 10 km² within the Kalahari Desert. A recent discovery of 70,000-year-old artifacts and a python's head carved of stone appears to represent the first known human rituals.
Scholars had previously believed that the human intellect hadn't quite reached the sophistication necessary for performing organized spiritual rituals and activities until about 40,000 years ago in Europe, but inside a cave in the Tsodilo hills, archaeologists have found an enormous stone sculpture of a python that was worshiped and presented with offerings as early as 70,000 years ago. It is about as tall (high) as a human being and measures approximately 20 feet (6 meters) long. (Read more...)