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The economy is growing at an alarming rate—so is desertification

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  • Ngoma Lodge Becky Walter
  • Ngoma Lodge Becky Walter
  • Ngoma Lodge Becky Walter
  • Ngoma Lodge Ngoma Safari Lodge
  • Botswana Becky Walter
  • Botswana
  • Botswana
  • Botswana
  • Kazungula Cardo Kleberg

Up to 70% of Botswana is covered by the Kalahari Desert, yet it’s one of the world’s fastest-growing economies.

The Republic of Botswana is a flat, landlocked country in Southern Africa, 70% of which is covered by the Kalahari Desert. This semidesert supports more wildlife than a true desert because it offers huge tracts of grasslands for grazing after rains. Besides desert, Botswana has deltas, rivers, grasslands, and savannas.

Botswana may be one of the world’s most sparsely populated countries, but it also happens to be one of the world’s fastest-growing economies. Over the years, it has transformed into a middle-income country with a competitive banking system. Currently, 40% of all government revenue is earned from the mineral industry, with its economic dependence weighted on diamonds. In fact, the government owns 50% of Debswana, the country’s largest diamond mining company.

In terms of wildlife, there is a great amount of diversity in Botswana. One of the few remaining endangered African wild dog population and one of the biggest concentrations of African elephants on the planet both call Botswana home. And, the famous Chobe National Park features four ecosystems with the largest wildlife concentration in all of Africa. 


Desertification and drought threaten Botswana’s future.

Desertification is when land is reduced due to overstocking, overgrazing, or commercial use. The effects of droughts and climate change make it even worse.

The fact that the majority of Botswana is covered in desert creates some of the country’s biggest problems.  Surface water is scarce, making very little agriculture sustainable through rainfall alone. As a result, 75% of the people and wildlife here depend on groundwater. Unfortunately, this leads to land erosion from drilling deep boreholes to reach it.

An estimated 71% of Botswana’s land is used for communal grazing, with more than half of all households owning cattle. For those living in rural areas, this is the largest single source of income. There are reports that increased grazing is causing the Okavango Delta—one of the largest inland deltas in the world—to dry up. This is a critical ecosystem that wildlife depends on.


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With your help, African Wildlife Foundation can continue working on vital efforts like ecotourism lodges that can help entire communities, important conservation research, and more. Donate for a cause that will help the people of Botswana, their land, and wildlife conservation.

  • Ngoma lodge Becky Walter
    Ngoma Lodge
    Incentivizing conservation through ecotourism

    A national park too small to house African wildlife.

    Chobe National Park in Northern Botswana is densely populated by wildlife and boasts a large elephant population....

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  • Sekute Conservation Area AWF
    Sekute Conservation Area
    Community-wide protection of Zambia’s wildlife

    Agriculture and population growth threaten wildlife in Zambia. 

    Historically, wildlife roamed freely around the Sekute Chiefdom in southern Zambia. But, in recent...

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