Written by a travel fanatic accompanied by his lenses, Botswana’s top 50 Ultimate Experiences by Tlhalefang Charles is a travel photography book set in Botswana. The 242 page book is a trip from the North to the South, celebrating sunrise and sunset, traditional cuisine and dance.
Botswana’s top 50 Ultimately experiences is divided into 4 parts, sights, activities, food and drinks alongside events. With this book one is guaranteed a feast of the eyes. Charles explains that his book is his journey in the beautiful country of Botswana, taking one on land and water, hills, caves and the forest.
He says that Batswana are generally slow explaining that they have well equipped themselves with a “leisurely attitude”. A lover of all things beautiful, he notes that when one deals with the country he does so with love and patience noting that it is how tourists should enjoy the peaceful country.
On explaining the Okavango Delta in the Kgalagadi region, “the jewel of the Kgalagadi” as he refers to it, he notes that it is one of the undisturbed wilderness in the world. He further notes that the Delta is beautiful when viewed on air or land.
The beauty of the Okavango as seen in the pictures is breathtaking, animals strolling in the burnt grass, seeking for prey while camouflaged by nature. A journey by a land cruiser going through clean water is also seen in the Kgalagadi he has captured.
Tlhalefang has not in any way failed to capture the beauty of the Makgalgadikgadi Pans, from Sunset to sunrise, his photography skills can be seen in this book. He has been able to capture the beautiful sunset throughout, a thing that can make a fellow traveller nostalgic. His celebration of the big 5 is evident that he prides himself with their beauty and their availability in the country.
The book would have been incomplete if he had failed to capture and describe the country’s diamond hub ‘Jwaneng mine’. In his book, he notes that “unlike elsewhere in Africa, the country has managed to avoid the resource curse and used her minerals to develop the country.”
Batswana are characterized by different lifestyles, ranging from Amapantsula to Marocko.Charles hasn’t in any way failed to celebrate this diversity as evidenced in his book, celebrating the culture of ”marocko”
The slower the pace, the greater the pleasure” this he said when describing the countries activities. Activities that he wishes one could look out for include mokoro rides, flights over the Delta and guides Safari tours. The self proclaimed traveller notes that the beauty of the country is guided by the activities that celebrate culture throughout, this refers to celebration by traditional music, dance and attire.
One of the most celebrated events being Letlhafula. Charles has shown that there are ways to have fun in celebration of culture. He has captured males and females adorning traditional attire dancing to traditional music and listening to traditional songs. He has also been able to capture the modern day youth passing time by playing traditional games, a true sign that no matter where you are you are still held in place by the same things you did growing up.
What is Botswana without food, the hunters and gatherers have made it possible to seek for food in the wild.The abundance of the Mophane trees in the Central and Northern part of the country has proven important as it provides us with a delicacy that it harbors.”Phane” as it is popularly know is eaten as a snack or relish, prepared by preference. Batswana believe in feeding visitors and travellers alike. Charles notes that although this is done, there is a system of serving which see’s elders served before everyone else. His realisation is that regardless of how far one is from home, feasting with offals for breakfast is very common in the city. “It is common around the Main Mall where one would find city folks wearing their chic western designer outfits enjoying it while avoiding the fat from “serobe”(mixture of intestines and mogodu) to spill into their Carducci or Louis Vittons.”
Nothing is ever complete without a drink to celebrate, the sorghum brewed beer is one in which the elders would relax under a tree drinking and discussing life. He explains that although it has a lot of names differing from tribe to tribe the traditional sorghum beer remains with that significance of bringing people together. For everyone else who doesn’t wish to indulge too much, a semi-alcoholic ginger drink commonly known as “gemmere” is there to quench thirst and to enjoy. Not only those are to enjoy according to Charles, the existence of the Kgalagadi Breweries (KBL) has, enabled the brewery of a local beer St. Louis. He explains that he has come across reasons why the beer was named such. “Some say it was supposed to be called ‘Tlou’ (elephant) but the brewery decided on an English name that it appeals to the middle class who prefer modern western products.”
Botswana’s top 50 Ultimate experience is generally a good book for those who enjoy sight seeing and are not aware of where to go. It is a complete map of what there is to do and where to do it. A good crafted travel diary by a photographer with an eye for beauty and appreciation of his country’s beautiful destinations.