June 30, 2015

1701 BOTSWANA - Makgadikgadi Pan, Okavango Delta, Chobe National Park, and Tuli Block (UNESCO WHS and Tentative List)

Botswana is topographically flat, with up to 70% of its territory being the Kalahari Desert, but nevertheless has diverse areas of wildlife habitat. Lying southeast of the Okavango Delta and surrounded by the Kalahari Desert, the Makgadikgadi Pan is all that remained of a lake which dried up several thousand years ago, now being one of the largest salt flats in the world. Seasonally covered with water and grass, is a refuge for birds and animals. The fringes of the pan are salt marshes and further out these are circled by grassland and then shrubby savanna. Kubu Island is an igneous rock "island" located in the southwestern quadrant of Sua Pan, and contains a number of baobab trees (in the picture). These trees function as local landmarks, and one of them, named after James Chapman, served as an unofficial post office for 19th-century explorers. It was submitted in 2010 on the Tentative List of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

The Okavango Delta (or Okavango Grassland), once also part of Lake Makgadikgadi, is a very large inland delta formed where the Okavango River reaches a tectonic trough in the central part of the endorheic basin of the Kalahari. All the water reaching the Delta is ultimately evaporated and transpired, and doesn't flow into any sea or ocean. It is both a permanent and seasonal home to a wide variety of wildlife,  including some of the world’s most endangered species of large mammal, such as the cheetah, white rhinoceros, black rhinoceros, African wild dog and lion. It is also home of over 400 species of birds, including African fish eagle (in the picture). In 2014, it became the 1000th site to be officially inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Chobe National Park has one of the largest concentrations of game in Africa, and can be divided up to 4 areas, each corresponding to one distinct ecosystem: the Serondela area (or Chobe riverfront), the Savuti Marsh area, the Linyanti Marsh, and a hot and dry hinterland. The park is widely known for its spectacular elephant population (an estimated 50,000). Elephants living here are Kalahari elephants, the largest in size of all known elephant populations. At dry season, they sojourn in Chobe River and the Linyanti River areas. At rain season, they make a 200-km migration to the southeast stretch of the park. Chobe Linyanti System was included in 2010 on the Tentative List of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Located largely within the southern Kalahari Desert, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is a large wildlife conservation area which comprises two adjoining national parks: Kalahari Gemsbok National Park in South Africa, and Gemsbok National Park in Botswana. The terrain consists of red sand dunes, sparse vegetation, occasional trees, and the dry riverbeds of the Nossob and Auob Rivers. The rivers are said to flow only about once per century. However, water flows underground and provides life for grass and camelthorn trees growing in the river beds. The park is home to large mammalian predators, migratory herds of large herbivores (including hartebeests - in the picture), and more than 200 species of bird, including  secretary birds (in the picture).

The Tuli Block is a narrow fringe of land at Botswana's eastern border wedged between  Zimbabwe in the north and east and South Africa in the south. It consists mainly of privately owned game farms offering safari tourism. The eastern section up to and including Redshield has been declared a game reserve, known as the Northern Tuli Game Reserve, which is part of the Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape, included in 2010 on the Tentative List of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Much of the area is unfenced allowing the animals to roam freely between the Motloutse and Limpopo rivers. The vegetation is spectacular, the scenery diverse.

About the stamp
The stamp is one of the three which forms the series Bats of Namibia, issued in 2012.

Makgadikgadi Pan - Wikipedia
Makgadikgadi Pans Landscape - UNESCO official website
Okavango Delta - Wikipedia
Okavango Delta - UNESCO official website
Chobe National Park - Wikipedia
Chobe Linyanti System - UNESCO official website
Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park - Wikipedia
Tuli Block - Wikipedia
Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape - UNESCO official website

Sender: Ester
Sent from Windhoek (Khomas / Namibia), on 20.05.2015

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