More than just DX News

A25R Botswana

A25R Team will be active from Botswana, 26 October - 13 November 2023, not A25RU as announced earlier.
Team members - Russian DX Pedition Team, R7AL, SP6EQZ, RA1ZZ, OK8AU, R5EC, RW9JZ, UA3QLC.
They will operate on 160 - 6m, CW, SSB, FT8, QO-100 CW.
QSL via ClubLog OQRS, LOTW.
QTH - Near Gabarone.
DX Pedition pilot - Victor, UA3AKO.

Land of lions and diamonds

Botswana is located in the southern part of the African continent and is landlocked. Sharp continental subtropical climate and the relief of the plateau, elevated to a height of 800 to 1200 meters above sea level, determine the nature of this state. The area of Botswana is more than 580 thousand square kilometers, but about 70% is occupied by the vast Kalahari Desert, where there is very little water and for several months in a row there is no rain. In summer, the temperature rises to +50 degrees Celsius during daytime hours. The wet season lasts from November to March (spring and summer for the southern hemisphere); rainfall is low - only about 450 mm per year. Sandstorms occur in winter, caused by strong westerly winds. Not surprisingly, only one-fifth of the entire country is inhabited.

But this inaccessible territory with untouched nature of dry African savannahs and a lot of wild animals, almost unknown to man, has the richest reserves of minerals. In the 20th century industrial reserves of nickel, copper, silver, gold, sulfur, asbestos, mineral salts, oil and coal were discovered here, but the main wealth of the country is diamonds. The first kimberlite pipe was discovered in 1967; others followed. Diamonds play an important role in the country's economy, especially since Botswana's stones are of very high quality: at least 30% of production is suitable for the jewelry industry.

Botswana. Author - Thomas Retterath.

Are the Bushmen the progenitors of all mankind?

However, the arid and seemingly uninhabitable expanses of the Kalahari are still inhabited by a small nomadic tribe that has fully preserved the traditions of their ancestors. The Bushmen, or "bush people" (literally translated), though more correctly "steppe people", set up their camps right among the stunted bushes of the hot steppes of Botswana. The Bushmen have no permanent dwellings and engage only in hunting and gathering. Over their centuries-old history, these indigenous Africans have not learned to cultivate the land or raise livestock, but they are able to find water and food in parched terrain all year round and have a thorough knowledge of their surroundings.

But the most interesting thing: according to the latest DNA research data, the Bushmen have the oldest genetic information, which differs significantly from the hereditary traits of modern humans. The genotype of African nomads has been preserved since the racial division that took place several thousand years before our era. It follows that human dispersal across the Earth most likely began in what is now Angola, Namibia and Botswana.

A25RU. Botswana DX Pedition. Banner.

The Okavango is a river that flows... into the desert

North of the Kalahari Desert in Botswana there is a completely unique ecosystem known to geographers as the Okavango River delta with an area of 15 thousand square kilometers. There is hardly anything like it on Earth! The river originates in the highlands of Angola and flows southeast, but, unlike most river systems on the planet, it does not flow into the sea or the ocean. Divided into many branches and canals, the water flow loops over a vast area, losing 95% of its moisture to evaporation. Some of the water is absorbed into the ground, contributing to the formation of marshes and closed shallow reservoirs.

Hippos, crocodiles, pythons, hyenas, antelopes, buffalos, elephants, many birds and other animals inhabit the green islands of the vast delta. The banks of the unusual river are home to many African felines - lions, cheetahs, leopards. Strong wetlands, dense thickets of papyrus, predatory animals - all this makes some parts of the land almost inaccessible to humans. It is quite possible that there are places within the delta where no man has ever been.

In the distant past, the Okavango was much fuller and reached the Makgadikgadi Basin, where there was a drainless lake. The large body of water began to dry up about 10,000 years ago and gradually turned into salt marshes containing the world's largest reserves of potash (potassium carbonate). Now the "remnants" of the once powerful river are finally lost in the parched lands of the Kalahari, and the Okavango Delta is declared a protected area. The Chobe National Park, the world's largest concentration of wild animals living in the natural environment, is located here.

Botswana. Author - Stefano Romei.

Botswana and modernity

How does this amazing country - the cradle of all mankind and "Noah's Ark" for hundreds of animal species - live? The Republic of Botswana gained independence from the British Protectorate in 1966, and today it is a peaceful state, without military conflicts and strong social upheavals, the most successful economy in all of Africa; in politics it adheres to the principle of non-alignment. The capital is the city of Gaborone, located in a mountainous area in the very south of the country, near the border with South Africa. The city's altitude is 1,100 meters above sea level. The population of Botswana is about 2 million, with 232 thousand people living in the capital. There is an international airport 25 km north of Gaborone.

A25RU. Where is Botswana located. Map.

A25R Botswana. Sunrise 04-13-2024 at 04:32 GMT sunset at 16:11 GMT