Botswana's Okavango Delta becomes 1000th World Heritage site

Botswana’s Okavango Delta became the 1000th site inscribed on the World Heritage List. Okavango was inscribed as a natural site by the World Heritage Committee, the second in the country.

The Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism said Botswana would continue to create a conducive environment for the protection and integrity of the sites and ensure that communities derive benefits from these sites. The progress had been made in improving the state of conservation of World Heritage properties in Botswana through increased community participation, citing Tsodilo Hills, the first world heritage site in Botswana which is listed in 2001.

With one of the highest concentrations of rock art in the world, Tsodilo has been called the "Louvre of the Desert". Over 4,500 paintings are preserved in an area of only 10 sq km of the Kalahari Desert in northwest Botswana.

The Delta, about 40 kilometres from Tsodilo Hills, comprises permanent marshlands and seasonally flooded plains. It is one of the very few major interior delta systems that do not flow into a sea or ocean, with a wetland system that is almost intact.

One of the unique characteristics of the site is that the annual flooding from the river Okavango occurs during the dry season, with the result that the native plants and animals have synchronized their biological cycles with these seasonal rains and floods. It is an exceptional example of the interaction between climatic, hydrological and biological processes. The Okavango delta is home to some of the world’s most endangered species of large mammal, such as the cheetah, white rhinoceros, black rhinoceros, African wild dog and lion.

Source: UNESCO