Destination: Botswana

Thomas Friedman on the ‘Overconnected Tourist’

He went to remote Botswana—the “Land of No Service”—and sent forth a column that touches on the “blessings and curses” of being connected:

For the normally overconnected tourist, the first thing you notice in the Land of No Service is how quickly your hearing, smell and eyesight improve in an act of instant Darwinian evolution. It is amazing how well you can hear when you don’t have an iPod in your ears or how far you can see when you’re not squinting at a computer screen. In the wild, the difference between hearing and seeing with acuity is the difference between survival and extinction for the animals and the difference between a rewarding experience and a missed opportunity for photographers and guides.

He sounds downright Pottsian.

A Little Bit of Botswana Comes to HBO

The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, a television adaptation of the popular Alexander McCall Smith novels, premieres on HBO this weekend. The series follows the adventures of Botswana’s only female detective, Precious Ramotswe, played by Jill Scott; Anthony Minghella cowrote and directed the two-hour pilot before his death, and he and Sydney Pollack (also since deceased) were both producers on the project.

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Suffering and Smiling: Vanity Fair Does Africa

Africa is hot. Why? So we can save it? Frank Bures deconstructs the magazine's latest issue and what it says about Western views of the continent.

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Going on Armchair Safari — Again and Again

I was at home listening to music the other night when the phone rang. It was my mom, and I detected a sense of urgency in her voice. Was there a family emergency? Some new piece of bad news on CNN? “I won’t keep you long,” she said, “but I wanted to let you know there are elephants right now at Pete’s Pond.” Elephants? Really? I thanked her profusely, flipped on my computer and was soon happily glued to the screen, watching live as several elephants roamed among the trees near the Pete’s Pond shoreline, enjoying a tasty breakfast of crunchy green leaves. Ever since I blogged about the WildCam at Pete’s Pond in Botswana, I’ve been hooked, checking in every so often to see what beasts might be roaming within camera view.

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Tags: Africa, Botswana

It’s 7 A.M. in Botswana. Do You Know Where Your Wildebeest Is?

Call it “armchair safari.” National Geographic has set up a webcam at Pete’s Pond, a wildlife reserve in Botswana that is apparently teeming with animals, from elephants to wildebeests. Best viewing times fall between 7 a.m. and noon Botswana time, then again in the evening before sundown. Spiegel magazine offers a brief backgrounder on the webcam and the pond. It was getting late in Botswana when I checked the cam this morning from California. I didn’t see much.

Tags: Africa, Botswana

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