Do you like to check out places before you visit them? Me too. I often check out my destination on Google Street View. I find that being able to check out my holiday destination beforehand really fires up the enthusiasm for the trip – it adds so much more than just reading the guidebook first.
Well the good news is that Botswana is going to be photographed for Google Street View. It will be the second country in Africa to feature after South Africa which was launched just before the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Within coming weeks, Google cars will drive around the country and images collected will be processed and carefully stitched together, a process that can take several months, after which they will be made available in Street View on Google Maps.
Initially, it will primarily focus on the major urban areas of Gaborone and Francistown as well as the country’s top destinations and wildlife reserves – Chobe National Park, Moremi Game Reserve, Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park and the Nxai salt pans. This is a really exciting development and will allow people planning safaris to Botswana to have a good look at the scenery and be able to soak up a tiny bit of the atmosphere of this stunningly beautiful African country. The landscape in Botswana is unique with such diverse attractions ranging from the Okavango Delta to the arid salt pans. The Minister for Wildlife and Tourism, Onkokame Kitso Mokaila, said that Street View would enable international visitors to virtually explore the country and provide them with a chance to carry out tourism research in advance before visiting.
There are many other uses for Streetview in Africa. It will also be great for helping school children learn all about Africa, a place that many will never have the chance to visit in real life. Most children at primary school here in the UK study Africa as part of their syllabus and this is a great tool for aiding their education. It may even fire up an enthusiasm and interest that inspires them to visit Africa for real, one day in the future.