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Why Botswana Should Be on Your Must-Visit List

As one of the oldest and most prolific publishers of destination guidebooks, Lonely Planet knows a thing or two about travel. So when the company releases its “Best in Travel 2016” report, it’s worth a look.

As far as “best” goes, Lonely Planet slices and dices it every which way, with recommendations ranging from the best value destinations to the best family-oriented animal adventures to the best places to meet mythical beasts. Oh, and the best mustache destinations? Lonely Planet has you covered there as well (Rajasthan, India, and Portland, Oregon, both made the cut).

But many travelers whose interests are less specialty-focused will want to begin by perusing Lonely Planet’s list of the top-10 countries worth visiting overall in 2016. They are, in order of preference:

  1. Botswana
  2. Japan
  3. U.S.
  4. Palau
  5. Latvia
  6. Australia
  7. Poland
  8. Uruguay
  9. Greenland
  10. Fiji

Why Botswana? For many good reasons, it turns out:

Democratic, progressive, enlightened—but above all, invigoratingly wild. The story of Botswana’s journey from poverty to become one of Africa’s most stable, thriving societies is inspirational; the country celebrates 50 years of independence in 2016 and there’s a lot for it to shout about, not least the way it has balanced economic growth with protecting its natural riches. Prepare for a severe case of slack-jawed-with-awe syndrome when you visit.

I doubt the country’s own travel-and-tourism apparatus could have done a better job of piquing my interest in a country that was previously entirely off my radar. The cases Lonely Planet’s editors make for visiting the other highlighted countries are similarly compelling.

Read the country profiles for yourself. You might just find yourself revising your bucket list for 2016, and beyond.

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