Must-visit countries for 2019

Following the spirit of the New Year these are the three countries that you should definitely visit and explore. They are lesser known, but still amazing sites of nature…


Botswana is a landlocked country in Southern Africa that must not be missed. The country has plenty to offer adventurous travellers wishing to explore the stunning beauty of the Okavango Delta and the Tsodilo Hills.

The Okavango Delta is located in northwestern Botswana and it is one of the rare large inland delta systems, which does not have access to the seas. Instead, its waters drain into the basin of Kalahari Desert. The delta forms a magnificent wetland system filled with channels, lagoons and islands that support a plethora of flora and fauna. The best way to explore the delta is by using a canoe, which locals call a ‘mekoro’, where you will be traversing across the marshlands with the gentle rowing of a local guide.

The Tsodilo Hills contain one of the world’s largest concentrations of rock art and are appropriately called the ‘Louvre of the Desert’. In an area of only ten square kilometres in the Kalahari Desert, there are over 4,500 paintings on rocks. According to archaeological records, the hills have evidence of human activity and environmental change over 100,000 years. Moreover, the local communities, who believe that it is home for ancestral spirits, consider the Tsodilo Hills a sacred space.

Both the Okavango Delta and the Tsodilo Hills are on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list.   


Kazakhstan is the bridge that connects Europe and Asia through the great legacy of the Silk Road trade routes. It is full of gorgeous natural sites, and Lake Kaindy deserves special attention.

Lake Kaindy is located in southern Kazakhstan, inside the Kolsai Lakes National Park. The lake has an interesting origin as it was formed after the 1911 Kebin earthquake, 2,000 metres above sea level and inside a mountain gorge. The defining feature of the lake is the Asian Spruce trees that rise above the lake’s turquoise coloured surface. The closest village is 12 kilometres away from the lake, so the most efficient way to get there would be to hire a local guide with a car who can lead you there through the natural mountain wilderness.


Bolivia is home to many wonderful marvels of nature, with Salar de Uyuni salt flat serving as their crown jewel.

Salar de Uyuni is the world’s largest salt flat, which is a remnant of prehistoric lakes that evaporated a millennia ago. The closest dwelling area to the salt flat is the small town of Uyuni in the Andes Mountains. At specific times in the year, when there is a thin layer of water coming from nearby lakes, the salt flat turns into a majestic reflection of the sky, creating a sense of being in the heavens.

Moreover, located at the edge of Salar de Uyuni is a hotel called ‘Palacio de Sal’ (Spanish for ‘Palace of Salt’), which is constructed entirely from salt blocks! In case you wondered, the hotel does not allow licking the walls, in order to prevent material degradation.

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Rassul Merali

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August 2022
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