<p dir="ltr"><strong>Botswana's Okavango Delta was named the <a href="http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/06/140624-okavango-delta-unesco-heritage-site-botswana/">1,000th World Heritage Site by UNESCO this week</a>, a hard-won designation that affords special protection against human development.</strong></p><p dir="ltr">The delta encompasses a 3,000-square-mile (7,770 square kilometers) plain whose nutrient-rich water provides a sanctuary of channels, lagoons, and islands for thousands of plant and animal species. Among the area's inhabitants: the largest population of elephants on Earth.</p><p>After some initial work to expand the delta's tourism infrastructure, the delta's new status will bring a halt to development.</p><p><em>—Jennifer S. Holland</em></p>

Bone-dry Plains

Botswana's Okavango Delta was named the 1,000th World Heritage Site by UNESCO this week, a hard-won designation that affords special protection against human development.

The delta encompasses a 3,000-square-mile (7,770 square kilometers) plain whose nutrient-rich water provides a sanctuary of channels, lagoons, and islands for thousands of plant and animal species. Among the area's inhabitants: the largest population of elephants on Earth.

After some initial work to expand the delta's tourism infrastructure, the delta's new status will bring a halt to development.

—Jennifer S. Holland

PHOTOGRAPH BY GEORGE STEINMETZ, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CREATIVE

Stunning Pictures: Inside Africa's Last Wetland Wilderness

Photos from Botswana's Okavango Delta, the planet's newest World Heritage Site.

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