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Botswana's No 1 Lady Detective

Ten years after the first novel in the bestselling No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series was released, the BBC is launching its television adaptation filmed entirely in Botswana.

The impressive project is due to air on the BBC in March. It was directed by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Anthony Minghella and co-written with comedy writer Richard Curtis based on Alexander McCall Smith's original book.

The story follows the adventures of the inimitable Mma Ramotswe as she sets up her detective agency and becomes Botswana's first female investigator. American singer Jill Scott plays Mma Ramotswe, with Lucian Msamati as love interest JLB Matekoni and Anika Noni Rose as secretary Mma Makutsi.

McCall Smith's novels are renowned for their insight into Botswana's culture and traditions. The author was born and lived in Africa for a number of years and tries to visit Botswana annually. On his website he explains why he wanted to write about the country:

"I suppose that the main reason is that I find Botswana a very interesting and admirable country. I respect the people who live there – they have built up their country very carefully and successfully. I admire their patience and their decency.

I thought, too, that it was a great pity that there are so many negative books and articles about Africa. I wanted to show readers in the rest of the world that there are many great and remarkable people living in southern Africa – people who lead good lives, with honour and integrity."

For travellers wanting to experience Botswana first-hand, Cox and Kings are offering the Great Botswana Safari, from £2,725 per person including British Airways flights, six nights full board accommodation, private transfers and all excursions and game viewing.

The next instalment in the No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, The Miracle at Speedy Motors, is also out in March.

Written by: Maxine Clarke