strength is derived from its natural abundance of minerals
and wildlife. With a population of less than 3 people per
square km, a sound economic base and an unscathed history
of political stability, Botswana is one of Africa's brightest
prospects for the new millenium.
the wetlands in the north to the dry dune fields of the
south, Botswana boasts a species count of 164 different
mammals, including the Big 5 and 550 birds, many of which
are unique and have adapted to living in the vast dry sands
of the Kalahari Desert.
in the heart of Southern Africa, Botswana is still wild
and untamed - one of the few remaining destinations that
are unspoiled by civilisation.
is home to numerous WORLD RECORDS!
- the largest network of private game reserves and
- the largest elephant population
- the largest stretch of wind-blown sand
- the largest area of salt pans
- the fastest growing economy
- the largest inland delta
- the largest zebra migrations
- the largest exporter of gemstone diamonds
- SCI's Top 1 & 2 lion
- SCI's No. 1 cape buffalo
Facts - The capital of Botswana is Gaborone, a
sprawling urban hub which is amongst the fastest growing
cities in the world. In the flag, the white-edged black
strip represents both Botswana's black and white peoples
and the blue represents rain, life and fertility in the
desert. In 1862, the painter Thomas Baines, made famous
seven gnarled baobab trees in the eastern region.
- Botswana is very thinly populated and its population of
less than 3 people per square kilometre is one of the lowest
in the world (1.4-million). Much of the population is concentrated
around the urban areas due to the country's exceptional
inhabitants are the San (bushmen) who have lived in the
Kalahari for more than 30 000 years. A Bantu people,
the Tswana, arrived about 2000 years ago who were agro-pastoralists
and went to war to protect their livestock. The discovery
of gold brought many Boers/Afrikaners and Europeans to the
land. but there is still a large rural community relying
on subsistence farming. Large ethnic groups include the
Batswana, the Kalanga, the Basarwa and the Kgalagadi.
Setswana is the national language, English is widely spoken
and is generally considered the official language, the language
of business. On record there are 30 languages spoken
country-wide, many of which are close to extinction. Christianity
is widespread but several other religions including the
popular local Baha'i freely exist.
independence in 1966, Botswana was one of the poorest African
countries. Diamonds were discovered the very next year and
now form the core of this economy which is experiencing
growth faster than even Singapore. It is now one of the
richest countries per capita in Africa.
- Gold discoveries in the late 1800s attracted the interest
of the Boers/Afrikaners which led to the establishment of
Bechuanaland as a British Protectorate administered by the
British from South Africa.
traditions were the forefathers of Botswana's modern democratic
politics when the country gained its independence in 1966.
Led by Sir Seretse Kharma, a politically stable republic
with multi-party democracy was established. Elections every
five years sees an elected president and parliament - Sir
Seretse Kharma's Botswana Democratic Party current in power.
There is also a House of Chiefs which ensures representation
of tribal leaders.
- The government has embarked on a major drive
to diversify the economy so as to reduce dependence on diamonds.
Manufacturing, tourism and lately, financial services are
burgeoning industries in their own right. Other natural
resources include copper, nickel, salt, soda ash, potash,
coal, iron ore and silver. It is also a large beef exporter
to the European Economic Community (no mad cows here!).
with this are the country's investor-friendly policies including
a low rate of taxation and no exchange controls.
& Climate - Botswana experiences typical semi-desert
conditions - hot and dry. Summers are long, from October
to April and very hot with temperatures easily reaching
40C. The rainy season from December to March but less
than 300mm of rain falls.
co-ordinates: 22 00 S, 24 00 E
Botswana is mainly a broad, flat, arid subtropical plateau
and is considered a semi-desert. Kalahari sands take up
85% of the 600 370km2 country - slightly smaller
than Texas. With only 2% of arable land, there are some
gently rolling hills in the east and the highest point are
the Tsodilo Hills. The lowest point in the country is the
often flooded Limpopo and Sashe rivers' confluence while
the country averages 100m above sealevel.
hazards include periodic droughts and westerly seasonal
winds in August which carry sand and can obscure visibility.
& Food - most typical of this area are the
hand-woven baskets. If you are heading west of the Okavango
then head for Etsa where they are made. The many San or
Bushman crafts are also unique to this area. Handmade jewellery
and of course, you can always visit the diamond factories
you must sample their beef. Botswana's free range beef is
the best in the region if not the world! In fact it is so
good that Botswana is one of the few countries that are
allowed to export beef to Europe! Also try Seswa, a local
dish of shredded beef with pap, spinach and beans. Pap is
the local maize meal. And of course, in season, try dried
mopane worms, a real local delicacy.