Botswana is a small landlocked country in Southern Africa slightly smaller than Texas. Its neighbours include Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Angola and South Africa. The country is mainly flat and to its south is the Great Kalahari Desert. The country is mainly semi arid and its capital city is Gaborone. The country has the largest salt pans in the world, Makgadikadi Pans with an area of about 12,000 sq km. It also holds the world record for the shortest border, between Zambia and Botswana measuring 700m. The Okavanga Delta which covers 15,000 km2 is the largest inland delta in the world.
Botswana climate and wildlife
Due to the semi arid land the climate is characteristically warm during the rainy season and hot during summer.
The country is great for tours with as much as 17% of it lying in protected game parks. The most famous and beautiful being the Okavango Delta and Chove National parks in the North. Though both are rich in animal life, Chove boasts to be home to the largest (based on body size) living elephants.
Botswana people and language
The country has a population of approximately 1.8 million people with the majority residing east of the country (the Kalahari Desert covers much of the west). The official language is English alongside Setswana. The country has three main ethnic groups namely Tswana, Kalanga, Basarwa, Kaglagadi and a significant number of white settlers. The country gained independence in 1966 and has had progressive leadership that has seen the country maintain a high economic growth rate over the period.
The local currency is known as the Pula (notes) and Thebe (coins), with notes in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100. The currency is relatively strong and stable and in year 2012, 1 US dollar was exchanging for approximately 7.8 Pula.
Whereas many African Flags incorporate red to depict struggle, the Botswana flag is predominantly blue to depict peace and harmony. Democracy is part of the culture and in every village there is a meeting place where villagers gather to address matters of importance.
Botswana is the source of the Great Limpopo River made famous by Kipling (The Elephant’s Child) and features in journals of many early Africa explorers. The country has many straight roads which are clearly visible from the air. These are the remnants of diamond exploration in the country.
Botswana has maintained one of the highest and most consistent economic growth rates since independence due to fiscal discipline and sound management. The main force behind Botswana’s expansion is, diamond mining. This has seen the country transform from one of the poorest globally to a middle income economy. In 2003, its per capita GDP was estimated to be $8,800. Though diamond mining activities contribute a third of the GDP, the country also has significant growth in tourism, cattle and farming. On the down side the country needs to deal with unemployment which is reported to be quite high.