• Full country name: Republic of Botswana
  • Area: 581,700 sq. km (226,900-sq. mi.)
  • Population: 2.3 million
  • Capital city: Gaborone (population 232,000)
  • People: Tswana (79%), Kalanga, San, Mbukushu, Yei, Herero
  • Languages: Setswana, Sekalanga and English
  • Religion: Ancestor worship and Christian
  • Government: Constitutional democracy
  • President: Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi

Economic Profile

  • GDP: US$4.3 billion
  • Foreign Exchange Reserves: USD6.3
  • Major industries: Mining (diamonds, copper, nickel), manufacturing and tourism
  • GDP per head: US$3130
  • Inflation: 7.2%
  • Major trading partners: Switzerland, UK, South Africa

Season

Summer
Months Average Min Temp Average Max Temp
Nov - March 20 35
Autumn
Months Average Min Temp Average Max Temp
April - May 13 30
Winter
Months Average Min Temp Average Max Temp
June - Aug 6 27
Spring
Months Average Min Temp Average Max Temp
Sept - Oct 4 18

Malaria is a health risk and we advise all persons travelling to Botswana to consult their local British Airways Travel Clinic for advice. 


Culture

The earliest inhabitants of Botswana were the San, who were followed by the Tswana tribe (Batswana).  Today the Batwana people make up roughly 50% of the population and other dominant tribal groups include Bakalanga, Hambukushu and the Ovaherero.

The original Botswana artists were everyday crafts people who injected individual aesthetics into utilitarian implements such as pottery, fabrics and tools.  Botswana is known for its exquisite baskets and employ the designs with names such as Tears of the Giraffe and Urine Trail of the Bull.
The orderliness and structure of the town-based Tswana society impressed the Christian missionaries, who began to arrive in the early 1800s. None managed to convert great numbers of Tswana, though they did manage to advise the locals, sometimes wrongly, in their dealings with the Europeans that followed. Meanwhile, the Boers began their Great Trek over the Vaal, crossing into Tswana and Zulu territory and attempting to impose white rule on the inhabitants.

Many Tswana went into service on Boer farms, but the association was rarely happy and often marred by rebellion and violence. By 1877, animosity had escalated to such a level that the British finally stepped in to annex the Transvaal, thereby launching the first Boer War. The Boers dawdled after the Pretoria Convention of 1881 but moved back into Tswana lands in 1882, prompting the Tswana to again ask for British protection.Botswana was economically transformed by the discovery of diamonds near Orapa in 1967. Although most of the population remains in the low-income bracket, this mineral wealth has provided the country with enormous foreign currency reserves, pushing the Pula to its current strong position.


Recomended Read

  1. "History of Botswana" by T Tlou and Alec Campbell
  2. "Cry of the Kalahari" by Mark & Delia Owen
  3. "Lost World of the Kalahari" by Laurens van der Post
  4. "Okavango - Jewel of the Kalahari" by Karen Ross
  5. "Serowe-Village of the Rain Wind" by Bessie Head
  6. "Africa"  by John Reader
  7. "Botswana - a Brush with the Wild" by Paul Augustinus

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