A Southern African nation, Botswana is a former British Colony which became independent on the 30th of September 1966. It was prior to independence known as the British protectorate of Bechuanaland.
Botswana is one of the most peaceful and stable nations in Africa, the country has since independence been under civilian rule and is regarded as one of the few success stories on the continent. Botswana is situated in Southern Africa, north of South Africa and west of Zimbabwe.
A resource rich nation, the country has a number of thriving industries including tourism, diamond mining and agriculture.
Botswana has an estimated population of 1, 639, 833 people. The country has a relatively high number of people infected with the HIV/AIDS virus, and this still poses one of the greatest health and social problems in Botswana.
A resource rich nation, Botswana has one of the leading economies in Africa. The country has been relatively peaceful and stable since independence and sound government policies and good management have meant that Botswana has one of the lowest poverty levels in the third world.
Tourism and mining are the main industries in the country. Minerals found in the country include; diamond, copper, nickel and soda ash. Agriculture is also a key industry and produces; livestock, maize, groundnuts, millet, beans, sunflower, sorghum.
Currency: the Pula is the title of the Botswana currency.
Flag of Botswana:
The current flag of Botswana was adopted in 1966 when the country became independent. The white and black colors represent the different races residing in the country and symbolize harmony of the country’s people. The blue color represents water and rain.
People of Botswana:
The main ethnic communities in Botswana are the Tswana, Kalanga, Basarwa and Kgalagadi. There is also a considerable population of Europeans residing in the country.
Botswana has a relatively small population of just about 1.6 million people. HIV/AIDS is a serious problem in the country and it is estimated that about 30% of the population are living with the disease.
Languages: English is the country’s official language. Other local languages are Setswana (widely spoken), Kalanga, Sekgalagadi.
Religion: Christianity is the main religion. There are also a number of traditional religions such as Badimo.
The Botswana Pula (BWP) is the title of the Botswana’s currency. The pula was introduced in 1976 to replace the South African Rand at par. One pula is equivalent to 100 thebe.
The currency is readily exchanged by major banks, some hotels and foreign exchange bureaus in Gaborone.
In 2005, the pula exchanged at an average of 5.1104 to the US dollar.
Botswana Facts & Figures:
– Location: Southern Africa, north of South Africa, west of Zimbabwe.
– Capital City: Gaborone.
– Population: 1, 639, 833.
– Other major towns and cities: Francistown, Maun, Kasane, Ghanzi, Mamuno, Tshabong, Kanye, Serowe
– Religion: Christian, Traditional.
– Languages: English is the official language; Setswana, Kalanga, Sekgalagadi
– Currency: Botswana Pula (BWP).
Public Holidays in Botswana:
-New Year’s Day: 1st January
-Labour Day: 1st May
-Sir Seretse Khama Day: 1st July
-President’s Day: 15-16th July
-Botswana Day: 30th September
-Christmas and Boxing Day: 25-26th December
Tourism in Botswana:
Tourism is one of the main industries in Botswana. The country has over the years become one of the leading travel destinations in southern Africa.
The main tourist attractions for visitors to Botswana are nature and wildlife. The country is home to a number of wildlife parks and reserves which are home to large populations of wildlife in their natural habitat.
The country’s low crime rate and infrastructure make it one of the best holiday destinations in Africa. Accommodation options are many and while in Gaborone, you can stay at one of the city’s luxury hotels. The game parks offer decent accommodation for visitors in the form of lodges and tented camps.
Air Botswana is the national airline of Botswana. The airline’s main hub is the Sir Seretse Khama International Airport in Gaborone. The airline was established in 1972 and is currently set to undergo privatization. Air Botswana flies mainly to a number of domestic and regional destinations.
Air Botswana destinations: Kasane, Maun, Francistown, Cape Town, Windhoek, Harare and Johannesburg.
Accommodation in Botswana:
With a thriving tourism industry, Botswana offers a variety of quality accommodation options. A number of the country’s leading hotels can be found in the capital Gaborone. Game lodges and resorts can also be found in the tourist towns of Kasane and Maun.
Game lodges offer a unique form of accommodation within the wilderness of Botswana’s game parks.
Some hotels in Gaborone:
Gaborone Sun Hotel & Casino: a five star hotel, the Gaborone Sun Hotel is situated on Chuma drive at the outskirts of the city. The hotel’s premier range of facilities and services includes; a golf course, tennis courts, air conditioned rooms, gym, casino, restaurants, bars.
Cresta President Hotel, Gaborone situated within the city centre, the Cresta Gaborone occupies a five storey building which offers a good range of amenities such as; air conditioned rooms, foreign exchange services, television, business and conference facilities, laundry, information desk.
Wildlife Parks in Botswana:
Botswana is home to a number of wildlife parks and nature reserves. These are the main tourist attraction for visitors to the country. Botswana’s parks feature healthy populations of wildlife. Most of these are easily accessible by road or chartered flights.
Makgadikgadi Pans National Park: the Makgadikgadi Pans are large salt pan formations resulting from the evaporating of Lake Makgadikgadi. The rainy season attracts large populations of flamingo, pelican and other birds.
Chobe National Park: one of the country’s largest parks, the Chobe is home to the largest elephant population in Africa. The park is situated near the town of Kasane. Other wildlife at Chobe features: buffalo, zebra, impala, lion, hyena, cheetah, antelope, hippos and crocodile. There are a number of lodges which offer accommodation for visitors to the park.
Gemsbok National Park: occupying parts of the Southern Kalahari Desert reaching up to Botswana’s border with South Africa, wildlife at the Gemsbok includes; cheetah, lion, hyena, hartebeest, springbok, wildebeest, leopard, eagles, vultures and secretary birds.
Other notable parks in Botswana are;
-The Central Kalahari Game Reserve
-Nxai Pan National Park
-Mokolodi Nature Reserve
-Khutse Game Reserve
Botswana Embassies and Consulates in Asia:
The Embassy of Botswana in Japan
Building No. 2 4-5-10
Tel: 81 3 5440 5676
Fax: 81 3 5765 7581
The Embassy of Botswana in China
Tayuan Diplomatic Office Building
Tel: 6532 5751
The Embassy of Botswana in Australia
52 Culgoa Circuit
O’Malley ACT 2606
Tel: 61 2 6290 7500
Fax: 61 2 6286 2566
Botswana Embassies and Consulates in Europe:
The Botswana High Commission in the UK
6 Stratford Place
Tel: 0870 005 6705
Fax: 020 7495 8595
The Embassy of Botswana in Belgium
169 Avenue de Tervuren B
Tel: 2 735 070
Fax: 2 735 6318
Botswana Embassies and Consulates in North America:
The Embassy of Botswana in the US
1531-3 New Hampshire Avenue NW
Tel: 202 244 4990