World Travelling Guide
World Travelling Guide

Accommodation in Southern Africa and South Africa including accommodation in Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Gauteng, Limpopo Province, North West Province, Free State, Kwazulu-Natal, Mpumalanga

List of Countries
Map of Africa

Botswana Travelling Guide
Botswana Travelling Guide

General background: Formerly the British protectorate of Bechuanaland, Botswana adopted its new name upon independence in 1966. The economy, one of the most robust on the continent, is dominated by diamond mining.

Area comparative: Slightly smaller than Texas

Climate: Semiarid; warm winters and hot summers

Terrain: Predominantly flat to gently rolling tableland; Kalahari Desert in southwest

Population: 1,591,232

Ethnic groups: Tswana (or Setswana) 79%, Kalanga 11%, Basarwa 3%, other, including Kgalagadi and White 7%

Religions: Indigenous beliefs 85%, Christian 15%

Language: English (official), Setswana

Government type: Parliamentary republic

Capital: Gaborone

Legal system: Based on Roman-Dutch law and local customary law; judicial review limited to matters of interpretation; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction.

Economic overview: Botswana has maintained one of the world's highest growth rates since independence in 1966. Through fiscal discipline and sound management, Botswana has transformed itself from one of the poorest countries in the world to a middle-income country with a per capita GDP of $7,800 in 2001. Two major investment services rank Botswana as the best credit risk in Africa. Diamond mining has fuelled much of expansion and currently accounts for more than one-third of GDP and for four-fifths of export earnings. Tourism, subsistence farming, and cattle raising are other key sectors. On the downside, the government must deal with high rates of unemployment and poverty. Unemployment officially is 21%, but unofficial estimates place it closer to 40%. HIV/AIDS infection rates are the highest in the world and threaten Botswana's impressive economic gains.

Communication/Telephone system: The system is expanding with the growth of mobile cellular service and participation in regional development, small system of open-wire lines, microwave radio relay links, and a few radiotelephone communication stations; mobile cellular service is growing fast.Two international exchanges; digital microwave radio relay links to Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Indian Ocean).

Places of interest: Several National Parks with game roaming wild, most boasting with the "Big 5" namely: Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Rhino and Buffalo.

Travel Tips: Botswana is a largely roadless wilderness of savannas, deserts, wetlands and salt pans. To ensure the country's natural assets are preserved, Botswana's government has embraced a policy of courting primarily high-cost, low-impact tourism, although recent years have seen options for independent, budget-minded travelers grow.