Botswana is a land-locked country located in Southern Africa and bordering on Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Zambia. 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 and tourism. Botswana is famous for its wildlife, areas like the Chobe National Park, Moremi National Park in the Okavango Delta and the Central Kalahari Game Reserve have a very high concentration of game. The bulk of the Kalahari desert falls within Botswana's borders and Botswana is home to most of the world's San (bushman) population.
The public holidays in Botswana are:
January 1, New Years' Day
Easter weekend, (
May 1, Workers Day
July 1, Sir Seretse Khama Day
Mid July, President's Day
September 30, Botswana Day
December 25, Christmas Day
December 26, Day of Goodwill
Kalahari - The sparsely populated Kalahari Desert and its fringe.
Okavango-Chobe - The northern part of the country with the Okavango Delta and good game reserves like Chloe National Park and Moremi National Park.
Southeast - Home to the capital, Gaborone, and most of the country's population.
Okavango Delta - A unique geological formation where a delta is formed by a river (the Okavango) flowing into the Kalahari desert instead of the ocean. Part of the Delta is designated as Moremi National Park
Central Kalahari Game Reserve
Chobe National Park - A great place to see wildlife, and a good point from which to move on to Victoria Falls.
Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
See also African National Parks
Most of the accommodation establishments in Botswana are located near the larger towns and cities, but there are also many secluded game lodges tucked away in the wilderness areas.
Botswana's currency is the Pula; 100 Thebe = 1 Pula. In Setswana, pula means "rain" and thebe means "shield." Rough conversions are 5:1 (USD) 6:1 (EUR), 10:1 (GBP) and 1:1.3 (South African Rand).
The language of business in Botswana is English and most people speak it, although in the more rural areas many people do not speak English, particularly the older generations. The primary indigenous tongue is Setswana, and is the mother tongue of the overwhelming majority of the population. It is not difficult to learn basic greetings and such, and using these in conversation will make people very happy.
Setswana- Hello – Dumela (Dumela Rra- pronounced borra- when addressing men, Dumela Mma- pronounced bomma- when addressing women)
People in Botswana are very friendly and the crime rate is low. There isn't much to worry about on this front. Nevertheless, crime has been on the rise over the past several years, so always be aware of your surroundings. Basic common sense will keep you safe from the predatory wildlife in rural areas.
Botswana's HIV infection rate, estimated at 24.1% , is the 2ND highest reported in the world. Exercise regular universal precautions when dealing with any bodily fluid and remain aware of this high rate of infection. Take precautions accordingly. Wear rubber gloves when dressing someone else's cut, even if they are a child, and obviously NEVER, EVER HAVE UNPROTECTED SEX. If you form a serious relationship, consider both getting an HIV test before taking things further.
The northern part of Botswana, including Chobe National Park and the Okavango Delta is in a malaria zone, so it is advisable to take the relevant precautions. Seek medical advice before travelling to these areas.
The drinking water is safe in urban areas, unless otherwise indicated.
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|1,639,833 (July 2006 est.)
|Indigenous beliefs 85%, Christian 15%