Ermak Travel Guide

 

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Botswana

 

Botswana Destinations Travel Guide

 

 

Language: English, Tswana

Currency: Pula (BWP)

Calling Code: +267

 

 

 

Botswana, whose official name is the Republic of Botswana (in English: Republic of Botswana, in Setsuana: Lefatshe the Botswana), is a sovereign landlocked country in southern Africa whose form of government is the parliamentary republic. Its territory is divided into nine districts. The capital of the country is the city of Gaborone. Geographically the country extends over flat land, with 70% of its surface covered by the Kalahari desert. It borders South Africa to the south and southeast, Namibia to the west and north, Zimbabwe to the northeast and Zambia to the north at a single point. It is ranked 48 in countries by surface.

Botswana was one of the poorest countries in Africa at the time it became independent from the United Kingdom in 1966, when it exhibited a GDP per capita of around 70 dollars. However, Botswana is a nation that has achieved a significant increase in the level of income, with one of the fastest growing economies in the world. According to IMF estimates in 2016, Botswana had an average annual growth rate of 9 percent, and has a per capita GDP (PPP) of around $ 16,947, one of the highest in Africa. Although Botswana's record highlights good governance and economic growth supported by prudent macroeconomic management and fiscal balance, this contrasts with high levels of poverty in the country, inequality and persistently high unemployment, with figures close to 20%. The high investment in education, 10% of GDP, has achieved important achievements such as the provision of education almost universal and free, as well as notable improvements in the health sector to reduce mortality from diseases. This has allowed Botswana to have moderate human development, but it is considered one of the highest in sub-Saharan Africa.

 

Travel Destinations in Botswana

 

Chobe National Park

 

Chobe National Park is a massive nature reserve situated in northwest Botswana in Africa.

Gaborone Game Reserve

 

Gaborone Game Reserve is located West of Gaborone in Botswana. This natural preserve covers an area of 600 ha.

Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park

Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park is located in Kgalagadi District of Botswana.

Khutse Game Reserve

Khutse Game Reserve is a protected area in central Botswana just outside of the nation's capital. Its name is comes from Sekwena language (local dialect of Tswana) word "Khutse".

Linyanti Swamp

 

Linyanti Swamp is a wetland biosphere formed around the Linyanti River that is also known as a Chobe river.

Makgadikgadi Pans National Park

 

Makgadikgadi Pans National Park covers one of the largest salt flats in the World. It is situated in the North- east Botswana.

Mashatu Game Reserve

 

Mashtu Game Reserve is a nature reserve located in the desolate eastern region of Botswana.

Mokolodi Nature Reserve

 

Mokolodi Nature Reserve covers huge area of savanna with a very diverse wild life that was originally found here brought here from elsewhere.

Moremi Wildlife Reserve

 

Moremi Wildlife Reserve is a protected area in Botswana. It was named after Chief Moremi of the BaTawana tribe.

Nxai Pan National Park

 

Nxai Pan National Park protects unique biosphere of the Nxai Pan that is part of Makgadikgadi Pan salt flats.

Okavango Delta

 

Okavango Delta is a huge wetland that covers an area of 15,000 km². Parts of the Okavango Delta is protected by the Moremi Wildlife Reserve.

Tsodilo Hills

 

Tsodilo Hills are located in Kalahari Desert in Botswana. It is famous for its historic rock art that dates back to 22000 BC.

 

 

 

 

 

History of Botswana

The first territory of present Botswana was settled by hunters and gatherers who spoke Khoisan languages. The sites of ancient people discovered in the hills of Tsodilo date back to the 18th century BC. e. In the last few centuries BC. e. some tribes in the north began to move to livestock, using the relatively fertile lands around the Okavango Delta and Lake McGadikgadi for pasture.

At the beginning of our era, Bantu farmers came to South Africa from the equator, with the advent of which the Iron Age begins. The first monuments of the Iron Age in Botswana date back to about 190 BC. e. and probably associated with the Bantu peoples of the Limpopo Valley. By 420 A.D. e. include the remains of small houses similar to beehives in a settlement near Molepolole, similar finds of the 6th century are on the hills of Tsodilo.

Around 1095, the spread of the Moritsana culture, associated with the southeast of Botswana, began: its carriers were tribes of the Soto-Tswana group, which, although they belonged to the Bantu peoples, were engaged in animal breeding rather than farming. From a material point of view, this culture also combined the features of old cultures of the Upper Neolithic (such as Bambat) and the Bantus culture of the eastern Transvaal (Leidenberg culture). The spread of Moritsane culture is associated with the growing influence of the Kagalagadi leaders.

In the east and in the center of the country, leaders of the Tutsve people, who conducted active trade with the east coast of the Limpopo River, had great influence in the 7th-13th centuries. In the XIII century, this formation came under the control of the state of Mapungubwe, and later - Greater Zimbabwe.

From about the 9th century, other Bantu tribes, the ancestors of the present Bayei and Mbukushu, began to penetrate the north-west of the country.

In the 13th century, the leaders of the Soto and Tswana began to gain strength in the western part of Transvaal. The leaders of the Barolong tribe began to exert serious pressure on the Kagalagadi tribes, forcing them to either obey or go further into the desert. By the middle of the XVII century, the power of the leaders of the Barolong-Kgalagadi spread to the lands up to the present Namibia, and news of their conflicts with the Hottentots (koy-koy) over copper mines reached even the Dutch settlers in the Cape colony.

The sixteenth century included the separation of Tswana proper under the rule of the dynasties of Hurutsche, Quen and Kgatla, who founded the kingdom of Ngwaketse at the end of the 17th century, subjugating the Kgalagadi and Barolong tribes. Soon they had to face an external threat: at first they were attacked by tribes who had evaded European influence in the southwest, and later Tswana had to deal with the consequences of Mfekana related to the spread of the influence of the Zulus. In 1826, there were clashes between Tswana and Kololo, who killed the leader Makabu II. Tswana succeeded in driving the pier further north, where they briefly settled. Kololo reached in the west to present-day Namibia (where they defeated the Herero), and in the north - to the lands of the vines in the upper Zambezi.

Protectorate
In the 1840s, after the wars ended, the Tswana states - Ngwaketse, Quena, Ngvato and Tawana - began to strengthen their influence in the region, as well as trade ivory and ostrich feathers with the Cape colony in the south. At the same time, European missionaries began to operate in Botswana. The most influential leaders of Tswana at that time were Széchele (reigned in 1829–1892), who was an ally of the British and converted to Christianity under the influence of David Livingston, as well as Kham III (reigned in 1872–1873 and 1875–1923), who was also an ally the British. The latter used its lands in order to bypass the hostile Boer republics (Transvaal and the Orange Free State) and the kingdoms of Sean and Ndebele.

In 1867-1869, gold mining began in the country in Tati, near Francistown, but due to the discovery of diamonds in South Africa, the gold rush was a short-lived phenomenon. In the 1880s, German colonization of southwestern Africa began to develop, tension in the region increased, and in 1885 the leaders of the Tswana turned to the British crown for protection. On March 31, 1885, a British protectorate over the lands of Tswana, called Bechuanalen, was proclaimed. The northern part of Bechuanaland remained under the control of the English crown, and the southern part was included in the Cape colony.

 

The British initially assumed that the Bechuanaland protectorate would be a temporary formation and subsequently, like Basutoland (Lesotho) with Swaziland, would be included in Rhodesia or the South African Union, and therefore Mafeking, located in the Cape Colony, was even the administrative center of the protectorate in 1895-1964 . There were no special development programs for Bechuanaland. In addition, attempts to reform and develop the extractive industry and agriculture aroused sharp protest among the leaders of the Tswana, who did not want to strengthen European influence on their lands.

Bechuanaland territory was divided into eight self-governing tribal reserves and five blocks of white population settlements that had the status of crown lands. The inclusion of protectorates in South Africa was constantly delayed, and, in the end, when apartheid began to be introduced in South Africa, it was decided not to unite these territories. In 1951, a joint advisory council was created, and in 1961, a constitution was adopted, which provided for the creation of a legislative assembly that had the right of deliberative vote.

Independent Botswana
Great Britain did not want to change the political structure of the country until the independent development of its economy began. In 1964, the colonial administration accepted the possibility of independence. In 1965, self-government was introduced, and the capital was moved from Mafikeng to the quickly rebuilt Gaborone; in 1966, the independent Republic of Botswana was proclaimed. The first prime minister was Seretse Khama, one of the leaders of the independence movement and the legitimate contender for the throne of the leader of the Bamangwato tribe. He was re-elected twice more and passed away in 1980 as president.

The economy of independent Botswana was based on the export of products (in particular, diamond deposits were found in the country). In order to get the most benefit from this export, in 1969 the government achieved a change in the terms of the customs agreement with South Africa. Since 1969, Botswana began to play a significant role in regional politics, relying on the principles of anti-racism and liberal democracy and contrasting them with the apartheid regime in South Africa. In 1974, Botswana, together with Zambia and Tanzania (later joined by Angola and Mozambique) created the Organization of Frontline States against the regimes in Southern Rhodesia, Namibia and South Africa. In 1980, it was transformed into the South African Development Coordination Conference, which has been known as the South African Development Community (SADC) since 1992.

After Khama, Vice President Quett Ketumile Masire, also twice re-elected, became president. Masire faced both internal problems (unemployment and a large economic gap in the standard of living of the urban and rural population), and international problems when South African troops began to raid the front-line states. As a result of two raids on Gaborone in 1985 and 1986, 15 civilians were killed. Diplomatic relations with South Africa were established only in 1994.

Masire resigned in 1998, after which Festus Mogae became the leader of Botswana. In 1998, about 2,400 refugees from Namibia arrived in the country, which negatively affected the relations between the two countries. In 2008, Festus Mogae resigned early, losing his post to the vice president and son of the country's first president, Jan Khame. In 2018, Mokvetsi Masisi took over as president.