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 is a massive nature reserve situated in northwest Botswana in Africa.

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

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

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

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

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


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

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



In colonial times, the country was a British protectorate called "Bechuanaland" ("country of the Bechuans") - from the foundations of the Bechuana (an outdated name for the Tswana people, the predominant population of the country), and land (English land) - "country". On September 30, 1966, Bechuanaland declared independence within the framework of the Commonwealth of Nations and changed its name to "Botswana" - "land of Tswana" (bo- is a prefix of a class of objects, Tswana is an ethnonym).


Physical and geographical characteristics

Botswana is located in South Africa. The territory of the country is 581,730 km², of which the land area is 566,730 km². The length of Botswana in the direction from northeast to southwest is 1110 km, from southeast to northwest - 960 km. The country has common borders in the south and southeast with South Africa (1840 km), in the north and west with Namibia (1360 km), in the northeast with Zambia (less than 1 km) and Zimbabwe (813 km). The total length of the borders is 4013 km.

Most of the country is located in the subtropical climate zone with pronounced features of continentality. The average maximum temperature in January is 33°C, in July 22°C, the average minimum is 18°C ​​in January and 5°C in July. The average temperature in January is from 22 to 27 ° C, in July - from 14 to 16 ° C, daily temperature amplitudes reach 22 ° C, in winter (from June to September) there are frosts. In many areas, the hottest month is October, and with the onset of the rainy season, which in most areas falls in November, March; average temperatures decrease by 1.5–2 °C.

The average annual rainfall is 460 mm, varying from 127 mm in the southwest to 635 mm in the northeast. Almost all precipitation falls during the summer months (December to March). Relative humidity in the summer months is 60-80% in the morning and 30-40% at noon, in winter - 40-70% in the morning and 20-30% at noon. In August, seasonal westerly winds begin, often turning into sandstorms.

70% of Botswana is located on the territory of the gently sloping inland basin of the Kalahari. The highest point is in the Tsodilo hills (1489 m), the lowest is at the confluence of the Limpopo and Shashe rivers (513 m).

A vast plateau with an average height of 1200 m, extending from the north of Kanye to the border with Zimbabwe, divides the country into two topographic regions. The eastern region is a hilly area dominated by shrubs and grass. To the west of the plateau lie the Okavango Marshes and the Kalahari Desert.

The soils of the eastern and central parts of the country consist of dry, red clayey mokata soils found in the plains, or mixed chalky and sandy soils of the savana with brownish rocky soils of the villages found in and around the hills. The soils of the village are the best in Botswana for growing crops. Soil fertility is limited by low rainfall. Alluvial soils at the site of the ancient lake include gray clay soils in wetlands, grey-green saline soils on bolsons, gray clay soils to yellowish sandy soils around wetlands, chalky light gray soils around bolsons. There are also areas of gray and black clay soils in formerly wet areas.

Water resources
The largest river in Botswana is the Okavango. In the north-west of the country there is its lower course and a vast inland delta with an area of ​​about 16 thousand km² (up to 22 thousand km² at flood). The Okavango Delta is rich in lakes, the largest of which is the brackish Lake Ngami. From the delta there is an irregular flow along the drying river Boteti (Botletle) through the salt lake Tskau to one of the world's largest salt marshes - Makgadikgadi (about 40 thousand km²). In the wettest years, there is also runoff into the Zambezi River from the Okavango Delta.

In the south-east of the country, the left tributaries of the Limpopo River flow along the border with South Africa; in the northeast - the right tributaries of the Chobe River, which flows along the northern border. In the rest of the territory there are only drying rivers, filled with water only in the rainy season, as well as drainless salt lakes. Most of the rivers in Botswana originate in South Africa or Angola.

The country has 2.9 km³ of renewable water sources, of which 46% is used for agriculture. Almost the entire urban population and 90% of rural residents have access to clean water.

The bowels of the country contain a large number of minerals; deposits of diamonds, gold, oil, nickel, copper, manganese, cobalt, lead, zinc, coal, asbestos, sulfur, talc, and bromine have been discovered. There are also deposits of soda ash and caustic soda, platinum, uranium, sodium chloride, silver and chromium.

Among the minerals, diamonds are of the greatest importance for the economy. In 1967, the first kimberlite pipe was found near the village of Orapa, 240 km from the city of Francistown, then the pipes were found in the areas of Letlhakane and Tswaneng. Botswana diamonds are known for their high quality, 30% of which are used in jewelry.

Among other large mineral deposits: deposits of copper-nickel ore near the city of Selebi-Pikwe and high-grade coal near the village of Mmamabula.


Flora and fauna

Most of the country is occupied by deserted tree and shrub savannahs. In the south-west of the country, sandy semi-deserts with succulent shrubs and semi-shrubs are common. At the very border with South Africa, there are "living stones", representatives of the supersucculent genus Lithops. In the eastern and northern parts of Botswana, grass savannas are developed, partly used for grazing and agriculture. These areas are subject to the negative effects of soil erosion and salinization. The far north of the country is occupied by light forests and park savannahs, where acacias, baobabs, marula, commiphora, breadfruit and others are common. Here, too, but to a lesser extent, gallery forests along the river valleys are represented. The Okavango Delta is characterized by tropical swamps of reeds, papyrus and elephant grass.

The fauna of the country belongs to the South African subregion of the Ethiopian region. It is rich and diverse: elephants (the largest population in the world), lions, leopards, cheetahs, jackals, hyenas (brown and spotted), zebras, buffaloes, giraffes, various antelopes (wildbeest, eland, kongoni, oryx, great kudu, springbok, stenbock, duikers and others).

There are numerous birds (African ostrich, black and crested bustards and others), lizards, snakes (pythons, shield cobras, black mambas and others). Of the arthropods, scorpions are common.

A large number of fish species live in the rivers and lakes of Botswana - in particular, tiger fish, tilapia, African catfish, barbs and many others are common. Endemic to Botswana is the fish Petrocephalus magnitrunci, which belongs to the Mormyridae family and lives only in the Boro River, part of the Okavango Delta. Also, carp, largemouth bass, Nile tilapia are introduced into the rivers of Botswana.

The richest fauna of the Okavango Delta is inhabited by hippos, sitatunga antelope and red lychee, waterbucks, African kite-fisherman, African fishing owl, honey buzzard, kingfishers, flamingos, storks, ibises, several types of herons, ducks, shiny teals, crocodiles. In general, 500 species of birds, 89 fish, 128 mammals, 150 reptiles and amphibians have been recorded in the river delta.

Protected areas
Due to the growing pace of livestock development and the negative impact of a number of anthropogenic factors that threaten vegetation and wild animals, a number of reserves and national parks have been created in Botswana to protect the environment, occupying about 18% of the total area of ​​the country. The largest of them are:

The Central Kalahari Reserve (area - 52,800 km²) is the world's largest reserve in terms of area. It was founded in 1961 in the center of the country, protects the natural complexes of the savannas and deserts with their characteristic fauna. In addition, the territory of the reserve is home to the nomadic tribe of San (Bushmen);
Chobe National Park (area - 10,566 km²) was declared a national park in 1967 (before that it had the status of a reserve). The park is known for its biodiversity, four different ecosystems are observed on its territory, the world's largest population of elephants lives;
Moremi Reserve, located in the eastern part of the Okavango Delta and covers an area of ​​​​4871 km²;
Caves of Gchvikhaba, located on the territory of the North-Western District.

The country has a very high rate of urbanization: if in 1981 the urban population was only 18% of the inhabitants, then in 2005 it was already 53.6%. According to United Nations estimates, urban population growth in 2000-2005 was 2.2%. The country's largest city is its capital, Gaborone, with 199,600 inhabitants (2004). Other large cities (population in 2004 is given in brackets): Francistown (89,100 inhabitants), Molepolole (58,600 inhabitants), Selebi-Pikwe (53,500 inhabitants), Maun (47,000 inhabitants).


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. In the last few centuries BC 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. and probably associated with the Bantu peoples of the Limpopo Valley. By 420 A.D. 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.

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.


Political structure

Political system
Botswana is a democratic republic with a multi-party system.

executive branch
The head of state, head of government and supreme commander is the President, who is elected for a term of five years by a simple majority of the National Assembly. He has the right to appoint and dismiss the cabinet of ministers, as well as the vice president, decide questions of war and peace, convene a national assembly, and veto bills passed by parliament.

Botswana's bicameral parliament consists of the National Assembly and the House of Chiefs. The National Assembly consists of 61 deputies, of which 57 are directly elected and 4 are appointed by the majority party. If no decision is made, the National Assembly may be dissolved by the President. All members of parliament are elected for a term of five years. The House of Chiefs is mainly an advisory body and consists of thirty-five members - eight chiefs of the largest tribes - life members, twenty-two - elected by small districts for a period of five years, and five - appointed by the president.

Judicial branch
The judiciary in Botswana consists of a supreme court, a court of appeal, and first, second, and third class magistrates' courts. The Minister of Justice is appointed by the President of the country and is the Chairman of the Legal Services Commission, which submits nominations of judges to the President. The legal system is based on Roman Dutch and local customary law. There are also local village councils of kgotla in the country, where decisions are made by residents as a result of discussion.

Political parties
The most influential party in the country is the Democratic Party of Botswana, which was founded before the country gained independence under the name of the Bechuanaland Democratic Party. It has won every election that has taken place in Botswana since 1966, and every president of the country has been a member. Currently, more than ten political parties are registered in the country, the most significant of which are the Botswana National Front (1966), the Botswana Movement for Democracy (2010), which, along with the Botswana People's Party, are part of the Umbrella Alliance for Democratic Change” and “Botswana Congress Party” (1998).

Armed forces
As of November 2007, there were 9 thousand people in the armed forces of Botswana, including 94.4% - the army. Military spending is (2005) 3.0% of GDP, or $177 per capita in monetary terms. The age of military service is 18 years. According to an estimate for 2005, the number of men aged 18 to 49 was 350,649, of which 136,322 were fit for military service. The average annual number of men reaching the age of 18 is 21,103.


Foreign policy

Botswana's foreign policy is based on the principle of non-alignment. Since October 17, 1966, the country has been a member of the United Nations and a member of all its specialized agencies, except for the IAEA and IMO. Botswana is also a member of the African Union and the World Trade Organization, the South African Customs Union, the East and South Africa Preferential Trade Area, the African Development Bank, the Commonwealth of Nations, the Group of 77, the Southern African Development Community (SADC), a signatory to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. It is a member of the international organization of ACT countries.

Botswana's main foreign policy partners are the member states of the South African Development Community (SADC), headquartered in Gaborone. It played an important role with other states in the region in solving the Southern Rhodesian problem and established close relations with South Africa after the fall of the apartheid regime in it. In the 1990s, there were border conflicts with Namibia over the use of the water resources of the Okavango River. The Namibian government planned to use the waters of the river to provide water to Windhoek, which, according to Botswana, would inevitably lead to a decrease in the population and animal population in the delta. After that, Namibia declared its claims to the island of Kasikili / Sedudu in the International Court of Justice, but as a result, Botswana defended its rights to this island.


Administrative division

Administratively, the territory of Botswana is divided into 9 districts:
Central District;
Northeastern District;
Northwestern District;
Southeastern District;
Southern District;

In turn, they are divided into 28 subdistricts.

In Botswana, the last census was conducted on 9–18 August 2011. The population of the country in 2011 was 2,024,904 people.

The national composition of the country's population is dominated by the Tswana people (80%), followed by: Shona (10%), Ndebele (1.7%), Herero (1.4%), Bushmen (1.3%), Afrikaners (1, 3%) and others. The population density is 3.2 people per km². 53.6% of the country's population lives in cities (2005).

In the sexual section, there is a slight predominance of women (50.07%) over men (49.93%) (2007). 35.8% of the population belongs to the age group under 15 years old, 33.7% - from 15 to 29 years old, 16.3% - from 30 to 44 years old, 8.7% - from 45 to 59 years old, 3.9% - from 60 to 74 years old, 1.2% - from 75 to 84 years old, 0.4% - 85 years old and above (2007). Average life expectancy (2007): 51.6 years (men), 49.6 years (women).

Birth rate - 23.2 per 1000 inhabitants (2007), mortality - 13.6 per 1000 inhabitants (2007). Natural increase - 9.6 per 1000 inhabitants (2007). The total fertility rate (2007) is 2.73 children per woman. According to a 2007 estimate, 23.9% of the adult population (15-49 years old) is infected with the immunodeficiency virus.

The economically active population is 587,882 people (2001), i.e. 35.0% of the total population. 57.6% of the economically active population are workers aged 15 to 64 years, the number of women - 43.8% of the economically active population. Unemployment is over 20% (2004).

Approximately 70% of the population of the country are Christians, among which the most common are Anglicans, Methodists and adherents of the United Congerational Church of South Africa. Also represented are Lutherans, Catholics, Mormons, Seventh Day Adventists, Jehovah's Witnesses, Baptists, the Dutch Reformed Church, Mennonites and other Christian denominations.

Pentecostals (43 thousand) united in the Pentecostal Protestant Church (36 thousand), Pentecostal Holiness Church, Assemblies of God, Church of God in Christ,

According to the 2001 census, about 5,000 people profess Islam in Botswana - mostly from South Asia, 3,000 profess Hinduism, about 700 - the Baha'i religion. 6% of the population practices badimo - local traditional beliefs. Approximately 20% of the population professes no religion.

The official languages ​​of the country are English and Tswana. The population also speaks other languages, the most common of which are:

Kalanga - 150 thousand native speakers (2004) in the North-Eastern District, the eastern part of the Central District, the most common dialect is Lilim;
kgalagadi - 40 thousand people. (2004);
Herero - 31,000 native speakers (2006) in Northwest District, Central District, Ghanzi District, Kgalagadi District, Kgatleng District;
Afrikaans - 20 thousand people (2006) in Ganzi County, in the southern part of Kgalagadi County (especially near the South African border), in Kweneng County in Takatokwane;
mbukushu - 20 thousand people. (2004) in the Northwestern District;
yeyi - 20 thousand native speakers (2004) in the Northwestern and Central districts;
Ndebele - 17 thousand people. (2006) in the North-Eastern District;
birwa - 15 thousand people. (2004) in Bobonong Subdistrict of the Central District;
Nambia - 15 thousand people. (2004);
Lozi - 14 thousand people (2004);
zezuru - 11 thousand people. (2004);
people - 10 thousand people. (2004) in Ganzi County.

Armed forces
The task of ensuring the territorial integrity of the country is carried out by the Botswana Defense Forces. In addition, they solve issues related to the fight against poaching and the implementation of peacekeeping and humanitarian operations in different parts of the globe.

In 2018, defense spending accounted for 2.94% of the country's GDP.



Gross national product is US$10,991 million (2007), US$5,840 per capita, PPP US$12,420 per capita. The revenue side of the budget (2005-2006) is 21,697,300,000 pools, the expenditure side is 20,122,200,000 pools. The official unemployment rate is 23.8%, but the actual one is closer to 40%.

The history of Botswana's economic development is considered one of the most successful in Africa. The country's economy was based almost entirely on animal husbandry until the 1970s, when Botswana became an exporter of diamonds and other minerals. The rapid growth of diamond mining allowed Botswana to achieve high economic growth in 1966-1997 (an average annual growth of 9.2%), after which the Asian financial crisis affected the country's economy. In 2000, the level of economic growth was 7.7%, inflation - 10%. In 2004, inflation was 7%. Despite a relatively developed infrastructure with good roads and communications, there is a lack of technical skills among the workforce in the country.

Main goods produced in the country (per year):
agriculture (2007): root and tuber - 93,000 tons, sorghum - 33,000 tons, legumes - 17,500, corn - 12,000 tons, sunflower seeds - 7,000 tons;
animal husbandry and fishery (2007): cattle stock - 3,100 thousand, 1,960 thousand goats, 300 thousand sheep, wool production (2005) - 765,750 m³, fishery products (2005) - 132 tons;
mining (2006): soda - 255,677 tons, nickel ores (metal grade) - 38,000 tons, copper ores (metal grade) - 24,300 tons, diamonds - 34,293,000 carats;
manufacturing (2004): beverages $50 million, motor vehicles (1997) $33 million, textiles $12 million, leather $2 million

The basis of the country's economy is diamond mining, which in 2000 accounted for 33% of GDP, 45% of budget revenues and 75% of the country's exports. Botswana is one of the world's leading diamond producers, ranking first in the world in terms of the value of diamonds mined. The country has the largest diamond quarry - Jwaneng. Their mining began in 1971 in cooperation with De Beers. In 2006, the total production of diamonds in the country amounted to 34,293 thousand carats. In 2015, the 1,111-carat Our Light diamond was found at a deposit in northern Central Botswana, the largest in the last hundred years and the second largest in the history of diamond mining in the world.

Botswana also produces copper-nickel ores, coal, soda, has reserves of platinum, gold and silver.

Botswana has a small but dynamic manufacturing sector, accounting for 4% of GDP. During the 1990s, the growth rate for this sector averaged 3.8%. Production is mainly focused on the production of textiles, beverages, chemicals, metals, plastics and electrical products. Despite the dynamic pace of production growth, it is limited by the country's small domestic market, underdeveloped infrastructure, dependence on imports, and an unskilled workforce.

Of the entire territory of the country, only 0.7% is occupied by arable land. The main problems of agriculture are traditional farming methods and frequent drought. Most of the agricultural land is located in the east of the country. The main crops grown are sorghum, corn and millet, but cowpeas, legumes and other crops are grown to a lesser extent. In 2007, 33,000 tons of sorghum and 12,000 tons of corn were produced, but sorghum and grain production provide only 10% for consumption. Thus, in 2001, Botswana imported 174,198 tons of cereals with a total value of about $53 million. The main grain imports come from Zimbabwe and South Africa. The country has a number of government programs aimed at supporting farms. Research is being carried out to conduct agriculture without harming the soil, increasing grain yields.

Livestock is also a significant sector of the economy - meat products, most of which are sold to South Africa and Western Europe, are one of the main export items.



The main part of the electricity produced in the country is generated by the Botswana Power Corporation, which was founded in 1970. The largest thermal power plants in the country are located in Morupol (capacity - 123 MW) and in Selebi-Phikwe (60 MW).

The total production of electricity in 2000 amounted to 500 million kWh, which exceeded the level of 1972 by 15 times; in the same year, electricity consumption amounted to 1,500 million kWh. In 2005, electricity production amounted to 912 million kWh, consumption - 2,602 million kWh. Since the 1990s, the country's energy system has been part of the unified energy system of southern Africa, most of the electricity consumed is imported from South Africa. Coal production, which is mainly mined in Morupol, practically meets domestic needs and amounted to 888 thousand tons in 1998, 962 thousand tons - in 2006.


Transport and communications
The length of railways is 888 km (2002), the annual transportation of passengers is 106 million passenger-kilometers, cargo - 747 million ton-kilometers (2001). The main railway line in Botswana, 641 km long, is the road from Cape Town, South Africa, to Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, connecting Lobatse, Gaborone and Francistown. Two branches with a total length of 71 km connect the Morupule coal mines and the copper-nickel complex in Selebi-Pikwe with the main branch. In 1991, a 165 km branch was built connecting Sua Pan and Francistown. The main railway operator is Botswana Railways.

The total length of motor roads is 24,455 km, of which 33% are paved. Bituminous roads have been extended to the borders with Zambia and Zimbabwe to reduce Botswana's economic dependence on South Africa. In 2005, there were 82,056 motor vehicles and 74,387 trucks and buses registered in the country.

As of 2001, there were 92 airports and airstrips in the country, of which 10 had paved runways. The state-owned Air Botswana operates scheduled flights from Francistown, Gaborone, Maun and Selebi Pikwe. There are international flights to Johannesburg, Mbabane and Harare. The transportation of passengers per year by this company is 96 million passenger-kilometers, cargo 300 thousand ton-kilometers.

There are 758 cellular and 78 fixed telephones per 1000 inhabitants of the country (2007), 49 personal computers (2005), 43 Internet users (2007).

Tourism revenues in 2000 amounted to 313 million US dollars, in 2006 - 537 million US dollars. The most popular among tourists are the national parks and reserves of the country, the Kalahari Desert, the Tsodilo Hills. As of 1999, there were 2,100 hotel rooms with 3,720 beds in the country. In 1999, 843,314 tourists visited Botswana, 720,000 of whom were from other countries in Africa. In 2003, the US State Department estimated a day's stay in Gaborone at $129, in Kasan at $125, and in other regions at $50.

Currency unit
Main article: Botswana pula
The pula was introduced as Botswana's currency in 1976, replacing the South African rand in currency. One pula equals 100 thebes. Coins in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 25, 50 thebe and 1 pula and banknotes in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10 and 20 pula were put into circulation.

Foreign economic relations
Imports (2005): $3,247,000 (machinery and apparatus 16.3%, food, beverages and tobacco 13.7%, mineral fuels 13.3%, transport equipment 12.5%, chemical and rubber products - 11.9%. Main exporters: countries of the South African Customs Union - 85.1%, European countries - 6.5%, Zimbabwe - 1.5%.

Export (2005): $4,395,000 (diamonds 75.1%, copper-nickel ores 10.3%, textiles 5.0%, meat products 1.7%). The main importers: European countries - 77.0% (of which the UK - 75.7%), countries of the South African Customs Union - 9.0%, Zimbabwe - 4.1%.

Social sphere
Literacy of the population of the country (2005) is 78.6% among the population over 15 years old, literacy among men is 78.6%, among women is 84.1%.

The first European-style schools in the country were created by the London Missionary Society at the beginning of the 19th century. Until 1961, primary school funding was entirely at the expense of local tribes, while some tribes spent up to 70% of their budget on education. In the period 1985-1994, the government of the country implemented a program for the construction of secondary schools, already in 1999, 84% of children of primary school age attended primary schools, 59% of children of the corresponding age attended secondary schools. The first four years of instruction are taught in Tswana, then in English. Primary education lasts seven years, secondary education takes place in two stages - three and two years. The Government of the country provides free education at the level of primary and lower secondary education.

The higher education system includes the University of Botswana Gaborone and the Botswana College of Agriculture.

Botswana has a number of public and private hospitals. Public hospitals are divided into three levels depending on the severity of the disease. The three largest hospitals are located in Gaborone, Francistown and Lobatse. In 2006, there were 526 doctors in the country (1 per 3,346 people), 3,911 hospital beds (1 per 450 people). Total health spending (2006) is 7.2% of GDP.

According to a 2007 estimate, 23.9% of the adult population (15-49 years old) is infected with HIV / AIDS, 26 thousand people die from AIDS every year (2001), Botswana ranks second in the world after Swaziland in terms of its prevalence. In addition to AIDS, the main diseases in the country are malaria and tuberculosis, in 1999 there were 702 cases of tuberculosis per 100 thousand inhabitants, in 2000 17% of children under the age of five had malaria.


Mass media

The country's constitution enshrines freedom of speech, and the government of Botswana upholds this principle, although the opposition sometimes claims that their radio airtime is limited. State television came relatively late with the launch of Botswana Television (BTV) in 2000, and the country also has a private television channel, Gaborone Television, owned by GBC (Gaborone Broadcasting Company). Important media are radio stations - the state-owned "Radio Botswana" and private "Yarona FM", "Gabz FM", "Duma FM".

The distribution of print media is mainly limited to cities. The most famous newspapers are Daily News, Botswana Guardian, Botswana Gazette, Mmegi/The Reporter, Sunday Standard, The Midweek Sun, The Voice. The state-owned news agency Botswana Press Agency (Bopa) operates.



Botswana cuisine shares similarities with other South African cuisines, but also has its own characteristics. Examples of traditional Tswana food are ugali (ugali, pap) and samp (varieties of porridge made from corn grits), vetkoek (fried patty), mopane caterpillars, which are considered a delicacy and cost four times more than ordinary meat. Sorghum and maize are the main crops grown in Botswana. Beef is the most popular meat followed by goat. River fish is used for food. Of the legumes, cowpeas are the most common, and peanuts are grown. Vegetables include spinach, carrots, cabbage, onions, potatoes, tomatoes, sweet potatoes and lettuce. They also use wild seasonal vegetables: thepe and okra. Many fruits are also present, including marula. Many vegetables are only available during certain seasons, usually dried or salted. There are many different ways of preparing dried vegetables in the country.

Fine Arts and Crafts
The most ancient monument of fine art in Botswana is the rock art at Tsodilo in the north-east of the country, which contains more than 4,500 drawings in an area of ​​​​approximately 10 km² of the Kalahari Desert. They depicted schematically various animals (zebras, whales, rhinos and penguins), people, scenes of ritual dances.

There are many contemporary artists in the country, whose paintings are sold in shops, as well as exhibited at expositions in Gaborone and Francistown, the most famous of which are the expositions of the National Museum.

Among Botswana handicrafts, the most famous is the production of baskets, which are made from Mokolwane palm (Hyphaene petersiana), which is cut and boiled in earth-colored natural dyes. Among other crafts, wood carving (making ritual masks and various household utensils, including spoons with long handles in the form of anthropo- and zoomorphic figurines), pottery (making figurines and ceramic dishes decorated with figures of animals and birds), and the production of rugs are common. from animal skins, making vessels from dried gourds.

The first book published in Botswana was the 19th century Bible. Literature in the country first developed through translation - some translators, such as Sol Dress and L. D. Raditlady, translated a number of plays by William Shakespeare into the Tswana language. The most famous among Botswana writers is Bessie Head, who was born in South Africa to the daughter of a wealthy white South American woman and her black servant. She has written a number of novels in English, including When the Clouds Gather and A Matter of Power. Other writers from Botswana include David Suggs, Unity Doe.

The music of Botswana was formed as a result of the integration of the musical cultures of the peoples living in the country. The most popular form of music in Botswana is Gumba Gumba, which is modernized Zulu and Tswana music mixed with jazz. From folk music, such forms as khuru, tsutsube, mokomoto, borankana, ndazola, selete, chesa and setupa are common. Of the modern musical trends, kvass-kvass is known, which is the African version of the rumba.

Among the national musical instruments used are: sekowane (musical bow), quadi, losiba and segankuru (hollow pipes), mbira, matlo rattles, moropa (conical wooden drum), mapata (ritual horn), ditlak flute - made of wood, bamboo , cane, skin and horns of animals, as well as dried gourds.

Museums and libraries
The largest museum in the country is the National Museum and Art Gallery in Gaborone, which was opened in 1968 and contains materials on the ethnography and history of Botswana, as well as works of art from the country and the region. There are also ethnographic museums in Francistown, Kanye and Mochudi and a postal museum in Gaborone.

The National Library Service of Botswana was founded in 1967 and, as of 2009, has 21 branches around the country, holding a total of 160,000 volumes of books, of which 65,000 are in the main branch in Gaborone. Gaborone also houses the University of Botswana Library (250,000 volumes) and the National Archives (20,000 volumes).



In Botswana, the most common sports are athletics, boxing, cricket and football. Botswana has competed in the Summer Olympics since 1980. Nigel Amos won the silver medal in the 800m at the 2012 London Olympics. Among the most famous Olympic athletes in the country are Gable Garenamotse, Lechedzani Luza, California Molefe, Frans Mabiletsa and Humiso Ikgopoleng.

The Botswana Football Association was founded in 1970 and joined FIFA in 1978. The Botswana national football team, called "zebras" or "ezimbisi" by fans, participates in international competitions, but has never taken part in the finals of the World Cup, and made its debut in the African Cup of Nations in 2012.