Government Agencies Centers for Disease Control. Like all of his predecessors, he represents the Botswana Democratic Party, which has also won a majority in every parliamentary election since independence. Nearly all baskets have a pattern of some type woven into the bodywork and, to obtain coloured fibre, the palm strings are pounded and then soaked in a boiling solution of natural dyes taken from the bark and roots of various plants. Threads collapsed expanded unthreaded. The Hambukushu in northern Botswana are well known for their more artistic carvings, particularly of animals , and for the simple yet distorted style of their human figurines. The sound it nauseating. My husband, Ian, looks out of the mosquito netting at the side of the tent.
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Things to know before you travel to Botswana
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Log in Join now Log in Email. Keep me logged in. Connect with fellow expats in Botswana. Join exciting events and groups. Get information in our Botswana guides. The alluvial soils of the ancient lake beds include gray loamy soils in the wetlands, gray-green saline soils on the pans, gray clayish soils to yellowish sandy soils around the wetlands, and very chalky light gray soils around the pans.
There are also areas of gray to black cracking clay in former wet areas, such as those around Pandamatenga. The annual climate ranges from months of dry temperate weather during winter to humid subtropical weather interspersed with drier periods of hot weather during summer. In winter, which lasts from April to September, there is frequent frost at night, and temperatures may fall to near freezing in some high-altitude areas during the day. Summer is heralded by a windy season, the winds carrying dust from the Kalahari, from about late August to early October.
Annual rainfall, brought by winds from the Indian Ocean , averages 18 inches mm , representing a range from 25 inches mm in the extreme northeast to less than 5 inches mm in the extreme southwest. The rains are almost entirely limited to summer downpours between December and March, which also mark the season for plowing and planting. Cyclic droughts, often lasting up to five or six years in every two decades, can limit or eliminate harvests and reduce livestock to starvation.
Even in its southwestern corner, where there are some bare sand dunes, the vegetation is more characteristic of dry steppe than desert. The general vegetation of the country is savanna grassland with yellow or light brown grass cover turning green after rains and woody plants. Croton and Combretum tree savanna is found on the rocky hills of the eastern hardveld. Acacia tree savanna merges northward into mopane African ironwood savanna woodland.
Mopane woodland covers most of the northern and eastern third of the country, with the exception of the open grasslands immediately surrounding the Okavango delta and Makgadikgadi Pans. Animal life is extremely varied in a thirstland environment.
About species of mammals are found in Botswana. These range from 30 species of bats and 27 of rodents to more than 30 species of large mammals. Birdlife is prolific , with more than species. Botswana has a great variety of reptiles and amphibians, of which more than species have been described in detail.
The principal fish, in the rivers of the north, are tilapia African bream , catfish, and the tigerfish, which is famous for its ferocious resistance to being caught on a line. There are several national parks and game reserves in Botswana, including the Central Kalahari Game Reserve—the largest reserve in the country and home to such animals as lions, black-backed jackals, elephants, foxes, ostriches, springboks, and zebras.
The dominant ethnic identity in Botswana is Tswana , comprising some two-thirds of the population in the 21st century. Within southeastern Botswana the other main ethnic identity besides Tswana, that of the Khalagari Western Sotho , has become so incorporated as to be almost indistinguishable from the Tswana.
With larger numbers to the east in Zimbabwe, some Kalanga have resisted full incorporation. The Tawana state of northwestern Botswana can be seen as the least successful in incorporating other ethnic groups. Most of its population is Yei and Mbukushu by origin, related to riverine peoples in the Caprivi Strip, Angola, and Zambia to the north. Smaller numbers of Mbanderu and Herero have greater numbers of close relatives across the border in Namibia. Small scattered groups of Khoisan people inhabit the southwestern districts of Botswana, as well as being incorporated with other ethnic groups.
They include communities with their own headmen and livestock, as well as poorer groups employed by Tswana and white cattle farmers. White settlement in Botswana, consisting of some Afrikaners and fewer English settled in border farms, totaled fewer than 3, people in the colonial period. The number of whites in Botswana, while showing some increase since independence, still accounts for only a very small portion of the total population. Botswana is also home to a small population of Asian or mixed ancestry.
The national language, Tswana Setswana, Sechuana , is widely spoken. The official language is English. The Khoisan speak languages characterized as Khoe, or Khwe, and San. Several other languages are also spoken in the country, including Kalanga, Sekgalagadi, Herero, Mbukushu, and Yei. Some one-third adhere to traditional beliefs as their primary religious orientation.
Christianity was introduced during the colonial era by missionaries from the south such as David Livingstone and was established as the official religion of the eight Tswana states by the end of the 19th century. Some indigenous religious and medical practices, notably respect for patriarchal ancestors, were assimilated within popular Christian beliefs.
Allegiance to the old state churches, notably those of the Congregationalists London Missionary Society , has declined since the s. The human and livestock population of Botswana is concentrated around the hill ranges of the eastern hardveld and along the perennial rivers of the north.
About two-fifths of the population is rural and lives in settlements that range from small scattered sites that are sparsely populated to villages of more than 1, people to traditional towns with tens of thousands of people.
The typical rural settlement and land use pattern of the eastern hardveld in the past may be characterized as having been concentric circles around a concentrated village nucleus. The family had a home base in the village, where the majority of its members spent most of the year. Finally, beyond the cattle-posts there were hunting lands.
The villages and traditional towns of Botswana are still basically laid out around the kgotla courtyard and cattle kraal corral of traditional rulers and are subdivided into wards, each of which mimics the village or town plan with its own central kgotla and kraal. But, especially since the s, traditional settlements have been sliced through by modern roads and facilities such as schools and offices, as well as shopping malls and bars. Traditional architecture of thatch roofing and clay walls has given way to corrugated metal roofing and brick walls.
Two of the seven larger towns of Botswana, Francistown and Lobatse , originated as small urban centres on the railway for white farming communities. Both began to develop in size and function in the s as employment in nonagricultural services expanded. Gaborone, the capital city, was founded in Selebi-Phikwe and Jwaneng constitute the only substantial mining towns. The smaller diamond town of Orapa is enclosed by high security fences and is jointly managed by the government of Botswana and De Beers S.
Another mining town, Sua , is based on the soda ash deposits of the eastern Makgadikgadi Pans. After six previous censuses of variable quality, Botswana had its first systematic national census in Total population was estimated at ,, with 35, absentees—mostly adult male workers in South Africa. Since the population has grown, exceeding one million in the early s and approaching two million in the early 21st century. Meanwhile, the rate of labour migration abroad has been reduced by a combination of restrictions by South Africa and increased employment opportunities at home.
I cannot speak to whether or not all camps in Botswana operate this way, but we appreciated how this approach facilitated connection and a sense of shared humanity between visitors and staff members drawn from across Botswana and its various ethic groups. Sure, wildlife is the primary draw for most visitors to Botswana. But for us, and for many we spoke to, it was the laid back but attentive nature of the Batswana that made the experience.
The country features a few budget travel options e. To support the national park system and tourism infrastructure, costs are higher on a per traveler basis. A pride of lions on the move at Chobe National Park. Based on our experience, this tends to yield something more personalized where, for example, a safari game drive is less likely to feature dozens of land cruisers circling the same pride of lions. Sealed roads are few and infrastructure is limited, so many areas are accessible only by bush plane or boat.
We witnessed this firsthand in some of the more remote camps Camp Xakanaxa, Camp Okavango, and Leroo La Tau we visited, where costly, logistical gymnastics are required to transport guests and stock lodges with fresh food, fuel and other supplies. Additionally, many of the camps are deliberately small e. Not to mention, these remote locations allow a traveler to shift her brain into neutral, to disconnect and let the mind wander. Finding hotels and safari in Botswana: Compare rates at hotels throughout Botswana.
How to get to Botswana: We often use Skyscanner or Expedia to compare flight prices and book tickets. You never know if you'll end up with some illness or injury that means you need to cancel all or portions of your trip. With all of these scenarios, travel insurance will be there to help you and ensure that you don't end up with a huge bill at the end. We recommend and used for years World Nomads as travel insurance for trips to Botswana and other areas in Southern Africa.
Wow, amazing post, guys! So much useful and interesting information, accompanied by beautiful pictures. Thanks for sharing this infor.
And to hear you mention the stability of my beloved country, puts a glowing smile on my face. I recommend that next time you visit my country, add Mashatu and Tuli Block in your list of a must see places. They are the most pristine places exuding the vast splendour of nature.. Glad to hear it, Naledi. Thanks so much for the additional Botswana travel recommendations. I was already in love with Botswana and now I am even more so.
Seems like a great country. Our trip was really enlightening. Stay tuned as more Botswana experiences and details are coming up. And your photos are really stunning! The colours and the lightning are perfect. I also really like the composition — you balanced the beautiful landscape with contrasting details.
And Botswana provided plenty of material for us to do so. Great to have a primer on this country ahead of my first foray into Africa next year … thanks for all the in-depth research! Mokoro ride with the hippos and crocodiles, field walks on the islands, really beautiful and peaceful place. Be careful of the mosquitos. We were just sharing our fascination of the Okavango Delta and its seasonal cycle with a friend the other day.
Nice post, definitely looks like a great safari adventure. Thanks for the inspiration, really feel like visiting now — Botswana could be our first trip to Sub-Saharan Africa!
By the way, how did you end up having a East German school map of Africa? Not sure how we missed this, Julian. When you go to Botswana, these locations should not be missed. Hope you have a chance to see it. Would look forward to hearing about your experience. As for the map, we bought it years ago at a weekend flea market in Frankfurt.. Good day, and thank you for a well-written article. I am a local, who is keen on selling the strong points of my country Botswana.
Certainly, we have a lot of weak points, but I like your having chosen to maintain a positive spin of Botswana. Such a gesture raises the spirit and profile of a people. I hope you will also visit other parts of Botswana such as the Kalahari Trans-frontier Park in the south-western part of Botswana, the Old Palapye gorges in the east of Botswana, the Kgalagadi region to the west and the vast southern and central parts of Botswana where you can come into contact with the general populace and natural Botswana.
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