|Area||total: 600,370 sq km |
water: 15,000 sq km
land: 585,370 sq km
|Language||English (official), Setswana|
|Religion||indigenous beliefs 85%, Christian 15%|
Botswana is a land-locked country located in Southern Africa and bordering on Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Angola. 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. The bulk of the Kalahari desert falls within Botswana's borders and Botswana is home to most of the world's San (bushman) population.
- Maun -- Gateway to the Nata
- Chobe National Park -- A great place to see wildlife, and a good point from which to move on to Victoria Falls.
- Kgalagadi Transfontier Park
See also African National Parks
Botswana's main airport is Sir Seretse Khama in Gaborone. Most flights arriving in Botswana are from Johannesburg in South Africa.
There are several entry points by road to Botswana: In the south at Gaborone, providing access from Johannesburg; in the west providing access from Namibia;the north providing access from Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe; and at Francistown in the east, providing access from Harare. All road access is good and the primary roads within Botswana are paved and well maintained.
There is regular bus service from Johannesburg to Gaborone, which takes six hours. There is also service from Windhoek, Namibia via the Caprivi Strip which will drop you in Chobe National Park, in northern Botswana. There is also bus service from Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. See Intercape Mainliner (http://www.intercape.co.za/) for information on service from Namibia and Zimbabwe.
Through a combination of coaches, combies and trains, you can get anywhere in Botswana without any trouble. The roads are paved and well maintained, so travel by car is also not a problem.
The language of business in Botswana is English and everyone speaks it. 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
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 University of Botswana (http://www.ub.bw/) is located in Gaborone.
People in Botswana are very friendly and the crime rate is low. There isn't much to worry about on this front.
Botswana's HIV infection rate, estimated at 40%, is the highest in the world. Do not have unprotected sex!
The northern part of Botswana, including Chobe National Park and the Okavango Delta is in a malarial zone. Take approprate precautions when travelling in these areas. There are different strains of malaria and different habits of the mosquitos that carry it, so consult a doctor before leaving.
The drinking water is safe, unless otherwise indicated.