Botswana is a landlocked country in the southern part of the African continent. It is located to the north of South Africa. Its other neighbouring countries are Namibia, Zimbabwe and Zambia. Undoubtedly one of the most beautiful countries in Africa, Botswana has a landscape like no other. From vast stretches of golden desert to flooding rivers, parched salt pans, and sprawling savannahs teeming with migrating mammals – this landlocked country is an awe-inspiring safari destination.
Here are twelve interesting facts about Botswana!
1. What is a person from Botswana called? A Botswanian? No! Contrary to popular belief, a person from Botswana is a Motswana, the plural is Batswana and their language is Setswana.
2. Botswana is home to the densest elephant population in the world. The best place to spot them is at Chobe National Park, where they come to the Chobe River Front to play, drink and swim. So, you will not only see cars on the roads in Botswana; also watch out for elephants crossing the main roads.
3. Botswana is the world’s second largest producer of diamonds. In fact, the country produced 40 million carats of diamonds in 2016.
4. The currency of Botswana is Pula. The word pula literally “rain” in the local language. Since much of Botswana is desert, rainfall is a rare event in the country, and is therefore highly valuable and considered to be a blessing.
5. If you hoping to see two African countries at once then Botswana is the place to go. The border between Botswana and Zambia spans just 150 meters, making it the shortest border in the world.
6. Located in the dry savanna of north-eastern Botswana, the Makgadikgadi Pan is one of the largest salt pans in the world. The pan is situated in an area that was once covered by the massive Lake Makgadikgadi.
7. Botswana is home to the Kalahari Desert, which takes up about 70% of the entire country. The desert is home to many animals ranging from Meerkats, Flamingos, and Leopards to African wild dogs.
8. Mopane worms are a delicacy in Botswana. Bon Appetit! I bet this is one of the facts about Botswana you didn’t want to know about.
9. Botswana’s Makgadikgadi and Nxai Pan national parks are centre stage for the world’s second largest, yet little known zebra migration covering a round trip of about 300 miles (500 kilometre).
10. Botswana suffers from one of the world’s worst HIV/AIDS epidemics, after Swaziland and Lesotho. The country has an adult HIV prevalence rate of 24.8%. The high socioeconomic costs of managing HIV/AIDS at a national level are challenging to the nation’s economy.
11. Botswana has the richest diamond mine by value in the world. The Jwaneng Diamond Mine is located in the Southern part of Botswana. The meaning of Jwaneng is “place of small stones”’.
12. There are more than 150,000 islands in the Okavango Delta, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The sizes vary from a couple of meters to a few kilometers.
How to reach Botswana?
There are two international airports – Sir Seretse Khama International located about 15kms from the capital city Gaborone and the newer Amuch International Airport at Maun. Regular connections can be made from Johannesburg (South Africa), Harare (Zimbabwe) or Lusaka (Zambia) to Botswana. Most European, Asian, Australian and American cities are linked to Gaborone via Johannesburg (South Africa).
South Africa and Zimbabwe are connected by rail to Botswana. The country has the best train connections in the region.
Botswana Visa: https://www.onhisowntrip.com/visa-botswana/
Okavango Delta: The Okavango Delta is one of the most inspiring and awe-inspiring wilderness locations in Africa. It’s an oasis of islands, wildlife and lush green vegetation located in the middle of the dry Desert. Make sure you go on a unique a safari tour and spot wildlife from the safety of a traditional canoe (a mokoro) and then camp overnight.
Chobe National Park: A truly beautiful sight to behold, the Chobe National Park is one of the most popular attractions in Africa and makes Botswana a must-visit destination. Chobe boasts around 120,000 elephants. The best time to visit Chobe is between May and September when the weather is drier and cooler. Herds of zebra, eland, buffalo, giraffe, and wildebeest congregate here at this time of year.
Kalahari Desert: The Kalahari Desert that covers approximately 900,000sq. km is a large semi-arid sandy savannah. Its vast stresses of land spread from Angola to the Orange river. The terracotta dunes have been shaped by wind and have a surreal, other-worldly beauty. Also visit for the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, one of the world’s largest game reserves.
Khama Rhino Sanctuary: Established in 1992, this is a community-based wildlife project which was set up to help protect and restore the vanishing rhinoceros. If you are looking for Rhinos, then you should give a visit to the Khama Rhino Sanctuary. There are camping facilities available in the sanctuaries and also reserves and safaris in the sanctuary.
Makgadikgadi Pans: One of the largest salt pans in the world, Makgadikgadi was once a lake covering a vast 10,000 square kilometers of north-eastern Botswana. Camping safaris to spot the resident zebra, wildebeest their predators are a good option for more adventurous travellers.
Moremi Wildlife Reserve: Without doubt, one of the most beautiful wildlife sanctuaries in Africa, the Moremi Wildlife Reserve is small but perfectly formed, with a high density and variety of wildlife. The reserve supports one of the greatest concentrations of wildlife in Africa and includes endangered wild dogs, herds of elephants and the ‘Big Five’.