Botswana is a landlocked country in Southern Africa. It has a landscape defined by the Kalahari Desert and the Okavango Delta, which becomes a lush animal habitat during the seasonal floods. The massive Central Kalahari Game Reserve, with its fossilized river valleys and undulating grasslands, is home to many animals such as giraffes, cheetahs, hyenas and wild dogs.
1. Botswana is home to the worlds biggest concentration of African elephants, of which the highest concentration is found in Chobe National Park. During the dry season, large herds of elephants make their way to the river banks of the Chobe River.
2. Around 38% of the country’s surface is dedicated to national parks, reserves and wildlife management areas.
3. The Okavango Delta is the biggest inland delta in the world. It’s a beautiful oasis in the Kalahari Desert, whose waters start flowing from the highlands of Angola all the way over the sands of the Kalahari Desert.
4. The Okavango Delta became the one thousandth inscribed site on the World Heritage List of UNESCO in 2014.
5. The Makgadigadi Pan is one of the biggest salt pan areas in the world, stretching over an area of 12,000 square kilometers.
6. English is the official language of Botswana. It’s taught in schools and is widely spoken in all urban centers. Even in rural areas, many local villagers, especially younger ones, can speak English.
7. The currency used is called Pula and it’s divided into Thebe. In Setswana, which is a local language, it translates into “rain” and “shield.”
8. The border between Botswana and Zambia is only 150 meters, which makes it the shortest border in the world.
9. Before its independence in 1966, Botswana was a British protectorate and was one of the poorest and least developed countries in Africa. One year after gaining independence, a large diamond mine was discovered in Orapa.
10. Botswana is the worlds biggest diamond producing country in terms of value and the second biggest in terms of production. They produce about 17.7% of the total world production of diamonds.
11. Diamond revenues enable every child in Botswana to receive free education up to the age of 13.
12. Botswana has the richest diamond mine by value in the world. The Jwaneng Diamond Mine is located in the Southern part of Botswana.
13. The current president, Ian Khama, is the son of Botswana’s first president after independence, Sir Seretse Khama and Ruth Williams, who’s British.
14. It’s national bird is the Kori Bustard. The meat of the Kori was considered to only be fit for the tribal chiefs.
15. The flag is made up of blue, white and black colors. The blue of the flag represents water and rain, which mean prosperity in this mainly arid country. The black represents black Botswana and the white represents white Botswana, and together the flag depicts racial harmony and peace.
16. There are 8 main ethnic tribes with the Tswana that make up 79% of the population.
17. Sorghum or corn meal porridge is the staple of most Botswana meals. People wake up in the morning to a thinner version of the porridge, sometimes enriched with soured milk or sugar.
18. The national anthem is “Lefatshe la Rona,” or “Our Country,” and its title captures the strong attachment most Botswana people feel to the land and its resources.
19. 50% of Tswana households are headed by women, however, the villages are “ruled” by the chiefs, sub chiefs and the headmen.
20. Botswana is home to the San Bushmen, who speak using a clicking sound.
21. The highest point in Botswana is Tsodilo Hills, which are 1,489 meters above seal level.
22. The inhabitants of Botswana call themselves “Batswana” of which the singular is “Motswana”.
23. The San of Botswana are considered to be the oldest inhabitants of the world. Archaeological evidence suggests that they have lived in southern Africa for at least 22,000 years.
24. Tsodilo Hills is the spiritual home of the San and Bantu people. The hills feature many well-preserved specimens of rock art.
25. The horizon of the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans are vast enough to see the curvature of the Earth.
26. Gaborone, the capital of Botswana, is home to Mma Precious Ramotswe, a famous fictional character. She is the first female private detective in Botswana and the heroine of the series of novels written by Alexander McCall Smith.
27. Kubu Island was once submerged under the waters of a lake. Today, the rock island rises out from a white sea of salt.
28. Botswana won its first Olympic medal at the London 2012 Olympic Games, when Nijel Amos won silver in the 800 meters. Amantle Montsho won the women’s 400 meters at the 2011 World Championships.
29. The kgotla system is entrenched in Setswana culture and is based on a system of democracy and free speech where every person in attendance has the right to speak their mind.
30. The Matsieng Footprints can be found between Gaborone and Francistown in south Botswana. The legend goes that they belong to a giant called Matsieng, who is said to have emerged from a hole in the ground, along with his animals and people.