Botswana is a landlocked country in Southern Africa that is famous for its safaris. It is one of Africa’s safest countries, making it a dependable travel destination. Botswana is well-known for having the world’s greatest elephant population. Aside from its wildlife, there are numerous facts about Botswana worth learning.
Common Facts About Botswana
The country is officially known as the “Republic of Botswana,” and houses a population of little over 2.6 million people. Botswana is famous for its distinctive landscapes and natural features, such as the Kalahari Desert and the Okavango Delta. The country also has a lovely culture and a deep, long history.
If you ever want to visit this African gem, here are some Botswana facts to know.
Several countries in Africa are prone to armed conflicts and civil/social unrest. Always double check the latest situations from both your government and the local government advisories.
Historical Facts About Botswana
Botswana Is Over 1000 Years
Officially, Botswana Is a little over 140 years old since the British made it a protectorate in 1885. However, present-day Botswana existed long before then.
For over 18,000 years, the Khoisan people have inhabited the area, dating back to 17,000 BC to 1650 AD. A recent study suggests that Botswana could be more than just the home of the Khoisan and the Tswana people, who have been there since the 14th century.
Based on DNA samples, modern-day Botswana is considered the ancestral home of modern humans.
There is a theory stating Homo sapiens lived in Botswana as far back as 200,000 years ago, somewhere in the south of the Zambezi River in present-day Botswana.
The Tale Of Sir Seretse Khama
From 1966 to 1980, Sir Seretse Khama presided over Botswana as its first leader. It wasn’t all roses for him before then.
When he fell in love with someone who appeared to be the wrong person and had to go into exile, it initially felt as though he was up against the entire world.
It was unheard of at the time, yet he fell in love with an English woman named Ruth Williams. He was sent into exile by the British despite facing scrutiny from them when they were married.
His time in exile was beneficial since he used it to further his own development, which helped him become a titan of knowledge. He negotiated the conditions for the nation’s independence after his return.
Before independence, Botswana was called Bechuanaland, a British protectorate since 1885. Botswana gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1966.
Useful Facts About Botswana For Travelers
World’s Shortest Border
How about this for an interesting fact about Botswana and its neighbors? In Botswana, you can see two countries and jump between them in minutes.
Botswana and Zambia’s shared border is just a little over 700 meters. It’s a world record for the shortest border between two independent countries.
Elephants In Botswana
Here is one of the famous facts about animals in Botswana. The country houses some of the most majestic creatures on the African continent. Botswana is home to the largest population of elephants. Over 130,000 elephants live within the boundaries of Botswana.
Beyond elephants, there are many animals in Botswana’s nature ecosystem. It’s a great destination to enjoy a safari. In addition, Chobe in Botswana has the highest concentration of wildlife on the entire continent of Africa.
A cool fact about Botswana is that it houses one of the 7 natural wonders of Africa, the Okavango Delta. This large inland Delta is situated in the Kalahari Desert of Botswana.
It was created by the Okavango River in a tectonic trough of the Kalahari. This landmark is classified as an endorheic basin, which loses water via evaporation and transportation.
The Delta has a beautiful view and is covered by swampland vegetation. It is home to several mammals, amphibians, birds, reptiles, and fish. This beauty is a designated UNESCO world heritage site.
Botswana offers visitors unique safari experiences. Beyond the regular wildlife safari, in Botswana, you can enjoy houseboat safaris.
Houseboat safari is an amazing way to immerse Africa’s game-rich landscape and waterways. You get to experience the wildlife all from the comfort of your boat.
You get to relax and enjoy watching different wildlife simultaneously in the water and on land. For nature lovers, this is one to leverage. You can take photos and feel nature at its best.
An important thing to note if you are going on a houseboat safari in Botswana, is to check if you also need a Namibia Visa.
The Chobe River leads to the Impalila island where the Namibia immigration services are stationed. If you want to cross borders on your houseboating experience, you may likely need a visa.
However, some houseboating service providers offer experiences which don’t involve a border crossing.
The country has its own fair share of ancient art. Here is an interesting fact about Botswana’s Tsodilo Hills. It earned the nickname Louvre of the Desert.
Tsldilo Hills in Northwest Bostwana houses over 4500 ancient rock Paintings. This is a good destination to start your touring experience of the country
Khama Rhino Sanctuary
The Khama sanctuary is a unique initiative; a community-based project started in 1992. It was designed to help protect the diminishing population of rhinos.
There are many other animals besides rhinos in this sanctuary. It is also a great safari location. There are enough campsites and accommodations at the sanctuary, so you can even stay over for an immersive experience with nature.
Cultural Facts About Botswana
Languages In Botswana
Considering the country was once a British protectorate, it is no surprise that the official language is English.
However, the national language in Botswana is Tswana. It’s a fraction of the Bantu language spoken in many southern regions of Africa. Tswana is also the lingua franca of South Africa.
One of the logical yet peculiar facts about Botswana is that locals do indulge in worms as a delicacy. The people leverage the ecological system and take nutrition from anywhere they can get it.
For many centuries to date, the mopane worms have served as a nice snack for the Botswana people. This probably doesn’t appeal to you if you have Scoleciphobia (worm phobia).
Fear not, because that’s not what food in Botswana is all about.
Seswaa, The National Dish
Traditional Botswana cuisine features many beautiful and delicious dishes, but Seswaa takes the spot as the national dish.
An obvious but interesting fact about Botswana citizens is that they love to eat meat, especially goat meat (Chevon).
Seswaa is a meat-based dish garnished with onion, spices, and pepper. Beef, lamb, chicken, or goat are usually used for the dish.
The meat is cooked for hours and allowed to absorb all the spices. It looks very much like a pulled beef dish. Seswaa is usually served with pap a cornmeal paste similar to custard.
Music A Part Of The Culture
Much like many African countries, Botswana people love to dance and enjoy music. This is an exciting and fun fact about Botswana culture; music and dance plays and important part in traditions. Every tribe has their own unique dance style and you can tell a tribe by their dance style.
Another fascinating Botswana culture fact is that they have dances for storytelling, religious rites, celebrations, and any other occasion.
Interestingly, the San people, whose ancestors were mainly hunter-gatherers, are said to have a rain dance;(a dance ritual with the aim of invoking rain). Pretty cool, right?
Pula – The Currency
Here is a Botswana fact I bet you don’t know. The people in Boswana love water. This is evident in the country’s currency, “Pula.’ Pula in Setwana means “Rain or Blessing.”
Simple Botswana Facts For Kids
The Origins Of “Botswana”
The name Botswana is derived from the “Tswana.” Tswana are the dominant ethnic group in the southern region of Africa.
SeTswana is the language, while BaTswana are the people. Merging them together, the name Botswana emerged.
Bastwana And Motswana
The population of Botswana is a little over 2.5 million people. Interestingly over 2 million Tswana people live in the country.
In the Tswana language, one person is called Motswana, while a group of people are called Bastwana.
Botswana holds another record of housing the world’s largest salt pan. These are natural expanses of ground covered in salt and other minerals. They are used to evaporate brine.
Makgadikagadi pans are the largest in the world, covering a total area of 12000 square km.
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Other Interesting Facts About Botswana
Did you know over 75% of the total land area of Botswana is covered by the semi-arid Kalahari Desert? It’s safe to say that Botswana is a desert country.
Many will argue otherwise, though, since the Kalahari Desert is semi-arid, which means it gets little rain. It is not classed as a true desert because it has some rainfall.
The capital of Botswana is Gaborone, which is also the largest city in the country.
The city is also commonly known as Gaborone Game Reserve. This is because it houses native animals like wildebeest, Impala, and birds, both local and migratory.
That said, it is still the government and economic capital of the country. The capital city is home to over 200,000 people. In addition, it is pretty elevated at slightly more than 1000 meters and span a land area of approximately 169 sq km.
Here’s a stunning fact about Botswana that you probably didn’t know. It is the world’s second-largest producer of diamonds and the largest in Africa.
Furthermore, the world’s second-largest diamond was mined in Botswana in 2015. It was found in Karowe mine; the gem was about 1,111-carat.
At the time, it was the biggest diamond discovered in Botswana. It was also the largest discovered diamond in over a century.
Hearing about the various landmarks in Botswana, you can imagine that the country has an incredibly diverse landscape.
Many of these natural regions are unique in their own rights and are even contrasting with each other. This is one of the interesting facts about Botswana and its geography.
The Nxai and Makgadikagadi salt pans have beautiful celestial qualities, reflecting the rays of the sun. Meanwhile, the Kalahari Desert brings a little harsh form with its scorching climate and arid attributes.
On the other hand, the Chobe River and the Okavango Delta offer a more marshy environment.
Discovering More Fun Facts About Botswana
Botswana is a fascinating country with an incredibly diverse landscape. It is home to some of the world’s most interesting cultures and traditions.
These are just a few of the many unique facts about Botswana that make it worth exploring. From its abundance of wildlife to warm hospitality of the people, there is no shortage of things to uncover here.
If you’d like to discover even more incredible facts about Botswana, why not plan a trip there? You’ll be sure to come away enriched by your experiences and newfound knowledge.