Botswana is a landlocked country in southern Africa. Covering 581,730 sq km (224,610 sq mi), Botswana is bordered by Zimbabwe to the northeast, South Africa to the south, Namibia to the west, and Zambia at a single point to the north. 70% of the country is covered by the Kalahari Desert.
Botswana has a population of about 2 million people (2011 estimate). Its capital and largest city is Gaborone. Botswana is on Central Africa Time, which is 2 hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time. The official currency of the country is called Pula (BWP). The phone IDD code is +267. Traffic is driven on the left side of the road, similar to the United Kingdom. The people of Botswana are called Motswana (singular) and Batswana (plural).
In 2010, Botswana has a nominal GDP of $12.5 billion and a per capita nominal GDP of $6,796. Its per capita GDP at purchasing power parity is $15,450. During its independence from Britain, its per capita GDP was just $70. Since then, it has been achieving annual growth rates of 9 per cent, making it one of the fastest growing economies in the world, with one of the best trace records for good governance in Africa.
Okavango Delta, Botswana http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:A_View_of_the_Delta.jpg Justin Hall
Traditionally, the economy of Botswana is dependent on diamonds, beef exports and tourism. The country is now diversifying into nother industries including innovation technology and research.
Botswana was formerly known as Bechuanaland Protectorate, when it came under British protection on 31 March 1885. After the formation of the Union of South Africa in 1910, Bechuanaland Protectorate was supposed to be incorporated into South Africa, upon consulting its inhabitants. South Africa sought to have this done, but it was never carried out by Britain. When South Africa instituted apartheid in 1948 and subsequently withdrew from the Commonwealth in 1961, the prospect of future incorporation effectively ended.
By June 1964, the British government was making plans for a future democratic, self-governing Botswana. The capital was moved from Mafikeng, which is within South Africa, to the newly established city of Gaborone, within the Botswana border. The constitution was drafted in 1965 and the first general elections held paving the way to full independence on 30 September, 1966.
The official language of Botswana is English. The indigenous language, Setswana, is widely spoken in the country. 70% of the population is Christian, mainly Anglicans, Methodists and members of the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa.
Popa Falls, Botswana http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Popa_Falls.jpg Dr Thomas Wagner
Rock painting in Tsodilo Hills, Botswana http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tsodilo_Hills_rock_paintings2.jpg Joachim Huber
Planning your visit to Botswana
Visitors who do not need a visa include citizens of Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Singapore, the United Kingdom and United States.
Sir Seretse Khama International Airport (GBE) is the gateway to Botswana. It is located 15 km north of Gaborone. At the moment, to get to Botswana by plane means taking a flight from Johannesburg. The only international flights flying to Gaborone are from South Africa and Zimbabwe.
Zebras in Botswana http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Zebra_Botswana_edit.jpg Pharaoh Hound
Botswana ratified the World Heritage Convention on 23 November, 1998. As of August 2010, it has one site inscribed on the World Heritage List under the Cultural category. Botswana has also submitted four more sites on the World Heritage Tentative List.
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