» 581,730 km2 (48th)
»Per capita $17,106
»Per capita $7,704
»Central Africa Time (UTC+2)
A cosmopolitan and peaceful country, Botswana is the perfect place to live and work. Its stability and economic growth have made it a dream destination for many visitors, eager to immerse themselves in the welcoming culture and numerous opportunities available.
The Republic of Botswana is a landlocked country in Southern Africa. Formerly the British protectorate of Bechuanaland, Botswana adopted its new name after becoming independent within the Commonwealth on 30 September 1966. It is bordered by South Africa to the south and southeast, Namibia to the west and north, and Zimbabwe to the northeast. It meets Zambia at a single point.
Geographically, Botswana is flat, with up to 70 percent of its territory being the Kalahari Desert. It is bordered by South Africa to the south and southeast, Namibia to the west and north, and Zimbabwe to the northeast. Its border with Zambia to the north near Kazungula is poorly defined but at most is a few hundred meters long. Botswana, officially the Republic of Botswana (Tswana: Lefatshe la Botswana), is a landlocked country located in Southern Africa.
The citizens refer to themselves as Batswana (singular: Motswana). Formerly the British protectorate of Bechuanaland, Botswana adopted its new name after becoming independent within the Commonwealth on 30 September 1966. Since then, it has maintained a strong tradition as a stable representative democracy, with a consistent record of uninterrupted democratic elections.
Botswana is part of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) with South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, and Namibia.
Geographically the country is flat and up to 70% of Botswana is covered by the Kalahari Desert. Botswana was one of the most impoverished countries in Africa when it became independent in 1966. Today, it is home to a stable political system and a rapidly developing market economy. Being closely tied with the economy of South Africa, the country’s economy is one of the most successful in Africa and is dominated by the fast-growing service sector, world-renowned diamond industry, tourism, and manufacturing.
For many decades, Botswana had the highest economic growth rate of any nation. It has held free and fair democratic elections since independence.
Since the early 1980s, the country has been the world’s largest producer of gem diamonds. Four large diamond mines have opened since independence. De Beers prospectors discovered diamonds in northern Botswana in the early 1970s.
Botswana seeks to diversify its economy away from minerals, the earnings from which have leveled off. In 1998-99, non-mineral sectors of the economy grew at 8.9%, partially offsetting a slight 4.4% decline in the minerals sector. Foreign investment and management have been welcomed in Botswana. Botswana seeks to further diversify its economy away from minerals, which account for a quarter of GDP, down from nearly half of GDP in the early 1990s. Foreign investment and management are welcomed in Botswana, and as a result, financial and services sectors have increased at an exponential rate in the 2000s to replace mining as the leading industry. Botswana abolished foreign exchange controls in 1999, has a low corporate tax rate (15%), no prohibitions on foreign ownership of companies, and a moderate inflation rate (7.6% November 2004).
Botswana is known to have vast coal deposits making it possibly one of the most coal-rich countries in the world. Large coal mines massive coal-fired power plants, as well as a coals to liquid plant (through the Fischer-Tropsch process) to produce synthetic automotive fuel have been planned.
With its proven record of good economic governance, Botswana was ranked as Africa’s least corrupt country by Transparency International in 2004, ahead of many European and Asian countries. The World Economic Forum rates Botswana as one of the two most economically competitive nations in Africa. In 2004 Botswana was once again assigned “A” grade credit ratings by Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s.
Top 5 Products exported by Botswana
- Pearls, precious stones, metals, coins, etc. (66.3%)
- Nickel and articles thereof (14%)
- Ores, slag, and ash (4.2%)
- Articles of apparel and accessories either knit or crochet (2.8%)
- Articles of apparel and accessories neither knit nor crochet (2.6%)
Top 5 Products imported by Botswana
- Mineral fuels, oils, distillation products, etc. (17.2%)
- Boilers, machinery, nuclear reactors, etc. (11.3%)
- Vehicles other than railway ( 10.4%)
- Pearls, precious stones, metals, coins, etc. (8.2%)
- Electrical and electronic equipment (6.2%)
Botswana is Africa’s wildlife wonderland: One of the premier travel destinations in Africa; from the wetlands of the Okavango Delta to the salt pans of the Makgadikgadi – from world famous game reserves to small conservation areas – explore Botswana’s rich cultural and wildlife heritage in your travels.
Botswana is renowned as a premier wildlife destination. Game is prolific and diverse – the country is rugged in places and scenic. Botswana is where the white-hot Kalahari Desert meets the wild Okavango River delta in an explosion of green that shelters and feeds some of the continent’s most prolific wildlife. Hidden in the searing sand is one of the world’s richest sources of diamonds.
Botswana’s leaders took the view that high-quality low volume tourism was the best way to create a sustainable industry while still preserving the environment. Botswana is well known for having some of the best wilderness and wildlife areas on the African continent. With a full 38 percent of its total land area devoted to national parks, reserves and wildlife management areas – for the most part unfenced, allowing animals to roam wild and free – travel through many parts of the country has the feeling of moving through an immense Nature wonderland.
Botswana is a rarity in our overpopulated, over-developed world. Untamed and untameable, it is one of the last great refuges for Nature’s magnificent pageantry of life.
Experience here the stunning beauty of the world’s largest intact inland Delta – the Okavango; the unimaginable vastness of the world’s second largest game reserve – the Central Kalahari Game Reserve; the isolation and other-worldliness of the Makgadikgadi – uninhabited pans the size of Portugal; and the astoundingly prolific wildlife of the Chobe National Park.
Botswana is the last stronghold for a number of endangered bird and mammal species, including Wild Dog, Cheetah, Brown Hyena, Cape Vulture, Wattled Crane, Kori Bustard, and Pel’s Fishing Owl. This makes your safari experience even more memorable, and at times you will feel simply surrounded by wild animals.
The first – and most lasting impressions – will be of vast expanses of uninhabited wilderness stretching from horizon to horizon, the sensation of limitless space, astoundingly rich wildlife and bird viewing, night skies littered with stars and heavenly bodies of an unimaginable brilliance, and stunning sunsets of unearthly beauty.
As well, with more and more cultural tourism options on offer, you will be charmed by the people of Botswana, visiting their villages and experiencing first-hand their rich cultural heritage. But perhaps most of all, Botswana’s greatest gift is its ability to put us in touch with our natural selves. It offers that vital link so keenly felt by inhabitants of the developed world, a pervasive void we feel but often cannot name – our connectedness with Nature and the astonishing diversity of plants and animals to be explored.
- Spot antelopes in the Gaborone Game Reserve and the Mokolodi Nature Reserve, and giraffes striding through the Khutse Game Reserve. Be dazzled by flamingoes on the Makgadikgadi Pans.
- Search for lions and leopards stalking their prey or just lazing around in the shade in the Moremi Game Reserve.
- Steer clear of charging buffalo in Chobe National Park, and marvel at hippos, while watching out for crocodiles, along the Chobe River.
- Grimace at rare brown hyenas in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park, a bi-national Peace Park created on ancient animal migration routes between Botswana and South Africa.
- Admire Botswana’s remaining rhinos, carefully protected from poachers, at the Khama Rhino Sanctuary in Serowe.
- Watch baboons playing in scattered rocky kopjes in the Savute area, the northern shore of the prehistoric lake that once covered most of Botswana.
- Visit the Tsodilo Hills, considered a sacred site by the Bushmen; known to have been inhabited for at least 100,000 years, these isolated hills are decorated with thousands of rock paintings.
- Venture into the Central Kalahari Game Reserve. Remote and virtually unexplored, it’s a refuge both for animals and the country’s few remaining Bushmen.
- Gaze at the pot pourri of rocks, millions of years old, that make up the incredible scenery of the Tuli Block. For a longer gaze, stay at one of the private game ranches in this ruggedly beautiful countryside.
- See the Okavango Delta, an extremely beautiful region of vast grass flats, low tree-covered ridges and narrow, shallow waterways opening into lagoons which fill with water during the annual flood.