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Photo by Sherrie Wenzel

Botswana Facts

Political Climate
The Republic of Botswana is a multi-party democracy. It has an executive president and Head of State. The National Assembly elects the President for a term of five years. Diamonds were discovered in 1967 which transformed the economy and made Botswana one of the wealthiest countries in Africa on a per capita basis. Other major industries are beef production and tourism.

Geography
Roughly the size of France, covering 581,730 sq km., its neighbors are South Africa, Namibia, Angola, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The country is 80% covered by the Kalahari, based on sand, though much of the area is grassed, scrub or lightly forested.

Capital ~ Gaborone
Other main towns: Francistown, Maun, Kasane

Languages
Setswana and English

Currency
The Pula is divided into 100 Thebes. Notes are P100, P50, P10 and P5. Coins are P5 or less.

People & Population
The Botswana are the largest tribal group forming about 50% of the population. The second largest group are the Bakalanga lving in the Francistown area. Other groups include Bakhalagari, Bayei, Hambukushu, Basubyia and Ovaherero originally from Namibia. The oldest inhabitants are the Khoi (Hottentots) and San (Bushmen).Botswana has one of the lowest population densities in Africa with eighty percent of the population living in the eastern third of the country.

Entry Requirements
A valid passport which is good for at least 6 months after arrival is required. Visitors from the European Union, most Commonwealth Countries and the USA do not require visas.

Health
Malaria is a serious problem especially in the north of the country. Get medical advice on what Malarial tablets to take before leaving home. Blharizia is enemic and swimming in untreated water is dangerous. Tick bite fever can be a problem when walking in grass. Travellers should be aware that the incidence of AIDS is high throughout southern Africa including Botswana. Bottled water is suggested for drinking. All immunization against tetanus, typhoid and yellow fever should be competed before departure to Botswana.

Communications
Botswana has a good fibre optic system insuring widespread and reliable service for mobile hone, but most lodges and camps are beyond the range of the mobile phone network. The international dialing code is 267 and there are no city or regional codes. Directory enquires: 192

Electricity
230 volt A/C 50hz. Both square and round wall plugs are used.