Where is Botswana located?

What countries border Botswana?

Botswana Weather

What is the current weather in Botswana?

Botswana Facts and Culture

What is Botswana famous for?

  • Cultural Attributes: Individuals are expected to contribute to society rather than have the government support them. Cleanliness and neatness are important... More
  • Family: With high unemployment few men work in South Africa, and a continuous search for employment keeps families separate. For instance,... More
  • Personal Apperance: Western dress is common. Despite the heat, urban men wear business suits with ties and women wear dresses or blouses.... More
  • Recreation: One of the most popular traditional games is called stalking, which is ideally meant to teach children how to be... More
  • Diet: A popular relish is made of onions, chicken stock, and tomato sauce. Goats and chickens are raised for meat. Cattle... More
  • Visiting: Unannounced visitors are welcome especially if the visitor is a relative. Guests are offered water or a drink at first,... More
  • Dating: Living away from home villages (for work or schooling) has dramatically changed the way young people interact. It was once... More

Botswana Facts

What is the capital of Botswana?

Capital Gaborone
Government Type parliamentary republic
Currency Pula (BWP)
Total Area 224,606 Square Miles
581,730 Square Kilometers
Location Southern Africa, north of South Africa
Language English (official), Setswana
GDP - real growth rate 3.1%
GDP - per capita (PPP) $16,900.00 (USD)

Botswana Demographics

What is the population of Botswana?

Ethnic Groups Tswana (or Setswana) 79%, Kalanga 11%, Basarwa 3%, other (including Kgalagadi and white) 7%
Languages English is the official language while Setswana is considered the national language. Tjikalanga is commonly spoken in northeastern Botswana.
Nationality Noun Motswana (singular), Batswana (plural)
Population 2,317,233
Population - note Note: Estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of the population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected
Population Growth Rate 1.35%
Population in Major Urban Areas GABORONE (capital) 202,000
Urban Population 61.700000

Botswana Government

What type of government does Botswana have?

Executive Branch chief of state: President Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe MASISI (since 1 April 2018); Vice President Slumber TSOGWANE (since 4 April 2018); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government

head of government: President Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe MASISI (since 1 April 2018); Vice President Slumber TSOGWANE (since 4 April 2018)

cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president

elections/appointments: president indirectly elected by the National Assembly for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 23 October 2019 (next to be held in October 2024); vice president appointed by the president

election results: President Seretse Khama Ian KHAMA, who had served as president since 1 April 2008, stepped down on 1 April 2018 having completed the constitutionally mandated 10-year term limit; upon his retirement, then Vice President MASISI became president; national elections held in 2019 gave MASISI'S BPD 38 seats in the National Assembly, which then selected MASISI as President
Suffrage 18 years of age; universal
Citizenship citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Botswana

dual citizenship recognized: no

residency requirement for naturalization: 10 years
National Holiday Independence Day (Botswana Day), 30 September (1966)
Constitution history: previous 1960 (pre-independence); latest adopted March 1965, effective 30 September 1966

amendments: proposed by the National Assembly; passage requires approval in two successive Assembly votes with at least two-thirds majority in the final vote; proposals to amend constitutional provisions on fundamental rights and freedoms, the structure and branches of government, and public services also requires approval by majority vote in a referendum and assent by the president of the republic; amended several times, last in 2021
Independence 30 September 1966 (from the UK)

Botswana Video

YouTube: Expoza Travel Botswana Guide

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Botswana Geography

What environmental issues does Botswana have?

Climate Most of its area is an inhospitable semi-desert known as the Kalahari. Even the most arable sections of eastern Botswana are subject to periodic drought and unpredictable rains. Botswana straddles the Tropic of Capricorn and has an average elevation of 3,300 feet. Daily high temperatures during the hottest month, January, average in the upper 90's to over 100°F. Winter daytime temperatures generally reach 70 degrees, but with little cloud cover and no humidity to hold warmth in the air, they plummet to 30 or 40°F at night.
Border Countries Namibia 1,360 km, South Africa 1,840 km, Zimbabwe 813 km
Environment - Current Issues Overgrazing; desertification; limited freshwater resources
Environment - International Agreements Party To: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Terrain Predominantly flat to gently rolling tableland; the Kalahari Desert in southwest

Botswana Economy

How big is the Botswana economy?

Economic Overview Until the beginning of the global recession in 2008, Botswana maintained one of the world's highest economic growth rates since its independence in 1966. Botswana recovered from the global recession in 2010, but only grew modestly until 2017, primarily due to a downturn in the global diamond market, though water and power shortages also played a role. Through fiscal discipline and sound management, Botswana has transformed itself from one of the poorest countries in the world five decades ago into a middle-income country with a per capita GDP of approximately $18,100 in 2017. Botswana also ranks as one of the least corrupt and best places to do business in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Because of its heavy reliance on diamond exports, Botswana’s economy closely follows global price trends for that one commodity. Diamond mining fueled much of Botswana’s past economic expansion and currently accounts for one-quarter of GDP, approximately 85% of export earnings, and about one-third of the government's revenues. In 2017, Diamond exports increased to the highest levels since 2013 at about 22 million carats of output, driving Botswana’s economic growth to about 4.5% and increasing foreign exchange reserves to about 45% of GDP. De Beers, a major international diamond company, signed a 10-year deal with Botswana in 2012 and moved its rough stone sorting and trading division from London to Gaborone in 2013. The move was geared to support the development of Botswana's nascent downstream diamond industry.

Tourism is a secondary earner of foreign exchange and many Batswana engage in tourism-related services, subsistence farming, and cattle rearing. According to official government statistics, unemployment is around 20%, but unofficial estimates run much higher. The prevalence of HIV/AIDS is the second highest in the world and threatens the country's impressive economic gains.
Industries Diamonds, copper, nickel, salt, soda ash, potash, coal, iron ore, silver; livestock processing; textiles
Currency Name and Code Pula (BWP)

Botswana News and Current Events

What current events are happening in Botswana?
Source: Google News

Botswana Travel Information

What makes Botswana a unique country to travel to?

Country Description

Botswana, a country in southern Africa roughly the size of Texas with a population of approximately 2 million, has a stable democratic, parliamentary government, and a stable economy. Diamond and mineral mining are key components of the economy, while facilities for tourism are also widely available.


Crime is a serious concern in Botswana. Visitors must be vigilant and take common-sense security precautions. Petty street crimes and crimes of opportunity, primarily the theft of money and personal property, are not uncommon. Home invasions, “smash and grabs” from vehicles, and cell phone thefts, often at knifepoint, are routinely reported to the police. Hotels and lodges are not immune from criminal activity, and visitors should remain alert and take reasonable precautions in safeguarding personal property (particularly money and electronic equipment). Visitors are urged to exercise extreme caution near the Gaborone Dam and Kgale Hill in Gaborone due to the high number of reported criminal incidents.

Travelers arriving in Botswana via South Africa should be aware that there is a serious continuing baggage pilferage problem at OR Tambo (Johannesburg) and Cape Town International Airports. Travelers are encouraged to use an airport plastic wrapping service and to avoid placing electronics, jewelry, cameras, designer athletic gear, or other valuables in checked luggage. Also, make an inventory of items in checked baggage to aid in claims processing if theft does occur.

In many countries around the world, counterfeit and pirated goods are widely available. Transactions involving such products may be illegal under local law. In addition, bringing them back to the United States may result in forfeitures and/or fines.

Criminal Penalties

While you are traveling in Botswana, you are subject to its laws even if you are a U.S. citizen. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different than our own and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Botswana’s laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking of illegal drugs in Botswana are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States. Motorists should note that it is illegal to use a cell phone while driving; failure to comply could result in fines and/or confiscation of the cell phone. If you break local laws in Botswana, your U.S. passport won’t help you avoid arrest or prosecution. It’s very important to know what’s legal and what’s not where you are going.

Based on the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, bilateral agreements with certain countries, and customary international law, if you are arrested in Botswana, you have the option to request that the police, prison officials, or other authorities alert the U.S. embassy of your arrest, and to have communications from you forwarded to the U.S. embassy.


English is the official language while Setswana is considered the national language. Tjikalanga is commonly spoken in northeastern Botswana.

Medical Facilities and Health Information

Private medical facilities in Gaborone are adequate for simple medical problems, but facilities outside of Gaborone are severely limited. Adequately equipped emergency rooms and trained physicians are available in the capital but services are rudimentary elsewhere. Professional private emergency rescue services operate air and ground ambulances throughout the country, but care is rendered only after a patient’s ability to pay is established. Response times are often slow in less populated areas. Outside of Gaborone, most airports are either not equipped or may have malfunctioning night lighting capability, so airborne medical evacuations can often only be conducted during daylight hours. Malaria is prevalent only in the north of the country, particularly around the Chobe and Okavango National Parks. Malaria prophylaxis is not required in Gaborone but is suggested for travel to the north. For advanced care, U.S. citizens often choose to travel to South Africa. Many South African manufactured prescription drugs are available in Gaborone.

In many areas of Botswana (including Gaborone), tap water can be unsafe and should be avoided or boiled for at least one minute before drinking. Bottled water and beverages are believed to be safe. However, visitors should be aware that many restaurants and hotels serve tap water unless bottled water is specifically requested. Ice may also come from tap water and should be avoided.

Approximately one-quarter of the population of Botswana is infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Travelers are advised to exercise appropriate precautions if engaging in sexual activity or if exposed to blood products through injuries or rendering assistance to accident victims. Tuberculosis is also endemic to Botswana. Several hundred cases of extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) have been identified in Botswana since January 2008 when Botswana first obtained the ability to test for this form of TB. Individuals who plan to reside or stay in Botswana for extended periods are advised to obtain a tuberculosis skin test (PPD test) prior to arrival and again upon departure from Botswana. There are occasional diarrhea outbreaks in areas affected by heavy rains. Travelers in those regions are encouraged to take necessary precautions when handling food and drinking water.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions

While in Botswana, you may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Botswana is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Driving in Botswana is challenging and motorists must drive defensively. As elsewhere in the region, traffic circulates on the left in Botswana. While the roads in major population centers are generally good, rural roads can be in poor condition and treacherous. Rolling power outages mean that many traffic lights and street lamps do not work properly. The combination of long, tedious stretches of two-lane highways without shoulders, high-speed limits, intoxicated drivers, free-range domestic animals (even in urban centers), and large numbers of pedestrians and hitchhikers in the roadways make fatal accidents a frequent occurrence. Outside of Gaborone, it is also common to find large numbers of animals along or on the unlit roads, which can be particularly hazardous when driving at night. The Embassy prohibits government employees from driving outside of Gaborone after dark.

‘Smash and grab’ robberies from vehicles are increasingly common in Botswana, particularly in urban areas at traffic lights. Motorists should avoid carrying anything of value (handbags, briefcases, purses, cell phones, etc.) in the passenger compartment that could attract potential assailants.

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