50 interesting facts about Botswana
Botswana gained its independence from Britain in 1966! To celebrate 50 years of independence, I collected 50 interesting facts about Botswana. Learn more about its amazing wildlife, stunning sceneries, ancient cultures and other interesting things to know. Happy reading!
1. You’ll find tame but wild meerkats in the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, but you won’t find them in the Makgadikgadi National Park.
2. Makgadikgadi National Park and Boteti River are home to zebras and wildebeest.
3. Botswana is home to the densest elephant population in the world. The best place to spot them is at Chobe National Park, where they come to the Chobe River Front to play, drink and swim.
4. Botswana’s surface is approximately 582,000 km2 big; 41% of that is pure nature!
5. The Okavango Delta is the largest inland delta in the world covering an area of 15,000 km2 during drier times. During wetter periods it can reach a staggering size of 22,000 km2.
6. Linyanti is a fantastic location for spotting leopard and wild dogs.
7. The Makgadikgadi Salt Pans are one of the largest salt pans in the world, stretching over an area of 12,000 km2.
8. English is the official language of Botswana; Setswana is the local language and the most spoken language throughout the country. There are 18 main tribal languages though.
9. Botswana is close to the mighty Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe and Zambia! If you visit Botswana, don’t miss the towns Livingstone (Zambia) or Vic Falls (Zimbabwe).
10. Botswana’s government is pursuing a “high quality / low impact” strategy, which means that a Botswana holiday comes with a certain price tag. Your safari experience is second to none though: awesome wildlife and a tremendous variety available in one location!
11. The currency is the Pula (for notes) and Thebe (for coins).
12. Botswana offers a varied safari experience: boat cruises, mokoro trips, game walks, canoeing and game drives during day and night. The perfect place for a breathtaking water safari.
13. Botswana is home to the San Bushmen; you could listen to them all day with their fascinating click-sound.
14. Botswana’s capital is Gabarone.
15. Highest point in Botswana is Tsodilo Hills with 1,489m above sea level.
16. Botswana has a population of about 2 million people; in relation to its size, it’s the most sparsely populated country in the world.
17. Botswana was a former British protectorate known as Bechuanaland.
18. Botswana will make you addicted to sundowners as it features the most stunning sunsets you can imagine.
19. Pack lightly for your trip to Botswana; only soft bags with a limit of 15kg are allowed on light aircrafts.
20. When traveling on a houseboat in Botswana make sure you have a visa for Namibia. Definitely one of the most important facts about Botswana.
21. The Okavango Delta is a birder’s paradise with over 500 recorded species. Best time to visit for birding is during summer between December and March.
22. Animals roam freely around the campsites; so don’t leave any food in your tent while camping.
23. Botswana is a landlocked country and borders with South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Namibia.
24. Want to experience the most amazing border crossing? Cross over to Zambia on the Kazungula ferry. It’s only 150 meters and makes it the shortest border in the world.
25. Botswana is the worlds biggest diamond producing country in terms of value and the second biggest in terms of production.
26. Mopane worms are a delicacy in Botswana. Bon Appetit! I bet this is one of the facts about Botswana you didn’t want to know about.
27. Track the white and black rhino at Khama Rhino Sanctuary, which is a community based wildlife project focused on saving these endangered species.
28. Linyanti is the traditional migration path for elephants from Chobe River to the Okavango Delta.
29. Taylor Swift’s music video ‘Wildest Dreams’ was shot in the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans.
30. Botswana is not only home to elephants; it’s also home to the weird looking aardvark and pangolin.
31. You will not only see cars on the roads in Botswana; also watch out for elephants crossing the main roads.
32. Did you know that you can do fantastic horseback safaris in Botswana?
33. Some of the lodges or camps can only be reached via light aircraft! Isn’t this an adventure already?
34. About 80% of Botswana’s landscape is covered by the Kalahari Desert.
35. Deception Valley in the Kalahari Desert has the size of Switzerland!
36. The Jwaneng Diamond Mine in the Southern part of Botswana is the richest diamond mine by value in the world. .
37. The inhabitants of Botswana call themselves ‘Batswana’, of which the singular is ‘Motswana’.
38. The San of Botswana are considered to be the oldest inhabitants of the world. Archaeological evidence suggests that they have lived in southern Africa (and probably other areas of Africa) at least 22,000 years.
39. Tsodilo Hills is the spiritual home of the San and Bantu people and the hills feature many well-preserved specimens of ‘rock art’. There’s a small museum where you can hire a local guide for a personal tour of the area.
40. The Okavango Delta is the 1000th UNESCO World Heritage site.
41. Staying in the Kalahari Desert will make you feel like being the last person on earth.
42. Don’t expect sand dunes in the Kalahari Desert; annual rainfall can be as high as 500mm.
43. The horizon of the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans are vast enough to see the curvature of the earth.
44. The lowest point in Botswana is at the junction of the Limpopo and Shashe Rivers at 513 m above sea level.
45. The Kwhai Community area is ideal for mobile safaris and budget conscious guests.
46. Botswana’s safari environments can be roughly divided into dry and wet areas making it an interesting safari destination.
47. Private safari areas in Botswana offer a very exclusive safari experience as they don’t allow public access and also offer off-roading and night drives. This is not allowed in public areas.
48. To save on costs, stay in Kasane when visiting Chobe National Park. Accommodation options are less exclusive but most affordable.
49. June to August is peak season for safaris in Botswana; land is mostly dry and the animals congregate around the remaining water sources.
50. Botswana’s Makgadikgadi and Nxai Pan national parks are centre stage for the world’s second largest, yet little known zebra migration covering a round trip of about 300 miles (500 kilometer).
Did you get itchy feet while reading these facts about Botswana? Check out our travel inspirations for Botswana holidays.
I am from Botswana and didn’t know some of these facts about my country. A great read!
Thanks Yolisa, for your thoughts. Botswana is one of my favourite countries in Africa. Love every bit of it 😉