CAPITAL - Gaborone
TIME- GMT + 2 hours
AREA - 600,370 km2 (585,370 km2 land; 15,000 km2 water)
PRESIDENT - President Festus Mogae (since April 1998)
LANGUAGE - Although the official language of Botswana is English, most of the population speak Tswana as their home language. Guided safaris are always conducted in English.
CURRENCY - Pula (P) Most credit cards are accepted by shops, restaurants and gas stations. Credit card cash advances are available at local banks in Gaborone, Lobatse, Francistown, Kasane and Maun. Most facilities accept Rand, US Dollar, Euro and Sterling.
Almost 60% of the 1,5 million inhabitants of Botswana are concentrated on the Eastern side of the country. The ancient San (or Bushmen) can still be found at settlements around the Central Kalahari Game Reserve.
Most of the country has a subtropical climate with little rain.
The winter season begins in April and ends in August. Winters are clear-skied and bone-dry, the air seductively warm during the daylight hours but, because there is no cloud cover, very cold at night and in the early mornings. (Range from 2° to 25°C)
In August the seasonal winds begin, that blow from the west and carry sand and dust across the country. It is the hottest period, especially in the weeks that precede the coming of the cooling rains, and shade temperatures rise to the 38°C mark and higher,
The summer season begins in November and ends in March. It usually brings very high temperatures. However, summer is also the rainy season, and cloud coverage and rain can cool things down considerably. Temperatures range from 26°C - 38°C (80°F-90°F)
The main ethnic groups are the Batswana (descendants of iron age immigrants from Central West Africa), the Basarwa (San, indigenous hunter gatherers, pre iron age), and the Herero (pastoralists). Eighty percent of the population of Botswana are rural inhabitants.
New Year’s Day 1 January, Day after New Year’s Day 2 January, Good Friday, Easter week end, Ascension Day, President’s Day (varies), Day after President’s Day (varies) , Botswana Day 30 September, Day after Botswana Day 1 October, Christmas Day 25 December, Boxing Day 26 December, Day after Boxing Day 27 December
Your cell phone will work in all larger towns only. (Just arrange with your service provider for roaming facilities beforehand). The cheaper method is to buy a "Starter Pack" from one of the local cellphone companies and change the Sim card.
Fresh meat and milk products are not permitted to be imported. Botswana is dotted with foot-and-mouth-disease control points. Vehicles must drive through a pit of muddy-looking disinfectant, and passengers are required to stamp their feet on a wet rag, moistened with
For tourists, the best visiting months are from April through to October - in terms of both weather and game viewing. It is during this period that the wildlife of the great spaces gather around what water there is - the natural waterholes and the borehole-fed dams - and are at their most visible.