Looking for where is Botswana Located? Here are amazing Botswana facts you probably don’t know. The Botswana flag is pretty simple as it has a blue field cut horizontally by a black stripe with a white frame. The blue represents water or more specifically rain as it is a precious resource the country relies on and sustains life of the country. The black and white frame has two meanings the first one being that Botswana is a country of diverse cooperation between people of different races that work in harmony and the second represents the stripes of a zebra.
Botswana’s location is kind of serendipitous in that for the longest time they didn’t even realize that they were sitting on buried treasure. Botswana is located in the southern area of the African continent about the same size as France and is bordered by four other countries. Looking at the map you would think Botswana is only bordered by Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe but if you look very close at the northeastern tip where the Chobe River meets the Zambezi there is a quadra point where all the mentioned countries including Zambia meets. This spot has the narrowest of borders with only a few dozen meters wide that Botswana has with Zambia on the Zambezi River. This area is right on the A 33 Road that takes you to the Kazungula Ferry the only place in all of Botswana that gives you access to Zambia directly from Botswana. This is also the only part of Botswana that touches the world-famous Zambezi River which has been historically used for centuries for navigating across the African continent.
Botswana’s capital and largest city is Gaborone located close to the border of South Africa and the country is divided into nine districts. With the exception of Namibia’s Strait that is noticeably well marked border with Botswana, most of the borders are rivers like the Chobe, Limpopo and the Shashe. Botswana is pretty much open and free. It is the third least densely populated country in Africa and serves as a haven for nature and Safari enthusiasts.
Botswana doesn’t just have a bunch of open land but also a bunch of exceptionally unique land unlike anywhere else in Africa. The country is generally flat and about 70% of the country is dominated by the semi-arid Kalahari Desert and dry savannas especially in the west part of the country, whereas the east and the north parts are generally greener. In the far north and the northwest district, you have one of the strangest natural phenomena the Okavango Delta. This world-renowned UNESCO heritage site sticks out because of the way how the Delta operates. Basically, the Okavango River meanders into geological faults that in response spread the waters out into a vast network of channels, creeks and wetlands.
Every year rainwater from the highlands of Angola come down and surge into the Okavango causing the entire flood basin to swell up to three times its permanent size between March and June. For the next few months the entire area becomes this weird shallow swampy wetland with an abundance of wildlife that flourishes in it. In fact, one of the strangest things about this area is that it is one of the few places where you will find animals that contrary to their cousins in the other areas have completely adapted to the hydrated landscape. You can see swimming cheetahs, lions and even hyenas fully acclimated to the conditions that surround them. At the latter months of the year the Okavango dries up again and about 60% of it is absorbed by plants, the other 30 percent is evaporated and the rest is either transpired into underground aquifers or drained into Lake Nanami.
Botswana is dealing heavily with drought and desertification in their country and is trying to combat it with legislative action. To the east you have the even stranger Makgadikgadi and Nwetwe Pans which are too large salt places. These areas used to be a lake that eventually dried up and is actually the site of Botswana’s largest salt and sodium carbonate mines. If you look closely you can even see the mines close to the eastern edge of the basin.
Speaking of mines since the 1980s, Botswana has actually been the world’s largest producer of gem diamonds. Five diamond mines have been opened up since independence and the world’s richest diamond mines is found in Jwaneng. The diamond industry has actually played a huge role in the past and in today in the development of the economy and people’s lives.
Botswana has just a little bit over two million people the majority of whom about 80% identify as ethnic TSWANA which is also where Botswana gets its name from other minority groups include the Klanga, the Basarwa, the Kagalagadi and a small percentage of the population is also white mostly descendants from former English and European settlers during the colonial days. Recently there’s been a huge influx of white people moving into Botswana from neighboring Zimbabwe as the president Robert Mugabe has instituted laws that actively discriminate and oppress the white minority.
Pretty much everybody in the Botswana speaks English but TSWANA people might speak TSWANA or Setswana and many of the white people might speak Afrikaans as well as a second language. Afrikaans is basically an Africanized Dutch. Botswana used to be part of the British Empire under the name of Bechuanaland. The interesting thing though is that Botswana actually has very fascinating tribal groups found along the rural areas of the country. One of the most sought-after people groups for studies by sociologists would have to be the San Bushmen found in the northern regions by the Okavango Delta.
The San Bushmen people speaks the Khoisan language which is saturated with the unique click sounds. Many dialects can even have up to 48 different click consonant sounds. The country operates in a democratic parliamentary Republic with a president as a head of state. In fact, according to Transparency International, Botswana actually has the least government in all of Africa on par with countries like Portugal and South Korea.
Culturally Botswana identifies closely with other countries in the South African region. About 70% of the people identify as Christian and regular church attendance is actually pretty high the rest are either non-religious or ascribed to folk religions. Essentially though, Botswana used to be one of the poorest countries but today has developed a steady economy an infrastructure that has made it into the fourth largest GDP in all of Africa on par with countries like Mexico and Turkey this is partially thanks to the mining industry but also to the new financial sector that bus one is heavily investing in with strong fiscal policies and free-market enterprises Botswana was able to nap over USD7 billion in foreign exchange reserves just about 10 years ago. Today Botswana has Africa’s highest credit rating and with a well-capitalized system which allows high interest rates. Botswana seems to be doing something incredibly right.
When it comes to friends Botswana kind of has like this weird seesaw effect in which they like groups of people that typically don’t like each other. The U.S is not only a huge partner with multiple embassies and consulates for each side but so far is also the largest provider of aid and medical relief and especially in the HIV and AIDS division amongst the residents. Peace Corps professionals consistently stop by and even help build facilities as well as develop and train native Botswana on how to deal with the issue.
Nonetheless Russia is actually seen as a little bit more favorable to the Botswanans and Russia swooped right in shortly after independence and was one of the first countries to acknowledge Botswana as a nation just like they did with Angola and Benin. Russia maintains numerous trade policies and educational cooperation agreements with them and to this day each side has embassies and consulates. Botswana was kind of seen by Russia as like a potential breeding ground for communist ideologies however unlike Angola and Benin the whole thing never really kicked off and eventually, they became a democratic republic but still maintained good relations and to this day Botswana is one of the countries that Russians do not require a visa to enter. Pakistan has been a favorite business partner and has built ties with Botswana for years and even has overseas embassies in Beijing and Yemen for each other however Israel also has cooperated agreements and invests heavily in the irrigation sector to help Botswana fight its desertification problem by suggesting models that have worked for their own country.
Israel is also facilitating the development of the Botswana International University of Science and Technology. Finally, you have what Botswana would consider their best friends Namibia and South Africa. These three countries go way back. First South Africa used to have some drama with Botswana but today is really close and assigned numerous agreements in tax agriculture, health, transport and more. A huge portion of the Botswana economy is dependent on South Africa and culturally they resonate pretty close as they were both parts of the British Empire.
Namibia though is really close to Botswana too but remember they kind of broke away and became independent from South Africa. Soon after Namibia’s independence, Botswana was one of the first countries to shake hands and sign treaties the only issue is that Namibia once scared the crap out of Botswana because they almost planned on deferring the water from the okavango river away from the basin to help irrigate their land which would destroy the whole Delta luckily the plans were diverted. In conclusion, Botswana is like the little African country that accidentally got blessed and then ran with it.