Facts to assist you while travelling to Botswana

Current Botswana population

  • 6 million.


Official Language(s)

  • English, Setswana.


Office Hours

  • 08:00 – 17:00.



  • Saturday – Sunday.


Time Zone

  • UTC +2.


Calling Code

  • +267.



  • If a service charge is not included in the bill a tip of 10% is acceptable.



  • Most countries are represented by embassies or consulates located in the capital city.



  • Mokgweetsi Masisi is the fifth and current president of Botswana. He is associated with the Botswana Democratic Party.



  • Botswana is semi-arid due to its short rainy season. However, the relatively high altitude of the country and its continental situation gives it a subtropical climate. The country is remote from moisture-laden air flows for most of the year. The dry season lasts from April to October in the south, and to November in the north, where the average rainfall is higher. The south of the country is most exposed to cold winds during the winter period which lasts from early May to late August. During this time the average temperatures are around 14 °C (57.2 °F). The whole country has hot summers with average temperatures around 26 °C (78.8 °F). Sunshine totals are high all year round although winter is the sunniest period. The whole country is windy and dusty during the dry season.



  • Botswana’s main airport is the Sir Seretse Khama International Airport, which is located in Gaborone. A sparsely populated, arid country, Botswana has nonetheless managed to incorporate much of its interior into the national economy. An “inner circle” highway connecting all major towns and district capitals is completely paved, and the all-weather TransKalahari Corridor Highway connects the country to Walvis Bay in Namibia.



  • The economy of Botswana is one of the world’s fastest growing economies. Botswana’s main industries include diamonds, copper, nickel, salt, soda ash, potash, livestock processing, and textiles. Manufacturing and tourism are another two sectors that also contribute greatly to its economy.



  • The Tswana, one of the local ethnicities in Botswana, are known to be friendly people. When receiving visitors from abroad, Tswana people enjoy engaging with foreigners through their traditions. Such interactions usually occur on various occasions, festivals, and celebrations. The Tswana people communicate and share their cultures with foreigners without compromising any of their institutional and cultural integrity.



  • Greetings are essential in Botswana culture. They typically will greet someone with a handshake, although this depends on the age and gender of the person and the formality of the situation. Handshakes are customary and often accompanied by a smile. Depending on the situation, the handshake can also be accompanied by a traditional greeting such as “Dumela,” which means “hello” in Botswana. You can also say “Lumela,” which is more formal and means “greet you.’’ In informal settings, you may also ask “Gosobotša?” This means ‘’How are you?’’ It is polite to respond when asked this question, even if the response isn’t always the truth.



  • The Pula is the currency of Botswana. It is subdivided into 100 thebe and has the code BWP. The word ‘’Pula’’ literally means “rain” in Setswana and was chosen due to the fact that rain is very scarce in Botswana—home to a large portion of the Kalahari Desert—and therefore it is valuable and a blessing.



  • The majority of roads in Botswana are well paved, especially intercity roads or major access routes in and out of the country. Most, if not all, major roads in the town centres are also paved, however, the condition of the roads may change somewhat depending on where you are driving. Some roads may have potholes and others might be gravel roads. The conditions of the roads also change throughout the year and may be worse in the wet season as a result of increased rainfall. The speed limit on majority of the roads is 60km/h in towns and villages, 80km/h on intersections, and 120km outside of urban areas.



  • Botswana is undeniably considered a safe country. Just like any other country, however, crime does occur, and visitors are advised to watch over their valuables when travelling. In large crowds it is also best to watch your pockets. Most areas in the country are not well lit, so walking around late at night might be risky. Other than that, Botswana is a friendly nation, and its people are warmly welcoming.



  • In the past, most ethnic groups lived pastoral lifestyles in permanent settlements, except for Botswana’s nomadic bushmen. These villages were traditionally located in hilly regions, or around reliable water sources where grazing conditions for animals were best. All of the citizens of Botswana are referred to by the plural for of the word, Batswana, or its singular form, Motswana. The population consists of the Setswana-speaking people and the non-Setswana-speakers. Over 60 percent of the population traces their heritage to one of the Setswana-speaking groups that reside in the country.



  • Every major town or city in Botswana has at least one shopping centre or mall. They may also have major supermarkets, clothing stores, liquor stores, furniture, homeware, and electronic shops, in addition to local banks and ATMs.



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Written by Saudika Hendricks

Edited by Eloise Williams

Officially the Republic of Botswana is a landlocked country located in Southern Africa. Botswana has a landscape defined by the Kalahari Desert and the Okavango Delta, which becomes a lush animal habitat during the seasonal floods.

The massive Central Kalahari Game Reserve is home to numerous animals including giraffes, cheetahs, hyenas, and wild dogs. The citizens refer to themselves as Batswana (singular: Motswana). Formerly the British protectorate of Bechuanaland, Botswana adopted its new name after becoming independent within the Commonwealth on 30 September 1966.

Since then, it has maintained a strong tradition of stable representative democracy, with a consistent record of uninterrupted democratic elections and the best perceived corruption ranking in Africa for the last four years.

When you first meet someone, how do you greet them?

When meeting, a standard greeting in English is: “Hello, how are you?” A typical Botswana greeting involves saying “Dumela” and shaking hands.

What languages are spoken in your country?

The official languages of Botswana are Setswana and English.

What side of the road do people drive on? What do we need to know about driving in Botswana?

Botswanans drive on the left and pass on the right. Traffic in Botswana is not a major issue, but locals are known to take their time on the road.

How important is punctuality?

Punctuality is important but it’s not uncommon for locals to practice ‘African time’, being slightly late.

Which types of music are popular? Who are some of your most popular musicians?

South African music and American pop music are common in Botswana. TV’s and radios often play a lot of the popular international music.

Botswana has a strong hip hop scene, and has aired a national hip hop radio show, Strictly Hip Hop, to promote the genre. Motswako, a genre of hip hop, originated in Botswana in the 1990s, and is also popular in South Africa.

Folk music is also popular in Botswana. Tswana music is primarily vocal, performed without drums and makes extensive use of string instruments, particularly the guitar. In the absence of drums, a clapping rhythm is used in music with a typical call-and-response vocal style. Culture Spears is a Tswana traditional Music group comprising 5 young artists who sing in the Setswana language.

Are there any traditional dances?

The common dance styles in Botswana include Borankana, Phathisi, Setapa, Tsutsube, Ndazola, Kalanga hosana, and Chesa. Among other things, dance is used for storytelling. The Kuru Dance Festival takes place every two years in August and lasts up to three days.

Dikakapa is a traditional dance group formed in 2006, drawing inspiration from artists such as Seragantswana, Scar,Vee, Gong Master, and Extra Musica.

  • Watch a video of it here.

What traditional festivals are celebrated in your community?

Independence Day, commonly called Boipuso, is a national holiday observed in Botswana on September 30th of every year. The date celebrates Botswana’s Declaration of Independence from the United Kingdom on September 30th, 1966.

Taking place in May, Letlhafula is an annual food festival, held to celebrate the harvest.

Founded in 2004, and taking place in March, Son of the Soil is an annual, themed, cultural festival that involves song, dance, food, and dress.

What are your seasons like?

The whole country has hot summers. The rainy season is short. The dry season lasts from April to October in the south and to November in the north. The south of the country is most exposed to cold winds during the winter period.

What are Botswana’s major industries?

Botswana’s economy has been built on a foundation of diamond mining, prudent fiscal policies, international financial and technical assistance, and a cautious foreign policy. Its largest product export is diamonds, followed by nickel, copper, and gold. Outside the mining industry, Botswana also has a highly successful tourism industry, which accounts for almost 12% of the country’s GDP, and revolves around Botswana’s unique ecosystem, providing tourists with the opportunity to view a wide variety of animals including giraffes, rhino, buffalo, and one of the largest herds of free-ranging elephants in the world.

How do people spend their free time?

Many people spend their time socializing, shopping, and travelling around Botswana when they have free time. Excellent holidays can be had at the Chobe National Park, which provides great scenery, and wildlife viewing opportunities. Residents of Gaborone may climb to the top of Kgale Hill for an aerial view of the city or spend some time at the Botswana Botanical Garden or the local Yacht Club.

What do people drink?

Alcohol: beer, spirits, wine. There are various traditionally produced alcoholic drinks. Bojalwa ja Setswana (the beer of Botswana) is brewed from fermented sorghum seeds. Other tribes, like Bakalanga, use lebelebele (millet). A commercially produced and packaged beer, Chibuku, brewed from either maize or sorghum, is a favourite drink particularly in the villages and towns.

Milk is fermented to make madila (sour milk), which is eaten on its own or added to porridge.

A favourite non-alcoholic homemade drink is ginger beer.

What is a popular local dish?

Mealie meal and red meat. Popular foods in remote areas include the morama bean, a huge underground tuber, and an edible fungus.

What do you pay for? (1 USD = approx. 13,57 BWP)

  • A cup of coffee in a restaurant will cost you approximately P28.
  • A can of Coca Cola will cost you approximately P11.
  • A 2-course meal for 2 people at a midrange restaurant will cost you approximately P400.
  • A loaf of bread will cost you approximately P10.
  • A litre of milk will cost you approximately P16.

General Safety?

Botswana is generally a safe country. People should, as a general precaution, be aware of their surroundings, especially when walking around at night. Visitors should take care when walking with handbags and using cell phones while walking around. If possible, walk with someone else, rather than alone.

And in conclusion…

Famous (and sometimes infamous…) people from Botswana include:

Amantle Montsho – a female sprinter who specialises in 400m races. She represented Botswana at the 2004 and 2008 Olympics. She also competed at the World Championships in Athletics and the IAAF World Indoor Championships.

Mpule Keneilwe Kwelagobe – a model and beauty queen from Gaborone, Botswana. She was crowned Miss Universe in May 1999.

Sir Seretse Khama – The first president of the country. He is praised for transforming the country’s economy from one of the poorest in the continent to a successful economy.


To read more exciting blogs, please click on this link.


Written by Andrew Stegmann.

Edited by Saudika Hendricks.

Contributions by Mohumi Maswabi.

In Africa, there is an alarming third wave as the vaccine rollout is hampered. In recent light of the vaccine rollout in all parts of the world, third world countries vaccine rollout seems to be stagnant, experts fearing that it may take decades to vaccinate their respective countries.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) regional office has reported that the third wave of Covid-19 cases is spreading faster in Africa. On Thursday, 17 June 2021, WHO regional director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti warned, “With a rapid increase in the number of cases and increasing reports of severe disease, the latest wave threatens to be the worst to date in Africa,”

According to the regional office, for five consecutive weeks, Africa has seen an increase in Covid-19 cases, signaling the beginning of the third wave in Africa. “As of 20 June—day 48 into the new wave—Africa had recorded around 474 000 new cases—a 21% increase compared with the first 48 days of the second wave.” As reported by WHO, the pandemic is resurging in 12 African countries and at the current rate of infections, the ongoing surge is set to surpass the previous one by early July.

18 African countries have already used over 80% of their COVAX vaccine supplies, 29 have administered over 50% of their suppliers, and eight have exhausted their vaccine supply. It is important to be aware that just over 1% of Africa’s population has been fully vaccinated. Globally, 2.7 billion doses have been administered, with just under 1.5% having been administered in Africa.

Dr Moeti is urging the international community to help Africa deal with the Covid-19 vaccine supply as the surge threatens to impair not only Africa’s economy but society.



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