Last updated on April 18th, 2022
36. Greeting in Botswana consists of shaking hands and saying, “Dumela Rra” (if meeting a man) or “Dumela Mma” (if meeting a woman). It is considered polite to greet people, even if they are strangers.
37. Greeting is slightly different in northern parts of Botswana. If meeting an elderly who is seated, it is customary to offer both hands while kneeling down. If they are standing, simply offer both hands while making a small bow.
38. Once a friendship has developed between two people, they may greet each other casually. It is not uncommon to find friends or close acquaintances holding hands while talking. This is especially true among men. In fact, African leaders Nelson Mandela and former Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe were actually photographed holding hands. For Batswana, holding hands is an expression of trust, closeness, and friendship.
39. The Burchell’s Zebra is Botswana’s national animal. Two of these zebras appear on the country’s Coat of Arms. The Burchell Zebra was chosen due to its neutrality as a tribal symbol and also for its black and white stripes – colors that are found on the country’s flag.
40. Botswana’s landscape is mostly flat. One of its high point is the Tsodilo Hills, which have an elevation of 4,511 feet. Considered the spiritual home of the Bantu and San people, the Hills also house ancient rock art and are also a UNESCO World Heritage site.
41. Botswana’s economy is thriving, thanks in large part to precious stones. Thanks to excellent revenue from diamonds, the country can afford to offer free education to children until they turn 13.
42. Botswana beverages include madila, which is fermented milk and a type of beer called Bojalwa ja Setswana (beer of Botswana), which is made using fermented sorghum seeds.
43. The country also produces famous drinks from international brands such as Coca-Cola and Fanta.
44. Botswana’s cuisine includes some exotic dishes. One such is a dish made of mopane worms. These worms are the larvae of the emperor butterfly, which are endemic in the region. The worms may be boiled, fried, dried, or roasted in hot ashes.
45. Originally, tribes practiced their own religion, which revolved around a supreme being called Modimo. Practitioners also used rites in celebration of their religion, with ceremonies that include initiation rites for males and females, and rainmaking rites called the gofethla pula.
46. About half of Botswana’s population are Christians, with many practicing independent Christianity and Protestantism. About 1/3 adhere to traditional beliefs.
47. Cattle plays an important role in the culture of Botswana, particularly the Batswana tribe. Cattle is considered an indicator of status and wealth – the wealthier the person, the more cattle he owns.
48. The kori bustard or kgori holds the honor of being the national bird of Botswana. Due to its size, it is the heaviest flying bird in Africa.
49. The national dish of Botswana is the Seswaa, a type of meat stew. Meat (usually beef or goat) on the bone is cooked in water and salt until it is soft enough to be pounded until tender. It is then served with cornmeal or pap. The dish is so well-loved that it is served on special occasions, such as weddings and funerals.
50. Although the term “Batswana” refers to the members of the Tswana tribe, it is also now used to refer to the people of Botswana in general. The singular form of the term is “Motswana”.
Botswana – quick facts and statistics
|Independence||30 September 1966 (from the UK)|
|Area||total: 581,730 sq km
land: 566,730 sq km
water: 15,000 sq km
Note: area is slightly smaller than Texas; almost four times the size of Illinois
|Borders||Namibia , South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe|
|Population||2,350,667 (July 2021 est.)|
|Suffrage||18 years of age; universal|
|Literacy rate||total population: 86.5%|
|Government type||Unitary dominant-party parliamentary republic with an executive presidency|
|Vice Presidents||Slumber Tsogwane|
|National Anthem||"Kalibusiswe Ilizwe leZimbabwe" [Northern Ndebele language] "Simudzai Mureza WeZimbabwe" [Shona] (Blessed Be the Land of Zimbabwe)|
|National holiday||Independence Day (Botswana Day), 30 September (1966)|
|Agricultural land||45.8% (est. 2018)|
|Natural resources||coal, chromium ore, asbestos, gold, nickel, copper, iron ore, vanadium, lithium, tin, platinum group metals|
|National colors||blue, white, black|
|Lowest point||junction of the Limpopo and Shashe Rivers 513 m|
|Mean elevation||1,013 m|
|Climate||semiarid; warm winters and hot summers|
|Terrain||predominantly flat to gently rolling tableland; Kalahari Desert in southwest|
|Birth rate||20.6 births/1,000 population (2021 est.)|
|Death rate||9.12 deaths/1,000 population (2021 est.)|
|Sex ratio||0.93 male(s)/female (2020 est.)|
|Life expectancy at birth||65.24 years (2021)
Life expectancy at birth indicates the number of years a newborn infant would live if prevailing patterns of mortality at the time of its birth were to stay the same throughout its life.
|Industries||mining (coal, gold, platinum, copper, nickel, tin, diamonds, clay, numerous metallic and nonmetallic ores), steel; wood products, cement, chemicals, fertilizer, clothing and footwear, foodstuffs, beverages|
|Exports||$6.16 billion (2019 est.)
diamonds, insulated wiring, gold, beef, carbonates (2019)
|Imports||$7.44 billion (2019 est.)
diamonds, refined petroleum, cars, delivery trucks, electricity (2019)
|GDP - per capita (PPP)||$16,000
note: data are in 2017 dollars (2020 est.)
|Time Zone||UTC+2 (Central Africa Time)|
|Internet country code||.bw|
|Drives on the||Left|
|Table last updated||February 19, 2022|