Botswana In A Nutshell

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Botswana Looks ahead knowing that:

  • Debswana is the world’s largest diamond producer by value.
  • Jwaneng Mine is the richest diamond mine on the planet by value.
  • Jwaneng Mine is the richest piece of real estate in the world, valued at five times an equivalent piece of land in Tokyo, Japan.
  • It is rated the top sub-Saharan African country in all elements of governance.
  • Botswana ranks in the top quartile of various governance indices worldwide.
  • Botswana has maintained one of the world’s highest economic growth rates since independence in 1966.

Botswana is a member of the

  • United Nations
  • The Organisation of African Unity (OAU)
  • The Commonwealth
  • Southern African Development Community (SADC)
  • African Union (AU)
  • Non-Aligned Movement (NAM)
  • Southern African Customs Union (SACU)
  • The implementation committee of NEPAD (New Partnership for Africa’s Development)

The republic of Botswana is a multi-party democracy. It became independent on 30th September 1966. It has an executive President as Head of State. The national assembly elects the President for a term of five years. The current President is His Excellency Lt. Gen. Seretse Khama Ian Khama.


Botswana is roughly the size of France or Texas. Its surface area is 581,730 km2. It is entirely landlocked, bordered by its neighbours South Africa, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Botswana is 84% covered by the Kalahari (Kgalagadi) Desert. Most of the population is settled in the east and south east of the country.


The total population estimate in 2011 was 2,024,904, growing at a rate of 1.9% per annum. The population is heavily weighted towards younger age groups. About 33% of the population is younger than 15 years of age. Over 63% of the population is settled in urban areas (cities, towns and urban villages).


Gaborone, in the extreme south east, is the capital city of Botswana. Its population is approximately 232,000. It has good connections by road and air to South Africa. Other main towns are Francistown (98,961), Lobatse (29,007), Selebi Phikwe (49,411), Jwaneng (18,008), Orapa (9,531) and Sowa (3,598).


Summer: December to March. High temperatures average 30oC to 35oC with lows around 18oC and rain particularly between December and March. Winter: June to August. Daytime temperatures around 23oC with night-time lows averaging 5oC.


GMT plus 2 hours


The national airline’s expanded schedule of international flights now include flights between:

  • Gaborone and Johannesburg
  • Maun and ​Johannesburg
  • Francistown and Johannesburg
  • Gaborone and Cape Town

Domestic flights run between

  • Gaborone and Francistown
  • Gaborone and Maun
  • Gaborone and Kasane
  • Maun and Kasane


USD 30


Visitors from the European Union, most Commonwealth countries and the USA do not require visas. Visitors from other countries should check with Botswana embassies or consulates prior to travelling. Visas are initially granted for 30 days and can be extended for a total of three months. (Visitors from Ghana, India, Nigeria, Phakistan and Sri Lanka do require visas).


The following goods declared on arrival are duty free:

  • 2 litres of wine
  • 1 litre of spirits
  • 400 cigarettes
  • 50 cigars
  • 250 gm of cigarette and pipe tobacco
  • 50 ml perfume
  • 250ml eau de toilette

All goods acquired outside Botswana must be declared when you enter the country.


International P100, local P50


Batswana are the most numerous people in the country, forming about 78.2% of the population and speaking the Setswana language. (Batswana also refers to the citizens of Botswana). They have settled in nearly all parts of the country. The oldest ethnic group is the San. Over 80% of the population lives in the eastern region.



The official language is English, which is used in government and business affairs. Setswana is the national language, and is widely spoken. Other ethnic groups speak their own languages.


Private sector: Monday to Friday 08:00 – 17:00 Government offices: Monday to Friday 07:30 – 16:30


The Pula is divided into 100 thebe. Notes are P200, P100, P50, P20 and P10. Coins are P5, P2, P1, 50t, 25t, 10t and 5t.


Ten main commercial banks operate in Botswana:

  • Barclays Bank
  • Standard Chartered Bank
  • First National Bank
  • Stanbic Bank
  • Bank of Baroda
  • Bank Gabarone
  • Capital Bank
  • BancABC
  • Bank of India
  • State Bank of India

There are also a number of foreign exchange bureaux.

Banking hours:

Monday to Friday 08:30 – 15:30 and Saturday 08:30 – 11:00


1 January New Year’s Day
2 January Public Holiday
March / April (variable): Good Friday and Easter Monday
1 May: Labour Day
June (variable): Ascension Day
1 July Sir Seretse Khama Day
Third Monday in July President’s Day (and the following day
30 September Independence Day (and the following day)
25 December Christmas Day
26 December Boxing Day


International code +267


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