Welcome to Botswana

Botswana used to be among the poorest countries in the world. But the discovery of diamonds brought economic growth and the country is now a middle-income nation. With a long cultural tradition of people having their say, it's no wonder Botswana has become a successful multi-party republic.

Poverty & Healthcare


With a quarter of adults infected by HIV/AIDS, Botswana became the first African country to provide free universal antiretroviral treatment. This has saved thousands and will continue to save many more.

Watch the video of Offana (17). He says almost everyone he knows helps someone with AIDS.

Agriculture & Famine

A quarter of the population of sub-Saharan Africa is undernourished and famines can impact whole regions.

Land is available to grow more food locally, but investment is needed in  technologies such as irrigation for land to be used effectively. Farmers must also adapt to climate change if they are to feed the continent's rising population.

Children's stories

'Riri's Life' and 'Rude Boy'

Two teams of children at the SOS Children’s Village in Botswana worked with professional film makers to create their very own feature films. See what they came up with…

Education & Jobs

A true pioneer

Patrick van Rensburg was an educationalist and anti-apartheid campaigner. He pioneered a school programme which combines academic and vocational learning in Botswana.


Around one in six children born in sub-Saharan Africa don't live to see their fifth birthday and life can be tough for those who do.

What are the common challenges facing African children and how do their lives compare with those of children in the UK?

Tourism & Communications

Unspoilt beauty

Botswana’s tourism industry focuses on the luxury/exclusive safari market and nearly 40% of the country's land is under wildlife protection.

History & Politics

Multiparty republic

Botswana is a multiparty republic, which was not always the case. Find out more about Botswana’s history and visionary leadership.


Botswana’s traditional sounds

Meet Andrew, a very passionate music teacher. He teaches children traditional music and they seem to have fun learning the marimba.

Standards of living

Brewing beer to make a living

There is a big divide between the rich and poor in Botswana. You can see this by comparing houses in the rich district with the place where Granny lives. Kumiso meets Granny, who brews beer to make a living. She doesn’t have much – but does she seem happy?

Food & Daily life

Tradition of beer brewing

As the economy modernises, life in Botswana is changing and many people are moving to the towns and cities. Some things remain the same though, such as the appreciation of a good local beer.

Facts & Figures

A small population

At almost 600,000 square kilometres, Botswana is similar in size to France or Kenya. And yet the country has a very small population in comparison, with only 1.98 million people in 2010 (compared to 62.8 million in France and 40.9 million in Kenya).


Africa has a high number of communicable diseases, which place a huge burden on healthcare systems. The vast majority of malaria cases and HIV/AIDS-related deaths occur in Africa; these two diseases currently represent the greatest threats.

With low investment in healthcare and a severe shortage of medical staff, many countries struggle to meet the health needs of their people.


The first humans are thought to have lived in Africa and powerful African empires formed from the medieval age onwards.

However, today's African nations were shaped by the European powers who colonised this vast continent. Having gained their independence, many African countries are still coming to terms with the legacy left by their colonisers.


‘People are the real wealth of a nation.’ This is the belief of the United Nations, whose Millenium Development Goals provide a framework for improving the lives of millions.

It helps when nations are peaceful, stable and growing economically. But where even the poorest countries focus on health, education and creating fairer societies, more Africans have the chance of a better life.

Economy & Industry

Rising through the ranks

With the discovery of diamonds, Botswana went from one of the world’s poorest countries to becoming a middle-income nation. But the diamonds will not last forever. What else does the country have to offer?

Bushmen of Botswana

Fighting for a tradition

The Bushmen of Botswana are being forced to abandon their traditional way of living and move into permanent communities. The government says this gives them access to health and education services. But is resettlement the right policy?

Geography & Wildlife

With its varied geography and diverse habits, the African continent is home to a wide range of flora and fauna. Though famous for its 'big game' animals, Africa has huge numbers of fish, mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian and insect species, as well as many tree, plant and flower species.


Africa is a massive continent, with a range of climates. Some regions are hot and dry, like the Sahara, Kalahari and Namib deserts. Other parts are wet or covered in tropical rainforest. Conditions also vary by altitude, from the dry salt pans of the Danakil Depression (one of the lowest points on earth) to the snowcaps (at certain times) of the highest mountains. Weather-wise, Africa has it all!

Welcome to Botswana

Hello. My name is Kumisso. Welcome to Botswana

Botswana is a multi party republic. I'm proud of my nation, because of our long-held belief in democracy.

Botswana is a beautiful country, with famous areas for wildlife like the Okavango delta in the north. I live in the south, near the capital Gaborone. Come and see what life in the south of Botswana is like.

Climate & Agriculture

Clear skies and soaring temperatures

With its sub-tropical ‘desert’ climate, temperatures in Botswana are hot in the daytime and cold at night and the country has little rainfall.


Across the rest of the world, absolute poverty has halved over recent decades, but in Africa it has barely fallen.

About two-fifths of the population of sub-Saharan Africa survive week by week on what someone in the UK earns from just one hour's work on the minimum wage.

Dating and marriage

Education first

Watch Offana squirm as he answers questions about dating, getting married and having a family. But he has his feet firmly on the ground – education comes first.

My home

I don’t like chillies

Thabang shows where he lives and what's growing in the garden. He points out the chilli plants his SOS mother likes to cook with.

Geography & Wildlife

A rich natural environment

Botswana is home to hundreds of different animal and bird species. Its unspoilt and protected natural areas are the envy of many. The wetlands of the Okavango Delta in the north are particularly rich and important for wildlife.


A woman’s status varies by country and region across Africa. In many parts, women struggle against inequality in laws, education, pay and domestic responsibilities.

Women’s health is also at risk from traditional practices such as early marriage. But with better education, girls can make more informed choices, leading to the greater development of African nations.

Games & Sport

Africa is home to arguably the oldest-recorded games and sports. While some are only known through archaeology, modern-day games and sports such as Mancala/Mankala and Nubian wrestling are very much alive today.

Of course, new sports have come along to claim the attention of Africans. You may have heard of one - it's called football.

Kgotla – a meeting place

A focal point

A kgotla is a traditional meeting place (similar to a court) where decisions are made in the community and local justice is dispensed. Marriages and other key events also take place here.

Botswana Map

Explore Botswana

Find out about some of Botswana’s key attractions, such as the Okavango Delta and other places of interest, such as the capital city, Gaborone.


Africa has some of the most distinctive cuisines and flavours in the world. Food varies widely, but there are commonalities across regions. Depending on what's grown locally, dishes are also influenced by the traders, immigrants and rulers who settled across the continent. Arab, Asian and European elements blend in with traditional African cooking.

People & Culture

A modern system?

Botswana has long practised democracy in its communities. Traditional towns and villages have a kgotla, a meeting place where everybody can have their say and decisions are taken by consensus.

Botswana topics Facts & Figures Poverty & Healthcare Food & Daily life Bushmen of Botswana People & Culture Geography & Wildlife Climate & Agriculture Standards of living Kgotla – a meeting place Welcome to Botswana Marimba Economy & Industry Dating and marriage Education & Jobs Children's stories History & Politics My home Botswana Map Tourism & Communications