Botswana , one of Africa 's most stable countries, is the continent's longest continuous multi-party democracy. It is also the world's largest producer of diamonds and the trade has transformed it into a middle-income nation. Botswana protects some of Africa 's largest areas of wilderness. It is sparsely populated, because it is so dry. The Kalahari Desert , home to a dwindling band of Bushman hunter-gatherers, makes up much of the territory and most areas are too arid to sustain any agriculture other than cattle.

Twice the size of
Arizona , Botswana is in south-central Africa , bounded by Namibia , Zambia , Zimbabwe , and South Africa . Most of the country is near-desert, with the Kalahari occupying the western part of the country. The eastern part is hilly, with salt lakes in the north.
Formerly the British protectorate of Bechuanaland , Botswana adopted its new name on independence in 1966. Four decades of uninterrupted civilian leadership, progressive social policies, and significant capital investment have created one of the most dynamic economies in Africa . Mineral extraction, principally diamond mining, dominates economic activity, though tourism is a growing sector due to the country's conservation practices and extensive nature preserves. Botswana is trying to reduce its economic dependence on diamonds. Safari-based tourism - tightly-controlled and often upmarket - is an important source of income.
After 17 years in power, President Ketumile Masire retired in 1997, and Festus Mogae, an Oxford-educated economist, became the new president. Mogae has won high marks from the international financial community for continuing to privatize the nation's mining and industrial operations.

The earliest inhabitants of the region were the San, who were followed by the Tswana. About half the country today is ethnic Tswana. The term for the country's people, Batswana, refers to national rather than ethnic origin.Encroachment by the Zulu in the 1820s and by Boers from Transvaal in the 1870s and 1880s threatened the peace of the region. In 1885, Britain established the area as a protectorate, then known as Bechuanaland . In 1961, Britain granted a constitution to the country. Self-government began in 1965, and on Sept. 30, 1966 , the country became independent. Botswana is Africa 's oldest democracy. The new country maintained good relations with its white-ruled neighbors but gradually changed its policies, harboring rebel groups from South Rhodesia as well as some from South Africa.

President Mogae
Quick Facts

Official Name
Republic of Botswana
Southern Africa , north of South Africa
Area slightly smaller than Texas (600,370 sq km)
Tswana (or Setswana) 79%, Kalanga 11%, Basarwa 3%, others, including whites 7%
: Christian 71.6%, Badimo 6%, others 1.4%,
National Holiday 30 September (1966 Independence from UK )
Setswana 78.2%, Kalanga 7.9%, Sekgalagadi 2.8%, English 2.1% (official),
Head of State
President Festus G. Mogae (since 1 April 1998 ) and Vice President Seretse Ian Khama (since 13 July 1998 ). The president is both the chief of state and head of government
Legal System
based on Roman-Dutch law and local

The Jewel of Botswana
The Okavango Delta, the world's largest inland delta, is in the Northwest. The Makgadikgadi Pan, a large salt pan lies in the North. The area was once part of Lake Makgadikgadi, an ancient lake that dried up some 10,000 years ago. Today, Okavango River has no outlet to the sea instead, it empties onto the sands of the Kalahari Desert, irrigating 15,000 sq km of the desert. Wildlife: The Okavango Delta is home to wildlife and attracts thousands of visitors a year. There are number of camps within the delta region that cater to visitors. The delta provides a seasonal habitat to numerous different species. Among these are the elephant, African buffalo, hippopotamus, red lechwe, tsessebe, Blue wildebeests, giraffe, Nile crocodile, lion, cheetah, leopard, hyena, wild dog, greater kudu, sable antelope, black rhino, white rhino, water monitor, zebra, warthog and chacma baboon. It also includes over 400 species of birds, including fish eagles, crested cranes, and sacred ibis. The government presented plans to build a dam in the Caprivi region to regulate the water-flow. This could be the end for the rich wild and plant life in the Delta.

Botswana Diamonds
Botswana is the world’s leading producer of gem quality diamonds in the world, producing some 30 million carats, about 30% of world output by value from four mines and earns 83% of export earning within the country. Diamond production in Botswana is dominated by Debswana, a joint venture company owned by De Beers Investments (50%) and the Government of Botswana (50%). Debswana has 3 operational mines, Lethlhakane, Orapa and Jwaneng. Jwaneng, which is 120km from Gaborne is by far the richest and the largest of the three mines and one of the largest diamond mines in the world.

It is a huge semi-desert region in southern Africa stretching from South Africa through Namibia , into Angola and comprising the entire western and central regions of Botswana . It is one of the largest areas of semi-desert in the world. It is home to the San people, a semi-nomadic people who are expert hunters and gathers The word Kalahari is an Anglicised corruption of the Setswana name Kgalagadi.There are four major national parks in the Kalahari and many conservation areas linked to them that help protect the delicate eco-systems. Nature also protects itself because game is most plentiful after the rains when the tracks and trails across the desert are wet and treacherous, deterring the tourists. In the first few months of the year the rains attract thousands of springbok, gemsbok and wildebeest followed by lions and cheetah. The most experienced safari travelers prefer to travel from February to April when it can be wet. Later in the year driving conditions improve when the land dries out.