192-PART GUIDE TO THE WORLD: PART 23: BOTSWANA

OFFICIAL NAME

The Republic Of Botswana.

OFFICIAL LANGUAGE

English, although Setswana (a Bantu dialect) is common.

POPULATION

About 1,500,000.

SIZE

231,804 square miles, or 20 times the size of Belgium.

BEST MONUMENT

The three peaks of the Tsodilo Hills which the Bantus call Male, Female and Child. Located north of the Okavango Delta, they contain 3,500 rock paintings.

NATIONAL DISH

Mabele (millet or sorghum porridge) is the basis of most meals. Other delicacies are Marula fruit, Tsama melons, wild cucumbers and ants' eggs.

CLIMATE

Botswana is not all hot. In winter, clear warm days are followed by cool nights. The summer rainy season lasts from November to March.

MOST FAMOUS CITIZEN

Seretse Khama became the country's first president in 1966 and ruled the country until his death in 1980.

BEST MOMENT IN HISTORY

The Republic of Botswana won its independence from Britain in September 1966.

WORST MOMENT IN HISTORY

In 1818, Zulu chief Shaka forcibly amalgamated all the tribes that lay in the path of his invading armies. After this the way was clear for European colonisation.

ESSENTIAL ACCESSORY

A thick skin, to prevent the bite of the tsetse fly, which can cause Sleeping Sickness.

WHAT NOT TO DO

Poach rhinos. The few left have armed guards who would rather see a dead poacher than a dead rhino.

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