Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Travel the World - Botswana

I started a 50-week series in 2019 that I called Travel the World. Each week of the series I visited a randomly-selected country, sharing bits of information about that country. I then chose one tidbit of information about that week's country as inspiration for a card. As I explored those 50 countries in 2019, I knew I would continue on until I've visited every one of the 195 countries in the world. By the end of 2021, I'd virtually traveled to 145 countries and plan to complete my journey to all 195 countries by visiting the last 50 this year.

This week's country is...


Botswana is a landlocked nation located in Southern Africa.

It borders South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Namibia.

Approximately two-thirds of the country lies within the Tropics. Botswana is well known for having some of the best wilderness and wildlife areas on the African continent. 

In total area, all of Botswana could fit inside Texas.

Botswana shares the shortest land border with Zambia. The border is just 443 ft. long. It is the shortest land boundary in the world.

Botswana is one of the four countries which meet at the eastern end of the Caprivi Strip in Namibia. This is the only place in the world where four countries meet, namely Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and Zambia. 

Botswana is a mainly flat country with its highest point situated in the Tsodilo Hills at approximately 5000 feet.

The inhabitants of Botswana call themselves ‘Batswana’, of which the singular is ‘Motswana’.

Botswana is a sparsely populated country. It is smaller than France in size, but where 67 million people live in France, there are only 2.3 million in Botswana.

Gaborone is the capital and largest city of Botswana. It is located in the south of the country, near the border to South Africa. 

Nearly 40% of Botswana is made up of national parks and wildlife reserves which provide plenty of large areas for animals to roam.

English is the official language of Botswana; Setswana is the local language and the most spoken language throughout the country. There are 18 main tribal languages though.

Water is so valued in Botswana that their currency is called the "pula" which means rain or blessing in the Setswana language.

Botswana is home to a wide variety of wildlife. It is possible to observe the famous big five game animals in Botswana: lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and buffalo.

There is also a huge variety of other animals including between 160 and 500 distinct mammal species, at least 593 bird species, 150 unlike reptiles, more than 8,000 insect and spider species, and more than 3,100 types of plants and trees.

With approximately 130,451 elephants, Botswana has Africa's highest concentration of elephants.

Located in the dry savanna of north-eastern Botswana, the Makgadikgadi Pan is one of the largest salt pans in the world. The pan is situated in an area that was once covered by the massive Lake Makgadikgadi.

The music video ‘Wildest Dreams’ of Taylor Swift was filmed in Botswana, on the Makgadigadi Salt Pans.

The Okavango Delta, a wet marsh/swamp-like area in Botswana, is the largest inland delta in the world.

Over 70% of Botswana's total area is desert.

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.

Meerkats are small carnivores from the mongoose family. The species is endemic to Southern Africa, and is common throughout the Kalahari Desert. Botswana offers the best opportunity to observe these unique and interesting animals. Many wildlife tours offer meerkat safaris in Botswana.

Botswana's Okavango Delta is a birder’s paradise with over 500 recorded species. 

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.

Botswana suffers from one of the world’s worst HIV/AIDS epidemics, after Swaziland and Lesotho. The country has an adult HIV prevalence rate of 24.8%. The high socioeconomic costs of managing HIV/AIDS at a national level are challenging to the nation's economy.

Mopane worms are a delicacy in Botswana. 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. Bon Appetit! 

Botswana is one of the world's biggest diamond producers.

The culture of Botswana is prominent in the Setswana language, traditional music, local food, dance, traditional attire, rituals and other ceremonies like wedding celebrations.

Dance is an integral part of many traditions and celebrations in Botswana, and there is a huge variety of dances performed for different occasions and for storytelling purposes. Botswana’s dance culture is one of the most extensive in Africa, both in expressive and artistic terms.

Indigenous music passed down the generations is a simple art making great use of the voice along with clapping for rhythm, and though this form of music is still celebrated, you are more likely to hear a modern version as you travel around Botswana - faster beats created by a synthesiser are more likely. However, the Batswana people are in touch with their roots, and folk music is very popular, incorporating stringed instruments and traditional lyrics to create a fantastic musical experience for visitors.

The Maitisong Festival is a month-long festival that takes place from late March or early April every year in Botswana’s capital, Gaborone. The festival is a celebration of performing arts, featuring music, dance, poetry and theatre shows performed by artists from Botswana and beyond. As well as acting as a platform for intercultural exchange, the festival promotes and supports young performers at the start of their careers 

Every 30th September, Botswana marks the anniversary of its independence from the UK with a national holiday. A festival of patriotic events, speeches, parades and parties takes place across the country, while on a family level the celebrations often involve spending the day outdoors enjoying a picnic or barbecue with friends and relatives. Outfits and decor will often mimic  Botswana’s flag, featuring blue, white and black, and celebrations in the capital are rounded off with an impressive firework display.

In Botswana, people prefer not to wear red during a thunderstorm because it is believed that the color attracts lightning.

Weddings are expensive affairs. In traditional ceremonies, the celebrations can last for two days at the minimum. During the celebrations, food and drinks are served, music is played for dancing, and speeches are made. This is why over 50% of couples prefer to live together.

When giving a gift or handing out something, Botswana either hold out both hands or use their right hand. If one hand is used, the left hand is placed under the right elbow to support the right hand.

Batswana consider it rude to walk in the middle of two people who are conversing. It is much better to walk around either person. If it cannot be avoided, pass between the individuals with the head bowed while saying, “Intshwarele”, which means, “Excuse me”.

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.

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.

As a foreigner visiting Botswana, locals may call you “lekgoa”. In English, this directly translates to ‘spat out by the sea’.

staple food in Botswana is a porridge known as bogobe which is made from millet or maize. It may be served with relish such as onions, tomato sauce, and chicken stock.

Cattle plays an important role in the culture of Botswana. Cattle is considered an indicator of status and wealth – the wealthier the person, the more cattle he owns.

My inspiration for this week's card is based on this fact about Botswana... In Botswana, rain on a wedding day is believed to be a blessing. However, stormy weather on this special day also means bad luck.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

Stamp Sets: SU Wonderful Moments and SU Word Play stamped with VersaFine Clair Nocturne Ink

Paper: Accent Opaque 120# White, Recollections Black, and SU Metallic Silver CS, Paper Studio B/W Diagonal Stripes DP, and Specialty Papers from unknown vendors

Dies: Gina K Master Layouts 1 and 2 and Unity Scallops and Rectangles


kiwimeskreations said...

What a fascinating and diverse country Jeanette - thank you for sharing all that. Love your card - the black, white and silver is stunning

Shelly Schmidt said...

First of all, I had to look up the Taylor Swift song to see the landscape.... I have never heard this song before...lol I love learning about this country. Your card is just beautiful! Love the metallic accents : )