A map of Botswana The Kalahari Desert stretches across central and southern parts of Botswana. The land here is a mixture of red sand and areas of scrub called “sandveld”. In the north, the River Okavango empties out into a swampy inland delta. This lush region is a haven for plant and animal life. To the southeast of the Okavango Delta lie the wide salt flats of the Makgadikgadi, the remains of a vast, dried-up, inland sea. Elsewhere in the north, the land is mostly dry savanna. Botswana has a subtropical desert climate: it seldom rains, and temperatures are warm to hot all year round. Occasionally, severe droughts strike the country, badly damaging harvests.
The largest ethnic group in Botswana are the Tswana, a Bantu-speaking people who make up about 80% of the population. Both the country and its people are named after them: citizens of Botswana are known as “Batswana”, meaning “the people of the Tswana”. A smaller group is the San, a hunter-gathering people who have lived in the region for thousands of years. They speak Khoisan languages, which are made up of tongue clicks and different vowel sounds.
Botswana’s capital, Gaborone, was built in the mid-1960s when the country became independent. Most of the city was built in just three years.
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