SAIM – Botswana: one of the world’s driest countries

Botswana: one of the world’s driest countriesThis time around weand#39re heading to one of the southernmost spots on the African continent: Botswana We leave Turkey, and after a nine-hour flight, land in South Africaand#39s Johannesburg. From there, we head off on a four-and-a-half-hour car ride, heading northwest and watching the incredible landscape pass before our eyes outside.

After passing through passport control at the border, we enter Botswana, a country filled with below-ground and above-ground resources, a country some call andldquothe land of diamonds.andrdquo With a total population of around 22 million, Botswana is generally a flat country, though it has some hilly areas in its easternmost regions.

Notably, aside from the northern regions of Botswana, the country has no rivers or waterways. What it does have, though, is lots of underground resources: diamonds, copper, nickel and coal.

These days, tourism is a developing sector in Botswana, a country where the gross domestic product (GDP) per capita is around $16,400.Botswana is a former British colony.

It gained independence in 1966 before independence it was called andldquoBechuanaland.andrdquo There are two primary languages spoken in Botswana: One is English, the other is Setswana English is the official language, while Setswana is the national tongue.

There are other tribal languages spoken here, but 87 percent of the country speaks Setswana andldquoDumela mma, o tsogile jang?andrdquo is one way to ask andldquoHow are you?andrdquo in this language.Thirty-four percent of Botswanaand#39s land has been turned into national parks, with the aim of protecting wild animals.

These are large tracts of land where animals can roam unhampered. The national symbol of Botswana, by the way, is the zebraBotswana does not require visas of Turkish citizens.

We did, however, note that, despite this, very few Turks can be found here. In fact, there are actually fewer Turks residing in Botswana than almost anywhere else in the world.

There is, accordingly, no Turkish Embassy here, making it one of the few countries in the world with no Turkish diplomatic presence.Botswana has four neighbors: Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

At the same time, the Kalahari Desert takes up some 84 percent of Botswanaand#39s land, which sits at an average 950 meters above sea level.Most of Botswanaand#39s population lives in its eastern and southeastern regions.

And interestingly, some 60 percent of Botswanans work for the state. State jobs begin at 7:30 in the morning and come to an end at 4:30 pmThe capital of Botswana is Gabarone.

Around 800,000 people — about half of the entire population of the country– live in Gabarone, or Khabaron, as itand#39s called in SetswanaThe capital does not lie in the middle of Botswana, but rather in its southeastern region, very close to the border with South Africa These days, some people say that Gabarone is in fact Africaand#39s fastest-developing city.One liter of gas in Botswana costs 10 pula, or around TL 2 Yes, compared to Turkey, Botswana has incredibly cheap fuel.

As it lies in the southern hemisphere, Botswanaand#39s seasons are the reverse of Turkeyand#39s. The summer season is between December and March, with temperatures that range between 30 and 35 Celsius.

The winter months are between June and August, with temperatures down to an average of 23 Celsius, and nighttime temperatures as low as 5 Celsius.There is definitely not much rainfall in Botswana, but what rain there is comes between December and March.

In fact, we witnessed an incredible downpour while we were there shooting, with enormous drops of rain coming down, making us happy, but making the parched lands and locals happier still.QUICK FACTSBOTSWANACapital: GaboroneEthnic groups: Tswana (or Setswana) 79 percent, Kalanga 11 percent, Basarwa 3 percent, other, including Kgalagadi and white, 7 percentLanguages: Setswana 78.

2 percent, Kalanga 79 percent, Sekgalagadi 28 percent, English (official) 21 percent, other 86 percent, unspecified 04 percent (2001 census)Government: Parliamentary republicChief of state: President Seretse Khama Ian KHAMA (since April 1, 2008) Vice President Ponatshego KEDIKILWE (since Aug. 2, 2012)Area: 581,730 square kilometersPopulation: 2,155,784Gross domestic product (PPP): $34 billion (2013 est.

)Religions: Christian 71.6 percent, Badimo 6 percent, other 14 percent, unspecified 04 percent, none 20.

6 percent (2001 census.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman