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BOTSWANA is a landlocked republic in southern Africa which strad­dles the Tropic of Capricorn. South Africa surrounds Botswana to the south and east, Namibia to the west, Zimbabwe to the northeast, and meet at Zambia west of the Victoria Falls. Much of the west and southwest of the country forms part of the Kalahari Desert. There is a huge area of marshland around the Okavango Delta in the north, which is home to a wide variety of wildlife. East and south of the delta are the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans.

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The bulk of the population lives in the south and east of the country. Except for the desert area, most of the country has a subtropical climate, but it is subject to drought. In winter, days are warm and nights cold, while summer is hot with sporadic rainfall. The climate also has a stranglehold on agriculture, with recent droughts making the already difficult nomadic agriculture mode virtu­ally impossible.

Cattle were previously a mainstay of the country’s export earnings. Still, in common with many other African countries, mining has come to the fore with the extraction of diamonds, copper, coal, platinum, oil, and gold among the country’s growing mineral wealth.

Botswana is the largest supplier of diamonds in the world. The exploitation of these mineral resources has facilitated a high rate of economic growth within the country. Coal is also mined, but the majority is for domestic use. About 17 percent of Botswana is set aside for wildlife preser­vation in national parks, game reserves, game sanctuaries, and controlled hunting areas, but much depends on good seasonal rains.

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Botswana is a vast tableland with a mean altitude of 1,000 meters (3,300 feet). A gently undulating plateau, running northward from the South African border near Lobatse to the Zimbabwe border, forms a watershed between Botswana’s two main natural divisions. The fertile land to the south and east of this plateau is hilly bush country and grassland, or veld. To the west of the plateau, stretching over the border into Namibia is the Kalahari Desert. In the north lies the area is known as Ngamiland, which is dominated by the Okavango Delta and the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans. Botswana is a landlocked nation.

Did you know about Botswana?

The Okavango Delta, one of the world’s largest wetlands, provides a unique ecosystem and habitat for an astounding abundance of African wildlife, including mammals, birds, fish, amphibians, and reptiles.

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