Botswana


Geography

Botswana is almost the size of France or Kenya and a little smaller than Texas in the USA. Most of the country consists of nearly level sand-filled basin at an elevation of 1000m. The Okavango River flows in from Namibia in the northwest and soaks into the sand to form the Okavango Delta with its channels and islands. The central and south western part is called the Kalahari which is a semi-desert landscape.

Climate

As is typical of deserts far from the moderating influence of the sea, and as the country extends over nine degrees of latitude, there is considerable variation in the seasons and climatic conditions in Botswana.

There is generally only two seasons: summer, which lasts from October to April; and winter which is slightly shorter, from May to September. The vast majority of rain falls between December and February, although even during this period there can be long dry spells when temperatures can soar to over 40C (104F). In winter the night temperatures can plummet to below freezing. But at any time of year, be it mid-winter or mid-summer, visitors can generally count on sunny clear-blue skies with very consistently cloudy days.

The temperature in the Okavango in winter (May to August) is warm during the day and cool in the evenings. In summer, however, it is hot and humid during the day while the night temperature rarely drops below 18 degrees C. The Kalahari Desert is warm to hot all year round with the typical desert winters where sub-freezing night temperatures are common.

Population

Almost 60% of the 1,5 million inhabitants of Botswana are concentrated on the Eastern side of the country.