The People and culture of the Okavango

People of the Okavango

The people of Botswana are vibrant

Another highlight of Botswana is its people. Batswana are a mesh of many different tribes with unique origins and beliefs. The dominant group is Tswana (79%) whose language Setswana (or Tswana) is the spoken by 90 % of Batswana. The Tswana have a deeply entrenched system of chieftainship and a rich cultural heritage rooted in deep traditional values, reflected in proverbs such as “we are people because of other people”.

The San Bushmen have a rich heritage in Botswana

The first inhabitants of Botswana were the Basarwa (3%) (Often know as San Bushmen). The traditional Basarwa lifestyle of hunter gathering has sadly diminished over the years with the historic homelands of the Basarwa replaced by National Parks and towns. Basarwa people, who can further be divided into several groups with distinct ‘click’ languages, are no longer able to live the traditional nomadic life of their ancestors. Walking with bushmen is a fascinating activity that attracts visitors over and again to regions like the Central Kalahari and the Makgadikgadi salt pans. The baYei are another very interesting tribal group who arrived in the Okavango region from the Barostse floodlands of the Zambezi and lived in harmony with the Basarwa (known as Bukakhwe in the area). The baYei introduced the ‘mokoro’ dugout canoe, still used widely today as a way of transport and for fishing along the delta channels from village to village.


Our Recommended Itinerary

Botswana Okavango Delta safari adventure

day 1 to 2

Welcome to the Okavango Delta

day 3 to 4

Explore the Shinde Lagoon

day 5

Bon Voyage

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August remains extremely dry across Botswana, although by the end of the month there may be a brief shower somewhere in the south. Temperatures, however, are already beginning to rise and while nights in the Kalahari can still fall below freezing, sub-zero mornings are the exception not the norm. Daytime temperatures also climb rapidly during August and hot days across the country will…

Rock paintings of Gubatsaa Hills

Bushmen rock art in the small hills surrounding Savuti was first discovered in March 1968 by Tim Liversedge who was a warden of Chobe National Park. The latest of the paintings is thought to have been done in around 1810. Although the paintings are all of a similar style and outlined in red-ochre (similar to the nearest rock paintings found at Tsodilo Hills) they seem to have been done…

Is Botswana safe?

Botswana is considered one of the safest countries in Africa to travel in; in fact, tourism is welcomed and valued by the local people in general, as it brings opportunities and income. There is no reason for tourists to feel unsafe anywhere in Botswana in terms of crime, as there have been very few reported incidents of petty theft, or other opportunistic crimes, especially against…

Okavango Delta in Botswana

Botswana’s world-famous Okavango Delta, also known as the “Jewel of the Kalahari”, could easily be the most pristine oasis in the world. The Okavango River finds its origins in the highlands of Angola, in a catchment area of about 112,000 km2. From here it begins a winding journey of 1,900 km before fanning out into an intricate system of waterways covering 22,000 km of Kalahari…

Botswana in January

This is one of Botswana’s highest rainfall months with an average of 100mm falling in often unpredictable and heavy downpours, and as a result January is not the most popular time to visit. It does mean that prices are a lot lower, making this prime safari destination more accessible to travellers on a lower budget. Birding is excellent at this time of year; however the water levels in…

Chobe and Savuti Marsh in Botswana

Botswana’s Chobe and Savuti regions constitute a rich diversity of habitats that fall mostly within the boundaries of Chobe National Park, Botswana’s oldest wildlife reserve. The park was proclaimed in 1968 and protects an area of 11,700km2 that at the time of its formation was largely being ravaged by big game hunters and commercial logging. Chobe National Park is located in the…

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These popular itineraries can be customised to match your budget and travel dates

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