Botswana Travel Guide to the Indigenous Culture and Customs

Modern Bushman Art. Ian MichlerModern Bushman Art
The Language, people, traditions, religious customs and cuisine of Botswana.

Learning the Lingo

hairdresser. Ian MichlerThe official language of Botswana is English, and the national language is Setswana. A number of other languages are spoken to a lesser degree in Botswana such as Sindebele, Kalanga, Kgalagadi and Afrikaans and some bushman dialects.
For tourism purposes English is the language of communication.
Here are some useful phrases

The People of Botswana

Water collection. Ian MichlerBotswana is a country with many fascinating cultures, due to the ethnic diversity of the country. Collecting water using the donkey cart is a weekly chore, and is often the responsibility of the children in rural families.
Read about cultures of Botswana

Religion and Ancient Tradition

Baptism in the River. Ian MichlerChristianity is the religion of most of the population, while Islam, Hindu and indigenous beliefs are also represented. The predominant African Religion comprises a variety of churches: the Healing Church of Botswana, the Zionist Christian Church and the Apostolic Faith Mission. These belong to two main movements: the African Independent and Pentecostal churches.

In this image: When the annual flood waters reach Maun, the various denominations from the African Religion take to the river to carry out baptisms.
Read about traditional religions

Cuisine la Local

Bar restaurant. Francitown. Ian MichlerPartake of the local cuisine that is unique to Southern Africa, including Pap - a traditional stiff porridge made from maize meal and eaten with beef served with Chakalaka, which is a spicy African relish made with tomato, onion, beans and curry.Try the Vetkoek ("fat cake" ), a traditional Afrikaaner pastry. These are large dough balls, similar to doughnuts, deep- fried in cooking oil. They can then either be filled with cooked mince meat, Chakalake or spread with jam or syrup. Finally there are the mopane worms - a caterpillar eaten all over Africa, where ever it exists - dried or fried.Then there is Samp - made from dehulled, dried corn kernels to make a cornmeal mush which is mixed with beans and served with beef, poultry or lamb.

Seswaa is a dish unique to Botswana and consists of heavily salted mashed up meat. For those guests who are not that adventurous, hotels and lodges offer standard European dishes of a high quality, including pastas, breads and cheeses.

Read more about the Traditional Foods of Botswana
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