We encourage you to learn more about the regions of the world you will soon be exploring. The ancient and contemporary cultures of these areas are rich and complex. Even a small amount of background reading can help you make sense of the kaleidoscope of facts and impressions that will come your way. Having some knowledge in advance can complement and enrich what you can learn from your expert Trip Leader.
Facts & Figures
• Area: 224,607 square miles
• Capital: Gaborone
• Languages: English (official), Setswana (Tswana)
• Ethnicity: Tswana (or Setswana) 79%, Kalanga 11 %, Basarwa 3%, other, including Kgalagadi and white 7%
• Location: Botswana is bordered by Zimbabwe, South Africa, and Namibia.
• Geography: Botswana is a landlocked republic in southern Africa covering an area slightly
smaller than France. Bordering nations include Zimbabwe in the northeast, South Africa in the
south and southeast, and Namibia to the north and west. The country is geologically a vast
sandy tableland with an average elevation of about 3,300 feet (1,000 meters). Large tracts of
land in the central south and west (about two-thirds of the country) are covered by the Kalahari Desert. In the north-central portion of Botswana lie the wetlands of the Okavango Delta, the world's largest inland delta, and the salt pans of the Makgadikgadi area.
• Population: 2,182,719
• Religions: Christian 71.6%, Badimo 6%, other 1.4% (includes Baha'i, Hindu, Muslim),
unspecified 0.4%, none 20.6%
• Time Zone: Botswana is 7 hours ahead of U.S. EST. When it is 6 am in Washington D.C., it is 1 pm in Botswana.
Facts & Figures
• Area: 318,261 square miles
• Capital: Windhoek
• Languages: English is the official language of Namibia; Afrikaans (common language of most
of the population), German, and indigenous languages are also spoken.
• Ethnicity: Black 87.5%, white 6%, mixed 6.5%; about 50% of the population belong to the
Ovambo tribe and 9% to the Kavangos tribe; other ethnic groups include Herero 7%, Damara 7%, Nama 5%, Caprivian 4%, Bushmen 3%, Baster 2%, Tswana 0.5%
• Location: Namibia is bordered by South Africa, Zimbabwe, and the Atlantic Ocean.
• Geography: With scant exception (in the north near Angola and in the thin Caprivi Strip),
rainfall is rare and lakes or ponds are few. Two deserts blanket its land with sand: The Namib,
possibly the oldest in the world, follows the entire Skeleton Coast and stretches 60 to 100 miles inland; and the Kalahari comprises almost the entire eastern part of the country. Central
Namibia (a high, rocky escarpment that soars more than 6,500 feet above sea level) sees a mere six inches of rain per year.
• Population: 2,212,307
• Religions: Christian 80% to 90% (Lutheran 50% at least), indigenous beliefs 10% to 20%
• Time Zone: Namibia is on West Africa Time, seven hours ahead of U.S. EST. When it is 6am in Washington, D.C., it is 1pm in Windhoek.
Facts & figures
• Area: 470,693 square miles
• Capital: Pretoria (administrative), Cape Town (legislative), Bloemfontein (judicial)
• Languages: There are 11 official languages; English, Afrikaans, IsiZulu, IsiXhosa, Sepedi,
Setswana, Sesotho, and Xitsonga and others are all spoken.
• Ethnicity: Black African 80.2%, white 8.4%, biracial 8.8%, Indian/Asian 2.5%
• Location: South Africa is bordered by Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, the
Indian Ocean, and the South Atlantic Ocean to the west.
• Geography: Africa's southernmost country, South Africa has three major natural regions: the
plateau, the mountains, and the coastal belt.
• Population: 53,675,563
• Religions: Protestant 36.6% (Zionist Christian 11.1 %, Pentecostal/Charismatic 8.2%,
Methodist 6.8%, Dutch Reformed 6.7%, Anglican 3.8%), Catholic 7.1 %, Muslim 1.5%, other Christian 36%, other 2.3%, unspecified 1.4%, none 15.1 %
• Time Zone: South Africa is on South Africa Standard Time (SAST), seven hours ahead of
U.S. EST. When it is 6am in Washington D.C., it is 1pm in South Africa.
Facts & Figures
• Area: 150,872 square miles
• Capital: Harare
• Languages: English is the official language; Shona and Nguni are also spoken.
• Ethnicity: African 99.4% (predominantly Shona; Ndebele is the second-largest ethnic group), other 0.4%, unspecified 0.2%
• Location: Zimbabwe is bordered by Zambia, Mozambique, South Africa, and Botswana.
• Geography: Zimbabwe is twice as large as Great Britain, its Victoria Falls, approximately one
mile long with a maximum drop of 420 feet, is located on the Zambezi River at the Zambia-
• Population: 14,229,541
• Religions: Protestant 75.9% (includes Apostolic 38%, Pentecostal 21.1 %, other 16.8%),
Roman Catholic 8.4%, other Christian 8.4%, other 1.2% (includes traditional, Muslim), none 6.1%
• Time Zone: Zimbabwe is on Central Africa Time, seven hours ahead of the U.S. EST. When it is 6am in Washington D.C., it is 1pm in Harare.
Diamonds may have boosted Botswana’s economy, but its true currency is its astonishing, untouched beauty. About 17% of the country is set aside for the development of national parks and...
On Namibia’s Skeleton Coast, sand dunes stand as tall as skyscrapers. But the sands aren’t the only thing shaped by winds off the Atlantic. Along this inhospitable yet starkly beautiful...
Imagine David Livingstone’s surprise. It was 1855 when he journey down the Zambezi River through Zambia and came upon what until then had only been rumor to him and the rest of Europe: the most...
A few decades ago, the notion that one man could have brought revolutionary change to an apartheid-tarnished South Africa would have been quickly dismissed. But if this nation’s history has...