Discover Botswana's unique and compelling history
Botswana has a history dating back millions of years with the majority of information from this time being gathered through rock paintings and archaeological finds that are still being discovered today. The San tribe were the principal tribe of this region and were perfectly adapted to the very arid environment that Botswana is prone to in the winter, and heavy floods and rains in the summer.
Predominantly hunter-gatherers, the San tribe also grazed livestock around the Pan regions of Nxai and Makgadikgadi; during earlier days these Pans became dramatic lakes supplied by a variety of rivers and therefore providing a fresh supply of water for grazing stock. These days the Pans are no longer full of water (except during the rainy season!) and the San no longer graze livestock in this region. In place of this, there is evidence to suggest that the San were actually traders in copper which they bartered for iron.
The first Europeans to visit Botswana were primarily missionaries, traders and explorers with the main trade being in ivory. The tusks would be gathered in Botswana and traded in South Africa; even during these times though, travel to Botswana was expensive and travel was hard with limited water supplies enroute.