North-West District (Botswana)

The North-West District or Ngamiland is one of the first-level administrative subdivisions of Botswana. For census and administrative purposes Ngamiland is subdivided into Ngamiland East, Ngamiland West and Ngamiland Delta (Okavango).[2] It is governed by a District Commissioner, appointed by the national government, and the elected North-West District Council. The administrative centre is Maun.

Location within Botswana
Location within Botswana
Coordinates: 19°30′S 23°30′E / 19.500°S 23.500°E / -19.500; 23.500Coordinates: 19°30′S 23°30′E / 19.500°S 23.500°E / -19.500; 23.500
Country Botswana
 • Total129,930 km2 (50,170 sq mi)
 (2001 census)
 • Total142,970
 • Density1.1/km2 (2.8/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+2 (Central Africa Time)
HDI (2017)0.679[1]
medium · 9th

As of 2011, the total population of the district was 175,631 compared to 142,970 in 2001. The growth rate of population during the decade was 2.08. The total number of workers constituted 32,471 with 16,852 males and 15,621 females, with a majority of them involved in agriculture.[citation needed]

Maun, the Tsodilo Hills, the Moremi Game Reserve, the Gchwihaba (Drotsky's) Caves, the Aha Hills (on the border with Namibia), the Nhabe Museum in Maun, and Maun Educational Park are the major tourist attractions in the district.


In the late 18th century, the Tswana people, primarily herders, began expanding northward into what is now called Ngamiland. A sub-chiefdom, called Tawana out of Ngwato, was established there.[3] In 1885 when the British established the Bechuanaland Protectorate, the northern boundary was 22° south latitude. On 30 June 1890, the northern boundary of the protectorate was formally extended northward by the British to include Ngamiland, which at the time was still under the Tawana, who by then recognized the authority of Khama III.[4][5] British officials did not arrive in the Ngamiland region until 1894.[6] Ngamiland was administered as Bechuanaland's northwestern corner and primary contact point with German South West Africa via the Caprivi Strip.

In 1966 the North-West District was established which included both Ngamiland and Chobe; however, in 2006, Chobe District was again separated out.[7]


Image of Maun

The region has an average elevation of around 915 m (3,002 ft) above the mean sea level. The vegetation type is Savannah, with tall grasses, bushes and trees. The annual precipitation is around 650 mm (26 in), most of which is received during the summer season from November to May.

North-West District shares its borders with the following foreign areas: Omaheke Region, Namibia in southwest, Otjozondjupa Region, Namibia in west, Kavango East Region, Namibia in northwest and Zambezi Region, Namibia in north. Domestically, it borders Central District in southeast, Ghanzi District in southwest and Chobe District in the east.

Like most of Botswana, it consists of partially dissected tablelands, in this case sloping down from the Kaukau Veld that lies to the northwest.[8] This flow and the Okavango River drain into the mostly endorheic Okavango Delta. The delta seasonally overflows into the endorheic Lake Ngami to the south, and into the Thamalakane River which via the Boteti River feeds the Makgadikgadi salt pans to the southeast.[9] Most of the rivers in the region are seasonal, and subject to flash floods.[10] Maun, the Tsodilo Hills, Moremi Game Reserve, Gchwihaba (Drotsky's) Caves, Aha Hills, Nhabe Museum and Maun Educational Park are the major tourist attractions in the district.


Historical population

As of 2011, the total population of the district was 175,631 compared to 142,970 in 2001. The growth rate of population during the decade was 2.08. The population in the district was 8.67 per cent of the total population in the country. The sex ratio stood at 95.11 for every 100 males, compared to 93.43 in 2001. The average house hold size was 3.27 in 2011 compared to 4.49 in 2001. There were 5,437 craft and related workers, 2,290 clerks, 8,777 people working in elementary occupation 1,117 Legislators, Administrators & managers 2,974 Plant & machine operators and assemblers, 856 professionals, 5,812 service workers, shop & market sales workers, 2,398 skilled agricultural & related workers 2,069 technicians and associated professionals, making the total work force to 31,915.[11]

Education and economyEdit

Rock art in Tsodilo hills

As of 2011, there were a total of 071 schools in the district, with 8.30 per cent private schools. The total number of students in the Council schools was 28,101, while it was 940 in private schools. The total number of students enrolled in the district was 29,041: 14,190 girls and 14,851 boys. The total number of qualified teachers was 1,070, 658 female and 412 male. There were around 27 temporary teachers, 13 male and 40 female. There were 6 untrained teachers in the district.[12]

As of 2006, 12,737 were involved in agriculture, 1,131 in construction, 2,090 in education, 177 in electricity and water, 88 in finance, 1,000 in health, 1,144 in hotels and restaurants, 1,450 in manufacturing, 403 in other community services, 1,455 in private households, 4,722 in public administration, 932 in real estate, 730 in transport and communications, and 4,412 in wholesale and retail trade. The total number of workers was 32,471, 16,852 male and 15,621 female.[13]


Moremi Game Reserve

By far the largest settlement in the district is Maun, which had a population of over 60,000 in 2011 census.[2] The following is the list of villages noted separately in the 2001 census in each census region.[14]

When Botswana gained independence from the British in 1966, they adapted the colonial administration framework to form its district administration. The policies were modified between 1970 and 1974 to address impediments to rural development.[16]

The district administration, a district council, and the Okavango subdistrict council are responsible for local administration. The policies for the administration are framed by the Ministry of Local Government. The major activities of the district council are Tribal Administration, Remote Area Development and Local Governance. The executive powers of the council are vested in a commissioner appointed by the central government. The technical services wing of the Department of Local Government is responsible for developing roads and the infrastructure in villages such as water supply, schools and recreational facilities.[17] All local administration staff, except the District Administration staff itself, are selected via centralised services of the North West District Council,[18] with the Ministry of Local Government being responsible for their training, deployment and career development.[19] The sub-districts of North-West/Ngamiland District are Ngamiland East (aka Ngamiland South, headquarters Maun), Ngamiland West (aka Ngamiland North) and Okavango, also called Ngamiland Delta, (headquarters Gumare).[15][20]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Sub-national HDI - Area Database - Global Data Lab". Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  2. ^ a b "2011 Botswana Population and Housing Census" (PDF). Botswana Central Statistics Office. Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 September 2015.
  3. ^ Chirenje, J. Mutero (1977). A history of Northern Botswana, 1850-1910. Rutherford, New Jersey: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press. p. 29. ISBN 978-0-8386-1537-9.
  4. ^ "Builders of Botswana: The Northern Border". Daily News. Botswana. 8 March 2002. Archived from the original on 19 April 2002.
  5. ^ Chirenje, J. Mutero (1978). Chief Kgama and his Times c. 1835-1923: The Story of a Southern African Ruler. London: Rex Collings. p. 16. ISBN 978-0-86036-062-9.
  6. ^ "Builders of Botswana". Daily News. Botswana. 7 September 2001. Archived from the original on 24 February 2002.
  7. ^ "Districts of Botswana". Government of Botswana. Archived from the original on 18 July 2009. Retrieved 13 November 2016.
  8. ^ Grove, Alfred T. (1969). "Landforms and climatic change in the Kalahari and Ngamiland". The Geographical Journal. 135 (2): 191–212. doi:10.2307/1796824. JSTOR 1796824.
  9. ^ Cooke, H. J.; Verstappen, Herman Th. (1984). "The landforms of the western Makgadikgadi basin in northern Botswana, with a consideration of the chronology of the evolution of Lake Palaeo-Makgadikgadi". Zeitschrift für Geomorphologie. 28 (1): 1–19.
  10. ^ Singh (2011). Geography. Tata McGraw-Hill Education. p. 12.53. ISBN 978-0-07-107480-3.
  11. ^ a b "Census of Botswana, 2011". Central Statistics Office of Botswana. 2015. Retrieved 12 November 2016.
  12. ^ "Education details of Botswana, 2011". Central Statistics Office of Botswana. 2015. Archived from the original on 12 November 2016. Retrieved 12 November 2016.
  13. ^ "Labour Force by industry in Botswana, 2008". Central Statistics Office of Botswana. 2008. Archived from the original on 13 November 2016. Retrieved 12 November 2016.
  14. ^ "Distribution of population by sex by villages and their associated localities: 2001 population and housing census". Botswana Central Statistics Office. Archived from the original on 24 November 2007.
  15. ^ a b Population Census Atlas 2011: Botswana (PDF). Gaborone, Botswana: Statistics Botswana. 2015. p. i. ISBN 978-99968-429-0-0. Archived (PDF) from the original on 13 November 2016.
  16. ^ Picard, Louis A. (1979). "Rural Development in Botswana: Administrative Structures and Public Policy". The Journal of Developing Areas. Louis A. Picard. 13 (3): 283–300. JSTOR 4190662.
  17. ^ "Regional and Local government in Botswana". Common Wealth of Nations. Archived from the original on 18 January 2014.
  18. ^ Kavei-Katjimune, Rebecca (2 June 2013). "Okavango Sub-district Council needs more staff". Daily News. Botswana. Archived from the original on 25 December 2017.
  19. ^ Kinuthia-Njenga, Cecilia; et al. (2002). Local Democracy and Decentralization in East and Southern Africa: Experiences from Uganda, Kenya, Botswana, Tanzania, and Ethiopia. Nairobi, Kenya: Global Campaign on Urban Governance, United Nations Human Settlements Programme. p. 57. ISBN 978-92-1-131666-7.
  20. ^ Gaotlhobogwe, Monkagedi. "Botswana broken into 19 new sub-districts". MMegi Online. Archived from the original on 13 November 2016.