Bechuanaland and Botswana Philately


Collect Botswana Definitives

This Page Illustrates
Definitive Stamps of the Republic of Botswana

The First definitive issue was released on 30 September 1966
being a set of fourteen values of the
1961 Bechuanaland Definitives overprinted

Illustrations by Otto Peetoom
Golden Oriole
African Hoopoe
Scarlet-chested sunbird
Cape widow bird
Swallow-tailed bee-eater
Grey Hornbill

30 September 1966
First definitive issue being a set of 14 values of the
1961 Bechuanaland Definitives overprinted

A Special Printing
of the 3½ cents value was produced in yellow, black, sepia & flesh
to make up quantities - SG 209a and it does not exist without the overprint

Red-headed weaver
Brown-hooded Kingfisher
Woman Musician
Baobab Tree
Grinding Maize
Bechuana Ox
Police Camel Patrol

The 7½ cents is recorded with a Yellow background, it is suggested that it may originate
from a trial printing, until recently most known examples are from First Day covers - SG 211a

A Cancelled-to-order block of twenty was found and broken up
Examples from this multiple are accompanied by a 27 February 2013 B.P.A. certificate

The illustrated example has B.P.A. certificate No 81,495

SG 211 Normal
Green background
SG 211a Variety
Yellow background
3 January 1967 First Botswana Bird Definitive set of 14 values from 1c to R2
Designs by D.M. Reid-Henry - Printed in Photogravure by Harrison & Sons - London
Golden Oriole
African Hoopoe
Ground-scraper Thrush
Blue Waxbill
Secretary Bird
Yellow-billed Hornbill
Crimson-breasted Shirke
Malachite Kingfisher
Fish Eagle
Grey Loerie
Knob-biled Duck

Varieties on the 1967 Bird Definitives

The 1 cent is known used with a Watermark Error of Malta being Multiple Maltese Crosses it was catalogued at £800 in 2015

20 Cents A used copy is known with the pale brown colour omitted resulting in the value being omitted

Crested Barbet
Diederick Cuckoo
The 1c, 2c, 4c, 7c and 10c values exist with PVA gum as well as Gum Arabic
Designs by M. Bayliss - Printed in Photogravure by Enschede, Haarlem - Netherlands
1 July 1974
Third Definitive Issue
Botswana Mineral -
14 values
SG 322 to 335
This attractive Mineral Definitive with its values expressed in Z.A.R. was on sale for just over two years when the introduction of a New Currency necesitated the overprinting their remaining stock
1 July 1976
New Currency Overprints
Fourth Definitive Issue
Botswana Mineral -
14 values
SG 367 to 380
Two types of overprints Surcharged in Letterpress by the Government Printer in Pretoria or in Lithography by
Enschede during 1977
Both Overprints exist on most values except 10t on 10c, 25t on 25c,
35t on 35c and 2p on R2
3 July 1978
An Elaborate Souvenir Folder

Was Designed by the National Museum and Art Gallery for the Botswana Department of Posts and Telecommunications
A folded A4 booklet which includes a Mint set of the issue, each stamp housed in a plastic sleeve

The folder includes a map of the Country which is illustrated at the top of the page and on the
last page a pair of First Day covers are included - illustrated below

The folder was printed locally by Botswana Press - 5000 in total, 3000 were without stamps and FDCs

On the inside cover there is a writeup by A.C. Campbell
This is the third definitive Issue depicting birds. The first was a 14-stamp series Issued by the Bechuanaland Protectorate Government and included eight values depicting birds. These were the lower values and involved only smaller species of dry land birds. With one exception the Cape Widow-bird which only occurs in the extreme east of the country. The one Kingfisher depicted was a dry land species feeding on insects and frogs At Independence in 1966 this issue was overprinted Republic of Botswana.

In January 1967 a new definitive Issue was brought out and involved 14 values, all depicting birds. A much wider range of species was chosen, but the birds still could not be described as really representative of the country, nor did they say anything much about their habits or preferred environment.

The present issue of 17 stamps attempts to portray the great variety of avian life to be found in Botswana and to some extent the habits and habitat of the various species depicted. For this reason where species are gregarious, several are shown on one stamp and the habitat is depicted, even if, in the case of the Marshall Eagle, it only indicates that the bird tends to perch on the higher branches of a tree.
First Day Covers
The Botswana environment
This is a land-locked country situated on the southern African plateau at a height of about 1000 metres and divided by the Tropic of Capricorn. Much of the landscape is flat and more than four-fifths is covered by Kalahari sands, which reach eastwards to cease in some rocky country overlooking the Limpopo Valley. The sands are gently undulating and are lightly covered with savanna and grass. In the remote past heavy pluvial periods have seen mighty rivers cut winding channels through the sand and lakes formed in shallow depressions but today these are dry and often choked.

Into this vast tableland flows the Okavango, third-mightiest river in Southern Africa. It slides over a fault and spreads into a vast delta on sands that have filled an ancient grabben, possibly an extension of the Great Rift Valley. Islands studded with palms, twisting channels of clear water, lakes blazing with lilies floating papyrus beds and wide floodplains form a veritable paradise in an otherwise semi-arid land. To the south the waters spill into Ngami, a lake often in name only and dry for decades on end. One break in the eastern fault which holds the Delta, allows what little water is left to flow gently eastwards along the Boteti River for 600 kilometres to Makgadikgadi. Once this formed a lake probably the size of Victoria, but today it is an extensive saltpan holding water only after heavy rains. Eleven million cubic metres of water have vanished through evapo-transpiration and a massive wetland environment lies placid surrounded by semi-arid desert.

This is a summer rainfall country where heavy storms often come in quick succession to be followed by days on end of blazing heat. Pools lie in every direction throughout the desert and flowers bloom, but the hot sun soon bares the land. Through the short winter temperatures drop to 7°C below zero at night, only to rise to 27°C during the cloudless day. Rainfall is heaviest in the north-east and the farther south and west one travels, so rain diminishes until, in the bare dune areas of the extreme south-west it falls below 250 mm.

Lake Ngami and the Okavango Delta are an integral part of the great migratory area for waterfowl in southern Africa and the end of a long Journey for migrants from Europe. In an otherwise dry world their open expanses of shallow water are a haven for thousands of Pelican and hundreds of thousands of Flamingo. The ox-bow lakes hidden deep within the Delta have tiny islands sprouting fig bushes where Herons and Storks nest in great colonies. If the wetlands provide habitat for great concentrations of birdlife so the adjacent dry lands are the home for a wide spectrum of species, from the tiny Penduline Tit to the mighty Marshall Eagle. It is the close proximity of wet and dry lands which makes the diversity of birdlife so great - greater possibly than anywhere in Africa.
Designs by M. Bryan - Printed in Photogravure by Harrison & Sons - London
3 July 1978
Fifth Definitive

17 values
Third Bird Definitive
SG 411 to 427

1 September 1981

SG 497 - 498

25t on 35t Green-backed Heron

30t on 10t
Bennetts Woodpecker

1982 Bird Definitives
Designs by M. Bryan - Printed in Photogravure by Harrison & Sons - London
Masked c
Lesser double-collared Sunbird
White-throated Bee-eater
Grey headed Gull
3 May 1982

SG 511 - 522

The Sixth definitive since
Pygmy Goose
Cattle Egret
Lanner Falcon
Yellow-billed Stork
Red-billed Teal
Barn Owl
Blacksmith Plover
Crowned Guinea Fowl
Wetland Plover
Cape Vulture
Augur Buzzard
1 April 1987

SG 612 - 614
3t on 6t Pygmy Goose
5t on 10t Yellow-billed Stork
20t on 50t Crowned Guinea Fowl
1987 Animals
Designs by P. Huebsch - Printed in Photogravure by Harrison & Sons - London

Cape Fox
Banded Mongoose
Rusty Spotted Genet
Scrub Hare
Square Lipped Rhino
Mountain Reedbuck
Rock Dassie
Side Striped Jackal
Names of Animals in English and Local African on each stamp
27 April 1990

SG 690 - 692

A Used
10t on 1t
Recorded with
Double Overprint
10t on 1t Cape Fox
20t on 6t Rusty Spotted Genet
50t on 12t Hippopotamus
9 March 1992 Surcharges
SG 725 - 728
8t on 12t Hippopotamus
10t on 12t Hippopotamus
25t on 6t Rusty Spotted Genet
40t on 3t Zebra
Botswana Definitives 1966 - 2014 A Summary
No of values
2015 Cat
Currency ZA Rands 1961 - 1976
206 - 219
Republic of Botswana overprint on 1961 Definitives
Harrison & Sons - London  
220 - 233
Harrison & Sons - London  
322 -335
Enschede, Haarlem - Netherlands
National Currency 100 Thebe = 1 Pula
* Overprints carried out by
367 - 380
New currency Lettterpress overprints on 1974 Definitives
* Government Printer, Pretoria - S. Africa
367a -375a
New currency Lithography overprints on 1974 values
* Enschede, Haarlem - Netherlands
411 - 427
Harrison & Sons - London  
515 - 532
Harrison & Sons - London
619 - 638
Harrison & Sons - London  
738 - 755
Harrison & Sons - London  
852 - 869
Enschede, Haarlem - Netherlands
974 - 989
Enschede, Haarlem - Netherlands
1084 - 1097
Enschede, Haarlem - Netherlands
1192 - 1205
Enschede, Haarlem - Netherlands
S.G. Catalogue value = unmounted mint
1992 Animal Definitives
Designs by Judith Penny - Printed in Photogravure by Harrison & Sons - London
Spring Hare
Blackfooted Cat
Striped Mouse
Ground Squirel
Honey Badger
Common Mole Rat
Wild Dog
Water Mongoose
Lesser Bushbaby
7 August 1994

SG 792

By Government Printer
Pretoria, South Africa
Bushveld Elephant Shrew
Velvet Monkey
10t on 12t Pangolin
Local African Names of Animals followed by English in the lower margin on each stamp
12 February 1996

SG 817 - 819

20t on 2t Spring Hare
Recorded with
a different 2
SG 817a
20t on 2t Spring Hare
30t on 1t Cheetah
70t on 4t Blackfooted Cat
1997 Bird Definitives
Designs by Helena Schüssel - Printed in
Litho by Enschede, Haarlem - Netherlands
Pel's Fishing Owl
Meyer's Parrot
Harlequin Quail
Marico Sunbird
Kurrichane Trush
Redheaded Finch
Buffalo Weaver
Sacred Ibis
Cape Shoveler
Greater Honeyguide
Woodland Kingfisher
Purple Heron
Yellow-billed Oxpecker
Shaft-tailed Whydah
4 August 1997
Bird Definitives

SG 852 - 869
18 Values
White Stork
Spotted Crake
Names of Birds in English plus Local African name on each stamp
2002 Mammal Definitives
Designs by Judith Greenwood Penny - Printed in
Litho by Enschede, Haarlem - Netherlands
5 August 2002 - SG 974 - 989 - Set of 16 values
Tree Squirrel
Black-backed Jackal
African Wild Cat
Slender Mongoose
African Civet
Chakma Baboon
9 October 2004
National Birds

SG 1026a
Printed in Sheets
Other values only in
SAPO MS 1027
26 April 2006

SG 1048a & 1048b
Two values

The 80t on 90t is listed with
Surcharge Inverted
P5 Cattle Egret
80t on 90t Reedbuck
P2 10 on 1p 95 Sable
2007 Butterfly Definitives
Designs by Philip Huebsch - Printed in
Litho by Enschede, Haarlem - Netherlands
1 November 2007 - SG 1084 - 1097 - Set of 14 values

Mimosa Sapphire
Bushveld Orange
African Monarch
Common Black-eye
Brown Playboy

Scarlet Tip
Large Blue Emperor
Dwarf Blue
Apricot Playboy

Blue Pansey
Black-striped Hairtail
Natal Barred Blue
Foxy Charaxes
11 January 2013

1997 30t Kurrichane Trush
Surcharged with P7. creating a P7.30t value
1997 Original 30t Definitive
2013 P7.30t Surcharge
2014 Bird of Botswana
Designs by Gwithie Kirby - Printed in
Litho by Enschede, Haarlem - Netherlands
Harlequin Quail
Burchell's Sandgrouse
Purple Gallinule
Pied Avocet
Kori Bustard
African Spoonbill
Southern Red Bishop
African Skimmer
Blue Waxbill
Paradise Flycatcher
13 May 2014
Bird Definitives

SG 1192 - 1205
14 Values
Secretary Bird
Bradfield's Hornbill
Spotted Eagle Owl
Southern Red Bishop
Names of Birds in English followed by their Latin name
Botswana Commemorative 1966 - 1992

Bechuanaland Philately for Sale