Generations of parents lost to AIDS and other causes have created a vacuum of care for the orphaned children they leave behind. This crisis has resulted in rapid changes in caregiving and family life, with extended family members, having to care for orphaned children. As a result of high numbers of vulnerable orphaned children residing with kinship carers, and the fundamental importance of the relationship between carers and orphaned children, we need to understand more about these relationships. This paper explores the nature of orphaned children–kinship carer relationships in Botswana. Interview guides were used to collect data from 15 caregivers and 15 orphaned children. The results indicate that the nature of relationships between orphaned children and caregivers is influenced by the way the parties communicate, how adolescents behave and the competing responsibilities of caregivers. Lastly, the paper recommends how positive relationships can be developed and nurtured between orphaned children and their caregivers in an African setting.