Welcome to Botswana!
Experience the stunning beauty, the unimaginable vastness, the isolation, the other-worldliness and the astoundingly prolific wildlife of Botswana.
The country is bordered by South Africa in the south and southeast, Zambia and Zimbabwe in the northeast and Namibia in the north and west. Botswana is now the third largest producer of diamonds in the world and the country is enjoying a growth rate and economic buoyancy unparalleled in Africa.
It is the northwest corner of the country that is the most sought after by wildlife enthusiasts where the Okavango River drains inland from Angola to form the Okavango Delta, the largest inland delta in the world, which provides sustenance to a rich profusion of wildlife. The delta is extremely beautiful, big sky country with spectacular scenery across grassy plains and limpid lagoons. The Moremi Wildlife Reserve, covering 700 square miles (1,812 sq km) in the northeast corner of the Okavango Delta, is the ultimate African safari destination.
There’s nowhere quite like it on earth. This is a place where wild creatures roam and rule.
USEFUL TRAVEL INFO
Best time to visit
The weather is generally quite enjoyable, with the hottest and wettest time of year from October to April. Experience cooler daytime and frosty night temperatures between May and September. Summer months, November to March are best for game viewing when the wildlife is most prolific and easily spotted around the natural watering holes and dams.
230 volts, 50Hz. Round three-pin plugs are used.
English is the official language, but Setswana is the most spoken language.
The unit of currency is the Botswana Pula (BWP). Major credit cards are widely accepted, and foreign currency is accepted at most large hotels and lodges. There are banks, bureaux de change and ATM’s in all the main towns.
Mobile phones operate on a GSM 900 network and are limited to urban areas; most North American cell phones will not work. Internet cafes are available in Gaborone and Maun.
Health & Safety
Malaria is a risk in Botswana between November and June in the northern parts of the country. Visitors who are camping or walking in the bush should be cautious of tick bites. There are no compulsory vaccinations, but a yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers over one year of age coming from infected countries. Botswana has a good public health system, but facilities are limited outside urban areas. Health insurance for visitors is vital. Tap water in towns is safe to drink, and all foodstuffs are safe to consume.
Most visits to Botswana are trouble-free, but tourists are advised to be vigilant against theft. Wildlife and livestock make driving hazardous, so driving at night should be avoided.
Visa & Passports
USA, UK, Canadian, Australian, Irish, SA and NZ nationals require a passport valid for at least six months from date of arrival, but do not require a visa for stays of up to 90 days.
All visitors require return or onward air tickets and sufficient funds to cover their stay in Botswana.
Airports in Botswana
- Sir Seretse Khama International Airport (GBE)
The airport is located 15 km (9 miles) north of Gaborone.
- Maun International Airport (MUB)
5 km (3 miles) from central Maun.
- Kasane Airport (BBK)
2 km (1.2 miles) south of the town along the Kisane – Kachikau Road.
- Francistown Airport (FRW)
Situated on the western edge of Francistown.
- Tuli Lodge Airport (FBLV)
Serving Tuli Lodge and other safari camps in the Tuli Block, an area of public and private game reserves in Eastern Botswana. The airport is also known as Limpopo Valley Airport.
- Khwai River Airport
Serving the lodges and camps around the village of Khwai. The runway is 4 km’s from the Moremi Game Reserves North Gate.
- Savuti Airport
Serving the Chobe National Park in the North-West District of Botswana.
- Hukuntsi Airport
Serving the village of Hukuntsi in the Kgalagadi District of Botswana. The runway is 2.5 km’s west of the village, near a large salt pan.
- Shakawe Airport
Serving Shakawe, a village in the North-West District of Botswana. It is the gateway to the northern part of the Okavango Delta and the Linyati area. Direct charter flights are operated to the aerodrome.
- Camp Okavango Airstrip
A private airstrip serving Camp Okavango, a safari camp in the Okavango Delta, in the North-West District of Botswana.
TOP REASONS TO VISIT
Exclusivity & Luxury
Botswana attracts discerning travellers who are willing to pay more for the privilege of visiting the remote areas. Many of the lodges, particularly in the Okavango, are only accessible by small plane which pushes that exclusivity up even higher. Many of the lodges are stylish and simplistically spectacular, blending beautifully into the ecosystem in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way.
The local guides are tremendous, and their knowledge is extraordinary. Many of the guides live locally and have spent most of their life in the bush so they are in tune with nature and the environment, which is gold dust to visitors.
Rare Wildlife Sightings
Moremi Game Reserve and adjoining private land concessions in the Okavango provide the perfect environment in which to see endangered African Wild Dogs in their natural habitat. Botswana also has several other rare species which can be seen on safari including the black-maned Kalahari Lion, Sitatunga, Puku and Red Lechwe Antelope, Brown Hyena, the African Skimmer and Aardvark.
Peace & Tranquillity
Peace and tranquillity are guaranteed, with only the sound of nature surrounding you.
A Genuine Commitment to Conservation
Conservation of the environment, wildlife and cultural heritage makes Botswana a leader in ecotourism. Over 38% of the land is protected for wildlife and nature conservation. Tourism is a growing sector due to these conservation practices and the knowledge that, as a tourist, you can assist with these conservation programs is also an attractive bonus to anyone’s holiday.
Diversity of Safaris
There are many ways to experience a safari in Botswana. There are the customised 4×4’s, meander through the waterways on a boat safari, explore the Okavango in depth by going on a Mokoro excursion or even go on a quad biking safari onto the salt pans and sleep out under the stars! Explore the African bush on foot on guided walks with the Bushman or see game from horseback.
It is the world’s second-largest Zebra and Wildebeest Migration after the Serengeti, and it is just as spectacular. In November, at the beginning of the rainy season, up to 25,000 Zebras start their migration through the Makgadikgadi and Nxai Pan National Parks in search of water and lush grazing grounds. There are numerous predators that stalk the migration including Lions, Leopards, Hyena and Cheetah, waiting to pick off weakened animals and unsuspecting young.
A Chobe River Safari is one of the laziest game viewing experiences in Africa. Watch Hippos and Crocodiles jostling for a riverside spot and elephant swimming with their trunks held high. Staying on a houseboat enables you to do this 24 hours, which comes highly recommended!
Top Adventure Activities
WHERE TO GO
The capital city of Botswana, is a vibrant, small and modern city which is home to several international hotels as well as two casinos, souvenir shops and restaurants. The National Museum features some outstanding exhibits and one of the most striking buildings is Orapa House, where Botswana’s diamonds are sorted and dispatched to markets around the world. The old part of the city, known as the ‘Village’, is where one finds remnants of Botswana’s colonial history.
Gateway to the Okavango Delta and Moremi Game Reserve. Maun offers an eclectic mix of modern buildings and native huts, shopping malls, banks, restaurants, a few hotels and some happening bars. Maun is the tourism capital of Botswana and the headquarters of numerous safari and air-charter operations.
It is Botswana’s second-largest city and an important regional centre. There’s a fair chance you’ll overnight here if you’re on the way north from South Africa, or driving between Gaborone and Maun. There’s not much to catch the eye, but there are places to stay and eat, as well as excellent supermarkets for those heading out into the wilds.
Game Reserves & National Parks
Central Kalahari Game Reserve
If you’re an adventurous traveller seeking a real wilderness experience, the Central Kalahari Game Reserve is your dream come true. It’s the largest and most remote reserve in Southern Africa, at over 52 000 sq km, and the second largest wildlife reserve in the world.
There is no Internet or phone coverage, no shops, fuel or electricity, and most importantly, no water. Instead, what you get is vast blue skies and a chance to experience one of the wildest places on earth where large predators may walk through unfenced campsites, therefore we recommend roof top tents.
The Central Kalahari is only accessible by 4×4 vehicles and you need be completely self-sufficient, otherwise you will be denied entry into the park. The area is best visited from January to April when it’s the rainy season. It is recommended to explore this region on a guided Safari or guided self-drive Safari only.
Khutse Game Reserve
Adjoining the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, with no fences separating the two, the terrain of the 2 500 sq km reserve combines most types of Kalahari habitat – rolling grasslands, river beds, fossil dunes and grassed and bare pans. The reserve is part of an ancient river system that once flowed northeast to fill the prehistoric Lake Makgadikgadi. Khutse’s Pans and dry river valleys are remnants of this river system.
Because of its proximity, and relative accessibility, to the nation’s capital, Gaborone, Khutse is a favourite. The 240 km (149 miles) drive from Gaborone takes you through several interesting Kalahari villages, including the ‘Gateway to the Kalahari,’ Molepolole.
There is a series of rather picturesque pans where wildlife often congregate, and game drives are focused around the pans. These include the Motailane, Moreswa and Molose Pans.
The San and Bakgalagadi peoples, the Kgalagadi’s original inhabitants, live in small villages on the periphery of the reserve. Their traditional arts and crafts can usually be purchased here.
Makgadigadi & Nxai Salt Pans
The Nxai Pan lies just north of the Maun-Nata main road and adjoins the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park on its northern border. These two are the largest salt pans in the world and offer unique safari experiences, with great game viewing and bird watching, challenged by spectacular scenic views and natural isolation. Open all year round, these parks offer rare safari opportunities particularly in the green season. The focal point of Nxai Pan is the waterhole, within the Mopane woodland, where Lion, Giraffe, Kudu, Springbok, Impala, Ostrich, together with a good population of Jackal, Bat-eared Fox and numerous smaller creatures, are permanent residents.
Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
The park comprises an area of over 36,000 sq km which is one of very few conservation areas of this magnitude left in the world. Red sand dunes, sparse vegetation and the dry riverbeds of the Nossob and Auob show antelope and predator species off at a premium and provide excellent photographic opportunities as well as a haven for birders, especially when interested in birds of prey. Access to the park can be gained through five gates in three different countries: South Africa access is through the Twee Rivieren Gate (immigration control gate), Namibian through the Mata-Mata Gate, and Botswana through the Two Rivers, Mabuasehube and Kaa Gates. Kgalagadi accommodation options include a variety of camps with basic facilities and fuel.
Okavango Delta & Moremi Game Reserve
A vast inland river delta in Northern Botswana, known for its sprawling grassy plains, which flood seasonally and become a lush animal habitat. The Okavango Delta is hot most of the year, particularly during October to December. The drier months, July to October, are a popular time to visit, when wildlife viewing reaches a peak. The Okavango Delta’s unique seasonal flooding occurs during June to August.
Drive tours, horseback safaris and flights over the delta’s extensive wilderness areas start from the southern gateway town of Maun. In the far north, the Okavango Panhandle is a narrow stretch of land fed by the Okavango River, popular with fishing enthusiasts. Boating and birdwatching are also popular on this waterway, which is flanked by Papyrus Reeds and Palm Trees.
The Moremi Game Reserve occupies the east and central areas of the delta region. Here, Mokoros (dugout canoes) are used to navigate past Hippos, Elephants and Crocodiles. On dry land, wildlife includes Lions, Leopards, Giraffes and Rhinos. Private reserves with luxury safari camps are common around the delta’s many islands and lagoons, such as Moremi’s Chief’s Island and Xakanaxa Lagoon.
Moremi Reserve is the best place to experience excellent views of savannah game as well as bird-watching on the lagoons. There are also thickly wooded areas, which are home to the rare African Wild Dog and Leopard. To the northeast lies the Chobe National Park which borders the Moremi Game Reserve.
Chobe National Park
The gateway to Chobe is Kasane. A small town situated between the Zimbabwe, Zambia and Namibian borders and the Chobe National Park. Accommodation here varies from basic campsites to private lodges in private concessions.
Fondly known as ‘The Land of The Giants’, Chobe National Park in the north of Botswana is home to Africa’s largest Elephant population, with rich ecosystems, diverse landscapes and an abundance of wildlife and birdlife, all centred around the stunning Chobe River.
The town of Kasane on the border of Chobe National Park has a small international airport and an array of other services and amenities. Easy day trips to the famous Victoria Falls as well as combo trips into the Okavango Delta can be arranged.
Chobe is surely the best place in Africa to see Elephants, particularly in the water. Individual herds sometimes number in the hundreds and there are an estimated 120,000 Elephants in total in the park. There are equally large herds of Buffalo to be found. The park also offers great Lion and Leopard sightings, while the river has an unbelievable abundance of Hippos, Crocodiles and a wealth of birdlife. A trip to Chobe is not complete without a boat trip on the beautiful river itself as this allows you to see most of the park’s interesting wildlife and birdlife from a different perspective. Other safari offerings also incorporate scenic flights as well as Mokoro canoe excursions on the Delta, and even white-water rafting trips on the mighty Zambezi.
Linyati Wildlife Reserve
This Reserve consists of 1,250 sq km of pristine wildlife area, bordered by the Linyanti River in the north and the Chobe National Park in the east. Across the Linyanti River northwards lies Namibia’s Caprivi Strip. During the dry season, June to October, the Reserve sees much of Chobe’s wildlife, and huge concentrations of migratory species such as Zebra and Elephant. The Linyanti area is also renowned for its predators, particularly Lions and Hyenas, with a wonderful diversity of habitat that makes it a haven for wildlife. The Linyanti region is shared between a very small number of private camps, ensuring that guests can view the abundant wildlife exclusively.
Northern Tuli Game Reserve
A land of huge vistas, big skies and giant trees, with an abundance of Elephants, large cats, vast herds of antelope and more than 350 species of birds. Situated on an exclusive concession in the vast Northern Tuli Game Reserve in Eastern Botswana, there is a wide variety of accommodation on offer, from tented safari camps, tough wilderness experiences sleeping on the ground amongst the elements to self-catering camping to luxurious lodges. Enjoy a huge range of adventurous activities including, trekking, bush dinners, cultural village tours, bush walks, game drives, horseback safaris and cycling routes, to name but a few.
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