WHY TRAVEL TO BOTSWANA?
Botswana is one of the most popular wilderness safari destinations in Southern Africa, offering a true African Safari experience and one of the largest game populations in Southern Africa.
To experience a truly wild and pristine African wilderness safari. The Okavango Delta and Chief’s Island offering the best game viewing in Africa. Chobe National Park offers the greatest populations of elephant in Africa. The Kalahari desert offers the greatest species diversity in the world. The Makgadikgadi is host to Southern Africa’s last great zebra and wildebeest migration – set to become the Serengeti of Southern Africa. The Bushmen which are an ancient culture that is in harmony with the natural environment.
Botswana Travel Information
Botswana is a land-locked country dominated in geographical terms by the Kalahari Desert – a sand-filled basin averaging 1,100 meters above sea level.
The country lies between longitudes 20 and 30 degrees east of Greenwich and between the latitudes 18 and 27 degrees approximately south of the Equator.
At Kazungula, four countries – Botswana , Zimbabwe , Zambia and Namibia – meet at a single point mid-stream in the Zambezi River.
Botswana’s currency is the Pula (P), which is divided into 100 Thebe (t). The word ‘Pula’ means rain and ‘thebe’ means shield. The shield appears on the national coat of arms.
Bank notes come in denominations of P10, 20, 50 and 100, and coins in denominations of 5t, 10t, 25t, 50t, P1, P2 and P5.
There are also Exchange bureaus at major border posts. Credit card cash advances are available in major cities through Barclays Bank or Standard Chartered Bank. Cash transfers are easiest through Western Union money transfer.
Please note that credit card cash is also available at First National Bank.
Travel & Safety
The country remains a relatively safe place to travel in, however there are a few incidents of crime. It is advisable to take basic precautions: always lock car doors; always lock your hotel room or house; do not leave valuables in your hotel room or car; and take care with your bags in crowded places, particularly the malls and nightclubs.
Important telephone numbers
- Country code:+267
- Police –999
- Ambulance –997
- Fire – 998
- MRI Medical Rescue – 911
- Gaborone Private Hospital – 301-999
- Princess Marina Hospital – 353-221
Weather & Season
Botswana’s climate is semi-arid. Though it is hot and dry for much of the year, there is a rainy season, which runs through the summer months. Rainfall tends to be erratic, unpredictable and highly regional.
Often a heavy downpour may occur in one area while 10 or 15 kilometers away there is no rain at all.
Showers are often followed by strong sunshine so that a good deal of the rainfall does not penetrate the ground but is lost to evaporation and transpiration.
Pula one of the most frequently heard words, it is not only the name of Botswana’s currency, but also the Setswana word for rain.
So much of what takes place relies on this essential, frequently scarce commodity.
CLIMATE & SEASONS
Botswana’s climate is semi-arid. Though hot and dry for much of the year, life-giving rains fall during the summer months. Rainfall tends to be erratic, unpredictable and highly regional. Often a heavy downpour may occur in one area while 10 or 15 kilometres away there is no rain at all.
Jan – Mar: Summer:
High rainfall and high temperatures. Highs range from 35°C to 45°C. Lows around 18°C.
April – May: Autumn:
Dry and warm, cool evenings and mornings.
Jun – Aug: Winter:
No rainfall. Cold nights and early mornings.
Days are sunny and generally warm.
Temperatures range from 15°C to 30°C. Nights can drop below freezing in some areas.
Nov – Jan: Summer. High rainfall and high temperatures. Highs range from 35°C to 45°C. Lows around 18°C.
The summer season begins in November and ends in March. It usually brings very high temperatures. However, summer is also the rainy season, and cloud coverage and rain can cool things down considerably, although only usually for a short period of time.
The winter season begins in May and ends in August.This is also the dry season when virtually no rainfall occurs. Winter days are invariably sunny and cool to warm; however, evening and night temperatures can drop below freezing point in some areas, especially in the southwest.
The in-between periods – April/early May and September/October – still tend to be dry, but the days are cooler than in summer and the nights are warmer than in winter.
The rainy season is in the summer, with October and April being transitional months. January and February are generally regarded as the peak months.
The mean annual rainfall varies from a maximum of over 650mm in the extreme northeast area of the Chobe District to a minimum of less than 250mm in the extreme southwest part of Kgalagadi District .
Generally, rainfall decreases in amount and increases in variability the further west and south you go.
Winters are clear-skied and bone-dry, the air seductively warm during the daylight hours but, because there is no cloud cover, cold at night and in the early mornings.
In summer during the morning period humidity ranges from 60 to 80% and drops to between 30 and 40% in the afternoon.
For tourists that wish to travel to Botswana, the best visiting months are from April through to October – in terms of both weather and game viewing.
All visitors entering Botswana must hold a passport that is valid for at least six months, except those with United Nations Convention travel documents.
Visitors must also have outgoing travel documents and sufficient funds to finance their travel arrangements.
Valid entry visas for the countries which do require them may be obtained from various embassies and high commissions abroad. In countries where Botswana is not represented, visas may be obtained from the British High Commission.
No visitor is allowed more than a 90-day stay in every calendar year, unless permission has been granted in the form of a waiver pending the outcome of a residence permit application.
Requirements for visa
- Completed immigration supplementary Form D by the applicant (Visa form).
- Letter of support from the host.
- Two passport size photos (identical).
- Fee of P25.00 (around USD 5)
- Return visa or residence permit from his/her country of residence
- Return air ticket.
COMMONWEALTH COUNTRIES WHO’S NATIONALS REQUIRE VISAS
- Sri Lanka
COUNTRIES WHOSE NATIONALS REQUIRE VISAS TO ENTER BOTSWANA
|1. Afghanistan||32. Côte do Ivoire||63. Kyrgyzstan (Kirghizia)||94. Qatar|
|2. Albania||33. Croatia||64. Laos PDR||95. Romania|
|3. Algeria||34. Cuba||65. Latvia||96. Russia|
|4. Andorra||35. Czech Republic||66. Lebanon||97. Rwanda|
|5. Angola||36. Djibouti||67. Liberia||98. Sao Tume and Principe|
|6. Argentina||37. Dominican Republic||68. Libya||99. Saudi Arabia|
|7. Armenia||38. Ecuador||69. Lithuania||100. Senegal|
|8. Azerbaijan||39. Egypt||70. Macedonia||101. Slovakia|
|9. Bahrain||40. El Salvador||71. Madagascar||102. Slovenia|
|10. Bangladesh||41. Equatorial Guinea||72. Mali||103. Somalia|
|11. Belarus||42. Eritrea||73. Marshall Islands||104. Sudan|
|12. Bentn||43. Estonia||74. Mauritania||105. Suriname|
|13. Bhutan||44. Ethiopia||75. Mexico||106. Syria|
|14. Bolivia||45. Gabon||76. Micronesia||107. Taiwan|
|15. Bosnia and Herzegovina||46. Georgia||77. Moldova||108. Tajikistan|
|16. Brazil||47. Guatemala||78. Monaco||109. Thailand|
|17. Bulgaria||48. Guinea||79. Mongolia||110. Togo|
|18. Burkina Faso||49. Guinea Bissau||80. Morocco||111. Tunisia|
|19. Burundi||50. Haiti||81. Mozambique||112. Turkey|
|20. Cambodia||51. Honduras||82. Myanmar (Burma)||113. Turkmenistan|
|21. Cameroon||52. Hungary||83. Nepal||114. Ukraine|
|22. Cape Verde||53. Indonesia||84. Nicaragua||115. United Arab Emirates|
|23. Central African Republic||54. Iran||85. Niger||116. Uzbe Kistan|
|24. Chad||55. Iraq||86. Oman||117. Venezuela|
|25. Chile||56. Israel||87. Pakistan||118. Vietnam|
|26. China||57. Ivory Coast||88. Palau||119. Yemen|
|27. Colombia||58. Jordan||89. Panama|
|28. Comoros||59. Kazakhstan||90. Paraguay|
|29. Congo||60. Korea DPR||91. Peru|
|30. DRC Congo||61. Korea ROK||92. Philippines|
|31. Costa Rica||62. Kuwait||93. Poland|
Compared to the rest of Africa , Botswana is not a risky place to visit from a health perspective. In spite of this, there are certain precautions visitors should take even though there are no legal requirements for taking these precautions. There are no inoculations required except for visitors from yellow fever zones.
Botswana ‘s public health system consists of different kinds of health facilities: 23 district health teams, 3 referral hospitals, 12 district hospitals, 17 primary hospitals, 222 clinics, 330 health posts and 740 mobile stops.
Helping the country attract a segment of the tourism market with what is widely considered to be very significant growth potential.Raising the profile of the country as a tourism destination.Generating resources for conservation.
Providing an incentive for the sustainable utilisation of natural resources.Generating renewed pride in local culture.Facilitating and rewarding responsible tourism planning and management practices.
Botswana views Eco-tourism as an enhanced travel package to Botswana ‘s historical, cultural and natural environments, with the aim of enjoying and learning, and in so doing promoting the financial development of the local host communities, whilst sustaining the natural environment and developing the tourist industry.
The Department of Tourism thus sees Eco-tourism as minimizing the strain and disagreements caused by the complicated interaction between the tourism industry, visitors, the environment and local communities.
Botswana National Eco-Tourism Strategy will ensure tourism planning and management aimed at minimizing negative social, cultural and environmental impacts;
Maximizing the involvement in, and economic benefits to, host communities;
Maximizing revenues for re-investment in conservation;
Delivering a quality experience to tourists.
What to pack
Bring casual, comfortable clothing and preferably light, long-sleeved blouses and lightweight trousers for protection against the sun and insects.
- Sun block, sun glasses, good walking shoes
- A light and compact raincoat
- Swim suit
- An elegant outfit for a cocktails
If traveling with an organized safari, see if there is a weight limit, in which case you may have to restrict your luggage to 10-12kg.
Botswana is one of the finest tourist destinations on the African continent. The Okavango , which originates in the uplands of Angola to the north-west, flows into and then spreads over the sandy spaces of the Kalahari to form an immense and wondrous inland delta of lagoon and labyrinthine channel, palm-fringed island and fertile floodplain.
A number of safari lodges and camps have been established in and around this watery wilderness.
This wilderness and the nearby game-rich Moremi Game Reserve and Chobe National Park reserves, offer the visitors the best of several worlds, appealing variously to the game-viewer and bird-watcher, the hunter and the sporting fisherman, the explorer of hidden places and the lover of Africa in its loveliest and least spoilt state
However it is in the Okavango Delta and Moremi Game Reserve that visitors will find unforgettable beauty.
On the mainland and among the islands in the delta, lions, elephants, hyenas, wild dog, buffalo, hippo and crocodiles congregate with a teeming variety of antelope and other smaller animals – warthog, mongoose, spotted genets, monkeys, bush babies and tree squirrels.
Botswana is well known for its diverse range of wildlife. Most of the major African game species can be found, along with a number of species that are endemic to the region.
Compared to the rest of Africa the game has been well protected from the scourge of poaching. The statistical picture reveals that the country is home to 164 species of mammals, 157 of reptile, 80 of fish, 550 of bird and uncountable different kinds of insects.
The Government of Botswana has set aside thousands of square kilometres of national territory as protected travel areas (around 17% of the country area) and wildlife management areas (another 20% of the country).
Among the largest protected areas in Botswana are Chobe National Park in the north, Central Kalahari Game Reserve (second largest protected area in the world), Moremi Game Reserve in Okavango Delta and the recently launched Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, which spans the border between Botswana and South Africa.
In addition, the government carefully monitors 42 Controlled Hunting Areas, where hunters may shoot small quantities of game. Authorities issue only a limited number of shooting permits each year.
Mammals have a number of common characteristics that set them apart from other animals; they breathe with lungs; females have mammary glands that produce milk for suckling the young; they possess a four-chambered heart; and nearly all species have a covering of body hair. Approximately 164 species of mammals have been recorded in Botswana.
The mammals that may be seen during your travel through the country include the following: vervet monkey, chacma baboon, wild dog, bat-eared fox, black-backed jackal, large-spotted genet, small-spotted genet, mongoose, spotted hyena, brown hyena, lion, leopard, cheetah, aardvark, Burch ell’s zebra, square-lipped (white) rhino, warthog, giraffe, common duiker, klipspringer, springbok, steenbok, impala, blue wildebeest, tsessebe, gemsbok, sable antelope, roan antelope, reedbuck, waterbuck, lechwe, bushbuck, kudu, eland, buffalo, hippopotamus, elephant.
Some 550 bird species in total have been accepted for the Botswana national bird list. These are species known to live in the country at some time of the year, including the various rare vagrants, which are from time to time recorded.
Total numbers of birds within the country fluctuate within a year and also from year to year. On more local scale, many bird species may undergo irregular movements within Botswana . Such movements may be triggered by rainfall, temperatures, food, breeding requirements or a combination of these ( see maps).
Not only is the diversity of bird species high in the national parks and reserves, but also throughout the north and east of the country.
Over 400 species have been recorded in the Gaborone area alone. In many regions the terrain adds to the ease of bird viewing on your African travel expedition.
The Department of Wildlife and National Parks has recently instituted a bird research programme. Current research projects include a study of the breeding sites of several aquatic birds such as storks, herons, pelicans, flamingoes and cranes.
The birds you are most likely to see include the following: ostrich; cormorant; darter; stork; hammerkop; greater and lesser flamingo; pygmy goose, knobbilled duck and Egyptian goose; African jacana; black korhaan and kori bustard; Cape vulture, bateleur eagle and African fish eagle; Cape turtle dove, laughing dove, red eyed dove and Namaqua dove; bee-eater; kingfisher; hornbill; fork tailed drongo; black and pied crow; pied and whiterumped babbler; yellowbilled and redbilled oxpecker; masked weaver, paradise and shaftailed whydah. The majority of these species can be seen in the Okavango Delta or by River Chobe in northern Botswana .
About 157 species of reptiles have been recorded in Botswana Most obvious characteristic of reptiles is their dry, horny skin that is usually modified into scales or plates. This prevents rapid water loss and has allowed them to move on to dry land, whereas amphibians are still restricted to moist habitats. Many reptiles lay eggs that have thick shells and which undergo development independent of water or parents.
All reptiles are cold-blooded, which means that they absorb their warmth from the environment, as opposed to mammals or birds which generate their heat internally. Many reptiles simply sit in the sun until their body reaches correct temperature, and subsequently shuttle between sun and shade, maintaining a constant optimal temperature. They do not generate heat internally by metabolizing foods as do mammals and birds.
The reptiles are divided into crocodilians, tortoises, terrapins and turtles, snakes, lizards and amphibians. Some of the most common for Botswana are: crocodile, python, gecko, tortoise, black mamba, green mamba, Cape cobra, Egyptian cobra, spitting cobra, puff adder, horned adder, egg eater, tiger snake, boom slang, shield-nose snake, Cape skink, striped skink, bushveld lizard, sand lizard, ground agama, flap-neck chameleon.
|Area||600,370 square kilometres (231,800 sq mi)|
|Languages spoken||Tswana, English|
|Visa requirements||Visa is required|
Picturesquely situated 100 km west of the Victoria Falls, overlooking the Chobe River and the Caprivi floodplains, the iconic Chobe Game Lodge is the only permanent safari lodge within the Chobe National Park and is Botswana’s premier venue for guests looking for a perfect base to explore Chobe National Park and the Chobe River.
Chobe’s wildlife roams in abundance and diversity and is home to the largest concentration of elephant in Africa. During the dry season these large herds, as well as vast herds of buffalo, congregate along the fertile flood plains of the Chobe River where they come to drink, bathe and play. Sightings of lion, African wild dog, puku, red lechwe, sable, giraffe and roan antelope are frequent reported in the area.
The lodge accommodates up to 94 guests in absolute luxury. Rooms are river-facing, and include minibars, en-suite bathrooms, tea and coffee making facilities as well as private terraces. In addition, four exclusive suites have their own plunge pools and separate lounges.
Other facilities include a fully equipped conference room seating up to 90 people, broadband internet, billiards, library, gym, beauty salon, a stylish cigar bar overlooking the Chobe River, a large terraced swimming pool and riverside boma area.
Guests wishing to pamper themselves can schedule an appointment with our in-house beautician or book our gym for a private workout.
Meals are catered for at the terrace restaurant, and themed BBQs are regularly held at our boma on the Chobe River’s grassy banks.
Each of the 47 rooms at the lodge is river facing and air conditioned, featuring overhead fans, complimentary mini bar, en-suite bathrooms and private terrace. For those guests who demand the ultimate in exclusivity, Chobe Game Lodge has four river view suites, each with their own plunge pool and a separate lounge area.
The Safari Experience
All safari activities are tailored to suit individual requirements. Game drives, game viewing by small boats with a maximum capacity of twelve guests, sunset cruises along the Chobe River and after-dinner stargazing are offered.
Chobe Game Lodge offers a choice of land or water-based activities and the most complete game experience in the Chobe National Park.
Early morning and late afternoon game drives are conducted by our expert guides in open sided 4×4 vehicles to ensure maximum visibility of Chobe National Park’s spectacular scenery and abundant wildlife. Meanwhile, riverside game viewing is conducted by small and highly manoeuvrable boats, perfect for morning or sunset cruises.
Guests can also enjoy the wide expanses of the Chobe River with sundowners and snacks courtesy of our double-decker river cruiser, the Mosi-oa-Tunya.
Our professional guides and resident environmentalist also offer the chance to spot some of the Southern Hemisphere’s most beautiful constellations on our stargazing deck.