Botswana

Experience the stunning beauty, the unimaginable vastness, the isolation and the prolific wildlife of Botswana. The country is well known for having some of the best wilderness areas on the African continent. 38% of its total land area are devoted to national parks, reserves and wildlife management areas making it the Jewel of Africa for unspoilt wilderness experiences. A safari tourist’s dream and the ideal chance to get an adventure of a lifetime. Together with its diverse ecosystems, extraordinary wildlife and the friendly nature of its people, there are many reasons to visit Botswana. Experience quality land and water-based game viewing and bird watching. The country is bordered by South Africa, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Top 5 places to visit

Botswana - Delta
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The Okavango Delta is a unique pulsing wetland which covers between 6,000 and 15,000 square kilometres of Kalahari Desert in northern Botswana and owes its existence to the Okavango (Kavango) River which flows from the Angolan highlands, across Namibia’s Caprivi Strip and into the harsh Kalahari Desert. The Okavango Delta is affected by seasonal flooding with flood water from Angola reaching the Delta between March and June, peaking in July. This peak coincides with Botswana’s dry season resulting in great migrations of plains game from the dry hinterland. The 1,000th site to be inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 2014, the Okavango Delta is an important wildlife area protected by both the Moremi Game Reserve, on its eastern edge, and the numerous wildlife concessions within Ngamiland. An oasis in an otherwise dry environment the Okavango Delta is known for its superb wildlife, with large populations of mammals and excellent birding particularly in the breeding season.

The vast Central Kalahari Game Reserve, situated across the western reaches of Botswana and occupying over half of the land area of the country, is one of the greatest ecological treasures and wilderness areas of the world. Protected by its sheer size and the scarcity of surface water the Kalahari has remained unspoilt by the encroaching pressures of civilization. A journey into the Kalahari wasteland is a mystical experience. The vastness of the semi desert landscape, the wildlife, the reptiles and the insects, each living out a life of interdependence in this arid land, will fascinate and enthral the observer. The thrill of the Kalahari lies in its remoteness, the wildlife, the harsh, but beautiful landscape, the great sky and the incredible views of the Milky Way and thousands of stars and the silence of this pristine African eco-system.

Botswana - Kalahari
Botswana - Makgadigkadi Pans

Makgadikgadi and Nxai Pan National Parks are the famous salt pans of north central Botswana, the largest such pans in the world, were formed millions of years ago when the entire region was covered by a huge lake. The area is remote, even by Botswana standards and herein lies the attraction. The pans which are filled to a greater or lesser extent by seasonal rains, become the feeding and breeding grounds for huge flocks of Greater Flamingos, Pelicans and other water bird species. On the perimeter of the pans live a wide variety of the plains game and predators.

The Tuli Block is located along Botswana’s south-eastern border with South Africa and is a unique stretch of land ranging from sub-tropical river valleys, open grasslands, woodland, to Kalahari sandveld. Historically known as the Tuli enclave, Tuli Block has a fascinating frontier history. Famous for its ancient rocks, Tuli Block radiates an old world feel lending a special appeal to the area. Set in a landscape of spectacular natural beauty the Tuli Block integrates the Mashatu Game Reserve, Tuli Nature Reserve and other smaller game reserves.

Botswana - Tuli Block
Botswana -Chobe

The Chobe National Park is one of the largest national parks in Botswana and is considered to be one of the best game viewing destinations in Africa. Over and above the huge populations of elephants, the park is also home to a wonderful array of other African wildlife from buffalo, zebra and numerous species of antelope to large populations of predators; lion, cheetah, leopard and hyena, providing endless opportunities for excellent game sightings.
Bird watching is another popular activity while on a wilderness safari in Chobe. With a wide variety of water-, migrant- and grass species found within the nature reserve bird watchers will be in their element.

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Currency: Botswana Pula (BWP)

ATMs where you can withdraw cash with international debit and credit cards (Visa & Mastercard preferred) are found in larger towns and cities. Your card needs to have a chip and pin. Credit or debit cards can be used for payments in larger shops, hotels and restaurants in the cities but in remote places and safari camps there is often no way to pay with a card. It is therefore advisable to always have some cash with you in case of emergencies or if you want to buy something in remote areas. While changing money at a Bureau de Change is possible, it is not recommended as it is often a complicated and lengthy process.

Please be sure to advise your bank before you travel that you will be using your card in a different country as they may block access to your card if they do not know that you are currently travelling.

For current exchange rates please use this website. 

Official languages: English is the official language of Botswana and widely spoken, although Setswana (also called ‘Tswana’) is spoken by almost everybody.

Visa Requirements: Citizens of most European and Commonwealth countries do not require a visa for entry into Botswana. Please find a list with all the countries that require a visa here. Please also consult the Botswana Embassy or Consulate for any updates before departure, especially when travelling with children.

Independence: 30 September 1966 from Britain

Religion: An estimated 76.4% of the country’s citizens identify as Christians, 6.1% have other beliefs and 17.5% have no religious beliefs.

Souvenirs: There is an increasing range of local arts and crafts on sale in Gaborone, Maun and Kasane and other tourist areas; they include Botswana’s renowned world class baskets, woodcarvings, jewellery, pottery, tapestries, fabrics and clothing, glassware and San crafts.

Agricultural products: Corn, sorghum, millet, beans, and groundnuts

Main Industries: Mining (diamonds, copper, nickel, salt, soda ash, potash, coal, iron ore, silver), beef processing, textiles

Best time to visit: The best time to visit Botswana is during the dry season between May and October, when you can expect warm, sunny days (22°C-35°C) and chilly nights. This is also when the water levels in the Okavango Delta are at their highest, creating the waterways and channels Botswana is famous for. The Green Season (November to April) is a great time to travel if you don’t mind the odd shower. Visitor numbers and prices are lower, the scenery pops with verdant foliage, and animals give birth to their young.

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