Botswana is one of the world's most exciting travel destinations offering safe, exciting safaris to explore the true wilderness.
Botswana is a ‘year round’ destination and with its wide open spaces and sparse population it offers a welcome retreat from mass tourism, offering an intimate and game rich safari away from the crowds. The natural beauty of Botswana is found in its land formations, its wilderness, wildlife and its cultural diversity. To travel Botswana offers a unique authentic African experience in its natural state.
Botswana has one of the largest varieties as well as concentrations of wild animals in the world and is a birders paradise. If there’s a place where one wishes time could stand still, it is in the beautiful country of Botswana.
Visitors can expect sunny blue skies and warm to hot days for most of the year.
Summers (October to April) are hot with temperatures reaching 40° C.
Rainfall can be erratic with less than 200mm per year in the dry south to over 600mm in the north. Although some years the rains start earlier, December to February is considered the rainy season.
During winter (May to September) the weather is dry and warm to hot. But expect cold nights, especially in the early hours of the morning when temperatures can plummet to below freezing.
Distances & Driving
Cars, minibuses and 4x4 vehicles can be hired at all major towns. All major roads are tarred and in good condition. However many secondary and park roads are dirt tracks, often requiring 4x4, especially in the rainy season. Therefore it may take longer than expected to cover important distances.
Safety belts must be used at all times and the use of hand-held cell phones when driving is prohibited. Expect police and veterinary roadblocks and we recommend you keep your driver’s license and vehicle papers on hand. Vehicles are driven on the left and signposts are printed in English.
For many visitors to Botswana transfers between regions and lodges are conducted in light aircraft.
The unit of currency in Botswana is the Pula, which is made up of 100 Thebe. (See currency converter on left menu for current exchange rates)
Foreign currency travellers cheques can be exchanged at most banks.
Major credit cards are accepted in most lodges, hotels, restaurants, shops and airlines.
Many lodges and hotels charge in US$
VAT is charged at 10% on many goods and commodities, but non-residents exporting goods can reclaim VAT on departure at the international airports.
GMT + 2 hours
It is generally safe to drink tap water in urban areas but boil or sterilise all drinking water elsewhere, or drink bottled water.
230 volt A/C 50 hz, both square and round wall plugs are used.
Visitors from the EU, most Commonwealth countries and the USA do not require visas. Visitors from other countries should check with their local Botswana consulate.
English and Setswana
Malaria is a serious problem, especially in the north of the country and during the rainy season. We therefore strongly recommend you seek medical advice before visiting these areas. Bilharzia is also endemic and swimming in untreated water is dangerous. Tick bite fever can be a problem when walking in grass and travellers should be aware that the incidence of AIDS is high throughout Southern Africa.
Medical services in Botswana are of a high standard but limited. The availability of services is restricted to the main towns and emergency evacuation from remote areas may attract high costs. In serious cases evacuation may be needed as far as Johannesburg for treatment. An insurance service for tourists is available from rescue companies providing coverage for emergency transport.
Though Botswana boasts good fibre optic lines ensuring a widespread and reliable service for mobile phones, most of the lodges are beyond the range of the network. The international dialling code is 267 and there are no regional codes.
Email is used extensively and there are internet cafés in all the major towns.
Undoubtedly one of the continent’s premier game viewing and wilderness destinations, the Chobe National Park is world known for its river safaris and elephant concentrations. Savute is that much drier and wilder and has become world renowned for its super prides of lion that hunt mega-prey, including elephants.
Exceptional game viewing in Chobe (especially in the dry season), one of the densest elephant populations in Africa, river safaris on the Chobe River, secluded luxurious lodge accommodation. Savute is remote and raw Africa often with spectacular lion sightings. Vintage safari experience on the Kwando concession including night drives.
Best time to visit
May to October
Witness a true geographical phenomenon as the Okavango River empties itself into the sands of the Kalahari desert creating a 10,000 square kilometre inland delta of narrow waterways, lagoons and lakelets, bordered by one of the most spectacular and beautiful game reserves in Africa.
Exceptional game viewing in the spectacular and beautiful Moremi Wildlife Reserve, night drives and safari in surrounding private concessions. Mokoro (traditional dugout canoe) and boat trips into the Okavango delta, birding and isolated luxurious lodges – a true water wilderness experience. Big game horseback safaris.
Best time to visit
June to September best, but fascinating all year round
A visit to the vast Central Kalahari Game Reserve, the northern part of which is aptly named ‘Deception Valley’, is like taking a step back in time. In the wet season this otherwise inhospitable region bursts into life.
Game viewing including many desert adapted species and the famous black maned lion of the Kalahari, an introduction to the traditional San existence, spectacular scenery, sunsets and starry night skies as well as the serenity and peace of the Kalahari.
Best time to visit
November to April
The startling white flatness of the Magkadikgadi and Nxai Pans comes to life after good summer rains when they transform into giant lakes only a few centimetres deep and become the focus of important animal and bird migrations.
The stark, flat, vastness of some of the world’s biggest saltpans; game viewing and bird watching especially during the wet season. Baines baobabs in Nxai Pans and the yearly zebra migration between November and April. Spectacular sunsets and starry night skies.