Destinations

 

Welcome to Botswana

Botswana
The Republic of Botswana is a landlocked country constituted by a vast plateau that provides a natural habitat for a huge variety of African wildlife. This scenic wonderland draws thousands of tourists from around the world throughout the year. Most visitors arrive under the auspices of expensive safari-package operators.  At the time that it gained Independence in 1966, Botswana was counted among the ten poorest nations on earth. A dramatic turn around came just a few years later when a treasure-trove of diamonds was discovered. Now the country is the third largest producer of diamonds in the world and Botswana is enjoying a growth rate and economic buoyancy unparalleled in Africa.  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. It is the northwest corner of the country that is the most sought-after by wildlife enthusiasts because it is here that 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. Botswana is well governed, has an abundant supply of diamonds and an excellent tourism industry. Its a clean country filled with friendly and proud people. All these points lead to it being a country well worth a visit from both a business and leisure perspective. Along with a stunning climate its a great country to explore.
 
For more information on Flights, Car Hire or Taxis & Airport Collection, please see the relevant pages on our Menu bar.
 

Information & Facts

Attraction Overview

Khutse Game Reserve:  Established in 1971, the Khutse Game Reserve encompasses 965 square miles (2, 500km²) of semi-arid Kalahari bush savanna in the Bakwena tribal lands. Boreholes have been sunk into this undulating terrain to provide more water and encourage wildlife to stay in the area year-round. Visitors are now drawn to this undeveloped wilderness to see a wide range of herbivores including giraffe, gemsbok and wildebeest, as well as predators such as lion, leopard and cheetah, and birdlife ranging from wild ostriches to little browns. Visitors may only camp in areas marked as campsites and there are no other tourist facilities available in the reserve.
 
Makgadikgadi Salt Pans:  The Makgadikgadi Pans are located in the north-east of the country and are among the largest salt flats on earth, covering 6, 200 square miles (16, 000km²) of the Kalahari basin. During the annual rains, the pans become a source of fresh water and grass for migratory wildlife, especially the massive wildebeest and zebra herds that move through the area. Self-drive visitors are advised to use 4WD vehicles, a good map and a GPS system. Also, drive in the tracks of other vehicles and keep to the edge of the pan.
 
Mokolodi Nature Reserve:  This 300-hectare reserve is just nine miles (15km) from Gaborone and contains examples of most of the local flora as well as an impressive collection of indigenous animals such as the white rhino, mountain reedbuck, various antelope, zebra, giraffe, hyena and warthog. The reserve was created by a non-profit organisation for the purposes of conservation and education, and was established in 1994. It offers thatched self-catering chalets for those wishing to spend a night or two, and game drives and guided walks with experienced rangers.
 
Moremi Wildlife Reserve:  Moremi, about 37 miles (60km) from Maun, is a 1, 160 square mile (3, 000 sq km) reserve set in the middle of the Okavango Delta in one of the world's most pristine wilderness areas. It consists of a network of waterways surrounding two main islands; Chief's Island in the west and Mopane Tongue in the east. The reserve can be reached by air or road via Maun. Self-driving in the reserve is recommended only for experienced four-wheel-drive enthusiasts and only during the dry months. It is otherwise suggested that visitors arrange to be transported from Maun or make use of the vehicle safaris and boat trips offered from the reserve's luxury lodges. A wonderful way to see the delights of the Delta is on a mokoro (a dug-out canoe), which is poled through the waterways by experienced guides. The adventurous can opt to stay in one of three serviced campsites in the reserve. These are unfenced and therefore provide an opportunity to experience nature at its purest form in the heart of Africa. The reserve itself is fenced, and therefore, with a diversity of habitats, it guarantees game sightings throughout the year.
 
Tsodilo Hills:  To the west of the Okavango Delta area, about 33 miles (53km) from the town of Shakawe, is a mysterious site shrouded in myth, legend and spiritual significance for the local San people, who have inhabited the area for 35, 000 years or more. The Tsodilo Hills are believed by the San to be the site of first Creation. The area is festooned with thousands of rock paintings representing a variety of scenes, some of which date back to 1, 300 AD. Several trails lead to more than 350 rock painting sites. it is possile to camp in this area and draw from borehole water.
 

Business

Business is fairly relaxed in Botswana and dress is generally smart casual. Handshakes begin and end meetings, which are usually held in private. Women are often viewed with a certain amount of sexism, but will be politely treated. Office hours are usually 8am to 5pm Monday to Friday, or 7.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday between October and April.
 

Climate

Botswana is landlocked and has a subtropical desert climate characterized by great differences in day and night temperatures, virtually no rainfall and overall low humidity.
 
 
Dry Season:  May to October - Winter

There is little to no rain during the entire winter and humidity is low, typically 20-40%. Animals will concentrate around waterholes and rivers when other water resources dry up.
May:  The temperatures are relatively cool, typically 10°C/50°F in the morning and 28°C/80°F in the afternoon.
 
June, July & August:  Be sure to pack winter clothing because morning game drives in open vehicles will be cold. The average morning temperature is 6°C/42°F. Night temperatures can drop below freezing, especially in the dryer Kalahari areas. Afternoons will be more pleasant with temperatures around 25°C/78°F.
 
September & October:  The heat gradually builds and it can get very hot in October (38°C/100°F), but the average temperature remains around 34°C/93°F in the afternoon.
 
 
Wet Season:  November to April - Summer
 
November & December:  Clouds start to appear, bringing cooler temperatures and an occasional late afternoon shower. This pattern of change continues in December, with typical temperatures between 20°C/69°F in the morning and 33°C/91°F in the afternoon. The more extreme Kalahari areas can still have very hot days, and cold mornings. Humidity is typically between 50-60%.
 
January & February:  These are the wettest months, characterized by torrential downpours in the afternoon and sometimes continuous rainfall for days. Daytime temperatures are around 32°C/90°F and the humidity is between 50-80%.
 
March & April:  Rainfall decreases and it steadily cools. This trend continues through April, which has lovely, clear weather and few clouds. The nights tend to be cooler but the days are very temperate at 30°C/87°F.
 

Communications

The international access code for Botswana is +267. The outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0027 for South Africa). Gaborone's area code is 31, 35, 36 or 39; there is no NDD prefix for calling within Botswana. 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.
 

Electricity

230 volts, 50Hz. Round three-pin plugs are used.
 

Getting Around

 
Airports
Gaborone Airport
Sir Seretse Khama International Airport (GBE)
Location:  The airport is located nine miles (15km) north of Gaborone.
 
Getting to the city:  Hotel minibuses and taxis provide transport to the city centre.
 
Time:  GMT +2.
 
Contacts:  Tel: +267 351 191.
 
Car rental:  Avis and Imperial are represented at the airport.
 
Facilities:  There is one terminal building which offers a Barclays Bank bureaux de change, bar and restaurant, and duty-free shop for flights outside of the Common Customs Union (South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland).
 
Departure Tax:  None.
 
 
 
Maun Airport
Maun International Airport (MUB)

Location:  3 miles (5km) from central Maun.
 
Getting to the city:  There are shuttle buses and taxis available into town.
 
Time:  GMT +2.
 
Contacts:  Tel: +267 660 238.
 
Car rental:  It is possible to rent cars to and from the airport.
 
Facilities:  There are restaurants outside the front of the airport and the village is within walking distance, offering many more facilities such as banks, shops and a post office.
 
Parking:  There is parking available at the airport.
 
Departure Tax:  None
 
 
 
Road and Rail
Road travel fine with car hire readily available but off road vehicles most certainly required to get to the true tourist spots one wants to visit. Rail travel is available in parts but is for the budget traveller.

Language

English is the official language but Setswana is widely spoken.
 

Money

The unit of currency is the Botswana Pula (BWP), which is divided into 100 Thebe. The word 'Pula' means rain and 'Thebe' means shield. The shield appears on the national coat of arms. Major credit cards are widely accepted, and travellers cheques and foreign currency are accepted at most large hotels and lodges. There are banks and exchange bureaux in all the main towns, as well as ATM machines. Surcharges are often high on travellers cheques, and it is best to carry cheques in US Dollars or Pounds Sterling.
 

Passport Visa

All visitors require return or onward tickets and sufficient funds to cover their stay in Botswana. Visas are generally not required for stays of under 90 days.
 
NOTE: It is highly recommended to have six months' validity remaining on your passport, as border agents occasionally apply different guidelines to those stated. Passport and visa requirements are liable to change at short notice. Travellers are advised to check their entry requirements with their embassy or consulate.
 

Time

GMT +2.
 

Tipping

Tipping is expected in tourist hotels and restaurants. Many automatically add a service charge, but where not, a 10-15% tip is appreciated. Taxi drivers, porters and golf caddies should also be tipped a relative amount. Tour guides, trackers and game rangers rely largely on tips for their income and should be rewarded accordingly.
 

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