The Gem of Africa….. The jewel in Botswana's crown is, without a doubt, the Okavango Delta - the largest inland delta in the world. Its seasonal lagoons and waterways are crammed with hovering birds, while zebras and giraffes amble across vast grass flats. Northeast of here is Chobe National Park, home to gigantic elephant herds, some of them 400-strong.
If you want to experience one of the greatest wilderness areas in Africa…for a truly untouched wildlife experience, the parks of Botswana are without a doubt the place to visit!
Botswana is a landlocked country located in Southern Africa. It borders Zimbabwe in the northeast, South Africa in the south and southeast and Namibia to the west.
The eastern region is hilly bush country and grassland (veld). To the west lies the Okavango Swamps and the Kalahari Desert. The only sources of permanent surface water are the Chobe River in the north, the Limpopo in the east, and the Okavango in the northwest. In seasons of heavy rainfall, floodwaters flow into the Makarikari Salt Pans and Lake Ngami.
Outstandingly dramatic, Botswana encompasses striking salt pans, diamond-rich deserts and fertile flood plains which teem with game. The north, in particular, offers superb wildlife-watching opportunities, making this one of southern Africa's top safari destinations.
Area size: 581,730 sq km
Most of the country has a subtropical climate, with cooler temperatures in the higher altitudes. Winter days are warm and nights are cool, with heavy frost common in the desert. Temperatures range from maximums of 26.6°C - 32°C from October to February to minimums of 2° to 4.4°C from June to August. The seasonal winds that blow from the west and carry sand and dust across the country begin in August. The summer rainy seasons runs from November to March with rainfall averaging 18 inches but ranges from 27 inches in the north to less than 9 inches in the Kalahari.
What to wear?
Loose, natural fabrics are recommended, with wet-weather gear and warmer clothes according to the season and the area you are visiting.
Entry Requirements & Visas
Visas are required by all nationals except those of Commonwealth countries, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Rep. of Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Namibia, Netherlands, Norway, Pakistan, Western Samoa, San Marino, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Uruguay and USA.
Visas ARE required for nationals of Ghana, India, Mauritius, Nigeria and Sri Lanka.
Stay permits, which are extendable up to 30 days, are issued at the border.
In many of Botswana's parks you will need to consider having a 4 wheel drive vehicle particularly during the rainy season (between November and March).
Protection against mosquito bites will reduce the risk of Malaria, provided that you take the standard precautions aswell.
Look at www.traveldoctor.info for further information.
If you need medical care whilst in Botswana, it is best to be aware that medical providers may not accept payment through your insurance company. In these circumstances you will have to pay in full after your treatment and file a claim with your insurance company for reimbursement. Therefore you should have access to cash, either from a credit card or by wire transfer. If you need assistance contact the country's local embassy or representative.
To be compensated you must be treated by licensed medical personnel and provide your insurance company with proper documentation and receipts.
It is advisable to always ensure you have a comprehensive travel insurance policy which covers you for repatriation to your home country.
Currency: Currency 1 Pula =100 Thebe
Full banking services are available in most major towns. Barclays Visa may be used to purchase UK dollar or UK pound traveler’s cheques. Credit card cash advances can be made in most major towns and are accepted at hotels and restaurants in larger towns.
Banking Hours: In major towns banking hours are from 09h00 to 14h30 Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and on Wednesdays from 08h00 to 12h00.
GMT +2 hours
Internet & WiFi
Maun Sedia Hotel - Maun
Electric Power is 230V running at 50Hz.
Food and Drink
Safari lodges and camps serve international-style cuisine, generally of an extremely high standard, along with local beer and imported wine and spirits. Good restaurants and bars can be found in main towns, often within hotels. Beef and goat are very popular meats. Elsewhere, food is more basic: millet and sorghum porridge are the local staples.
Woodcarvings, handcrafted jewelery, textiles and attractive basketry are recommended. The Okavango Delta villages of Etsha and Shorobe are particularly famous for Ngamiland-style baskets. Modern Bushman art and ostrich-eggshell jewelery can be browsed and purchased at D'Kar, 40km north of Ghanzi. There also occasional exhibitions at the National Museum in Gaborone.
In most restaurants, a service charge is automatically added. Otherwise you would add 5 – 10% onto the bill. It is customary to tip the game guide and lodge staff while on safari.
Domestic Flights: Major areas of the country are linked by air. There are airports in Francistown, Ghanzi, Jwaneny, Kasane, Maun, Pont Drift and Selebi-Phikwe. Many visitors use charter companies based in Maun to fly to the various lodges in Botswana. There are flights to Maun from Johannesburg.
Car: The main roads are mostly sealed and in a fair condition. Problems occur on gravel roads during the rainy season and some roads can wash away completely. If you plan to travel on gravel roads or visit game reserves during the raining season a 4 wheel drive vehicle is recommended. Petrol is available throughout the country but fill up when you get the chance. There are a number of international and local car rental companies, so shop around. Look out for the small print and make sure you have insurance.
Driving is on the left hand side and an international driver’s license is required. It is law to wear seat belts.
Health & Safety
Tap water is considered safe to drink, although outside main cities and towns, visitors are advised to check first and sterilize water if in any doubt. Bottled water is available in most tourist centers.
Other Risks: Vaccinations for tuberculosis and hepatitis B are sometimes recommended. Hepatitis C occurs. Bilharzia (schistosomiasis) is endemic; avoid swimming and paddling in fresh water. Tick-bite fever can be a problem when walking in the bush. It is advisable to wear loose-fitting clothes and to search the body for ticks. Rabies is present in animals. For those at high risk, vaccination before arrival should be considered. If you are bitten, seek medical advice without delay.
Health Care: The dust and heat may cause reactions with some people. Visitors should use sun protection, especially due to Botswana’s high altitude. The public health system is good. All main towns have chemists, and pharmaceutical supplies are readily available. Health insurance is essential.
01 January: New Years Day
Botswana High Commission in the UK
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