Botswana

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  • Thirsty work
  • Zebras in the Okavango
  • Vultures
  • Kalahari Meerkats

Overview

Located in Southern Africa, with a population of just 2 million spread across its 224,000 square mile range, Botswana is among the most sparsely populated countries in the world. It is perhaps no surprise then that safari tours are both popular and fruitful for those seeking some of Southern Africa's untouched wilderness. The predominantly flat landscape is dominated by the Kalahari Desert, but it is also home to the incredible Okavango Delta, one of the largest inland deltas in the world. Alongside the Limpopo River Basin it provides Botswana with a truly unique and diverse natural habitat.

With such a large and unspoiled landscape on offer, choosing the right place to enjoy a safari can sometimes be difficult. Moremi Game Reserve found within the Okavango Delta is an excellent place to start. Contrasting permanent water reserves with drier savannah areas, the Moremi creates some startling contrasts. At around 1900 square miles, the reserve contains mopane woodlands, acacia forests, floodplains and lagoons providing a welcome home for its flora and fauna. Here you might be lucky enough to see the African wild dog and may just catch a glimpse of a leopard. 

Chobe National Park has one of the largest game concentrations in Africa, offering the best chance of seeing the spectacular Kalahari elephant which roam freely. The park itself is split into four distinct areas; Savuti Marsh, home to warthogs, impala, wildebeests and the occasional lion; Linyanti Marsh, where hippos wallow as crocodiles look on; Serondela, situated in the extreme north-east with floodplains that host giraffes and buffalo; and the Hinterland, a hot and dry grass woodland home to Africa's largest antelope, the eland. 

The centre of Botswana is dominated by the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, the second largest reserve in the world covering some 52,800 square miles. The majority of this park is flat bushland sparsely populated with ancient trees. Safari trips here are likely to take in the fossilized salt pans and rivers, one of which runs through Deception Valley. Here the big cats rule and you will find lions, cheetah and leopards stalking eland, gemsbok, kudu and hartebeest to name but a few. 

As part of the Great Salt Pans, the Makgadikgadi Pans in the heart of Botswana provide a stark, and sometimes surreal, safari for those who crave the experience of a truly unspoiled Africa. Covering around 10,000km² of the Kalahari, the pans are vast, with each salt pan ranging from the size of a pond to gargantuan scale. The Makgadikgadi Pans are bordered on each side by the Central Pans and the Boteti River Area.

Finally, perhaps include a visit to the Khama Rhino Sanctuary to learn more about Botswana's rhino population which is under constant threat. A community based wildlife project, the sanctuary provides prime habitat for the extremely rare black and white rhino as well as making an excellent home for more than 230 species of bird including a healthy population of ostrich.

 

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Quick Facts - Botswana

Travel Seasons

  • Jun–Oct - High Season. Peak time and low availabilty for lodges in the north, warm days and dry nights, October can be very hot.
  • May & Nov - Shoulder Season. May nights can be cold, but otherwise an ideal and cheaper time to travel.
  • Dec–Apr - Low Season. Cheaper rates and high availability (except Christmas and New Year), the rainy season when rain can disrupt travel with waterlogged trails making driving difficult.


General Information

  • Currency - Pula
  • Languages - Setswana, English, Afrikaans
  • Size - 581,730 sq km, about the size of France or Kenya
  • Population - 2.250 million (2016)


Travel Insurance

  • Travel insurance is essential for all international travel. Click below to find out more.

  • Health and Safety

    • The CDC recommends the following vaccinations for Botswana: hepatitis A and typhoid. Check with your doctor which other vaccinations you might need and make sure your routine vaccinations are all up-to-date.
    • Malaria is present in Botswana - get medical advice on which prophylaxis to take.
    • Yellow fever is not a risk but if you are travelling from an infected region you will need a yellow fever certificate as an entry requirement.
    • It is best to stick to drinking bottled water. 


    Tourist Information

     

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Low-density tourism and eco friendly lodges
  • Excellent wildlife viewing in the northern parks, Okavango Delta, Linyanti and Chobe
  • Beautiful and diverse scenery of dry desert, saltpans, savannah grasslands and delta waterways
  • Low population and vast undeveloped areas
  • Political stability and safety

Cons

  • Access to the best areas comes at a premium
  • Availability can be limited during high season

Travel Info

Arriving in Botswana

  • Most travellers arrive by air, usually through the regional hub Johannesburg and then into Gabarone or Maun
  • Regional connections also include Windhoek, Victoria Falls, Livingstone, Hwange and Harare
  • If you are already in the region (Zambia, Namibia or Zimbabwe) then you can drive into Botswana

Getting Around

  • Botswana is a large country with much safari travel being done in light aircraft from local airports Kasane and Maun 
  • Maun is the major safari hub with hundreds of light aircraft flights into the bush every month
  • Most safari itineraries include all transport

Visas

  • Visas are not required by most visitors, but please check before travel - Botswana Visas >> 

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