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Botswana Travel Guide

>> Botswana Tours & Safaris    Map for planning your Botswana Safari


Botswana is one of the world's most exciting travel destinations for exploring wildlife. The natural beauty of Botswana is found in its land formations, its wilderness, wildlife and its cultural diversity.

* to the northwest is the Okavango Delta, the largest inland delta in the world which after the winter floods, provides one of the wildest and most beautiful nature reserves in Africa.

* The Moremi Game Reserve occupies two-thirds of the delta’s area.

* The Chobe National Park in the north includes the Savute and Linyanti regions.

* To the far southwest is the Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park, which ranges across the borders of into South Africa and Namibia.

* The vast arid sand veld of the Kalahari occupies much of north, central and western Botswana with the Makgadikgadi and Nxai Pans National Park a popular destination.

* The Tuli block forms a long, thin fringe of land on Botswana's south-eastern frontier.

Population
1,651,296 (2000).

Capital
Gaborone

Language
English is the official language. Setswana is the national language.

Time
GMT + 2.

Electricity
220-240 volts AC, 50Hz. 15- and 13-amp plug sockets are in use.

Communications
Telephone: IDD is available to over 80 countries. Country code: 267. Outgoing international code: 00. There are very few public phone boxes.

Mobile telephone: GSM 900 network. Coverage is limited to the main inhabited areas.

Visas
Tourists are welcome to visit Botswana for up to 90 days a year.

Nationals from the following Countries do not need visas:
Antigua, Australia Austria Bahamas Barbados Belgium Belize Brunei Canada Cyprus Denmark Dominica Fiji Finland France Gambia Germany Greece Grenada Guyana Iceland Ireland Italy Jamaica Japan Kenya Lesotho Liechtenstein Luxembourg Malawi Maldives Malta Mauritius Namibia Netherlands New Zealand Norway Papua New Guinea Poland Portugal Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Seychelles Singapore Solomon Islands South Africa Spain Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Tanzania Tonga Trinidad and Tobago United Kingdom USA Uganda Uruguay Yugoslavia Zambia.

Please verify information with the relevant authorities as it is subject to change without notification.

Health and Vaccinations
Botswana has endemic malarial areas. Consult a doctor at least 2 weeks prior to entering Botswana, and take precautions against being bitten by mosquitos.
Bilharzia is another threat in streams and rivers, and the best way of avoiding contact is to stay out of the water.
AIDS infection rates are high in Francistown and Gaborone.

No vaccinations are required.

Entry Points
The best way to enter Botswana is via Johannesburg International Airport with a connection to Gaborone. Air Botswana flies regularly between Johannesburg, Harare, Victoria Falls, Gaborone, Kasane, Francistown and Maun.

No vehicle will be allowed into Botswana without vehicle registration papers, if you are planning to hire a vehicle outside of Botswana, make sure you have the correct documentation from the hire company.

Climate
Winter - April through to August - warm and sunny during the day, and cold or very cold at night.
Summer - September through to March - days are hot and can reach up to 45°C in the weeks preceding the rains.

The best visiting months are the winter months - in terms of weather, game viewing and malarial risk. It is during this period that the vegetation thins and wildlife are at their most visible as they congregate around the natural waterholes and borehole fed dams.
Once the rains begin in about September/October, the animals disperse and the sand roads in the parks become wet and difficult to navigate.

The dress code is casual, avoid military style clothing and stick to lightweight natural fibres, such as cotton.
A jersey or jacket will be needed for winter mornings and evenings. Comfortable walking shoes are essential

Clothing
It is advisable to dress in layers of light clothing during the day with warm jackets and jerseys for winter evenings and early morning game viewing activities. While on safari, avoid bright or highly contrasting clothing, including white. The general dress code is casual but some hotels and lodges discourage the wearing of jeans in the evening. Camouflage clothing is not permitted.

Luggage
As no formal clothes are needed, we recommend that you keep your luggage to the basics. Bright colours and white are not advised and ARMY CAMOUFLAGE UNIFORMS OR ARMY HATS ARE FORBIDDEN (Khaki is fine to wear). For safety and space reasons, we have a 12 kg limit on luggage. This is due to a weight problem when travelling in charter aircraft. The 12 kgs includes camera bag and equipment.

Cariers insist on a soft carry-all (instead of a suitcase) with the following maximum dimensions: 80 cm long by 35 cm wide. Please keep in mind that the baggage compartments on the light aircraft are only 25 cm high, so the pilots must have the ability to manipulate the bag into the compartment.

NB. Passengers who bring more than 12 kgs may necessitate the use of an extra charter aircraft, in which case they will be charged for the considerable extra charter costs if they want the excess baggage to travel with them.

Guests will also have the option on arrival, in either Maun or Kasane, to send their excess baggage ahead for an additional cost per person. If the safari begins in Maun, the excess baggage will be forwarded to Kasane and stored. If starting in Kasane, the excess baggage will be forwarded to Maun for storage. Guests can then collect this excess baggage at the end of their Botswana safari.

Additionally, a guest travelling alone who weighs 90 kgs or more, or two guests travelling together whose combined weight is 177 kgs or more must advise us when booking. All weight limits are due to safety factors involved in the light aircraft transfers. Kindly note that should these limitations be exceeded, it may be necessary to charge for an additional aircraft.

Driving
All major towns are connected by good tarred roads, although traveling at night outside of large towns can be dangerous due to the long, tedious stretches of road, poor lighting and domestic animals that are allowed to wander onto the roads. The roads in the parks and reserves are not tarred and four wheel drive is essential in all seasons.

When planning a trip, remember to make allowances for sandy or muddy roads, a distance of 150 km can be a full day's traveling. Vehicles and four-wheel drive vehicles can be hired in most major centers, but, once again, book in advance. Petrol and diesel are freely available.

Foreign or international driving license is required and seat-belts must be worn. Driving is on the left.

Money
The unit of currency is the Pula which is the Setswana word for rain. One hundred Thebe constitute one Pula.

Most hotels and lodges will accept major credit cards but prefer not to as a clearance is required for anything over P500.00.
There are several bureau de change agencies and all lodges and hotels will accept foreign currency although the exchange rates offered are not always favourable.

Full banking facilities are available in all the larger towns and banking hours are generally from 09h00 - 15h30 on week days and 09h00 - 11h30 on Saturdays.

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