Botswana Safari Holidays and Travel Guide, Travel Planning Tips and Travel Information
Botswana is a paradise for nature and wildlife lovers. Whether you are an adventurer or usual holidaymakers, visiting this country will surely give you the new experience that you can share with your family or friends. The country boasts Botswana safari experience with ample leisure activities as bonuses. The safaris present you different vibrant from the rough style of exploration to the luxury one. Besides Botswana safari, Botswana is famous because of its fantastic landscapes, culture, wildlife, diamonds, attractions, traditions, as well as the local delicacies.
It is not the usual place you visit on your Botswana holidays. You will attain the exclusive opportunity to see Africa in a much different perspective. The good thing about visiting Botswana is that it can show you the real Africa the way before the Europeans arrived.
Facts and Figures
Area: 581,730 km2 (224,610 sq mi)
Population: 2.292 million (2017 est.)
Languages: English, Setswana
Religion: 79% Christian
4.1% African traditional religion
15.2% None/no religion
1.4% Other (includes Baha’i, Hindu, Islam, Rastafarian)
0.3% Unspecified (2011 est.)
Population density: 26/km2 (67.3/sq mi)
Administrative Capital: Gaborone.
Gaborone has about 208,411 (2019 est.)
Currency: Botswana pula (BWP
Vehicle registration: BW
International dialing code for Botswana: +267
Form of government: Unitary parliamentary constitutional republic
Largest city: Gaborone
Public Holidays: New Year’s Day 1 January
Easter Good Friday, Easter Saturday and Easter Monday (March/April)
Labour Day 1 May
Ascension Day May/June, 40 days after Easter Sunday
Sir Seretse Khama Day 1 July
President’s Day Third Friday in July
Botswana/Independence Day 30 September
Christmas Day 25 December
Boxing Day 26 December
Emergency numbers: Police: 999 (Toll Free) Fire: 998 (Toll Free) Ambulance: 997 (Toll Free), Medical Rescue 911 (Toll Free), Medical Air Rescue: 390-1601
Time zone: UTC+2 (Central Africa Time)
Entry requirements: Visa and valid passport
Power: Electric plug M, 230V, 50Hz. Electric plug G (but rare)
Driving side: left
History and Culture of Botswana
Botswana is a relatively young nation. Independent since six decades ago, it filled with the British colonization, tribal wars, and the migrations by ethnic groups and the Boers. Despite the dark history, the past times have formed a multi-ethnic nation who are working together to build Botswana. Nowadays, it is one of the most diligent countries in Africa.
Botswana gained independence from the British in 1966. Back then, it was a sleepy town with the population 5,000. But the rapid development has changed the face of Botswana totally.
There are many ethnics in Botswana alone. Each of them has a unique tradition and customs. Despite the different elements of the culture, they live in harmony. Some tribes even accept marriages between different tribes, wherein interesting acculturation often happens and creates a new culture.
The official language of Botswana is Setswana, the original style of the Tswana group. However, the main business and tourism language are English. Botswana people are peaceful, proud, and welcoming. They mostly hold Christianity as their belief and often simmer it with their daily life.
Standard greetings are smile and handshake. Botswana is a peaceful place, so it is essential to be courteous and well-behaved.
Highlights of Botswana
The Okavango Delta is a magnificent place. The landscape boasts the fantastic formation of palm trees and other trees species. When you fly over Okavango Delta, you will see real heaven.
Chobe National Park
Chobe National Park has a lot to offer. As soon after arriving at the Chobe Botswana safari Lodge, you will hear the Chobe River flow beautifully. Consider taking the boat cruise in Chobe National Park. It will be a fulfilling experience for you and your companions.
One word to describe Victoria Falls: Magic.
The series of Chiefs Island offers a different perspective of Botswana beauty. A mokoro is a dugout canoe which fits a small group. It is the only way to explore the Okavango Delta properly.
Strolling around the islands
In the Delta, you will have tons of chances to enjoy the wildlife and the environment. It is easy for you and your companions to spot magnificent creatures such as impala, zebras, elephants, and many more.
Wild dogs at Moremi Game Reserve
Moremi Game Reserve provides the camping site with the wild dogs sightseeing as a bonus. Just like what you saw in National Geographic, you will have the chance to see the horde’s activity when hunting a herd of impala on the grass field.
Botswana Tourist attractions /
It is where the Kalahari Game Reserve located. The beauty of the terracotta dunes is the main attraction here. It is a remote place to visit.
It is the fantastic name of the most giant salt pans in the world. The salt-encrusted pots will blow your mind. Plus, you will have the chance to witness the zebra horse tripping in the areas.
Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park
Wildlife watching is the core of the activity. The 3.6 million hectares offer you with the heavenly Botswana safari watching including cheetahs, hyenas, leopards, Springbrook, wildebeest, as well as lions. There are also hundreds of bird species you could spot there. If you are lucky, you will spot vultures and eagles.
It is a granite rock island accompanied by the white sea of salt sweeps. It is a protected national monument which you can aspire.
Moremi Wildlife Reserve
Moremi wildlife reserve often appears in travel magazine because many experts cited it as the most beautiful wildlife place in Africa. It is located in the core of Okavango Delta. The landscape presents you the mopane tree, permanent delta, riverine woodland, and floodplain grasses. You can see the “Big Five” here.
Chobe River is one of the most pivotal points of a Botswana safari holiday in Botswana. It runs along the northern border of Chobe National Park. To explore the river, the cruise will be an excellent option for you and your family.
Khama Rhino Sanctuary
As the name suggests, it is a community-based workshop which focuses on rhinoceros protection and restoration. As we know, black and white rhinos are endangered species. This sanctuary also hosts 30 other animal species and hundreds of birds species.
Nxai Pan National Park
The national park is the part of Makgadikgadi Pan salt flats. The paradise comes with the salt pans and sand dunes which create such fantastic ambiance.
Linyanti Wildlife Reserve
It is a peaceful private reserve which offers you with tons of wildlife sightseeing chances. Kwando River feeds the area so that it is easy to spot majestic creatures like Lion and Elephant populations.
Botswana Safari – National Parks and Nature Reserves
Chobe National Park
When you want to visit a country for its Botswana safari, consider to take on Chobe National Park. It is one of the most popular safari areas in Africa. The national park hosts the horde of elephant and Cape buffalo which you can spot while on the ride.
Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
It presents us with the breathtaking view of the red sand dunes, grasslands with acacia trees and fossil river valleys. The wilderness trails can be enjoyed by the self-drive tours and camping. You could opt to designated driving too.
Central Kalahari Game Reserve
Central Kalahari Game Reserve is not really a National park, instead of a protected land which reserves the Botswana safari. The grasslands and wildlife can make you convenient to spend days or weeks in this reserve.
Makgadikgadi Pans National Park
Makgadikgadi pans are one of the most extensive salt flats in the world. The salt flats are the broad areas covered in the multiple layers of salt and various minerals. The lake itself is an ancient one. It looks like the place is frozen by the time.
Nxai Pan National Park
Nxai Pan is also a salt flat forming part. You might not see anything other than salt pans in dry months. But during the rains, the animals are migrating to the area. By then, you will easily spot wildebeest and zebra. The fishes will be placed, as well as birds.
Biggest Cities In Botswana
It is the biggest city in Botswana which hosts 10% of nation’s population. Located on the bank of Notwane River, you can see the modern ambiance with some local approaches. It is where you arrive and departs at Khama International Airport.
Selebi Phikwe offers an extensive amount of hotels and lodges, which could be a perfect stay before proceeding to Okavango Delta and Chobe.
It is the tourism capital of Botswana. There are tons of Botswana safari and air-charter premises arranged for both foreign and domestic tourists here. Consider visiting shopping centers to purchase something to bring home.
It is located 400 km to the north-northeast of Gaborone. The town is a perfect one for Botswana holidays since it hosts some high-profile hotels, lodges, cathedrals, museums, parks, venues, and many other amenities.
Its status is a village rather than a city. But it is one of the most significant settlements in Botswana. You will go through this village when entering the Kalahari desert. But before entering the desert, you will learn unique and exotic culture from locals.
When it comes to nature, it is not exaggerating to say that the Kalahari Desert dominates the area. However, there’s a wide array of Botswana safari and nature to enjoy in Botswana holidays. Most majestic creatures are concentrated in the Chobe National Park and Okavango Delta.
In the northern parts of Botswana, it is easy to spot elephants horde. In fact, Chobe National Park hosts the largest elephant population in the world. Botswana is also the home of the tallest creature in the world, giraffe. Meanwhile, Zebra is the national animal of Botswana. You can also easily spot the horde in most large national parks. Botswana really does appreciate folks who uphold the conservation policy.
Things to Do in Botswana/ Leisure Activities
If you have free time, you could enjoy some leisure activities from fishing, safari, as well as trekking.
If you want to get closer to the crowd, consider visiting shebeens or pub where you can enjoy delicious drinks and live music from local artists. Want to enjoy Botswana all night long? You and your companions can easily find some nightclubs in the big cities and villages.
For those who are interested in outdoor activities, consider paying the Kalahari Desert a visit. The 4×4 motor-sport race is the most popular outdoor activity in Botswana. Don’t miss it.
Dining and Drinking
Popular foods in Botswana:
- Seswaa – Traditional meat dish made of lamb meat, chicken, beef, or goat.
- Papa – it is a Dutch word meaning “porridge.” Every BBQ dish is accompanied by pap.
- Goat meat stew
- Braai meat
Botswana has two types of beer: transparent and opaque. Bright beers are similar to European beers since they are influenced by them. But the dark beers can also make a great choice. Sometimes called as Chibuku, it is the commercial version of the traditional beer made of maize or sorghum. Taste is sharp and sour. If you want to challenge yourself with strong beer,
this is it.
Tipping can be relative depending on the places you visit. Bt considers around 10% to 20% to be safe.
Best Time to Visit Botswana
Semi-arid is the characteristic of Botswana’s climate. So, you will get both hot and dry experience when visiting the country. The rainy season happens in the summer months. It is hard to predict the rain since it can occur based on regional.
Summer months happen from November to March. These months can be scorching. If you prefer the cold ones, winter starts from May to August.
The best visiting months for tourists are from April to October. These months give the best weather and game viewing.
Travelling to Botswana
- Botswana Airports: Arrivals and Departures
- Francistown Airport: Arrivals Departures
- Kasane Airport: Arrivals Departures
- Maun Airport: Arrivals Departures
- Sir Seretse Khama International Airport: Arrivals Departures
Travelling in Botswana: Bus, train, flights
Trains and Buses
Unfortunately, the domestic rail routes were stopped in 2009. That leaves us to rely on the buses routes to travel between towns in Botswana. Seabelo is the prominent bus company, although other bus companies also provide regular transportation service. Traveling by bus is pretty much affordable, compared to a taxi.
Botswana International Airport
Sir Seretse Khama is the international air arrivals hub for flights to Botswana. The airport is the hub for Air Botswana and South African Airways. Meanwhile, Kenya Airways and SA Express are also actively operating here.
Botswana Holidays – Entry Requirements
You must get a visa before traveling to the country. Contact your national Botswana embassy or authority.
But if your country is on this list, you won’t need to provide a visa.
• All EC (European Community) countries
• USA, South Africa, Scandinavian countries, Uruguay, Western Samoa and countries from the former Yugoslavia
• All Commonwealth countries (except Ghana, India, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, and Mauritius – whose citizens do need visas).
You will attain one-month entry permit on arrival if your country is in the above list. If not, you will need to apply for the visa.