A perfect destination for those who love wildlife, Botswana is the “last African Eden”, offering an ideal itinerary that winds through untouched natural parks and rivers
A perfect destination for those who love wildlife, Botswana is the “last African Eden”, offering an ideal itinerary that winds through untouched natural parks and rivers, to ultimately reach Zimbabwe to see one of the most spectacular wonders on the planet: the Victoria Falls. The uniqueness of Botswana is due to the great beauty of its “natural jewels”, such as the Okavango Delta (UNESCO World Heritage Centre). The Okavango is the largest delta inland in the world and is formed by the Okavango river that empties into the Kalahari Desert into a basin that was once a dried up lake. This delta is home to some of the world’s most endangered species of large mammals, such as the white rhinoceros, black rhinoceros, African wild dog, cheetah and lion. It covers almost the entire surface of the country with different types of vegetation such as forests, savannah, woodlands and desert dotted with saline. Apart from the incredible safaris that this country offers, visitors will never forget the nights in Botswana. In fact, free of all pollution, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and some of the constellations like Orion and Leo in the summer and Scorpion during the Winter can be observed and will make for an unforgettable experience.
The country is crossed by the Tropic of Capricorn in its southern central part and consequently has a typical subtropical climate. Winter lasts from May to August and has variable temperatures: during the day it is generally sunny and warm while the nights are chilly with temperatures dropping to 11°C below zero. Rainfalls occur mainly in summer between November and March and temperatures may even exceed 43°C, with showers and thunderstorms daily. The dry period is from April to early May and from September to October and therefore we highly recommend to plan travel during this period of the year
85% indigenous rites and beliefs, 15% Christian.
Sestwana is the national language and English is spoken only by about 2% of the population, followed by bantu dialects, among which kalanga and sekgalagadi.
Nambia is officially a Christian country where German Lutheranism is the dominant religion, although many traditional African beliefs still hold a strong position.
The official currency is the Pula (BWP) which is divided into 100 thebe (t). There are P 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 banknotes and 1t, 2t, 5t, 210t, 25t, 50t, P1 coins. The exchange rate in May of 2015 was 1 Euro = 11.0721 BWP. US dollars and South African rand are also accepted in a few places, but it is always best to have enough pula in cash. In some rural areas it may still be possible to deal in “pondo” (pound, sterling pounds). In fact, there are still pounds in circulation in the country: pence and shillings which are dated back to the British colonial period (and whose the value is approximately P2).
In Botswana all major credit cards are accepted (VISA, Diners, Mastercard, American Express). It is recommended that you carried cash in case you will be travelling outside of the major cities, better in US dollars even though most of the big towns do have ATM machines.
Botswana is GMT/UTC + 2h Standard Time year around.
All visitors entering Botswana must hold a passport that is valid for at least six months after their intended departure date from Botswana. Nationals of certain countries are exempt from obtaining a visa prior to travelling to Botswana. These countries include Australia, New Zealand, the USA, the UK, South Africa and the Schengen countries. Passport holders from these countries will receive a 90-day visa upon arrival. To be noted that the 90-day tourist visa for Botswana cannot be extended and travellers are not allowed to remain in Botswana for longer than 90 days within a one-year period. If you travel with minors under 18 years remember to bring with you the documents indicated in the following link: http://www.dha.gov.za/files/Brochures/Immigrationleaflet.pdf
International code 00267. Phone booths can be found near post offices and are generally reliable. For international calls, public offices may offer slow but efficient services and have the same opening hours as the shops. The two main cell phone operators are Mascom and Orange and the use of a European mobile phone normally no problem.
220-240 volt, 50Hz. Both square and round English type triple plugs are utilized , requiring universal adapters.
The tent camps are almost all without electrical lines but are normally equipped with generators. Electric current is thefore usually available in the early hours of the morning and in the evening.
Vaccinations and medical advice: Health care in this country is not very good, the only high standard hospital being in the capital of Gaborone. It is therefore a good idea to arrange for a health insurance before departure that includes, in addition to covering medical expenses, air ambulance repatriation. The two main cities, Gaborone and Francistown, there are no particular risks in getting disease with the exception of AIDS, which is widespread throughout Africa Australis. In the northern part of the country, in Okavango and Chobe, malaria is a risk that gets more serious particularly after the rainfly period. Therefore, while travelling in the country, mosquito repellents are highly recommended as well as prophylaxis for malaria for those travelling to the northern part of Botswana. Yellow fever vaccination is required only for those visitors over one year of age coming from malaria infected countries as well as those who have even only been in transit for more than 12 hours in a malaria infected country. Warning: it is important not to tour the desert zones that cover most of the Botswana territory without proper equipment and guides. Otherwise, Botswana is a safe country in every way. A good rule is to always drink water from a bottle and soft drinks without ice. Also, dairy products and peeled fruits should be avoided.
The classification of accommodations is based on local standards, which do not always correspond to European standards. In order to ensure that the traveling conditions are safe and healthy, the chosen accommodations are comfortable and dignified as possible, while they remain compliant with the ethic choice of travel, which is simple and basic. Most of the accommodations for this destination are in luxury-tented camps, immersed in the wilderness with spectacular views of the surrounding countryside. Even though comfort is at very high level, a good spirit of adaptation is required in consideration of the close contact with nature. The luxury tent camps are constructed with natural materials and in a traditional African style.
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. Specialties: • Morama (an underground tuber).• The Kalahari truffle.• Mopami worms (grubs, served boiled, cooked or deep-fried). • Beans such as cowpeas, ditloo (jugo beans) and letlhodi (china beans), dried bean leaves, plus nuts like peanuts and groundnuts. • Morogo (wild spinach) is very tasty.
In a brilliant triumph of progressive logic Zimbabwe & Zambia have launched the Uni Visa for the 40 Category B visa Countries, which include most of the main source market countries. This means any nationals in the listed country’s (see below) can purchase a single $50 visa and travel freely between the two countries and visit Botswana for a day trip without paying re-entry fees for an unlimited 30-day period. The KAZA UNIVISA is a common tourist visa for SADC region that will be released by Zambia and Zimbabwe in six (6) months. Validity – the KAZA UNIVISA will be valid for 30 days as long as you remain in Zimbabwe and Zambia and customers can cross in Zimbabwe / Zambia frequently as they like within the 30 day period. It also covers those who visit Botswana for day trips through the Kazangula Borders. It will not be valid if staying in Botswana during the night, and in this case you need to buy a new visa. The UNIVISA cannot be extended but you can buy a new UNIVISA (up to 3 per year). Citizens of the following countries are eligible for the KAZA UNIVISA obtainable to eight ports of entry, like, for example, at Livingstone and Lusaka airports and the border posts at Victoria Falls and Kazangula. Citizen/Countries list: Argentina, Austria, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Great Britain (UK), Brunei, Burundi, Canada, Cook Islands, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Israel, Italy. Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Russia, Rwanda, Slovakia, Slovenia, Czech, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, United States of America.