>> Botswana <<

Introduction

Botswana, in South Africa, is the "Real Africa" in all its glory - one never knows what to expect around the next corner. Savannahs, saltpans, wetlands, deserts and traditional African villages make up all the splendor that Botswana has to offer. Map of BotswanaMap of Botswana
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What to See


Gabarone
Gabarone is the capital of Botswana located in the South of the country near the border with South Africa. Gabarone is the place to organise your stay in Botswana.

Okavango Delta
The 1300 km Okavango river meanders and forms lagoons, channels, swamps and islands and is host to scores of birds and wildlife. Access it from Maun; a tourist-friendly town with it's amenities and excellent roads.

The Game Reserves
Chobe, Moremi and Savuti are all on the edges of the swamps with breath taking game viewing. The terrain is varied - Savuti is flat and is known for it's buck and elephant viewing while Moremi has dry grasslands, wetlands and mopane woodlands. Chobe boasts the most varied wildlife in Botswana. As they are all situated near the marshlands the water levels do get high in the rainy months often leading to closure of the gates, usually during the summer months of January to March - something to be kept in mind when planning your visit. The terrain also lends itself to 4x4's rather than 2wd's.

Makgadikgadi Saltpans
The Sua and Ntwetwe saltpans make up the Makgadikgadi and are believed to be the largest in the world. The mud is saturated in salt and shimmers in the sunshine and the moonlight taking on a surreal personality of it's own.

Kubu Island in the Makgadikgadi Pans
This is a desert island in the pans that is strangely prehistoric with its baobab trees. It can be accessed by 4x4.

Nxai Pans
Here you will find flocks of flamingo, pelicans and other waders. The grassy plains should not be missed during the rainy season when there is mass migration.

Nata Bird Sanctuary
This Sanctuary is relatively new and lies near Sua Pan. The variety of bird life is a must for bird watchers and nature lovers alike. The Sanctuary is over 200 square km in size with buck and other wildlife too.

Tsodilo Hills
There are over 200 sites with about 3000 San Paintings that you can visit in the four hills known as the Male, Female, Child and North Hills. These bushmen paintings have been frequented by Prince Charles and Sir Laurence Van Der Post who called them the "Mountains of the Gods".

Kalahari or Kgalagadi Gemsbok Transfrontier Park
Find more information on the Kalahari by visiting our page on the Kalahari Transfrontier Park.


What to Do


Game Drives and Wildlife viewing
This country has such a variety of bird life and other wildlife you will certainly get to see it all. Be sure to know where the access gates are and the times of opening and closing. It may also be advisable to use a 4x4 as a preferred mode of getting around. Game and bird watching are always at their best at sunrise and sunset.

Visit the Kalahari Desert
There are organized tours that will ensure that you get the most of your trip - whether it be under the heat haze of the day or under the twinkling stars at night.

Elephant Herding
No, we don't mean literally but we do recommend that you watch out for the elephant herds in the Chobe National Park.

Camp
Get in touch with nature and camp on Kubu Island or in the Natu Bird Sanctuary - weather permitting of course.

View the migration
During the rainy season the animals migrate in huge groups - particularly dazzling on the Nxai Pans.

Go canoeing
This is a form a transport for the locals known as Mokoro - "wooden canoes". Take a peaceful meander and enjoy the surroundings on the waters of Botswana.


What to Eat


African cuisine
Similar to the fare in South Africa - see our section on "What to eat".


Where to Sleep


Hotels
You can find excellent hotels and lodges in Botswana. Many of the main hotel sites will have listings for you. Find Hotels.

Hostel
There are quite a few hostels in Botswana. Prices vary from hostel to hostel but are generally affordable. Search and book a hostel in Botswana.


How to Move


Airport
There is an international Airport in Gaborone although it may be cheaper to catch a connecting flight to Botswana from Johannesburg, Harare or Windhoek. It may be handy to remember that there is an airstrip in the Okavango Delta for small planes.

The national carrier of Botswana is Air Botswana and you visit their website here - www.airbotswana.co.bw

Rent a vehicle
4x4's are recommended if touring Botswana. There are also overland trucks mainly used by tour groups. You can also rent a car and drive along the more developed roads and leave the rally driving to the professionals.

Public Transport
It is possible to catch a train or bus on the main routes. These can be slow though and there are no bus routes through the Game Reserves.


Locals


People
The population of Botswana is comparatively small to the rest of Africa and indeed to other countries of the same size. The infrastructure is good and the education and health policies are on a par with South Africa. The locals take pride in their country and will go out of their way to share some of it's richness with you.

Language
The official language is English.

In addition, Botswana has a National language and this is Setswana.

Currency
Botswana Pula which can be split into 100 Thebe

Time Zone
GMT +2 during the northern hemisphere fall and winter months and GMT +1 during the spring and summer.





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