Area: 224 606 sq miles
Capital City: Gaborone
Government: Parliamentary Republic
President: Ian Khama
Languages: English and Setswana
Location: Botswana is landlocked, bordered to the south and east by South Africa, to the northeast by Zimbabwe and to the north and west by Namibia. It also touches Zambia just west of the Victoria Falls.
Population size: 2,029,307 Population density: 8.9/sq mi
Telephone code: +267 followed by the phone number
Time difference: GMT + 2 hours
Banks/ Foreign Exchange:
Banks open between 8:00am and 9:00am, Monday – Friday, closing between 16:15 and 17:15 on weekdays. Opening times are 10:45am to 12:00pm on Saturday.
Travellers cheques should only be exchanged at recognized banking institutions or bureaux de change. There are limited facilities in the smaller villages; therefore it is advisable to exchange currency at the airport upon arrival.
Botswana is semi-arid and experiences a short summer rainy season. However, the location and relatively high altitude of the country gives it a subtropical climate. The dry season lasts from April to October in the south and to November in the north. Rainfall in the north is, however, higher. The south of the country is most exposed to cold winds during the winter period (early May to late August) when average temperatures are around 14°C. The whole country experiences hot summers with average temperatures around 26°C. Sunshine hours are high all year round although winter is the sunniest period.
|Temperature at Maun||Rainfall at Maun|
December to March
|H 90, L 66||82 – 106|
April to May
|H 88, L 55||13 – 38|
June to August
|H 86, L 41||0 – 25|
September to November
|H 108, L 69||13 – 38|
Please Note: To avoid misconceptions, please bear in mind that the areas in Botswana that offer the best water experiences usually only offer limited game experiences and the best game experiences usually offer little in the way of water experiences.
Generally, casual comfortable clothing is suitable through the year. The most practical items to pack are:
- Khaki, green, beige and neutral colours – ARMY CAMOUFLAGE UNIFORMS AND HATS ARE FORBIDDEN
- Long sleeved blouses/shirts for game drive, they will protect you from the sun and from mosquitoes
- Shorts or a light skirt
- Jeans or long trousers for evenings and cooler days
- A jacket or sweater are recommended for early morning and evening game drives
- A hat, sunglasses and sunscreen
- Comfortable walking shoes
- Other recommended items are: UV sunblock, sunglasses, hat, insect repellent, moisturising cream, flashlight, torch, binoculars and camera
A laundry service is available at all camps, but certain camps charge a nominal fee for this facility.
Credit Cards/ Currency:
MasterCard and Visa are accepted at most camps/lodges. American Express and Diners Club are not commonly accepted.
The currency is the Botswana Pula, which is divided into 100 thebe. Foreign visitors are restricted to BWP1000 per person on entering the country. The balance of spending money must be carried in traveller’s cheques (American Express or Thomas Cook).
Botswana banks will only accept US Dollars, Pound Sterling, Euro and South African Rand cash. No other currencies are accepted.
A BWP25 departure tax is payable on international departures and BWP10 on domestic departures. These are usually included in the passenger’s airfare, but if not, these taxes must be paid, in cash, directly to Air Botswana. Light aircraft flights do not usually include these taxes and passengers must pay in cash directly to the airline.
General Sales Tax:
GST at 10% is included in the price of goods and services.
Entrance fees to Parks of approximately US$15 per person per day are usually included in cost safari.
Duty Free / Customs Allowance:
- 400 cigarettes
- 250 grams of tobacco
- 50 cigars
- 1 litre of spirits, 2 litres of wine
- 50 ml of perfume
- 250 ml of toilet water
- Shops at Gaborone Airport
220/240 volts AC, 50 Hz. 13 and 15 amp plug sockets.
Remember malaria prophylactic medication is required when visiting Botswana.
The water is generally safe to drink everywhere, even the water within the Delta. It is recommended that guests drink at least 3 litres of water per day to limit the effects of dehydration – this excludes tea, coffee and alcoholic beverages. Botswana does have tsetse fly in certain areas, but they are harmless other than for a sometimes painful bite. There has been no reported case of sleeping sickness in Botswana in the past 25 years.
No vaccinations are required. However, should you be visiting Zambia or Tanzania on your itinerary, you will be required to have a Yellow Fever vaccination. You will be required to produce your vaccination certificate on arrival in the country as well as on your return to Botswana. Whether you are staying overnight in Zambia / Tanzania or merely passing through, the vaccination is required. These vaccinations should normally be done at least 10 days prior to entering the country. You will be denied entry into Zambia / Tanzania or re-entry into Botwana without the certification proving your vaccination.
Metal Hips, Pins, Knee Replacements, Pacemakers, etc:
Please be aware that if any guests travelling with us have had a knee or hip replacement (usually metal) or have pins, pacemakers, etc., they may set off security alarms at airports which can prevent them from being allowed to board. Our recommendation is that they travel with a doctor’s card / letter stating this information, to show security officials to ensure there are no delays, especially at our regional airports.
Botswana is a safe place for international tourists. However, it is sensible to take normal precautions while travelling. Be observant and do not draw attention to yourself by flaunting an expensive camera, jewellery or large amounts of cash. Deposit valuables in the lodge safety deposit box. Do not leave your baggage or lodge key unattended.
Passport/ Visa Requirements:
International visitors require a valid passport together with onward travel documents. Please ensure that you have all the necessary visas prior to departure (unless available on entry). Neither Trans Africa Safaris, their staff, their agents nor their operators can be held liable for any error.
Visas are not the responsibility of Trans Africa Safaris. Please check with local authorities for all information pertaining to visa requirements. USA passport holders do not require a visa for South Africa or Botswana. Other nationalities – it is the responsibility of the overseas booking agent to check visa requirements. If you request us to check the information for you, we will do so and give you the status which is current at that time. Trans Africa Safaris cannot be held responsible if the visa situation changes after we have provided the information. We suggest you check at the time of booking and again one month prior to clients’ departure from home country.
Passports: The situation regarding blank pages in passports, for visits to Southern Africa, changes regularly. Please see the list of counties with their specific requirements below:
- Passports must be valid for 6 months after your departure from Southern Africa
- Please note pages headed “Endorsements, Observations” etc arenot VISA pages.
- For your visit to Botswana: 3 blank VISA pages
Without the above you could be denied entry.
A good SLR (single lens reflex) or digital SLR camera with telephoto zoom lens is recommended for photography of birds and animals, as is colour reversal film (slides) if using film as this will give better quality pictures than regular film. A big memory card / abundant film and spare batteries as recommended as these are often not available at the bush camps/lodges.
- A Brush with the Wild by Paul Augustinus
- Africa’s Top Wildlife Countries by N. Nolting
- Birds of Prey of Southern Africa by Peter Steyn
- Field guide to the Mammals of Southern Africa by Stuart & Stuart
- History of Botswana by Tlou & Campbell
- The Heart of the Hunter by Sir Lourens van der Post
- Newman’s Birds of Southern Africa or Birds of Botswana by Ken Newman
- Okavango – The Jewel of the Kalahari by Karen Ross
- Okavango – Sea of Land, Land of Water by Anthony Bannister & Peter Johnson
- The Lions and Elephants of the Chobe by Bruce Aitken
- Cry of the Kalahari by Mark & Delia Owens
- Traveller’s Guide to Botswana by Peter Comley & Salome Meyer
- The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith (fiction)