Botswana

Known for having some of the best wilderness and wildlife areas on the African continent, Botswana is a unique destination. With an unusual amalgamation of desert and delta, Botswana draws an immense concentration of wildlife to its multitude of wetlands in the winter and an incredible collection of birdlife during the summer. Experience sunsets over cosmic skylines, the world’s largest intact delta, remote saltpans, skies spoiled with stars of astonishing brilliance and be enchanted by the welcoming people of Botswana.

When to Visit

The annual floods into the Okavango Delta begin between January and March, a gentle rather than spectacular process, with the waters taking several months to reach their southerly extremity. the region is at its best from April through September, while the rains from December to March cause animals to disperse over wider areas. It is this time of year however when bird life is at its best.

Highlights

OKAVANGO DELTA Home to one of the world’s most unique ecosystems, the Okavango Delta is a wetland surrounded by the Kalahari Desert. Formed by the annual summer rains in Angola, the enormous wetland sustains a vast diversity of wildlife.

CHOBE NATIONAL PARK Chobe National Park features the highest concentration of elephants in Africa. Enjoy viewings of large herds of elephants and buffalos from a game drive vehicle or boat. Other park residents include zebras and lions.

MOREMI WILDLIFE RESERVE At the core of the Okavango lies Moremi Game Reserve. This reserve is a sought-after destination for the naturalist, photographer, fisherman and those that want to get away from it all.

MAKGADIKGADI & NXAI PANS Makgadikgadi and Nxai Pans are two of the largest saltpans in the world and a result of a great lake that once covered much of northern Botswana. They transform from dust-dry basins to host birds in their thousands when the rains come.

CENTRAL KALAHARI GAME RESERVE Yielding a wild and mysterious beauty, the Central Kalahari Game Reserve is the largest, most remotely located reserve in Southern Africa. Learn about the fascinating culture and customs of the San Bushman on a walking journey.

SAVUTE CHANNEL The erratic Savute Channel dries up for extended periods of time before curiously flowing again into the marsh. The channel reached the Savute Marsh in January 2010 for the first time since 1982.

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Useful Information

Health

The following information is intended as a guide only and in no way should it be used as a substitute for professional medical advice relative to a travellers individual needs and vaccination history. No guarantee is made as to its accuracy or thoroughness. For further information, please contact The Travel Doctor on (+64) 9 373 3531. Vaccination against Hepatitis A is recommended for travellers to Botswana. Vaccination against Hepatitis B, Rabies (particularly if working with animals) and Typhoid (particularly when travelling to areas with poor sanitation and hygiene) should be considered by frequent or long stay travellers to Botswana. Care with food and beverage selection is recommended. There is a medium risk of Malaria in Botswana and Dengue Fever also occurs, thus insect avoidance measures and anti malarial medication may be necessary depending on your itinerary. Please consult a medical practitioner or contact The Travel Doctor for your specific risk to these preventable diseases and the appropriate avoidance measures. New Zealanders travelling to Botswana should ensure that they have adequate travel insurance to cover the length of their stay. Medications that are legal in New Zealand may be illegal in other countries. 

Electricity

Electrical Socket: British socket and South African socket Voltage: 220-240 volts (same as New Zealand) Modem Plug: Great Britain Source: Korjo Travel Products. Please view the Korjo adapter guide at www.korjo.com.au for further information on this matter.

Visa's

Official travel advice regarding visas is available by calling 04 439 8000 or visiting their website www.safetravel.govt.nz

Customs

Batswana emphasize extensive greetings and inquiries after each other. It is polite to address senior men as Rra and women as Mma (literally, father and mother). Grown women should keep their thighs covered, but more and more women are wearing tight pants, and short skirts are seen in urban areas. While younger people should be deferential to their elders, and women to men, these patterns are sustained more strongly in villages than in the urban areas.

Communications

Country Code for Botswana: +267 Offical Travel Advice: Visit www.safetravel.govt.nz Botswana Department of Immigration: For visa extensions call (+267) 3611 300 Emergency Services: Ambulance - 997 Fire - 998 Police - 999 Medical Rescue - 992 (Private Company) The emergency services may not have English speaking staff. To avoid delay it may be best to seek the assistance of a Setswana speaker to call the emergency services.

Shopping

Botswana's best bargains are handicrafts, and you'll find a variety. Look especially for hand-woven baskets made from the fronds of the real fan palm, Hyphaene petersiana, and the many different handicrafts of the San, like jewellery made from ostrich eggshells. There's usually a divide between the simpler outlets, perhaps direct from the producers, and the more stylish, well-located shops which often have the best pieces, but invariably charge the highest prices.

Tipping

Provided the service is good, it is customary to tip lodge staff and guides in either Pula or any hard currency on your Botswana safari. The amount that you tip varies depending on the staff member’s role and the size of your group.In city restaurants and bars, a 10% tip is customary when the service charge is not included.

Getting around

Charter flights on small aircraft are the norm for getting from place to place in Botswana with transfers and game drives conducted in open-sided 4X4 vehicles. Transfers and game viewing by motor boat and mokoro (dug-out canoe) are common in the Okavango Delta.

Language

Setswana 78%, Kalanga 8%, Sekgalagadi 3%, English (official) 2%.

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