Attractions / highlights
Chobe National Park
One of Africa’s most beautiful rivers, the Chobe River forms the northern boundary of the Chobe National Park and attracts an unparalleled diversity of wildlife. The riverfront is most famous for its large herds of elephants and Cape buffalo that come to the river in great numbers for a drink during the dry winter months. During this season, on an afternoon game drive, you may see hundreds of elephants at one time. Over 460 bird species have also been recorded in the park, making it one of Africa’s premier venues for bird safaris.
The immensity of the Central Kalahari combined with its indescribable wild beauty, makes this game reserve a highlight for most visitors. It is the largest, most remotely situated reserve in Southern Africa, and the second largest wildlife reserve in the world.
Botswana’s Linyanti region is a wild and very remote game-viewing destination. It offers complete exclusivity, as access is limited to those visitors who have booked accommodation at one of the few private lodges in the region. The area offers spectacular birding all year round, but it is best known for its large herds of elephants. Lion, sable, roan, leopard, and wild dog are also frequent visitors to Linyanti as is the elusive sitatunga antelope, red lechwe, hippo and crocodile.
The world’s largest inland delta, Botswana’s Okavango Delta is a unique wildlife location with great concentrations of diverse animals and birds. A predator paradise, the Okavango is a world-famous stronghold for leopard and wild dog. This World Heritage Site lies at the heart of Botswana’s arid Kalahari Desert. The most unique way visitors can explore the Okavango Delta is by mokoro (traditional dug-out canoe), meandering at a tranquil pace through the palm and papyrus fringed waterways on the look-out for wildlife.
Makgadikgadi Salt Pans
An untouched piece of arid wilderness, the great Makgadikgadi Salt Pans in Botswana’s Kalahari Desert offer travellers a complete and overwhelming sensation of isolation. One of Botswana’s best-kept secrets is the fact that the Makgadikgadi Pans are home to the world’s second-longest zebra migration. Every year, up to 25,000 zebras move in herds across the plains, from the Okavango to the Makgadikgadi, a journey of more than 150 miles.
Visas/ Passport requirements
Exposure to sun and heat Always take preventive measures that include wearing a wide-brimmed sunhat and sunglasses, liberally applying sunscreen every three or four hours, regularly taking rehydration mixes, drinking plenty of water and fruit juices (at least three litres of liquid daily), avoiding prolonged exposure to the sun, and avoiding excessive amounts of alcohol, which causes dehydration.
Travellers’ cheques and foreign currency can be changed at banks, bureaux de change, and authorised hotels. The US dollar, Euros, British Pound and the South African Rand are the most easily convertible currencies.
Major credit cards, such as MasterCard and Visa, are accepted throughout the country, in most hotels, restaurants, retail outlets and safari companies. However, shops in remote areas and service stations may only accept cash. Automatic teller machines accept foreign visa cards, but are mostly found only in larger towns and cities.
Most major international airlines from Europe, the United States, Asia and Australia fly to Johannesburg, South Africa, where connecting flights can be booked to Sir Seretse Khama International Airport in Gaborone, or to Maun, Francistown or Kasane. There are also direct connections between Gaborone and Nairobi, Windhoek and Harare.
Domestic flights run between Gaborone and Francistown, Maun and Kasane, and between Maun and Kasane.
Best time to visit
The winter months from May to the end of August are undoubtedly the best time to visit Botswana. During winter, days are warm without being too hot and nights tend to get chilly. The dry season, from July onwards is the best time of year to go for big game viewing, as huge herds congregate around the water and greener areas.
The summer months (November to end March) can be hot and humid. This is Botswana’s green season and offers some of the best birding opportunities. However, if you are looking for big game, this is not the best time to visit.