Travel to Botswana
With an area of almost 373 000 square miles, Botswana is virtually the same size as Texas. Travelers come to experience the stunning beauty of the world’s largest intact inland Delta – the Okavango; the unimaginable vastness of the world’s second largest game reserve – the Central Kalahari Game Reserve; the isolation and other-worldliness of the Makgadikgadi Pans – uninhabited pans the size of Portugal; and the astoundingly prolific wildlife of the Chobe National Park.
Situated in the center of southern Africa, Botswana is a landlocked country, with Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe as its immediate neighbors. Botswana lies an average of 3,000 feet above sea level and is more than 372 miles from the nearest coast.
Botswana has abandoned mass tourism and focuses on high quality, low volume tourism as the best way to preserve the environment. Your first – and most lasting impressions – will be of vast expanses of uninhabited wilderness stretching from horizon to horizon, the sensation of limitless space, astoundingly rich wildlife and bird viewing, night skies littered with stars and heavenly bodies of an unimaginable brilliance, and stunning sunsets of unearthly beauty.
With more and more cultural tourism options on offer, you will be charmed by the people of Botswana, visiting their villages and experiencing first-hand their rich cultural heritage. But perhaps most of all, Botswana’s greatest gift is its ability to put us in touch with our natural selves. It offers that vital link so keenly felt by inhabitants of the developed world, a pervasive void we feel but often cannot name – our connectedness with Nature and the astonishing diversity of plants and animals to be explored.
Botswana is one of the touristic jewels of Africa. In addition to an abundance of natural beauty, shortly after achieving democratic rule from the British in 1966, three of the world’s richest diamond-bearing formations were discovered there. This has led to a high standard of economic stability, education and health care. Despite this, much of the country remains remote - a destination for the intrepid and relatively high end traveler.
The term “Batswana” refers to the ethnic group of people who speak the Setswana language and share the Sotho-Tswana culture, while in its common contemporary usage, it refers to all citizens of the Republic of Botswana, regardless of their ethnic background. The singular is “Motswana”: a citizen of the country. “Tswana” is used as an adjective - for example “Tswana state” or “Tswana culture”.
The national language is Setswana however the official language is English.
Batswana, a term also used to denote all citizens of Botswana, refers to the country’s major ethnic group (the “Tswana” in South Africa), which came into the area from South Africa during the Zulu wars of the early 1800s. Prior to European contact, the Batswana lived as herders and farmers under tribal rule.
In the 19th century, hostilities broke out between the Batswana and Boer settlers from the Transvaal. After appeals by the Batswana for assistance, the British Government in 1885 put “Bechuanaland” under its protection. The northern territory remained under direct administration and is today’s Botswana, while the southern territory became part of the Cape Colony and is now part of the northwest province of South Africa; the majority of Setswana-speaking people today live in South Africa.
In June 1964, Britain accepted proposals for democratic self-government in Botswana. The seat of government was moved from Mafikeng, in South Africa, to newly-established Gaborone in 1965. The 1965 constitution led to the first general elections and to independence in September 1966. General elections serve to elect members of parliament, and the presidential candidate from the party that wins the most seats in the general election becomes the president. Seretse Khama, a leader in the independence movement and the legitimate claimant to traditional rule of the Bamangwato, became the country’s first president, was re-elected twice, and died in office in 1980. The presidency passed to the sitting vice president, Ketumile Masire, who was elected in his own right in 1984 and re-elected in 1989 and 1994. Masire retired from office in 1998. The presidency passed to the sitting vice president, Festus Mogae, who was elected in his own right in 1999. Mogae won a second term in elections held October 30, 2004 and stepped down in accordance with national term limits on March 31, 2008. On April 1, 2008 former Vice President Ian Khama assumed the presidency. Khama was elected as President in his own right during the general election held on October 16, 2009.
The currency in Botswana is the Pula (P) which is made up of 100 Thebe. Pula means ‘rain’ in Setswana while thebe means ‘shield’ in Setswana.
9 hours ahead of Los Angeles
6 hours ahead of New York
Best Time to Travel
Game viewing is at its peak during the dry winter months of May to October when animals reliably concentrate at year round water sources. In particular, many experts regard the cooler months of June to August as the best time of year for a Botswana safari - the game viewing is consistently excellent, there’s virtually no rain and the weather is comfortable. Prices are at their highest during these prime months.
Wildlife disperses and becomes harder to locate when the rains begin in January through April. However, several destinations such as Chobe’s Savute region and the Kalahari offer excellent game viewing at this time. One reason is that they lie on the path of migrating animals – such as zebra.
A year-round birding destination, bird watchers will find the migrant-filled summer months of the rainy season the best time to visit Botswana for both numbers and diversity of species.
December is a particularly good month as many antelope give birth then which means more predators come around to hunt.
Summer is from November to the end of March and usually brings very high temperatures. It is also the rainy season and cloud coverage and rain can cool things down, although only usually for a short period of time.
The winter season begins in May and ends in August. This is also the dry season when virtually no rainfall occurs. Winter days are invariably sunny and cool to warm; however, evening and night temperatures can drop below freezing point in some areas.
The in-between periods - April/early May and September/October - still tend to be dry, but the days are cooler than in summer and the nights are warmer than in winter.
Summers (particularly from December through to February) can become exceptionally hot, and rain may make some roads muddy and impassable.
What to Wear
Layers are best - you will be in open, moving vehicles before sunrise and after sunset, so even in summer it will be cool. Jackets, caps and gloves also recommended year round.
No vaccinations or medications are currently required for entry to Botswana from the United States.
Africa Answers is unable to give personalized medical advice and requests that travelers contact their travel clinic regarding recommended medications.
A passport with at least six months of validity remaining is required. U.S. citizens are permitted stays up to 90 days total within a 12 month period without a visa. Passports must have 2 blank visa pages available.
Tipping & Porterage
Tipping guidelines will be issued with final documents.
International Visa and MasterCard are usually accepted throughout Botswana but American Express and Diners Club are often not accepted.
220-240 volts AC, 50Hz.
The country’s tap water is safe to drink. Most supermarkets, shops, camps and lodges also have bottled water available. When road traveling it is recommended to carry sufficient water at all times.
B: Amboseli National Park
E: Bazaruto Island
F: Benguerra Island
H: Bwindi Impenetrable NP
J: Cape Town
K: Cape Winelands
L: Central Kalahari Region
M: Chobe National Park
N: Denis Island
O: Desroches Island
R: Dubai Beaches
S: Dubai City Center
T: Dubai Desert
U: Dubai Marina
W: Eastern Cape
X: Eastern Cape Safaris
AA: Etosha National Park
AC: Garden Route
AD: Greater Kruger National Park
AE: Greater Winelands
AG: Hwange National Park
AI: Kafue National Park
AO: Kruger National Park
AP: Kwazulu Natal
AQ: La Digue
AR: Lake Manyara NP
AS: Lake Nakuru
AT: Lewa Wildlife Conservation
AU: Linyanti/Savuti Region
AW: Lower Zambezi National Park
AZ: Madikwe Game Reserve
BC: Mana Pools National Park
BD: Masai Mara
BJ: Ngorongoro Conservation Area
BK: North Island
BL: Okavango and Moremi GR
BO: Plettenberg Bay
BP: Port Elizabeth
BR: Queen Elizabeth National Park
BS: Quirimbas Archipelago
BU: Sabi Sands
BV: Samburu National Park
BW: Selous Game Reserve
BX: Serengeti National Park
BZ: Sharm El Sheik
CA: Sheik Zayed Road
CB: Silhouette Island
CC: Skeleton Coast National Park
CE: South Africa
CF: South Luangwa
CH: Sun City
CI: Sun City and Surrounds
CJ: Swakopmund & Walvis Bay
CL: Tarangire National Park
CM: Timbavati Region
CP: Victoria Falls
CR: Volcanoes National Park
CU: Zanzibar and Pemba Island
Explore the rest of our Botswana destinations:
- Amboseli National Park
- Bazaruto Island
- Benguerra Island
- Bwindi Impenetrable NP
- Cape Town
- Cape Winelands
- Central Kalahari Region
- Chobe National Park
- Denis Island
- Desroches Island
- Dubai Beaches
- Dubai City Center
- Dubai Desert
- Dubai Marina
- Eastern Cape
- Eastern Cape Safaris
- Etosha National Park
- Garden Route
- Greater Kruger National Park
- Greater Winelands
- Hwange National Park
- Kafue National Park
- Kruger National Park
- Kwazulu Natal
- La Digue
- Lake Manyara NP
- Lake Nakuru
- Lewa Wildlife Conservation
- Linyanti/Savuti Region
- Lower Zambezi National Park
- Madikwe Game Reserve
- Mana Pools National Park
- Masai Mara
- Ngorongoro Conservation Area
- North Island
- Okavango and Moremi GR
- Plettenberg Bay
- Port Elizabeth
- Queen Elizabeth National Park
- Quirimbas Archipelago
- Sabi Sands
- Samburu National Park
- Selous Game Reserve
- Serengeti National Park
- Sharm El Sheik
- Sheik Zayed Road
- Silhouette Island
- Skeleton Coast National Park
- South Africa
- South Luangwa
- Sun City
- Sun City and Surrounds
- Swakopmund & Walvis Bay
- Tarangire National Park
- Timbavati Region
- Victoria Falls
- Volcanoes National Park
- Zanzibar and Pemba Island
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Delta Camp offers arguably the purest Traditional Okavango Delta…
Oddballs’ Enclave is situated on the edge of Chief’s…
Abu Camp offers the unique opportunity to bond with elephants…
Banoka Bush Camp
Banoka Bush Camp is named in honor of the River San, or Banoka,…
At the point where the life-giving waters of the Okavango Delta meet…
Camp Okavango, an enchanting and authentic African safari lodge…
Chitabe Lediba Camp
Chitabe Lediba Camp is a smaller, more intimate camp located on the…
Chobe Game Lodge
Chobe Game Lodge is the only permanent game lodge located within the…
Chobe Savanna Lodge
Chobe Savanna Lodge offers guests sweeping views, excellent game…
Duba Plains Camp
Duba Plains Camp lies in the most remote reaches of the Okavango…
The camp is built under a shady grove of mangosteen trees,…
At the edge of the Kasane Forest, overlooking an active waterhole in…
Situated in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve on a reserve that has…
Jacana Camp is a true Okavango Delta water camp, located on an island…
Jao Camp is located on a large, remote island in a private concession…
Kalahari Desert Camp
Situated in the north-eastern side of the Central Kalahari Game…
Kalahari Plains Camp
Kalahari Plains Camp, in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, offers…
Kings Pool Camp
Named for Scandinavian royalty who camped at the water’s edge,…
Kwetsani Camp is one of the most remote in the Okavango Delta,…
Leroo La Tau
Leroo La Tau is built on cliffs over 10 meters above this changing…
Little Mombo Camp
Little Mombo Camp is an intimate extension of the larger Mombo Camp…
Little Vumbura Camp
Little Vumbura Camp is an intimate escape hidden on a picturesque…
Overlooking the Okavango Delta were a resident pod of hippos reside…
Meno a Kwena
The company is owner operated and so personal attention to detail is…
Mombo Camp has arguably the best big game viewing in Africa. Located…
Ngoma Safari Lodge
Ngoma Safari Lodge is Chobe’s best kept secret. Your exclusive…
Savute Safari Lodge
Situated on the banks of Botswana’s fabled Stolen River, Savute…
For a quarter of a century, the Savute Channel was dry but in 2008 …
Selinda Camp is located in the 300,000 acres Selinda Reserve of…
Tubu Tree Camp
Tubu Tree Camp is a small, intimate experience built on the western…
Vumbura Plains Camp
Vumbura Plains Camp lies in the extreme north of the Okavango Delta,…
Nestled in a magnificent riverine forest, Xigera Camp epitomizes the…
The Zambezi Queen is unique in that it’s a sophisticated,…
Zarafa Camp is located near the Zibadianja Lagoon, the source of the…
Best of Botswana…
5 Days, 4 Nights
From $3344 per person based on double occupancy*
Okavango Delta . Savute,…
Icons of Three…
8 Days, 7 Nights
From $3199 per person based on double occupancy*
Cape Town, South Africa .…
Into the Botswana…
7 Days, 6 Nights
From $7194 per person based on double occupancy*
Okavango Delta . Linyanti…
Rhino Build Your…
7 Days, 6 Nights
From $4284 per person based on double occupancy*
4 Days, 3 Nights
From $495 per person based on double occupancy*
Botswana . Victoria Falls .…
Victoria Falls plus…
6 Days, 5 Nights
From $2438 per person based on double occupancy*
Victoria Falls . Chobe Game…