If there is one place in the world where you are guaranteed to see elephants it would be Botswana. In fact, Botswana is hands-down one of the greatest safari destination in Africa, where travelers can not only spot elephants, but also big cats, endangered African wild dogs, different species of birds and so much more. It is also home of the Okavango Delta and Kalahari Desert. This Botswana travel guide will help you plan your next vacation.
Fast Facts about Botswana Travel
- Botswana power voltage is 230V 50Hz; Plug G
- The Botswana currency is the Botswana pula and is around BWP to 1 USD.
- Beware of Chikungunya in Eastern Botswana, a viral disease transmitted by the bite of infected mosquitoes. This outbreak continues to affect parts Africa. Symptoms can take up to 12 days to appear, but usually begin within 3-7 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. Symptoms generally include fever and joint pain; other symptoms can include fatigue, headache, nausea, vomiting, muscle pain, and rash.
- There is a risk of malaria throughout the year but the risk increases from November to June, in the north (Bobirwa, Boteti, Chobe, Ngamiland, Okavango and Tutume), including the Zimbabwean border, the Zambezi river and all the Game Parks to the north of the Kalahari Desert.
- Although the tsetse fly has been almost eradicated from wilderness areas, travelers spending a lot of time outdoors or visiting game parks have an increased risk of being bitten by a fly which can cause African Sleeping Sickness. Remember that these flies: bite during the day, are attracted to bright, dark colours and can bite through lightweight clothing.
- While Botswana is a safe country overall, travellers should be cautious in the areas of Kgale Hill and Gaborone Dam in Gaborone as there have been reports of travelers being robbed in those specific areas.
- Water in urban areas is chlorinated and locals often drink from the tap. However, visitors with a sensitive stomach might want to stick to bottled water. Outside of urban areas, water is untreated so make sure to avoid tap water.
Top Packing Tips
Botswana's climate is semi-arid. It is hot and dry for much of the year, however there is a rainy season, which runs through the summer months. Rainfall tends to be erratic, unpredictable and highly regional.
- Waterproof bag – the bag has two functions, protecting your stuff from the rain and also from the dust, especially if you're travelling to drier regions.
- Footwear – especially important if going you are heading on a safari! Pack a pair of lightweight, durable, waterproof and comfortable shoes and also a pair of flip-flops or sandals that you can change into after a long day of sightseeing.
- Protection from the elements – pack sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat, a loose sarong or wrap to cover yourself from the sun and bug-spray to prevent getting bitten by a mosquito (that might have malaria!)
- Layers – pack the basic tropical clothes and make sure to include long pants, long-sleeve tops and some warm clothes for those chilly nights.
- Avoid packing dark colored clothes – tsetse flies are drawn to dark colors, like blue and black clothing, and their bite can give you African Sleeping Sickness. Stick to light, neutral colors but avoid packing white clothes as they will get dirty and dusty pretty quickly.
- Pack for Humidity – for humid weather it is best to pack fabrics that breathe as much as possible and natural fabrics, like cotton, linen or rayon (avoiding silk, wool and polyester). Clothing should be loose and comfortable to encourage the flow of air and allow moisture to evaporate.