BOTSWANA

Botswana                                   
Botswana is a unique and exclusive tourist destination. It is relatively unexploited - a land of majestic scenery and a profusion of wildlife. A peaceful and stable country with a friendly government, and people welcoming the discerning tourist. The government is determined to preserve Botswana's pristine environment so that it can be enjoyed by future generations. The political leadarship have demonstrated a strong committment for democracy. And the currency is one of the strongest and most stable in the world. Diamonds and other precious stones and metals represents the fundaments in the country's economy. 

Famous for
Okavango Delta, Chobe National Park, Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Makgadikgadi Pans, Nxai Pan National Park, last but not least the San tribe that survives the unbearable conditions of the Kalahari Desert.



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General Information                          
 

Time
GMT +2.

Electricity
230 volts, 50Hz. Round three-pin plugs are used.

Language
English is the official language but Setswana is widely spoken.

 

Climate  ( May to August best time for spotting wildlife. )

Botswana experiences extremes in both temperature and weather. In the winter, May to August, days are normally clear warm and sunny, and nights can be everthing from cool to cold. Wild animals never wander far from water sources, so sightings are more predictable than in the wetter summer season. This is also a busy time in some areas when the school holiday goes on, mid July to mid September. In summer ( October to April ) , wild life is more difficult to spot. Rains can easily flash away a sandy road and make it impassable. During the summer is the time for the highest humidity and the most stifling heat, with daytime temperatures of over 40 °C

 

Emergency  ( Ambulance +267 997 , Fire +267 998 and Police +267 999 )

Health Certificate
Malaria is a particular risk in Botswana between November and June in the northern parts of the country. Visitors who are camping or walking in the bush should be cautious of tick bites. There are no compulsory vaccinations, but a yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers over one year of age coming from infected countries. Occasional outbreaks of anthrax occur among wild animals, and visitors to affected areas should seek local advice and not touch dead animal carcasses. Botswana has a good public health system, but facilities are limited outside urban areas. Health insurance for visitors is vital. Tap water in towns is safe to drink, and all foodstuffs are safe to consume.

Tipping
Tipping is expected in tourist hotels and restaurants. Many automatically add a service charge, but where not, a 10-15% tip is appreciated. Taxi drivers, porters and golf caddies should also be tipped a relative amount. Tour guides, trackers and game rangers rely largely on tips for their income and should be rewarded accordingly.

Safety
The majority of visits to Botswana are trouble-free, but visitors should be aware of the increasing incidence of crime, particularly armed robbery and rape, in the main towns. Wildlife and livestock make driving hazardous, so driving at night should be avoided.

Customs
Homosexuality is illegal. Taking photos or videos near government or military buildings is prohibited, and permission should always be sought before taking photos of local people.

Business
Business is fairly relaxed in Botswana and dress is generally smart casual. Handshakes begin and end meetings, which are usually held in private. Women are often viewed with a certain amount of sexism, but will be politely treated. Office hours are usually 8am to 5pm Monday to Friday, or 7:30am to 4:30pm Monday to Friday between October and April.

Communications  Country code  +267
The international access code for Botswana is +267. The outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0027 for South Africa). Gaborone's area code is 31, 35, 36 or 39; there is no NDD prefix for calling within Botswana. Mobile phones operate on a GSM 900 network and are limited to urban areas; most North American cell phones will not work. Internet cafes are available in Gaborone and Maun.

Duty Free
Travellers to Botswana over the age of 18 can enter the country with 400 cigarettes; 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco; 2 litres of wine and 1 litre of alcoholic beverages; 50ml of perfume and 250ml of eau de toilette without incurring customs duty. Gifts and personal goods to the value of P500 can also be imported without incurring customs duty.

 

How to get there
By Air; to / from Air Botswana and South African Airways

By Road; to / from bus services, rent a car or drive your own car.

By Rail; operates only between Gaborone and Johannesburg ( South Africa ). 

 

Getting around
By Air: to / from  Air Botswana Scheduled Domestic Flights, Maun and Kasane. 

By Road: Minibuses, Rented Car, Hitch Hiking.

Best Time to Visit  (  April - November )
  
The months between April and November, when large number of animals migrate towards the waterways of the Okavango Delta, is best time to go.

November and December - the calving months - are an excellent time to witness nature's own timetable of regeneration. The rainy season, from January to March, sees the migration of large numbers of game into the summer grazing areas, while the delta comes alive with sounds of hundreds of bird species.

In March and April thousands of zebras and other animals migrate towards the Savuti area of Chobe National Park.

Summers (particularly from December through to February) can become exceptionally hot, and rain may make some roads muddy and impassable.

During the rainy summer season, animals in many game areas disperse, while in the dry winter season they congregate around water sources, making for good game viewing. This does not mean, however, that game viewing is impossible during the summer season. (see climate).

More Country Information from Foreign & Commonwealth Office.

Attractions

Tour Operators