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Experience one of Botswana’s most fascinating wilderness areas on a three-night, four-day fly-in safari adventure. You’ll enjoy luxury five-star accommodation that overlooks the remarkable Savute Channel, which ran dry for nearly 20 years.
A country with huge landscapes, super safaris and deep cultural experiences and thus offering one of the best wilderness safaris experiences on the continent.
The nation was originally inhabited by the San people (also known as the Bushmen), but they constitute only a small portion of the population today. The BaTswana supplanted the San, who remained as subjects. Beginning in the 1820s, the region was disrupted by the expansion of the Zulu and their offshoot, the Ndebele. However, Khama II, chief of the Ngwato (the largest Tswana nation), curbed the depredations of the Ndebele and established a fairly unified state.
Until 1961, Bechuanaland was administered by a resident commissioner at Mafikeng, in South Africa, who was responsible to the British High Commissioner for South Africa. Relatively little development took place under during the Protectorate period, and it was intended that Bechuanaland would eventually be incorporated into the Union of South Africa. The rise of the National party in South Africa in 1948 and its pursuit of apartheid turned British opinion against the incorporation of Bechuanaland into South Africa, and South Africa’s attempts at annexation were countered by British insistence that Bechuanaland’s inhabitants first be consulted. Eventually it was acknowledged that Bechuanaland would become independent, and there was some belated investment in social and economic infrastructure from the mid-1950s onwards. Britain granted Bechuanaland internal self-government in 1965 and full independence as Botswana on Sept. 30, 1966.
Surface Area: 581,730 km²
Population Size: 2,315,600
Capital City: Gaborone (Population 232,000)
The official language of Botswana is English, although about 90 per cent of Batswana speak Setswana, a Bantu tongue also spoken by some four million people over the border in South Africa. There are also Setswana speakers in Zimbabwe and Namibia.
Time: Local Time GMT / UTC + 2h
Country Calling Code: +267
Literacy Rate: 82.8 %
Currency: Botswana Pula (BWP)
Internet domain: .bw
Explore Botswana’s vast abundance of wildlife and natural resources. Seventeen per cent of its land has been set aside for the maintenance and development of national parks and wildlife actuaries, and a further twenty per cent of land has been allowed for wildlife management areas. The main tourism assets include the Okavango Delta, which is the world’s largest inland delta, and the Chobe National Park, which is renowned for its large elephant herds. Abundant wildlife is also found in community conservation areas and wildlife sanctuaries, which are now
managed by the local communities.
Botswana offers many more things to do in terms of safari and wilderness experiences in Botswana, but a road trip across the country can often be just as fuelled with adventure and a variety of unique experiences.
MOREMI WILDLIFE RESERVE
The Moremi Game Reserve covers much of the eastern side of the Okavango Delta and combines permanent water with drier areas, which create some startling and unexpected contrasts. Some prominent geographical features of the Reserve are Chiefs Island and the Moremi Tongue. Moremi Reserve is the best place to experience excellent views of savannah game as well as bird-watching on the lagoons. There are also thickly wooded areas, which are home to the rare African wild dog and leopard. To the northeast lies the Chobe National Park which borders the Moremi Game Reserve.
MAKGADIKGADI SALT PAN
The Makgadikgadi Pans National Park is a salt pan – with an area of 3,900 kilometres. Situated in the middle of the dry savanna of the north-eastern Botswana. However, it is one of the largest salt flats in the world. Lying south-west of the Okavango Delta and surrounded by the Kalahari Desert. Makgadikgadi Pans National Park comprises nutritious grasslands, attracting thousands of animals. It is however, an area of low rainfall and the Boteti River rarely flows to capacity – but often has everlasting pools that attracts waterbuck, bushbuck and hippos.
LINYATI WILDLIFE RESERVE
One of the most exclusive safari areas in Africa, this place caters to the well-heeled adventurous traveller. The peaceful private reserve covers some 308,000 acres and can be found in the North East of the country. The area is fed by the Kwando River ensuring plenty of wildlife spotting opportunities – it’s renowned for its many Lion prides and also being home to one of Botswana’s largest Elephant populations.
MOKOLODI NATURE RESERVE
Mokolodi is a registered non-profit charity organisation – established in 1994 and is 3700 hectares in size. The land was donated into a Trust for the children of Botswana to provide a natural area that would allow them to learn about nature, conservation and the environment. Situated approximately 15 km south of Gaborone; the capital city of Botswana, the Reserve is home to a variety of mammals, including some rare and endangered species, and a diverse array of reptile, amphibian and bird species.
CENTRAL KALAHARI GAME RESERVE
he Central Kalahari Game Reserve is the largest, most remotely situated reserve in Southern Africa, and the second largest wildlife reserve in the world, encompassing 52 800 km². The game reserve is unique in that it was originally established (in 1961) with the intention of serving as a place of sanctuary for the San, in the heart of the Kalahari (and Botswana), where they could live their traditional hunter/ gatherer way of life, without intrusion, or influence, from the outside world. The reserve was closed for about 30 years, until in the 1980s and 1990s, both self-drive and organised tours were allowed in, albeit in small, tightly controlled numbers. The Botswana government has initiated plans to develop tourism away from the Okavango and Chobe areas, and has allocated concessions for lodge construction, both at the peripheries of and inside the reserve, allowing for fly-in tourists.
1. Phenomenal Game
With the largest population of elephants on the planet, the greatest variety of mammals in Africa and a huge predator population – from a game-viewing perspective Botswana is a no-brainer. From Aardwolf to Zebra, by way of Bat-eared Fox, Caracal, Giraffe, Hippo, Impala, Jackal, Kudu, Lechwe, Leopard and Meerkat this alphabet soup of potential encounters will satiate everyone from novice to seasoned veteran.
2. Brilliant Birdlife
While some countries may have longer lists and more endemics, the overall experience birding in Botswana is very high indeed. Whether watching wildfowl at eye-level while poling through the swamps or encountering some of the winged-behemoths like Ostrich, Kori Bustards, Pel’s Fishing Owl and Wattled Crane – it is impossible not to take at least a passing interest in the birds here. Superb birds of prey and an array of colourful songbirds are likely to provide entertainment while the predators are catnapping.
3. Few Other Folk
The Botswana government actively pursues a policy of low-density, low-impact tourism and while this puts many of the offerings available firmly on the high-end of the cost spectrum, in terms of exclusivity and quality of experience these really are unsurpassed anywhere. If you believe (as we do) that it is not merely about seeing the game, but unquestionably also about how you see it then Botswana can be a very attractive proposition.
4. Safe, Stable and Very Comfortable
Once one of the world’s poorest countries, Botswana has become a successful free-market, multi-party democracy, underwritten by the subsequent discovery of diamonds. Mineral wealth and a thriving tourism industry have transformed Botswana in to one of the best financed developing nations. Freedom of speech, the press and religion are all constitutionally guaranteed, and the Batswana are a peace-loving people who have never been at war, crime rates are low and incidents against visitors infinitesimal. Couple this with some of the most comfortable camps on the continent and it becomes clear that there is no need to suffer any hardship on safari here.
5. Good Links to Cape Town and Victoria Falls
The town of Maun is the gate-way to the Okavango and one of the buisiest light-aircraft airports in the world. It is from here that all the little charter flights emanate from to move you seemlessly from one top-drawer destination to the next. It also has excellent links to the Victoria Falls and Cape Town which means that a Botswana safari can easily be combined with a few days of someting completely different, by the Falls or in the winelands.
6. Water Based Safari Activities
Water based accommodation offer year-round water activities which include the famous mokoro excursions, boat trips and fishing activities. Your main focus will be on birding, reed frogs and the impressive water-based wildlife, which will be prevalent and emphasized on when staying at water-based camps. Staying at water-based camps, you get to experience the Okavango Delta’s water wilderness at its best and are guaranteed Year-round water activities.
Botswana offers the chance to view wildlife from an open safari vehicle accompanied by a trained guide. Game drivers are best in the early morning, late afternoon and evening. Some parks offer night game drives. Most animals are active after dark, so night drives can yield awesome sightings.
There are great opportunities for birdwatching, especially in the Okavango Delta and Chobe. Botswana has over 650 bird species, of which 75 per cent can be found in one area.
Relax and explore the shallow hippo waterways in a traditional mokoro (dugout canoe). With the sound of birdsong and the serenity of the river, a mokoro trip has been described as the ultimate experience in Botswana.
Explore the great Botswana rivers – the Chobe, the Thamalakane in Maun and the Okavango on the delta panhandle – by motor boat.
For an unforgettable bush experience, walk with traditional trackers who use their ancient knowledge of the wilderness.
Learn about the elephants in the delta by getting up close to the Abu herd in the Okavango Delta. There’s an opportunity to ride these gentle giants – a truly amazing experience.
Are there any health hazards?
Botswana’s warm, dry climate and low population density make it a healthy place to visit. It is advisable to take anti-malaria precautions, especially if you are visiting Chobe or the Okavango Delta. The camps and lodges in these areas usually provide mosquito repellants.
Do I need a VISA?
Passports are required by all foreign visitors to Botswana and must be valid for at least 6 months after the intended length of your trip. Visitors from the European Union, most Commonwealth countries and the USA do not require visas. Visitors from other countries should check with Botswana embassies or consulates. Visas are initially granted for thirty days and may be extended for a total of three months. Visitors from Ghana, India, Nigeria, Pakistan and Sri Lanka do require visas.
Are there any direct flights from overseas?
Currently there are no direct flights from overseas. Botswana is accessed through Johannesburg in South Africa, Windhoek in Namibia and Harare in Zimbabwe. Flights from these destinations to the main tourist towns take about one and half hour.
What are the languages spoken in Botswana?
Setswana (Tswana) is the national language of Botswana, spoken by just about all adult citizens. English is the official language, spoken by a majority of the population. Among home languages Yeyi is the main language of the north-west, Subiya of the far north, Kalanga of the north-east, Birwa/Tswapong of the far east- central, and Tswana of central and south-eastern Botswana.
Can I drink tap water in Botswana?
Although tap water may be fine in most areas for bathing and brushing teeth, we recommend that you drink bottled water at all times.
What is the electric current in Botswana?
All electrical appliances in Botswana run on 220V. Outlets are made to fit round 3 pin, 15 amp plugs. Although adaptors are generally available at hotels, we highly recommend taking your own.
What are the main tourist attractions in Botswana?
The main tourist attraction in Botswana are the Okavango Delta, Chobe National Park, Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, Kalahari Desert, Tsodilo Hills, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park and Moremi Wildlife Reserve.
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