Botswana
Renowned for its wildlife

Quick Reference

Map of Botswana's location in Africa
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Currency:
1 Pula = 100 Thebe

Main Languages:
English & Setswana

Climate:
Generally hot throughout the year

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Safaris in Botswana
Safari Tours in Botswana


Accommodation in Botswana
Accommodation in Botswana
Previously a British Protectorate, Botswana became an independent republic in 1966. It has a population of more than one million, concentrated mainly in the eastern parts.

Gaborone, the capital, is situated in the south-east of the country and features an excellent National Museum with natural history and ethnological exhibitions, but it is Botswana's national parks and game reserves that are the real attraction. Wildlife is of vital importance and 17 per cent of the country has been proclaimed as either National Parks or Game Reserves. The Okavango Delta area, northwards in the Kalahari Desert, is home to over 300 exotic species and a variety of fauna. It is extremely beautiful, with vast grass flats, low tree-covered ridges and lagoons.

The government's tourism policies encourage community, ecological and low-volume, high-cost tourism. This sensible approach ensures the protection of the fragile environment and its resources, improves the lives of its local people and ensures Botswana remains an exclusive and unspoiled safari destination.

Currency

The unit of currency is the Botswana Pula (BWP), which is divided into 100 Thebe. The word 'Pula' means rain and 'Thebe' means shield. The shield appears on the national coat of arms. Major credit cards are accepted widely, and Travelers cheques and foreign currency are accepted at most large hotels and lodges. There are banks and exchange bureau in all the main town centers, as well as ATM machines. Surcharges are often high on Travelers cheques, and it is best to carry cheques in US Dollars or Pounds Sterling.

Health

The major health risks in Botswana are malaria, typhoid and HIV/Aids. Malaria is a particular risk between November and June in the northern parts of the country. There are no compulsory vaccinations, but a yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from Travelers over one year of age coming from infected countries. 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.

Language

English is the official language. Setswana is the national language, with minorities speaking Kalanga and Sekgalagadi.

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 generally aren't tipped. Tour guides, trackers and game rangers rely largely on tips for their income and customarily receive about P25-45 per person per day.

Climate

The hottest time of year in Botswana is also the wettest. The rainy season occurs in summer between October and April. Dry and cool weather, with cold and often frosty nights, occurs between May and September, when the average daytime temperature is a pleasant 25ºC (77ºF). The months between April and October are ideal for tourists in terms of weather and game viewing. This is the time when the wildlife is most prolific and easily spotted around the natural waterholes and dams.

Religion

Christianity, Roman Catholic and indigenous beliefs. There are numerous small Zionist and Apostolic churches in rural villages, as well as United Reformed (Congregational and Methodist), Dutch Reformed, Lutheran, Methodist and Anglican churches, and predominantly expatriate Muslim, Quaker, Hindu and Bahai congregations in major towns.

Entry Requirements

A valid passport, return or onward ticket, and sufficient funds to cover stay in Botswana is required by all visitors. Passport and visa requirements are liable to change at short notice. Travelers are advised to check their entry requirements with their embassy or consulate.

Internal Transport

Travel within the country can be conducted by road on good tar surfaces between major centres. For acccess to wilderness areas. air charter flights are the most convenient.

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