THE ULTIMATE SAFARI DESTINATION
The majority of the country is covered by savannah scrub and the dry, arid Kalahari sands, broken by the breathtaking Okavango Delta, the salt pans of Makgadikgadi and the swamps and flood plains of the Chobe River. Collectively these areas constitute a range of ecosystems unparalleled in Africa and are abundant in bird, plant and wildlife.
The Okavango River rises in Angola and enters the north of Botswana where its fast flow is checked by the thick Kalahari sands. The waters are forced to disperse forming the veins of the Okavango Delta, one of the world’s largest inland deltas. Spilling over the desert floor it creates a myriad of serpentine channels, lagoons and islands and is Botswana’s prime wildlife location. To the eastern side of the Delta lies Moremi Game Reserve, an area that and combines permanent water with drier areas, making for some startling, and unexpected contrasts. In the north the Chobe River / Chobe National Park support an exciting array of mammals and bird life.
Savuti, which lies within the National Park, is much more arid but contains large populations of lion. North of Savuti is Linyanti, a beautiful and relatively undiscovered area that boasts papyrus-lined waterways, lush riverine forests and a great variety of game. The harsh central Kalahari Reserve is inhabited by the San people – hunter/gatherers who still reside in traditional dwellings.
The animals in the region have had to adapt over the years to cope with the unforgiving conditions of the land. The Makgadikgadi Salt Pan is a relic of one of the world’s super lakes which dried up thousands of years ago creating the largest salt pan in the world. In the wet season it fills with water attracting flocks of flamingos and one is able to see a migration of tens of thousands of wildebeest and zebra followed by their feared predators.
In the south the Tuli Enclave is an attractively rugged area that is unlike the rest of the country. The Limpopo River cuts its way through granite outcrops and dense forests that sustain a variety of wildlife and bird life. Fascinating archaeological sites abound and iron-age settlements are still being discovered and excavated.
Botswana is a true wilderness area, untrammelled and essentially unchanged since time immemorial and will appeal to honeymooners seeking exclusivity and wildlife and safari enthusiasts. Botswana can also be easily combined with other Southern African destinations such as Zimbabwe (and in particular Victoria Falls), South Africa and Zambia, and also the wonderful islands and beaches of the Indian Ocean.
The summer season (Oct-Apr) usually brings high temperatures, However, the summer is also the rainy season and cloud coverage and rain can cool things down considerably, although only usually for short periods of time. The winter season (May-Sept) is the dry season when virtually no rainfall occurs. Winter days are invariably sunny and cool to warm. However, evening and night temperatures can drop especially in the Pans and Kalahari.
BEST TIME TO TRAVEL
The peak season for travel to Botswana is June to October when the game viewing is at its peak and the Okavango is in full flood. Huge herds of elephant and buffalo are congregating around the rivers and floodplains and the predators are very active. A good time to also see Wild Dog. For birders, summer migrants are also plentiful. The “Green Season” between January and March is also a very good time to visit as although there may be rainfall the temperatures are still in the low to mid 20’s and the prices are very attractive. The Makgadikgadi & Nxai Salt Pans can fill with water and get transformed into a lush floral kingdom, attracting the largest migration of zebra and wildebeest in Southern Africa!
Health & Vaccinations
We recommend that you are up to date with all of the usual vaccinations – Typhoid, Polio, Hepatitis A & B, Tetanus and Rabies. In addition a course of malaria prophylaxis is required. Please contact your local GP for full advice at least 3-4 weeks before travel.
Passport & Visa
British passport holders must be in possession of a full 10-year passport and must have at least 6 months validity beyond the date of the return journey. In addition you will need to have a minimum of 2 consecutive blank pages in your passport if entering via South Africa. British passport holders do not need a visa to enter into Botswana. Parents travelling with children into or out of South Africa may be asked to show the child’s unabridged (full) birth certificate, and where only one parent is accompanying, parental or legal consent for the child to travel (eg an affidavit from the other parent, a court order or – if applicable – a death certificate). You should travel with these documents in case you’re asked to provide them.