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Frequently Asked Questions

When is the best time to visit?

Botswana is a year-round tourism destination; there simply isn’t one “best time” to visit. Peak game viewing in Northern Botswana is July-October, when animals congregate around available water sources and grasses are low. December to March is a superb time to visit for birders, photography buffs, viewing animals with their young anywhere, game viewing in central Botswana, and for people traveling on a budget.

What’s the weather like?

In the winter/dry season (June-August), daytime temperatures are pleasantly mild, around 23°C/73°F; night-time lows are 5°C/41°F, sometimes lower. From June-October, rain is rare anywhere in the country. In the summer/green season (November-March), temperatures usually range 18-35°C/64-95°F. Expect hot, sunny days and frequent short, abrupt rainstorms which usually clear within hours.  

Botswana Average Temperature and Rainfall Chart
  JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC
Ave. Temp. (F) 66/90 66/89 63/88 58/87 49/82 42/77 47/83 55/91 55/91 64/95 66/94 66/91
Ave. Precip. (in) 4.3 3.8 3.5 1.1 0.2 0.1 --- --- 0.1 0.5 1.9 2.8
source: Weatherbase

What are the entry requirements for travelers visiting Botswana?

A passport valid for six months beyond your intended stay and a minimum of two (preferably three) consecutive blank passport visa pages is required. Botswana maintains customs requirements similar to many international destinations. For complete details on duty-free allowances, restricted and prohibited goods and more, please click here.

Are visas required for citizens of the U.S.A. or Canada?

Visas are not required to enter Botswana for citizens of the U.S.A., Canada. Citizens from other countries should check with Botswana embassy, consulate office, or their travel agent at least eight weeks in advance of travel for entry requirements.

What inoculations or prophylactics (pills) do I need before traveling to Botswana?

Most of Botswana is a malarial zone and you should seek medical advice on the appropriate prophylactics to take as a precaution. Visitors arriving from areas infected with Yellow Fever must have a valid Yellow Fever immunization certificate. Otherwise, no other immunizations are required at time of this printing. Check with your doctor or a health-care provider who specializes in Travel Medicine 4-6 weeks prior to your trip.

How long does it take to fly to Botswana?

Flight times from East coast U.S. gateway cities to non-stop or through direct to Johannesburg range from 15-17 hours. Flights from Johannesburg to Botswana’s safari areas of Maun or Kasane are less than  2 hours; flying to into Gaborone (capital city) is less than 1 hour.

Are there non-stop flights from the USA or Canada into Botswana?

No. The most convenient and quickest routes fly non-stop, direct or through connection from New York, Atlanta, or Washington, DC into Johannesburg via South African Airways (www.flysaa.com), Delta Airlines (www.delta.com), or Ethiopian Airlines (www.flyethiopian.com).

Air Botswana (airbotswana.co.bw), the national airline of Botswana, flies daily between Johannesburg and Maun or Gaborone; and offers frequent flights between Johannesburg and Kasane or between Cape Town and Maun.

Airlink (www.flyairlink.com) flies daily between Johannesburg and Maun, and between Johannesburg and Kasane.

Are there any luggage restrictions?

Scheduled regional and domestic flights and light aircraft transfers have lower weight allowances than for  international flights. General guidelines:

  • For scheduled domestic/regional flights: 20kg (44 lbs).
  • For light aircraft, (including Okavango Delta charter flights): 12kgs (26 lbs) per person in soft, squashable bags PLUS 5kg of hand luggage.
  • Travelers using charter light aircraft for fly-in safaris are advised to use duffels and not to bring hard or wheeled suitcases as they will not fit on light aircraft.

What kinds of transportation are available to visitors to get around Botswana?

Most visitors on safari in Botswana will fly in light aircraft or use a local private guide/driver to travel between locations/camps. The air charter industry is well developed in Botswana, offering flights to the national airport network as well as private destinations. Maun Airport, which serves a huge tourist market, is one of the busiest in southern Africa. The national carrier, Air Botswana operates scheduled regional and domestic flights to facilitate travel between a variety of business and tourist destinations in the region.

All of Botswana's major cities are connected by tarred highways and roads. Visitors renting a vehicle in Botswana must be in possession of a valid International Drivers license, or their home country drivers license as long as the details are in English. As in most other southern African countries, driving is on the left side of the road. Seat belt use is compulsory, as is proof of no-fault insurance. Talking or texting on cell phone while driving is prohibited.

There is currently no passenger train service in Botswana. To learn more about other public ground transport options, such as bus or taxi, click here.

What should I bring?

Binoculars, camera, small flashlight, insect repellent, lip salve, sunscreen, polarized sunglasses, medications, adapters for electronics, and preferred personal grooming items. Care needs to be taken to comply with international aviation security regulations for items in carry-on luggage and checked baggage restrictions; contact your travel advisor or airline for restrictions.

What should I wear on safari?

  • Garments of neutral colors that blend with the bush and forest are advisable for safaris and game viewing.
  • Avoid synthetic materials and black clothing, as they increase perspiration and discomfort.
  • Bring a lightweight jacket and/or jersey for unexpected temperature changes or rain.
  • Trousers (long or convertible), long-sleeved shirts / blouses are good for all seasons.
  • October through March - lightweight, light colored cottons are preferable as it can get quite hot.
  • From May-August, night temperatures can be quite chilly, so warm jerseys and jackets are vital, especially on morning and evening game drives.
  • Closed, comfortable walking shoes or gym shoes are a must in all seasons.
  • Special attention should be given to protection from the sun; wearing a brimmed sunhat is preferable to baseball caps.
  • Please also refer to our What to Bring section for more information.

Is travel insurance necessary?

It is essential for visitors to remote areas of Botswana (most safari tourism regions) to have a comprehensive medical insurance policy to provide coverage for local treatment of a serious illness or accident, or if required, medical evacuation. Contact your travel advisor about traveler insurance options.

How should I handle my money?

Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted in urban and tourism areas throughout Botswana. It is advisable to notify your credit card issuer you will be using your card internationally prior to your departure to avoid potential card acceptance issues. Travelers should also carry cash in small denominations for incidentals and tipping. Widely accepted currencies are USD, GBP, Euro and Pula – change will be given in the local currency. ATM machines are available in most large towns and cities only. Foreign currency many be changed at banks, bureaux de change, and authorized hotels. Banks hours: Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Saturday 8:30 a.m. to 10:45 a.m, closed Sundays.

How is the cell phone service?

Mobile telephone coverage and internet access in urban areas are reliable, but less so outside urban areas. In remote safari areas, cell phone reception and internet access is very sporadic.

What about tipping?

Tipping in Botswana is discretionary, but customary and appreciated if you are satisfied with the service. Ask your travel advisor about tipping guidelines.

Is it safe to drink the water?

Tap water throughout Botswana is safe to drink. Bottled mineral water is readily available in most shops, supermarkets, and at camps and lodges. Tourists travelling by road are advised to carry sufficient water at all times.

 

 

 

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