We enjoyed our visit to this affluent democratically ruled Southern Africa country known for diamonds, beef and unspoiled game viewing. We particularly appreciated the small lodges and camps with well trained and knowledgeable local guides and excellent game viewing. We were impressed with the quality of the meals, especially when taking into account the inaccessibility of basic foodstuffs and fresh fruits and vegetables.
The tourist emphasis in Botswana was on small numbers of visitors seeking high end game viewing. There were large government land concessions with one or two small camps in each. Government overseers determined the number of camps, employees and guests per camp, number and type of animals. Because concession holders could only build temporary structures subject to removal at the end of the agreement period, the accommodations were in tented camps.
Cost Of Visiting
High with an emphasis on upscale tourism
Currency Pula and thebe (100 thebe in one pula)
Electrical Current 220 volts
Health And Vaccinations There were no mandatory inoculations to enter Botswana when we visited. Our local health clinic, following Center for Disease Control guidelines, recommended visitor precautions for the following: AIDS, bilharzia , hepatitis, Malaria, rabies, sleeping sickness, tick bite fever, tetanus, and Typhoid fever.
How To Get There Fly to Johannesburg , South Africa or Windhoek , Namibia and catch a connecting flight to Gabarone or Maun . When we were there, it was possible to drive over from neighboring countries. We crossed the Zambia border into Botswana by ferry.
Location In Southern Africa bordering Angola , Namibia , South Africa , Zambia , and Zimbabwe
Measures Metric system
Money Issues Remote camps and lodges made access to urban banking centers inconvenient. Most camps accepted credit cards for tips.
Technology Telephone and fax service was available in major cities; cellular phone service was available near populated areas. Internet service was available only through dial-up connections in major cities.
Time G.M.T. plus 2 hours
Transportation Though Botswana has an extensive tarmac roadway, the distances between camps were significant. There was a very limited railway network with no passenger service to neighboring countries. All our transportation between lodges was by small charter planes. Within the camps, game viewing was often in 4X4 vehicles or boats.
Limited infrastructure, especially outside the major urban areas of Gabarone and Maun .
Souvenirs Baskets, wood carvings, ceramics, tapestry, woolen rugs, pottery and wall hangings
Tourism Highlights A subtropical country the size of France , Botswana has only 1.6 million inhabitatants . It is most famous for the Okavango Delta, one of the largest inland river deltas in the world, the Kalahari Desert , which covers 84 percent of the country, and exclusive game oriented tourism. Other well known destinations include Chobe National Park , Moremi Game Reserve, Nxai and the Makgadikgadi Pans. More than 17 percent of Botswana land was set aside for national parks and game reserves. The premium standards in Botswana , independent from Great Britain since 1966, related to the number of tours and size of the camps and the accommodations themselves. The small (6-20 room) luxury tented camps and lodges we stayed in had high employee to guest ratios, large tents with teak floors, flushing toilets, outdoor showers, bath tubs, comfortable safari vehicles, well trained and service oriented guides and staff and good food. Frail, infirm and ill guests might find the physical requirements of visiting Botswana ’s remote locations and accommodations a challenge.
Would You Visit There Again? Yes