According to Wholevehicles, Botswana is pristine nature and first-class national parks, with many species of animals and birds. The Okavango Delta and the hot expanses of the Kalahari Desert, rock caves and Bushmen villages. Everything about Botswana from the Subtleties of tourism: tours, photos, maps and reviews.
Now Botswana has a policy of limiting the mass flow of tourists, so visit hereonly travelers with a very solid budget can. But in return, they will have the opportunity to see a huge number of animals and birds, enjoy the exotic nature of the Kalahari Desert and the famous Okavango Delta. Visiting the village of the ancient African tribe of the Bushmen, who have preserved their former way of life, ancient customs and culture to this day, is no less a pleasure than seeing the mystical Tsolido Hills, the richest collection of rock art in the southern part of the African continent. In addition, Botswana is one of the safest tourist destinations in Africa. Aborigines are very calm and friendly, and the general unhurried rhythm of life is reflected even in the behavior of animals that are almost not afraid of people.
The capital is Gaborone. Most often, tourists travel to the country for the national parks of Botswana.
Climate of Botswana
The local summer (September-April) is the rainy season, the temperature is +25…+38 °C. Winter (May-August) is a dry season, temperature +16…+20 °C. Daily temperature fluctuations are very large, in the south there are even night frosts.
The time from April to October inclusive is the best time to visit the country. It is during this season that the natural migration of animals to the water expanses of the Okavango Delta takes place. And in November and December is the breeding season, the best period for observing newborn animals of various species.
Weather forecast for the main resorts and cities of Botswana.
The key concepts of the local hotel stock are “lodge” and “camp”. Lodges are usually one main one- or two-story building with 60-100 rooms plus several smaller buildings or detached houses. In general, something like the well-known holiday village, but in the “African” version. Camps in Botswana are a kind of field tent camps, only the size and interiors of the tents are more like rooms in expensive hotels. The camp usually consists of twelve to fifteen tents.
Meals in the lodges are usually three times a day, in the bars there are drinks for every taste for an additional fee (everything is paid in dollars). One free bottle of water is provided in the room.
The mains voltage is 220-240 V. There are three-phase sockets with square pins, so it’s better to take care of the adapters in advance.
During an overnight stay in a lodge or camp, you cannot leave your house or tent without an escort: about a third of predators hunt at night.
The monetary unit of the country is the Botswana pula (BWP), in 1 pula there are 100 thebes. Current exchange rate: 1 BWP = 4.77 RUB (1 USD = 12.08 BWP, 1 EUR = 12.7 BWP).
You can exchange currency at banks and exchange offices, as well as large hotels and the airport. It is easy to find a bank in any major city, and you can also cash traveler’s checks there.
In remote cities and villages where there are no banks, there are so-called “traveling banks” – mobile banking points with a standard range of services, working weekly or monthly in the area. These banking points can exchange traveler’s checks, but practically do not work with cash. Visa and Master Card credit cards are accepted.
In most places, tips are automatically included in the bill, so you can give them only in case of exceptionally high-quality service: 10% over the bill will be considered the height of generosity here. Tipping taxi drivers is generally not accepted. But it is customary to leave guides-drivers on a safari for 5-10 USD per day per person in the car.
Tourists who come to reserves and national parks for two or three nights can not change money at all. In hotels, everything is paid in dollars.
Shopping and shops in Botswana
In the cities and on the way to the safari, you can find many souvenir shops and shops. Woodwork, sculptures, soapstone figures, baskets and bags, safari clothing, banana peel products are just some of their rich assortment. Among other things, here you can buy kangu (for women) and kiku (for men) – these are colorful fabrics used by the natives as clothing.
You can also buy precious and semi-precious stones: tanzanite (an analogue of sapphire), tsavorite (pebble “a la” emerald), tiger’s eye, malachite, etc. During shopping, you can and should bargain and bring down the price.
Cuisine and restaurants
A typical dish here is called “braai” and consists of grilled meat and maize mixed with water. Served with tomatoes and onion sauce. You can also order “sesvaa” – beef cooked in the traditional way. There are no special culinary delights in Botswana, and the basis of the cuisine is meat, game and fish dishes. The most popular drink among the male part of the population is the local beer St. Louis, and the women’s has Coca-Cola.
Entertainment and attractions in Botswana
The sights of Botswana are not only national parks. The four famous Tsolido Hills are the richest collection of rock art in the southern part of the African continent with 4,000 drawings and a geological formation, the refuge of a secretive people of the Stone Age – the Bushmen. The hills of different height and shape were named “Man” (410 m), “Woman” (300 m) and “Child” (40 m), but the smallest hill of these four remained nameless (apparently, Bushmen have dogs or cats did not have).
Gchvikhaba Caves (Drotsky Caves) is a whole system of caves with multi-colored walls and vaults, numerous stalagmites and stalactites, some of which reach 10 m. legends of a treasure that was hidden from the European colonialists by the descendants of local dynastic families. Most of the route through the caves is a fairly easy walk through picturesque halls and passages with a large number of seductive manholes and tunnels somewhere to the side, but there are also dangerous places: passages that break into underground abysses or threaten with rockfalls.
The village of Serowe, located in eastern Botswana, was once the capital of the Ngwato tribes and the Kingdom of Hama. The Hama III Museum shows the entire history of the Hama family, the leader and head of the Ngwato. The exposition includes personal belongings of King Hama III and his descendants, numerous handicrafts, weapons, utensils, figurines and other exhibits illustrating the history of Serowe and the tribes inhabiting the area. There is also a growing collection of natural history items, including collections of insects and snakes that are unusual in Africa. A large number of tourists also visit Hamabilla – the Royal Cemetery on a hill right in the center of the village.
A huge number of animals can be seen in any corner of Botswana, both in national parks and simply by driving literally a few meters from settlements.
In the village of Manyana there is a whole collection of rock art, “dated” from the end of the Stone Age to the beginning of the Iron Age. For the most part, the drawings depict various types of animals (rhinos, antelopes and giraffes), as well as well-defined human silhouettes and simple geometric shapes.
Lenetswe La Baratani, which means “Hills of Lovers” in the local dialect, is located 65 km south of the capital. Climbing the hills is strictly prohibited: this can be regarded by the natives as an act of the deepest disrespect. The local guides can tell a lot of legends connected with this place, but one of them will definitely sound: this is a legend about lovers who climbed the hills and disappeared there forever.
The small village of Oodi is located just 20 km from the capital on the way to Francistown. This place is famous throughout Africa for its weaving industry. A large number of handmade weaving products are produced here: wall paintings, tablecloths, pillowcases, aprons, bed linen and much more. Products are decorated with images of animals, scenes from village life, and various real events, including historical ones, from the life of different tribes of the country. Here you can not only buy the product you like, but also observe the process of work itself.
Near the village of Thamaga is the Thamaga Pottery Shop – a place where cookware is made from natural materials of the highest level. This place is known to many connoisseurs of truly unique and very beautiful things.
Visa to Botswana
Botswana is an example of true Russian-African friendship: citizens of our vast country do not need a visa to visit the country. Moreover, “Russo tourists” can stay on the hospitable Botswana lands for as long as 90 days, which is more than enough for an enthusiastic “chess” in national parks and for meditative relaxation in the heart of Africa. Of the formalities – except perhaps a 6-month “reserve” of a passport and proof of financial solvency, equal to 300 USD per person per week, which, you see, is not at all difficult to do. Let’s not forget that it is in Botswana that one of the top 10 best hotels in the world is located.
When crossing the border, you must present a passport, the validity of which is at least 6 months from the date of entry into the country, as well as return tickets. In some cases, the border guard may require proof of sufficient funds for the trip (at the rate of 300 USD per week per person).
For peace of mind, do not forget about medical travel insurance, Africa is no place for health and safety jokes.