Botswana Travel Advice
Best Time to Visit Botswana
The best time to visit Botswana is dependent on what you would like to see and do. Game viewing is at its peak during the dry winter months of May to October when animals are concentrated at water sources due to the dry conditions. The months of June to August is the best time of year to visit Botswana due to the fact that there is constant wildlife, ensuring good game viewing, no rain and the risk of malaria is at its lowest.
Wildlife tends to scatter during the rainy January to April summer but several destinations such as Chobe's Savute region and the Kalahari offer excellent game viewing in the summer months.
Birding in Botswana can be done year-round but December to March is the best time to visit if you are a birder due to the numbers and diversity of bird species around during this time. This period is known as the “Green Season” because it is the rain season and the bush transforms to lush green vegetation – perfect for birding.
Summer temperatures range between 18°C and 38°C
Winter temperatures can drop to 6°C and rise to 27°C
Rainy season: October/November to March/April
Flights & Getting Around to Major Cities
Visitors to Botswana can fly into Botswana’s main international airport, Sir Seretse Khama, from Johannesburg but most safari-bound travellers choose to fly directly to either Maun, where you can then board a charter flight into the delta or to Kasane where you can transfer by road to Chobe or the Victoria Falls. Transfers and game drives are conducted in open 4 x 4 vehicles. Game viewing on a motor boat and mokoro (dug-out canoe) is offered at most lodges in the delta.
Visa & Passport Requirements
Every visitor to Botswana must be in possession of a passport that is valid for six months after the initial date of travel. No visas are required by citizens of EU countries, most Commonwealth countries, the USA, South Africa, Switzerland, Israel and Norway.
Upon arrival you will receive a 30-day entrance stamp and, for those who plan on travelling to Botswana’s neighbouring countries, visas for Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe can be obtained in Gaborone.
As a general precaution, all travellers are advised to carry a photocopy of the main photo information page of their passport and keep it in a location separate from the passport.
Malaria precautions are a must and can be purchased from your local pharmacy. Please consult your pharmacist / doctor at least 6 weeks before departure for medication or any other vaccinations etc.
Ensure you control the quality of your drinking water. Bottled water is readily available throughout the country. We recommend that guests either buy bottled water, or take water purification tablets with them on their trip.
As with all medical requirements, your doctor or travel clinic will provide the most up to date information – the above is a guide only.
Botswana’s unit of currency is the Pula. Most hotels have foreign exchange facilities and most shops, lodges and travel agencies will accept traveller’s cheques, as well as US Dollars. Full banking services are available only in major towns, although ATMs are commonly found in most towns these days. Some establishments do not accept Diners or American Express cards, but all other credit cards are accepted countrywide.
If the service is satisfactory, it is customary to tip lodge staff and guides. You can tip them in either Pula or in your currency. Some lodges will accept credit card tips. The tip will vary depending on the size of your group or the staff member’s role and what you think is fair. In restaurants and bars, a tip of 10% is the standard.
What to Pack
Temperatures can reach 40°C in the summer months, so shorts and t-shirts are best, with a light long sleeved shirt for protection against the sun during the day and to cover up for mosquitos in the evening. During the cooler winter months the days are still warm but the night time temperatures can drop to almost freezing so layering is essential. Be sure to pack a thick fleece or jacket for early morning and evening game drives, which can be very cold.