Is Botswana a good family destination?
The recommended age for children on safari is six years and older. Some lodges do not take children under 12 years; however a few of our journeys are especially catered for families with young children and we can advise you on the best options for you and your family according to the ages of your children and areas you wish to visit.
How do I get around in Botswana?
Private charter flights are the only way of reaching the majority of camps in the Moremi, Central Kalahari, Savuti, Linyanti and Okavango Delta areas. Scheduled light aircraft flights depart from Maun and Kasane and handle all inter-camp transfers in this area. Chobe National Park is accessible by road from Kasane Airport or Victoria Falls. Mobile safaris are also an option for exploring different regions by 4×4 vehicle.
Can you tell me about my passports and visa requirements ?
International visitors require a valid passport together with onward travel documents. All passport holders should verify with their relevant consulate concerning visa entry requirements. If you are extending your journey to other countries, please establish entry requirements for those countries as well.Please ensure that you have all the necessary visas prior to departure (unless available on entry) as we cannot be held liable for any errors on your side.
What is the weather like in Botswana?
Botswana has a subtropical climate with hot, humid, wet summers (November to April) and warm to cool, dry winters (May to October). Daytime summer temperatures may rise above 35ºC/95ºF, and winter nights rarely drop below 10ºC/50ºF
Temperature (ºC) – These are the average lows and highs in Botswana
|19 / 32||19 / 31||18 / 31||14 / 31||9 / 28||6 / 25|
|6 / 25||9 / 28||13 / 33||18 / 35||19 / 34||19 / 32|
Rainfall (mm). This varies according to the year and where you are.
What can I expect to experience during different months on safari in Botswana?
We are often asked the question: “which is the best time of the year to visit” ? The safari calendar below from Kwando safaris will help you answer that question properly, as it really depends on what you wish to experience. Each month is different and special in its own way. However please note, what we have set out here is only a guideline; weather and therefore viewing patterns are different each year and game viewing will always remain a combination of your guide and tracker’s skill and good luck.
January: Peak breeding time, for many of the colorful migrant birds species. Excellent wild flowers, brilliant green foliage, constant sounds day and night from insects and birds – the bush is very alive. January is in the middle of the rainy season with spectacular afternoon thunder storms and warm days (average 30°C plus) and nights (20°C plus). Game viewing is average with active predators still chasing the fast developing young of their prey species. An ideal photographic month for the colors of nature, contrasts and dramatic skies.
February: Ripe figs are eaten by many species including the fruit bats who make interesting night sounds while feeding. The water lilies are in peak flower, the reed frogs are singing and the Okavango Delta is brilliant, noisy and alive. With the rainy season in full swing all plants are growing actively, butterflies, birds, frogs and all the small creatures are at their most active and at their best. The rains continue in afternoon thunder storms with dramatic skies and sounds. Temperatures range up to 40°C with warm nights (20°C plus). It is possible to have both wet and very dry spells within the month. The resident game species do not have far to go for water and the young are almost as tall as the adults.
March: The Marula trees’ fruit attracts their attendant bull elephants who wonder from tree to tree in search of their favourite meal. The start of the rutting season leads to the sleek and fat impala males snorting and cavorting to attract females. Temperatures are still warm both day and night but the air is drier and the rains less frequent.
April: The first signs that the times are a changing with night temperatures dropping below 20°C on average but day temperatures continuing to rise up to 40°C on some days. The cooler mornings with high relative humidity lead to wonderful early morning misty magic especially over the waters. The Impala rut is in full swing and the impala noises continue right through the night with dramatic clashes between rival males. Baboon and impala are often together assisting the safety of the busy Impala. The trees have completed flowering and fruit is ripening all over with the massive sausages hanging from the Sausage trees. The reptiles are actively breeding and feeding in anticipation of the dry season about to start.
May: Flood waters from Angola start to reach the top of the Okavango Delta and begin their slow and deliberate progress through the Delta. The rains are over and the nights are cooler with temperatures averaging 15°C while day temperatures although still warm have lost their edge and maximum temperatures seldom exceed 35°C. Jackets are sensible for night drives. The buffalo begin to group into large herds and visit the river more often as the seasonal pans begin to dry. Breeding herds of elephant increase in density daily as they visit the permanent waters. The greenery starts to fade to the duller dry season colors and the predators begin to enjoy themselves again as their colors blend with the surrounds. The migratory birds begin their flights to winter feeding and breeding grounds in far away places.
June: June is an exciting time as the African Wild Dogs begin to search for their dens where they can be found for the next 3-4 months. Botswana offers some of the best wild dog viewing in Africa ! Temperatures have dropped to their coldest by the end of June with night temperatures reaching as low as 5°C (very cold on night drives due to wind chill). Day temperatures rise up to a very comfortable 25°C and dusty dry conditions begin to dominate. Some green bushes and trees persist but most lose their leaves and pans dry up. Animals concentrate at the permanent water as do their predators.
July: The floods arrive in the Okavango Delta area after a slow path from the wet Angolan highlands thousand of kilometres away. The paradox is obvious – the flood arrives when dust and dryness pervade and the rains have long gone. The leaves are falling off the trees and the grasses are getting shorter every day and visibility is excellent. The nights are still cold but the days are marginally warmer and the weather typical Botswana – sunny and clear. More and more animals congregate near the water and flood plains – a special time of the year. Water spreads into areas where there was none the day before and the mekoro and boat trips become more exciting as new places can be accessed. Soft early morning and evening light combined with dust produces many ideal photographic settings.
August: The herds are getting larger and space near the water leads to tension between the breeding herds of elephant with the nights filled with elephant sounds. The bush is bare and the dust pervades but the action is around and with patience and perseverance the rewards are exciting.The floods have passed through the Delta and now reach Maun – leading to excitement for the locals in town and water related speculation is at a peak – how high this year ? when will it stop? How far will the water go ? The weather is warming even at night with daytime peaks averaging closer to 30°C now and night time averages rising to around 10°C.
September: The climate has changed and winter is all but gone. Night temperatures rise rapidly within the month and by month end the averages reach 15°C plus and day temperatures soar well in the 30′s°C. The sun shines, the skies are clear and it is really dry. Unbelievably the elephant concentrate in still greater numbers as do the buffalo keeping the predators busy as the season takes it’s toll on the prey species – a time of plenty for the lions. The colors explode as the carmine bee eaters return from their winter grounds and the other migrants begin to arrive. The water levels have slowly started to drop as the waters from Angola have completed their trek. The fish begin to get active and some trees start to get the first green shoots fed by the flood waters and temperatures.
October: It is hot really hot but never will you experience game viewing like this. Day temperatures rise regularly above 40°C and nights are warm with averages in the 20′s°C. Start early and leave late – that is the solution. There is no place to hide everything is bare and the grasses are eaten or trampled. Night drives are at their best and the pervading dust makes all scenes dramatic. Predator chases erupt into clouds of dust as the eternal game of eat and be eaten plays out daily in the very open plains. Fishing frenzies with the annual catfish (barbell) takes place in the rivers.
November: The expectation and desperation for rain dominates all discussions as local people and the animals all seek an end to the dryness and dust. Temperatures remain high both day and night and the game viewing improves. The first rains come normally around mid November and the relieved animals disperse to eat on new vegetation and drink from the seasonal pans. The birthing season begins with the Tsessebe , followed by the Impala and Lechwe. The predators seek out the vulnerable young and kill many times a day to get their fill. There is plenty of action and great visibility with short green grass, trees and nature bursting into life – a wonderful time for the photographers.
December: Protein rich grass feed the mothers of the antelope while the lambs and calves grow at astounding speed. The impala complete their lambing, the wildebeest start and complete in a few weeks. The rains become more regular with thunder storms every few days. The pans remain full and the colors shine in brilliant green. While the grazers enjoy the green tender mouthfuls the predators are ever watchful but their winter camouflage lets them down and they have to work harder. However, the bushes become more dense allowing them more hiding places –there is plenty of predator prey action to see. All the migrant birds have arrived. Temperatures have cooled on average but hot days still occur and nights are still warm. The humidity can rise after rainfall. The dramatic skies and lightning at night in the distances all add to the magic of December.
Can I use my credit card ?
Visa and MasterCard are usually accepted throughout Botswana but American Express and Diners Club are often not accepted. Please check directly with any safari lodges you are visiting.
What currency must I bring with ?
Botswana currency is known as Pula. Botswana banks will only accept US Dollars, Pound Sterling, Euro and South African Rand cash. Therefore, any cash payments to camps for curios, or gratuities to guides or staff, need to be in one of these currencies.
What are Botswana’s banks opening hours ?
Major hotels normally have foreign exchange facilities and most shops, lodges and travel agencies accept travellers cheques. However; if you are in either Maun or Kasane, here are the main Botswana banks opening hours: Barclays Bank (Maun and Kasane) Mon – Fri 08h30 – 14h30. Sat 08h15 – 10h45 First National Bank (Maun) Mon – Fri 09h00 – 12h45 and 14h15 – 15h30. Sat 08h30 – 11h00. Standard Chartered Bank (Maun) Mon – Fri 08h15 – 14h00 and Wed 08h15 – 13h00. Sat 08h15 – 10h45
Do the people speak English in Botswana?
Botswana’s official language is English although most of the population also speaks Setswana. You do not need to worry as all game drives and other tours are conducted in English and a foreign language guide can be arranged to accompany you on request
Can I use my electric hairdrier or shaver in Botswana?
All safari camps are situated in remote areas and have to generate their own electricity. Each camp has a generator that runs for about 6 hours per day (3 hours in the morning and 3 in the afternoon when guests are out on activities). These generators then charge batteries located at each tented room, which provide good 12v lights all night (if used sensibly). There are no 220v or 110v power points in camp. If you need to have your video battery re-charged it can be done while you are out on an activity; therefore please bring a spare battery for use while the other is being charged. These systems are simple but perfectly functional. Electrical plug outlets are not available in most safari lodges therefore it is not possible to use such appliances such as hairdryers or electric shavers during your stay there.
Should I take anti -malaria precautions before entering Botswana?
Anti-Malaria tablets are a must. These should be taken 24 hrs before entering Botswana and continue taking them for 6 weeks after leaving the country. Please speak to your doctor in this regard. No vaccinations are required as of yet but check for latest info at time of booking and any onward travel destinations which may require a Yellow Fever vaccination. You can also look at our safari primer for more information.
How much should I tip my guide ?
It is customary to tip 10% for service to waitresses/ waiters at restaurants and stewards or delivery persons. On a safari or journey, approximately US$ 10 – 25 per person per day to your guide and tracker is acceptable, or more if service is above average