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Beyond the narrow eastern corridor where the majority of the population is concentrated, Botswana is a largely road-less wilderness of savannas, deserts, wetlands and salt pans. Travel around Botswana is almost invariably in small charter planes.
A number of years ago the Botswana Government decided to reduce the tourist footprint but maintain the same income – this has had the result of dramatically increasing the cost of a Botswana visit, making it by far the most expensive of all Southern African safari destinations (albeit quite unique.)
Botswana has the distinction of being the most stable of all the African countries. It is home to the Okavango Delta, a vast wetland in the midst of the Kalahari Desert, the Savute which is known as the elephant capital of the World as well as the Makgadikgadi Pans, which are almost devoid of human habitation and become inaccessible during the rainy season (November to March) other than to flamingos.
Botswana Game Lodges, Locations & Activities
Autumn and winter (April through August) are good times to visit Botswana, as the days are generally pleasant and the wildlife never wanders far from water sources. Bear in mind, however, that this is also the time of European, North American and South African school holidays, so things can get a bit crowded. In general, June, early July and mid to late September are the least crowded times to visit. Summer isn’t the best time to hit the back roads, enjoy wildlife viewing or explore the Okavango, as prolonged rains may render sandy roads uncrossable, and animals disperse when water is abundant. From December to March it is very difficult to get around Chobe and Moremi national parks due to heavy rains, and many lodges actually close.
Botswana has a mainly temperate climate. Rain falls during the summer months from November – March and varies from 8″ (200mm) in the arid south, to 24″ (600mm) in the north. The rainy season peaks in December and January. Generally speaking, the rain tends to fall in short, thundershowers. The best time to visit Botswana is from April – September when the days are generally cloudless and sunny with mild to warm temperatures (25°C). Evening temperatures however, drop sharply (minimum can be down to – 3°C). Best game viewing is between June and October and best birding between December and May. During the summer months daytime temperatures can rise to 40°C and drop to 25°C in the evenings.
Please note that all charter transfers are in light aircraft that carry between five and seven passengers. These planes are limited with regards to the weight that they can safely carry. It is therefore vital that all passengers adhere to the luggage restriction of fifteen (15) kilogram’s per person in a soft bag with NO wheels. This excludes a reasonable amount of camera equipment and carry on luggage (20 kilogram’s in total). In addition, please let us know if you are over 1.82 meters (6’2”) tall or weigh over 100kg (220lbs). Tickets are generally not issued tickets for charter flights; you will however, receive a voucher.
The unit of currency is the Pula (BWP), which is divided into 100 Thebe. Three commercial banks operate in Botswana. The Bank of Botswana, a government subsidiary, allocates generous foreign currency allowances out of Botswana.
Bank hours are Mondays – Fridays 09:00 – 15:30 and on Saturdays 09:00 – 11:30. Major hotels have foreign currency facilities and accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Diners Club. Most shops, lodges and travel agencies will accept traveller’s cheques. Many lodges however, will NOT accept credit cards. Foreign currency can be used at the lodges, but change will be given in Pula.
No Vaccinations are currently required for entry into Botswana when arrival is directly from North America or Europe. It is recommended that boosters of tetanus for children and adults are up to date. Courses or boosters that are usually advised are diphtheria, tetanus, hepatitis A and typhoid. Consult your doctor or specialist travel clinic for advice.
A yellow fever certificate is required if the visitor is over one year old and entering from or been in transit through an infected area or a country where yellow fever is endemic (such as Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia or Zaire). Yellow fever vaccinations must be administered at least ten days before arrival (or re-entry) into Botswana.
Malaria precautions are essential in most of the country from November to June. There are several safe and effective options for adults and children alike. Avoid mosquito bites by covering up with clothing such as long sleeves and long trousers especially after sunset. You are advised to use insect repellents on exposed skin and, when necessary, sleep under a mosquito net. Prompt investigation of fever or flu like symptoms anytime within six weeks of travel is essential.
As with all travel to remote places in developing countries, it is worth spending a little time to make sure you are well prepared. Have a small supply of any medicines you might need to treat minor ailments and carry a course of emergency ‘standby’ treatment for malaria.
Citizens of the following countries do NOT require visas: nationals of all commonwealth countries, Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Federal Republic of Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, San Marino, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Uruguay and USA. Citizens of countries not mentioned must apply for visas. Please check with your embassy for up to date information as requirements can change.
All travellers, except holders of United Nations Convention Travel documents, require passports. Please ensure that your passport is valid for at least six months after the date of your holiday, and that you have at least two blank pages for visas and entry/departure stamps.
FOR SECURITY PURPOSES, WE SUGGEST THAT YOU CARRY A PHOTOCOPY OF THE RELEVANT PAGES OF YOUR PASSPORT AND ANY OTHER IMPORTANT TRAVEL DOCUMENTS WITH YOU. WE ALSO RECOMMEND THAT IN ADDITION, YOU LEAVE COPIES WITH SOMEONE AT HOME.
What Our Clients Say
Just a quick note to thank you for putting such a great family holiday together for us. The itinerary was fantastic, all went to plan with connections & people meeting us at airports etc. The two game parks were great, with the staff, service, food, guides & wildlife unreal.
We had an amazing time it was just wonderful, the staff at Elephant Plains particularly the rangers were just wonderful. The animals were just sensational we didn’t expect to get so close to them. A truly once in a lifetime experience we will never forget.
We had a fantastic time in Africa!! Everything went smoothly too thankyou. I especially loved the walking safaris at Rhino Plains Camp,but all of it was really wonderful. We saw plenty of wildlife and marvellous to get so close to lions and elephants and rhinos. The food was plentiful and delicious everywhere and all the accommodations were great too. We will definitely go back to Africa in the future.
What’s not to like about a superb trip to Botswana, Victoria Falls and Sabi Sand in SA organised for us by Destinations Africa. The game lodges could not have been more hospitable nor the food better and the game had to be seen to be believed. The itinerary, superbly presented with photographs, worked like clockwork with all connections happening seamlessly. We will treasure our wonderful photographs and memories of the holiday of a lifetime.
We have returned safely from our amazing African holiday. Thank you so much for all the assistance you gave us while we worked through where we wanted to go and stay. Sandie, I really appreciate your fantastic help – working via phone and email worked wonderfully well. The camps we stayed in Botswana (Okavango Delta and Chobe) were outstanding and exceeded our expectations. The wonderful guides at each of the camps provided us with an impressive amount of info about all the brilliant birds, mammals and reptiles we saw. The Elephant encounter at Stanley’s Camp was a not-to-be-missed experience! Victoria Falls was impressive even though there is a reduced water flow but your knowledge of viewing from the Zimbabwe side was greatly appreciated. Others we spoke to were disappointed they were on the Zambia side. Their agents obviously didn’t pass onto them this nugget of knowledge. The Victoria Falls Hotel is a wonderful grand dame of yesteryear, and the close proximity to the Falls made it an excellent place to stay. The camps in Zambia and Malawi were excellent and we had an amazing time. We saw lots of wildlife, ate too much, and snorkelling in Lake Malawi was an amazing treat. Your superb organisational skills saw us go through numerous border crossings without a hitch (patience is a virtue).
Thank you Sandie, John and the team at Destinations Africa for making our first trip to Africa such an easy trip, and it hopefully won’t be our last.
Absolutely amazing, very professional and knowledgeable. Thank you Christa and your team at Destinations Africa. Our holiday was unbelievable and amazing, everything ran like clockwork. The accommodation was fantastic and so special. The game viewing was spectacular. We were lucky to see so many leopards, all of the big 5 and many other special sightings. Hopefully we will be able to visit Africa again and without a doubt will be contact with Christa and the Destinations Africa team to organise our next trip.
The trip of a lifetime is the best way I can describe our travels to Africa under the guidance of Sandy, John and Hilary. Destinations Africa created a fabulous itinerary for our first experience to this beautiful country. The spectacular Victoria Falls was our first stop before moving on to visit beautiful Cape Town and the breathtaking Cape Winelands. Little did we know what was ahead when we landed at Skukuza Airport to stay in Sabi Sand at the Savanna Private Game Reserve. From the committed staff and the quality of service – to the wonderful animal experiences, it was truly amazing. Each day was different and always an adventure – my camera was on overtime capturing all that we saw. Our stay in Kenya at Karen Blixen and Little Governors’ Camp treated us to more amazing sights and experiences. Returning home after this incredible time with my husband and son, left us wanting to go back for more.
I was just about to email you and John to thank you both for arranging such a fabulous safari holiday for us all. Everything went perfectly, and we had THE BEST TIME!! We truly enjoyed every aspect of it. Although I know Savanna is your favorite place, we all really fell in love with Shumbalala. Maybe it was because for the first two days we had the whole place to ourselves, and it was our first ever safari experience. None the less, we loved Savanna too!! Our accommodations were spectacular and we saw some amazing animal sightings, both at Thorneybush and Sabi Sand. So glad we did the two different reserves. So anyway, massive thanks again for everything. I am now in the process of trying to organise the many (and I mean many) photographs and videos from the trip. I will be doing a blog post soon I hope, and want to try and put together a little video compilation. It was truly a fantastic family trip that we will all be talking about for a very long time.
Just a quick note to thank you all at Travel Destinations Africa for our wonderful family trip. We are lucky enough to have travelled quite a bit as a family over the years but this holiday was by far and away our best yet. The arrangements were seamless and the venues spectacular. In particular, I am struggling with the right adjectives for our experience at Savanna. What an extraordinary place. It is very difficult to think of anything that could be improved and the entire family had an amazing and life changing trip. We can’t wait to go back to Africa with you again.
Just a few words of thanks for your part in making such a memorable trip go so smoothly. Our communications go back further than one year, and several iterations of the itinerary during that time were surely a test of your patience and skill in making the right recommendations and bookings for a successful trip. Your skill at putting together a fantastic web page for the family to peruse made the lead-up to the trip most enticing and helpful. The two Land Cruisers from Travel Adventure Botswana that the eight of us used for the self-drive portion of our trip were absolutely the right choice. They were well equipped with all that one would need for bush picnics, down to fridges and tableware. Botswana and Zimbabwe Game Reserve roads leave much to be desired, but there was never a doubt that we would be stranded!
Just a quick note of thanks for all your efforts in organising Savanna Plus. We had a terrific time – fabulous hosts, good company, the unmatchable Savanna with all its fantastic staff and facilities and best of all, all that wildlife just presenting itself for our benefit! Brian’s first time and he enjoyed every second of it – I just loved watching him on that first game drive when within about 10 minutes we were surrounded by buffalo and then a pride of 16 lions. I think his jaw actually dropped open!!! And every day was exciting – great game viewing and off road tracking and then of course, lots of lovely surprises. He now understands why I am so smitten with it all and is keen to see and do more and of course, return to Savanna. We plan on returning in 2019 as we have a big trip to the USA and Europe in the pipeline for July next year for Brian’s 60th (he has delusions that he will cycle Alpe d’Huiz during the Tour de France!) but you never know – I might just sneak another trip on my own back to the African continent next year. And of course, it would be remiss of me not to mention the wonderful Hilary – she is a gem and a better storyteller, I haven’t stumbled across. She beats me hands down! Go Hilary! Thanks again to you both and I’m sure I’ll be back in touch in the not too distant future.
Just wanted to say a huge thank you to Christa for a truly wonderful experience, planning my very first African Continent holiday, from the amazing Victoria Falls, the beautiful city of Cape Town and an out of this world safari in the Sabi Sands. Power Tripping and taking 9 flights in under 2 week, everything from pick ups to and from airports / hotels were hassle free and the activities planned and suggestions made were all perfectly laid out. For those like me wishing to travel solo to Africa for the first time, the itinerary that was put together for me by Christa has truly left some great memories (and photographs of course) along the way. Activities like white water rafting, helicopter tours, gorge swing and river cruising were just perfect ! I no doubt will be using Christa to plan my next African getaway and would highly recommend her for anybody that has their heart set on visiting Africa. Thank you again Christa and Destinations Africa for a wonderful African experience
My partner and I had the most fabulous time on our recent trip to Africa, we went there for 3 weeks and every minute of our trip was nothing short of sensational. Destinations Africa did the most superb job in organising our whole trip from start to finish, to put it simple it was perfect in every way. Thank you Destinations Africa for organising the best trip we’ve ever had, You guys are true professionals.
Well another amazing trip to Africa organised by our wonderful friends at Destinations Africa. Starting in Johannesburg with an interesting day tour of Soweto, we then flew to Zimbabwe and the magical Mana Pools where we had 3 nights each at Kanga and Zambezi Life Styles Camps. Nothing beats camping by the mighty Zambezi and listening to the hippos all night to say nothing of the lions and hyena, and the bucket showers were just fine. Walking close to animals in the wild, fishing and canoeing made for some wonderful lasting memories. We then joined John and Hilary for their annual Savanna Plus Safari at Savanna Private Game Reserve, something everyone considering visiting Africa should do, spectacular game viewing and the guides and staff go above and beyond to ensure everyone has an amazing time. Our final few nights were spent at the Fairmont Zimbali Lodge near Durban a lovely relaxing wind down which included a game of golf before heading home. Once again a big thank you to Sandie for her patience and allowing us to step outside the box a little, as always everything ran smoothly and like clockwork. I’m sure largely due to the hard work and expert organisation that goes into every trip, we thoroughly recommend to anyone considering an African Adventure to go with Destinations Africa, but be warned it is addictive.
I am writing to say thank you so much for the wonderful trip we just finished! Adam and I had the trip of a lifetime thanks to the staff at Destinations Africa. Our travel plan was just perfect. We met beautiful people and beautiful animals. We had the privilege of being the last guests to spend time with the gorgeous elephant Thembi at the Stanley Camp before he tragically passed away the day after. Sandi and Doug Groves were just lovely to be with and the elephant interaction remains one of our highlights. Dave and Rinska the team at Savanna Lodge were amazing. We had the best time there and saw all the wonderful wildlife. Adam and Dave were bantering and telling jokes all week! I could honestly write so much here. Cape Town, winelands and all the accommodation you chose for us was just beautiful. We couldn’t be happier and will definitely spread the word about Destinations Africa and the wonderful continent of Africa. When the rep Joanne met us in Johannesburg she gave us a big welcome hug. It was so lovely and comforting being in a strange new land. So we will very much have our eye on another trip in the future. Might be a couple of years but we would love at some stage to take our children (adult ones) back with us. To finish, John was so kind to us at Stanley’s Camp when I got sick for a day. We couldn’t travel and Adam had to call him in the middle of the night to find out what to do. He couldn’t have been more helpful. We were truly grateful and relieved. It enabled me to rest and get better to fly out the following morning. So we have some money to pay you? John said we would fix it when we got back so this email is also to ask what we owe you and we will try and claim some of it back from Insurance but wanted to ensure you are not out of pocket. Basically Destinations Africa paid an additional night at Stanleys and we missed a night at the Victoria Falls Hotel. Just let me know what we need to do about that. Thanks again Sandie. My sister in Adelaide is a travel agent and she is not familiar with trips to Africa so suggested I google some companies. I have let her know all about you all and the wonderful you have done for us. She has already handed on the contact details to one of her clients. Hopefully there will be more to come as we spread the word about a trip of a lifetime.
We used Christa at Destinations Africa to organise a family holiday to South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe in April 2017. I had no idea where to start with organising this trip and some friends had used Destinations Africa for their trip, so I went straight to them as well. I told Christa where we wanted to go and how long we wanted to be away. She worked within the budget I gave her and without exception, everything she organised was perfect. Our first stop at Johannesburg airport (with a 6 hour wait for our next flight) was no problem because she had booked us a room at the airport Intercontinental Hotel for the six hours. We had breakfast, a bit of a sleep and a shower and were ready to continue our journey. It was a great idea. First stop was Shumbalala Lodge in Thornybush Reserve and the whole feel of the place was understated luxury. The staff were so accommodating and friendly and the game drives exhilarating. Next stop was the Okavango Delta, followed by Chobe River and Victoria Falls. All the lodges were great, the game viewing fantastic and the staff super friendly and helpful. Christa had organised all our transfers, small aircraft flights and everything went smoothly. We were never left wondering where our lift was or what we supposed to do next. It was an effortless holiday and I would highly recommend Destinations Africa if you are thinking of going to Africa.
On behalf of my wife and I, please accept our sincere thank you for an African holiday that exceeded expectations. Your time, effort, knowledgeable suggestions and assistance to the minute detail including restaurant reservations during a protracted planning period ensured our tailored holiday was an amazing experience. Your intimate attention to detail including even a valuable tipping guide made our travel experience a dream. To your in-country partners, the delightful Joanne from Welcome Tourism Services in Johannesburg, Wild Horizons in Zimbabwe, Safaris Direct, Jay Jay from TDM Touring and Paradise Touring in South Africa who facilitated prompt, seamless and personable greetings, transfers and tours, please pass on our appreciation. Our favorite lodge was the Imbabala Zambezi Safari Lodge in Zimbabwe for personable service. Our best experience was the 25-minute helicopter flight over Victoria Falls. The most sightings of Lion, Leopard, Cheetah and the rare and critically endangered Rhino and Painted Dog occurred at Cheetah Plains Safari Lodge in Sabi Sands. Our best restaurant was the Monneaux at the true 5 star Franschhoek Country House & Villas that cost only $A150 for two, 5 course meals, coffees and a bottle of Champaign. And yes John, I have a certificate to prove that I went back for a second serving of Mopane Worms. To plagiarise from Lynn and Alex’s testimonial “For anyone wanting to visit Africa you do not need to look any further than Destinations Africa.” Thank you again from the bottom of our hearts. Maybe Botswana next time?
Thank you for the superb itinerary you put together for us for our recent trip to South Africa/ Zimbabwe/ Botswana/ Zambia, despite us leaving things to the last minute (three months to go)! You really took the headache away of wondering what to see and in what order, where to stay and how to get around. The holiday was an unqualified success and things couldn’t have run more smoothly. All arrangements, transfers, accommodation, excursions etc. worked flawlessly, the people we dealt with were all highly professional and you sent us to some amazing places! Having left Zambia as a three year old, it was effectively a ‘first time in Africa’ trip for me, so we both enjoyed the experience of discovering Africa together. We shall certainly be returning to see more, and recommending your services to any friends and acquaintances who may be interested in travel to Africa!
Two amazing weeks in Kenya! Destinations Africa…we can’t thank you enough! We have recently returned from our first holiday in Africa. What an experience! From the moment we arrived until the day we left everything exceeded our wildest dreams. Not being the most experienced travellers, this was a giant step for us, but thanks to John, Hillary and Sandy at Destinations Africa we knew from our first meeting that we were in good hands and that we had found the right people. Their knowledge, experience and genuine interest in their clients shines through every step of the planning process. We met as strangers and parted, two hours later, as friends. Our holiday ran like clockwork. Flights, transfers, accommodation, safari drives, meals, people, experiences and a whole lot more; everything was first class. For anyone wanting to visit Africa you do not need to look any further than Destinations Africa. We were warned by John during our first visit that Africa is addictive. How true! We have caught the Africa Bug!
Now safely home, unpacked and over our jet-lag! Heartfelt thanks for another wonderful visit to Savanna. The organisation was absolutely first class never a doubt about transport, flights or anything else! In particular, my special thanks for your patience in allowing Judy time to recover from her back operation! She was thrilled by the Savanna experience and cannot stop talking about it! I am already starting to wonder whether I can afford another visit – but not next year! Anyway, sincere thanks for our African experience – Judy sends her love!