Horseback riding in Botswana

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Equestrian tours in Botswana

 Botswana Mini Guide
    Source: World Travel Guide

Overview

Easily one of the best safari destinations in Africa, Botswana is a wild and dramatic land characterized not only by its bountiful wildlife, but also by its extraordinary scenery: from shimmering salt pans and diamond-rich deserts to raging rivers and fertile flood plains, the landscapes here come in many guises.

Nearly half of the country is given over to national parks, reserves, and private concessions, which makes for an excellent safari experience. Botswana's policy of favoring low-impact luxury tourism ensures that even the most famous game-viewing areas rarely feel crowded, while its population of just two million adds to the sense of wilderness.

The north of Botswana in particular offers superb wildlife-watching opportunities. It is home to the wondrous Okavango Delta- the largest inland delta in the world- where shimmering lagoons and fertile waterways are crammed with more than 400 species of bird. Away from the water zebras and giraffes amble across flats and flood plains, keeping and eye out for the numerous big predators that also reside here.

Northeast of Okavango is another jewel in Botswana's crown: Chobe National Park, which has one of the largest concentrations of game anywhere in Africa. The reserve is particularly well known for its vast elephant herds, some 400-strong, which share this wild land with the likes of lions, cheetahs, hippos, and many more.

It's not only in conservation that Botswana is an African success story. Since gaining independence in 1966, it has achieved steady economic growth through good use of its agricultural potential and enviable diamond reserves.

It remains a peaceful and stable nation of remarkable natural beauty and its developed infrastructure makes it much more accessible than some of its neighbors.

 

Passport/Visa

Passport Required?

British

Yes

Australian

Yes

Canadian

Yes

USA

Yes

Other EU

Yes

Visa Required?

British

No

Australian

No

Canadian

No

USA

No

Other EU

No

Return Ticket Required?

British

Yes

Australian

Yes

Canadian

Yes

USA

Yes

Other EU

Yes

 

Passports

To enter Botswana, a passport valid for at least six months is required by all nationals referred to in the chart above. Outgoing travel documents and sufficient funds are also required.

Visas

Visas are not required by all nationals referred to in the chart above for stays in Botswana of up to 90 days.

Visas are also not required by transit passengers, provided they are continuing their journey by the same or first connecting aircraft, and do not leave the airport.

Nationals not referred to in the chart above are advised to contact the high commission/embassy to check visa requirements.

A tourist levy of US$30 applied to all visitors except those from residents and citizens of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) member states. This can be paid on arrival by cash or debit/ credit card.

Visa Note

Those nationals who do require a visa for Botswana must include a copy of their travel itinerary with their application, along with a letter of support from their intended host and return visa or residence permit from his/her country of residence.

Traveling with minors: As of October 1 2016, those traveling with children under the age of 18 will need to supply an unbridged birth certificate showing the details of both parents. If the child is flying with one parent only, a parental consent affidavit signed by the absent parent will need to be produced. If the father is not named on the birth certificate, an affidavit will not need to be produced.

Types of Visa and Cost

Visitor visa: US$107.

Validity

Up to 90 days.

Applications to:

Consulate (or consular section at embassy or high commission); see Contact Addresses.

Working Days Required

Allow 21 working days for visa processing.

 

Money

Currency

Pula (BWP; symbol P) = 100 thebe. Notes are in denominations of P100, 50, 20 and 10. Coins are in denominations of P5, 2 and 1, and 50, 25, 10 and 5 thebe.

Currency Exchange

Money should be exchanged in banks at market rates. The main commercial banks include Bank of Baroda, Barclays Bank of Botswana, First National Bank, Stanbic Bank Botswana and Standard Chartered Bank with branches in major towns and villages. Owing to limited facilities in small villages, it is advisable to change money at the airport or in major towns, where credit card cash advances may also be available. There are also bureaux de changes at major border posts. Safari lodges accept payment in US dollars.

Credit/Debit Cards and ATMs

American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa are widely accepted. ATMs are available in most larger cities and towns.

Traveller's Cheques

To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travellers are advised to take traveller's cheques in US Dollars or Pounds Sterling. Traveller's cheques are accepted in large cities but with a high surcharge.

Currency Restrictions

There are no restrictions on the import of local or foreign currencies, provided declared on arrival. Export of local currency is limited to P50 and foreign currencies up to the amount declared on arrival.

Banking Hours

Banks open 0800 and 0900, Mon-Sat, closing between 1615 and 1715 on weekdays and 1045 and 1200 on Saturdays.

Exchange Rate Indicators

Date

March 2018

£1.00=

P 13.29

$1.00=

P 9.59

€1.00=

P 11.81

 

Health

Vaccinations

 

Special Precautions

Diphtheria

Sometimes

Hepatitis A

Yes

Malaria

Yes

Rabies

Sometimes

Tetanus

Yes

Typhoid

Yes

Yellow Fever

No*

Inoculation regulations can change at short notice. Please take medical advice in the case of doubt. Where 'Sometimes' appears in the table above, precautions may be required, depending on the season and region visited.

* A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from all travellers over one year of age travelling from infected areas.

Food and Drink

Tap water is considered safe to drink, although outside main cities and towns, visitors are advised to check first and sterilise water if in any doubt. Bottled water is available in most tourist centres. Milk is pasteurised, and dairy products, local meat, poultry, seafood, fruit and vegetables are generally safe.

Other Risks

Vaccinations for tuberculosis and hepatitis B are sometimes recommended. Hepatitis C occurs. Bilharzia (schistosomiasis) is endemic; avoid swimming and paddling in fresh water. Tick-bite fever can be a problem when walking in the bush. It is advisable to wear loose-fitting clothes and to search the body for ticks. Rabies is present in animals. For those at high risk, vaccination before arrival should be considered. If you are bitten, seek medical advice without delay.

Health Care

The dust and heat may cause problems for some people. Visitors should use sun protection, especially due to Botswana’s high altitude. The public health system is good. All main towns have chemists, and pharmaceutical supplies are readily available. Health insurance is essential.

 

Getting There

Getting There by Air

The national airline, Air Botswana (BP) (website: www.airbotswana.co.bw), flies into Gaborone from Harare (Zimbabwe), Cape Town (South Africa), and Lusaka (Zambia). The quickest route from the UK is to fly to Johannesburg with South African Airways (www.flysaa.com) or Virgin Atlantic (www.virgin-atlantic.com) and catch a connecting flight from there. South African Airways also runs direct flights to Johannesburg from the USA.

Approximate Flight Times

From London to Gaborone is approximately 14 hours (including stopovers); New York- 19 hours (including stopovers).

Main Airports

Sir Seretse Khama International (GBE) is 15km (9 miles) northwest of Gaborone. To/from the airport: There are no regular bus services to and from the airport but several hotels run combis (minibuses or vans). Taxis are available to the city centre (journey time – 15 minutes). Facilities: Left luggage, banks, bar, snack bar, restaurant, post office, duty-free shops and car hire.

Maun International Airport (MUB) receives direct flights from Johannesburg, Harare, Cape Town and Windhoek. This gateway to the Okavango Delta is served by Air Botswana, Air Namibia and several charters. For information on charters, see the Getting Around section. To/from the airport: The city centre is less than 1km (0.6 mile) walk. Taxis and shuttles are available. Facilities: Car hire and lounge with Internet and Wi-Fi.

Other major airports that handle international flights are at Kasane, Selebi-Phikwe and Francistown.

Departure Tax

None.

Getting There by Water

A car ferry operates across the Zambezi River to Zambia.

Getting There by Rail

Botswana Railways (www.botswanarailways.co.br) offers and overnight train with first class sleepers, business class seats, standard class seats, and restaurant car from Francistown–Gaborone–Lobatse. Departures taje place daily, and tickets can be bought from the website. National Railways of Zimbabwe (www.nrz.co.zw) used to operate a weekly service between Botswana and Zimbabwe, but this was suspended in 2016.

 

Climate

Mainly temperate. Summer, between October and April, can be very hot, but daytime temperatures typically hover around 30ºC (86ºF). The rainy season lasts from January to March. Winter, from May to September, brings cooler weather with an average temperature of 25ºC (77ºF); early mornings and evenings may be cold and frosty, particularly in the Kalahari. The average annual rainfall decreases westwards and southwards.

Required Clothing

Loose, natural fabrics are recommended, with wet-weather gear and warmer clothes according to the season and area visiting.

Contacts

 

Botswana High Commission in the UK

6 Stratford Place, London W1C 1AY, UK
Tel: +44 020 7647 1000 
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 0900-1700.

Embassy of the Republic of Botswana in the USA

1531-33 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington DC 20036, USA
Tel: (202) 244 4990.
Website: www.botswanaembassy.org
Opening times: Mon, Wed and Fri 1000-1300 (enquiries); Mon-Fri 0900-1600 (visa drop off); Mon-Fri 1400-1600 (visa collection).

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