Botswana :: Central Kalahari
Category: Places :: Country
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Botswana is a largely wild and untouched country, dominated by the Kalahari Desert and home to the Okavango Delta, a magnificent wetland fed by water from the Angolan highlands.
The Okavango is the largest inland delta in the world and is a maze of lagoons, secret waterways and palm-dotted islands abound with hippos, crocodiles, antelopes and, of course, a huge variety of birds and smaller animals. It is a unique oasis of life right in the centre of the Kalahari Desert which covers 84% of the country. The word desert is a misnomer, as the Kalahari is indeed covered by vegetation including stunted thorn and scrub bush, trees and grassland.
The Kalahari is more arid savannah than desert. The largely unchanging flat terrain is occasionally interrupted by gentle descending valleys, sand dunes, large numbers of pans and isolated hills.
About 17% of Botswana is national reserves, and wildlife has never been imported or controlled in any way. The protected areas are unfenced; therefore Botswana offers you a true wilderness experience.
Much of Botswana is remote and remains accessible to only a small number of visitors. Botswana is not a cheap country, as the government has taken a high-cost, low-volume approach to tourism to protect the country's natural assets.
However, there are quite a number of campsites available that offer good value for money and makes Botswana affordable for overlanders.
Botswana lies to the north of South Africa and is bordered on the west by Namibia and on the east by Zimbabwe. It connects with Zambia at one point of Namibia's Caprivi Strip that stretches out like an arm over the northern part of Botswana.
Thanks to its diamonds, Botswana is one of the richest countries in Africa. Botswana has a small population and although Gaborone is the capital, Maun and Kasane are the main tourist hubs. For more important travel information on Botswana, please consult the Tracks4Africa self-guide travel book, available on our online shop or in selected retail stores.
|Contact :||Custom Offices|
|Tel :||+267 36 380 00|
|Website :||Click Here|
|Best Time to Visit :||April to October.|
|Languages spoken :||English (Official Language), Setswana|
|Game Viewing, Game Drives, Night Drives, Quad Bikes, 4WD Trails, Tours and Excursions, Picnics, Wine Tasting, Cellar Tours, Hiking Trails, Guided Walks, Mountain Biking, Donkey Trekking, Horse Trails, Tractor Rides, Donkey Cart Drives, Camel Rides, Ostrich Showfarm, Animal Feeding, Golf, Fishing, Swimming, Diving, Snorkelling, Surfing, Sandboarding, Water Skiing, Canoeing, Makoro Trips, Sea_Kayaking, Sailing, Boat Trips, White Water Rafting, Bird Watching, Whale or Dolphin Watching, Scenic Flights, Hot-air Balloon Flights, Stargazing, Photography|
|Notes on Activities:||There are tour operating companies that offer some activities outside of Botswana as well.|
Do not rely on ATM's always working in smaller towns - they are often out of order or out of money, and many times they are situated inside shops, so you can only gain access to them during business hours. Draw enough cash from large city centres.
BORDER CROSSING - ELECTRONIC ITEMS:
All electronics needs to be declared for reimport. Make a list with name of devices and serial numbers. SA Customs will just stamp your application and the attached list and it's much faster than doing this at the border.
BORDER CROSSING - FOOD CONTROL:
Normally one can bring meat, milk and eggs into Botswana, but it depends on the current situation on the outbreak of Foot and Mouth disease in cattle, and avian flu in chickens. Generally speaking you can take meat North in Botswana but not South. This is because of foot and mouth disease. Look for Vet fences on the Tracks4Africa maps which will indicate control points.
Most fruits and vegetables may no longer be brought into Botswana in order to prevent the spread of fruit fly, and it will be best to shop in Botswana. Gumare has a large, well-stocked Shoprite, and there is a Choppies in Shakawe that usually has fresh fruit and vegetables. Meat is also much cheaper in Botswana than in Namibia and South Africa, and most is of good quality.
BORDER CROSSING - PROOF OF ACCOMMODATION:
With regards to accommodation, you may be asked to write down the address of where you will be staying -but you won't need to show reservations or make any payments in this regard.
BORDER CROSSING - RESTRICTED GOODS:
There are restricted goods that can only be imported with a license or permit like narcotics, firearms etc. Refer to the Botswana Tourism site, there is a wealth of visitors information there.
BORDER CROSSING - ROAD TAX:
When crossing the border expect to pay road tax, have about 300BWP ready in cash. Main border posts have credit card facilities, but they are often not working, and if there is forex exchange, it will be very expensive.
BORDER CROSSING - VEHICLE REGISTRATION PAPERS:
If the registered owner of said 4x4 is not in vehicle, ensure you have certified copies of vehicle papers and a letter from owner (with his full details) indicating full vehicle details and his permission to cross to Botswana, stating the drivers full details and duration of permission. A certified copy of owners ID may come in very handy, this is SA side. If the vehicle is financed, ensure you have permission letter from bank to go abroad.
Botswana is strict about bush camping. You need to respect this and ask permission from the Kgotla (chief) of the nearest village to camp. It is only fair to pay for your accommodation otherwise tourism is not contributing to social and economic development but is merely a burden on the infrastructure of a country.
CURRENCY & MONEY:
You need Pula for Botswana. You cannot use ZAR/NAD etc. money.
Always good to keep some local currency in cash since the communication lines are not always reliable for card payments. Always have at least the equivalent cash of 3 tanks of fuel.
Best credit card for Botswana is VISA.
Drivers licenses must be carried with you at all times, as well as your passport. Drivers licenses from neighbouring countries are acceptable. If the license is not written in english, a certified english translation letter must accompany your drivers license.
DRIVING IN BOTSWANA:
Watch out for donkey carts and animals, and even Elephants on the stretch east of Maun.
It is advisable to buy food in Botswana, it is cheaper. Certain consumer goods may be imported for private use without an import permit, provided they do not exceed the maximum allowable quantities. Eg. Meat, dairy, maize, wheat etc.
A ban was placed on importing fresh produce from various areas in South Africa, due to the Asian Fruit Fly.
There is a new Spar in Maun which is recommended for buying meat, or Sandy's Butchery in Palapye or try in Serowe.
There are enough places in Botswana to buy fresh produce not to have an issue.
Diesel - 500ppm is available at most filling stations.
Best advice for being prepared for paying for fuel in Africa, is to draw cash at ATM's as you go, and keep enough for an extra full tank or two. Keep extra cash hidden well in your car.
Not all fuel stations accept credit cards due to high banking costs, some do and sometimes charge additional fees. Credit card machines are often out of order.
Always try to fill up with fuel at every opportunity you get, and keep your jerry cans full!
Smaller fuel stations usually only accept cash, and although you often can pay in ZAR instead of BWP (at a very unfavourable exchange rate), the more remote areas will only accept Pula.
Botswana will NOT accept fleet cards for fuel payment. (March 2015).
Petrol price: BWP7.20 p/litre.
When travelling in Botswana, be careful of high grass next to some roads….wandering donkeys, goats, cattle etc. are difficult to see….travel at about 80km in these areas!
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