We have been publishing complete travel guides to places of tourist interests such as:
- National Parks
A complete travel guide is the most searched information by tourists because a travel guide will contain all the useful information of a tourist destination such as:
- When to go
- What to see
- Where to stay
- How to reach
- What to eat
- What to buy
This article will deal with traveling to Botswana. It is a complete Botswana travel guide containing all the above-mentioned useful information and quick facts about Botswana, an African country located on the southern region of Africa, the world’s ultimate place for seeing wild animals and eating such foods that you might not have even dreamt of.
Location of Botswana:
Botswana is an African country that is bordered by several African countries that include:
- South Africa
Such a landlocked position means, Botswana has no coastline.
How to reach Botswana?
Tourists invariably land at the capital of any country, particularly the African countries where there is a maximum of one or two big cities only that have all infrastructure to help you move around the country. Of course, there are a few exceptions to this common rule in Africa, South Africa being a prime example.
The capital of Botswana is Gaborone.
Since Botswana is visited mainly to see the game parks, tourists usually reach Johannesburg in South Africa first from wherever they are.
From Johannesburg, they have two options and none of them include Gaborone as their Botswana destination.
So where do the tourists land in order to visit Botswana?
From Johannesburg, they take a flight either to Maun in Botswana, or Livingstone in Zambia.
So, South Africa seems to be the only country that operates direct flights to its neighbor Botswana that is lying north of South Africa. I read another big South African City, ‘Cape Town’ also operates direct flights to Botswana.
You may be wondering whether Botswana’s capital Gaborone has an international airport or not. Oh yes, it has and is called Sir Seretse Khama International Airport.
Overview of Botswana:
Well, the dreaded, harsh Kalahari Desert is part of Botswana and surprisingly, quite a lot of tourists pay a visit to see the sand dunes stretching into the infinity.
Okavango Delta is a landscape which is a total contrast to Kalahari. It’s a river delta that gets frequently flooded. You can visualize a greenish region that is liked by the great wild animals of Africa.
Both the Moremi Game Reserve and the Kalahari Game Reserve are part of the Botswana landscape.
There are some diamond mines too in Botswana. However, I wonder if the mines still yield precious stones!
When to visit Botswana.
Most of the African countries are hot during summer months that start in the second half of February and lasts till May. It is advisable to avoid going to Botswana which is no exception to other African nations.
If you plan your trip during June, July, and August, the temperature will be at a tolerable mid-20s. However, don’t expect the dry and parched earth to get wet; no rains during these months too.
If you care more for the African Avifauna, plan your Botswana trip from November to Feb middle. There will be rains and the birds will arrive then.
What to see in Botswana:
The Kalahari Desert is usually placed first in the itinerary of Botswana guided tour. It seems the tour organizers want their clients to finish with the worst first. In addition, by entering the sizzling Kalahari, you are prepared for what is n store for you in other African countries so that you will know what you can expect on the other side of the desert.
Don’t assume there is nothing to see in the Kalahari Desert except the endless sand dunes and an oasis or two if you are lucky. There are sights in the hot deserts also that can force your mouth agape in surprise.
Witsand Nature Reserve, Kalahari, Botswana
In the midst of red sand, you will come across sprawling white sand, a sort of waterless island that is surrounded by the red sand on all its sides. Don’t think this white sand island is small and you can just walk across on its length and breadth. It is a sprawling area of over 6000 acres, buddy!
Sandboarding is possible if a board is available on hand; else, just try sand surfing.
See the video below:
The fabulous Meerkat Show:
Meerkats are funny looking animals that feel very safe in their burrows they dig out on the desert sand.
Known also as Suricate, they belong to the mongoose species. They are always staring ahead and it seems that is the only thing they can do. Whom are they expecting?
If you are on an animal safari tour in Botswana, you will be taken to the Kuruman River Reserve which is an ideal place to watch the Meerkat in gangs.
Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
This game reserve in Botswana is located right on the border of South Africa and is rightly called ‘transforntier park’.
This is a typical African game park that is characterized not by lush green forests but by the presence of bright red sand dunes.
The wildlife that is spotted in Botswana’s Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park includes:
- Raptors that include vultures, owls, eagles, and falcons. They are the scavengers of the desert.
- Kalahari Lions with a dark mane
What a sight! It is really the king of jungles.
An interaction with Khomani San
Your African visit is not complete if you don’t meet at least one original inhabitants of Africa. There are several of them living in various parts of Africa; their simple life, living with nature out and out is very interesting.
In Botswana nation’s Kalahari Desert region, you can go to the house of Khomani San, the true bushmen community, have a chat, meet his family members and even go for a short hunting session with him. You won’t forget that experience of interacting with the native hunters of Africa and eating whatever is given to you as a token of hospitality.
Orange River is one of the longest rivers in South Africa that also flows through Namibia and Botswana. Its route in South Africa is a thriving wine region.
In total contrast to the fiery Kalahari Desert, the Okavango Delta is showing some green cover, real earth with no sand and above all a river that goes by the name Okavango. It flourishes northern Botswana.
One of the highly popular game reserves in Africa is Moremi Game Reserve and it is located in Botswana’s Okavango Delta region.
Your African safari guide will point out to the mammoth hippopotamus enjoying a silent bath in the river. You and I will fail to spot the beast because they hardly move to create a ripple on the water. Oh, the crocodiles happily co-exist in Okavango River.
Since there is a river in this part of Botswana and there is water in the river, you can definitely spot the real big cats of Africa and the giant African elephants. Zebras and Giraffes too come to the riverfront to quench their thirst. Oh yes, your African safari’s main purpose is fulfilled in Botswana’s Okavango River Delta.
If you happen to go on a boat ride on the river, you will come across the Chief’s Island, a rather lengthy river island measuring 70 km (wow!) long.
Chobe National Park, Botswana
Chobe National Park is part of the Okavango River Delta. This game park perennially attracts African safari tours because some wildlife or the other is always spotted, particularly elephants. Other animals that are the identities of Africa such as zebras, giraffes, springboks, wildebeest, and buffaloes can be seen roaming in herds.
Nxai Pan National Park, Botswana
Tutume is a village in Botswana, about 50 km from Zimbabwe. The Nxai Pan National Park is located in Tutume and this National Park is an excellent place to see the African wild animals. Bird watching is also recommended at this place.
Tuli Game Reserve
If time permits, you must make a visit to a great game park that is located in Tuli Block that lies near Zimbabwe border. The two slushy and murky rivers namely Limpopo and Shashe flow through this Botswana National park.
Two rivers mean their banks are covered with bushes that are ideal camouflage for leopards and lions that wait patiently to attack the crocodiles living in the rivers.
A few more game reserves and parks in Botswana are:
- Khama Rhino Sanctuary
- Moremi Game Reserve
- Mokolodi Game Reserve
- Linyanti Wildlife Reserve
Accommodation options in Botswana
Being a very frequently toured game reserve and the vast Kalahari Desert that is located in Botswana, there is no dearth of staying options here.
Of course, you cannot expect five-star style comforts in the midst of a cruel desert. You can find rustic forest lodges with very basic amenities and you can expect to be disturbed by the roar of lions and tigers during the night.
The range of accommodations in Botswana include:
- Open ground camps
- Safari lodges
- Wooden dens
- Thatched huts
You get to eat authentic African jungle cuisine that is vastly different from the food you eat in swanky restaurants in Cape Town or Johannesburg.
Sure, you get vegetables here, the chief among them is the potato. They eat nearly charred potato with a porridge made of millets. This staple of Botswana is known as “Bogobe”.
Beef is the most eaten meat in the African deserts and it is not nicely cooked, mate.
Most of the organized safari lodges won’t let you go hungry.