Botswana

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW

With an African dream to materialize, travellers often find Botswana in their list and it is not surprising since Botswana is indeed one of Southern Africa’s jewels.

 

Where is Botswana?

 

Botswana lies in the southern region of Africa and spans 566,730 km2 of land and about 15,000 km2 of water. It is a landlocked country with South Africa to the south, Namibia to the west and north, Zimbabwe to the east and a little bit of Zambia to the northeast.

Botswana has a predominantly flat terrain with Kalahari Desert covering a vast 70% of the entire land. The infamous Okavango Delta, the world’s largest inland delta, also sits on the northwestern area of the country.

HOW TO GET THERE?

Going to Botswana is neither cheap nor easy compared to other African countries but numerous options and flights are available for anyone who wishes to visit this stunning country. The main airport, which is located in its capital, Gaborone, is Seretse Khama International Airport (GBE). Ethiopian Airways, South African Airways and Qatar Airways have indirect flights to this airport via Johannesburg or sometimes Cape Town. However, this is not the tourists’ main choice of entry since it is quite far from the parks and attractions of the country. The popular gateway hubs are Maun Airport (MUB) in the northwest district and Kasane Airport (BBK) in the northernmost part of the country.

If you plan to visit the Okavango and other northern parks, it is best to fly into Maun Airport (MUB). It is actually the most common gateway for any Botswana safari. International flights via Johannesburg are available daily and usually arrive in the morning while flights from Cape Town operate twice a week.

 

Kasane Airport (BBK), on the other hand, is the common gateway for those who want to go to Chobe National Park or start their trip up north or with a visit to Victoria Falls. Sometimes, travellers who want to see Victoria Falls first also fly into Livingstone Airport (LVI) in Zambia.

 

Botswana airports are about an hour and 15 minutes away from Johannesburg via plane. You can check with your tour operators because they usually arrange charter flights to the safaris. Also, most domestic flights are operated by Air Botswana.

 

Check South Africa article for detailed instructions on how to get to Johannesburg or Cape Town from your country of departure.

HOW MUCH WILL IT COST?

Going to Botswana is neither cheap nor easy compared to other African countries but numerous options and flights are available for anyone who wishes to visit this stunning country. The main airport, which is located in its capital, Gaborone, is Seretse Khama International Airport (GBE). Ethiopian Airways, South African Airways and Qatar Airways have indirect flights to this airport via Johannesburg or sometimes Cape Town. However, this is not the tourists’ main choice of entry since it is quite far from the parks and attractions of the country. The popular gateway hubs are Maun Airport (MUB) in the northwest district and Kasane Airport (BBK) in the northernmost part of the country.

A roundtrip ticket to Maun from the Heathrow costs about £750 and €1000 from Amsterdam. If you’re from the US, you would need to shell out about $1,100 for the air fare to Maun and $2,000 to Kasane. For travellers from Asia, it would cost around $980 and for those from Australia about AUD7000. However, prices may change depending on the season, how early you book your tickets and if you are able to score any promos or use your air miles.

WILDLIFE IN BOTSWANA

Dividing it into two regions, the northern part of Botswana offers permanent water supply giving it a denser animal population compared to the south. Botswana hosts diverse habitats for a healthy wildlife population and an astounding birdlife. Giraffes, zebras, wildebeests and 4 of the big 5 (except rhinos) are common, but the highlight of Botswana is its high concentration of elephants. In fact, Botswana is home to the largest elephant population in the world!

Top Parks in Botswana

WHY GO TO BOTSWANA OVER OTHER AFRICAN SAFARI COUNTRIES?

Most travelers who have been to Botswana describe it as “wild”. Certainly, Botswana is more remote, untouched and pristine but just as divine as other African safari countries. If you are an avid fan of elephants, this is the perfect place to go. Also, you can view one of the most famous lion prides in the world around Savuti. You also get a chance to witness the breathtaking African sunset in contrasting landscapes – from desert lands to salt pans and delta. Botswana also offers an array of exciting activities like horseback riding among zebras, wildebeests and giraffes.

POSSIBLE TOURISM BARRIERS

  • Expensive destination (costly flights and high-priced wilderness trips)
  • No direct international flights, only direct flights from other African countries like JNB and CPT in South Africa
  • Many travelers complained that the Okavango flood waters can restrict game-viewing

WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO GO?

The best time to go most safari areas in Botswana is between April and early October when days are warm and nights are chilly. Some experts suggest going around June to October because these are the peak months of Botswana’s wildlife. But if you want to go on a time where wildlife is ample and prices are lower, you can visit around September to December when a lot of babies are born and predators are close by. You have to take note, though, that during these months, the temperature could go as high as 90 degree Celsius or maybe even more.

 

For a visit to the Kalahari desert lands, November to April is the best time to go. This is the wet season so vegetation are lush thereby attracting a lot of animals and giving you an even better wildlife viewing.

For twitchers, the best time to go is around “Green Season” in December to March.