A clean, safe and sunshine-filled country, Botswana lies immediately to the north of South Africa. Its neighboring countries are Namibia on the north and west part and Zimbabwe on the north eastern side. It is also connected by a narrow strip of land on the northern border of Zambia.
Since the country’s independence in 1966, the landlocked Botswana has been considered as “Africa’s success story.” This peaceful country is also described as the land of starkest contrast.
Botswana is one of the few remaining destinations in Africa that still provides a thrilling safari adventure for vacationers all over the world. The open game parks and preserves, while presenting wildlife a diverse and rich environment, are still undeveloped and untamed...making Botswana safari vacations an adventure travel must!
Most of Botswana’s tiny population is concentrated in the kinder, more fertile southeast part of the country leaving a huge portion covered by the Kalahari Desert – a combination of sand, savanna and grassland environment. Although these areas are sparsely inhabited by humans, it is one of the richest wildlife regions in Africa and lets you experience a Botswana vacation that is sure to remain in your memory long after you’ve shaken the Kalahari sand out of your boots.
What makes Botswana a must-see destination and vacation travel spot in Africa is the fact that it offers travelers an amazing wide range of pure, untouched environments and typical safari adventures that will definitely prove that there are wild places still left in the world today.
When to Travel
The country experiences extremes in both temperature and weather. Peak season falls during the dry winter months between May and August where days are normally clear, warm and sunny, and nights are cool to cold. Wildlife in these months becomes increasingly concentrated around water sources so sightings are more predictable than in the wetter summer season. This is also the time for school holidays in the North American, European and most importantly South African region so some areas can be busy between mid-July and mid-September.
Summer months from October to April can cause sandy roads to be impenetrable. This is the time that wildlife is harder to spot and where highest humidity and scorching heat is experienced. Don’t ignore the rainy summer months between November and April too: the season offers a fantastic view of bird watching and lots of new-born animals.
Cuisine and Drink
Botswanan cuisine is unique in South Africa, yet it shares some of the recipes of its neighboring countries. One of the most distinct and popular traditional meat dish made for most special occasion is the Seswaa or Chotlho. This is a heavily salted mashed up meat usually cooked by the locals in three-legged iron pots.
Another popular dish is the Serobe made from the intestines and other inside parts of goat, sheep or cow which are cooked until soft. Another common dish is porridge (bogobe). It is usually made by putting maize or millet flour into boiling water and stirring until it becomes a soft paste. Sometimes the maize is fermented and milk and sugar is added to make a dish called ting.
Bread enthusiasts will also find a good variety of bread recipes on their Botswana vacation that have become part of the national food. The most common are fat cakes (magwinya), flat cakes (diphaphatha) and dumplings (matemekwane).
For refreshments, there are soft drinks and alcohol drinks that are made in Botswana factories like Fanta and Coca-Cola. There are also local brands like Castle and Lion Beers. On the other hand, a famous non alcoholic homemade drink is the ginger beer.
Watermelon, said to have come originally from Botswana are also plentiful in season.
Popular Vacation Spots
Botswana is home to some of the world’s greatest wildlife destinations: the remarkable Okavango Delta, an immense green oasis in the center of Kalahari and the Chobe National Park where the ground literally grumbles beneath the feet of thousands of elephants.
Okavango Delta – this inland river delta is one of the most delightful places on the continent for a safari vacation. You can reach the delta via small boats or even dugout canoes which provide a certain calmness that is difficult to achieve using a land rover. Elephants, zebras, giraffes and other large game species found sanctuary in Okavango but the park’s strong point is in its myriad of small islands that is abundant owith plant life, birds and absolute splendor. As expected, common in this park are hippos and crocodiles. Fishing is also superb in the northwestern area.
Moremi Wildlife Reserve – this is located in the northeastern part of Okavango Delta and merges the attractions of the delta with a more concrete landscape. It is a marvelous reserve that embraces a wide variety of ecosystem and a sufficient diversity of wildlife.
Chobe National Park – this is Botswana’s best big game park. With its gorgeous grassland reserve, the park gained its international fame for its immense elephant population (over 70,000) and it is common to come across herds in excess of a hundred. The northwest part of the park is marked by Chobe River and the River’s popularity has made game viewing by boat a popular tourist attraction.
Makgadikgadi Pans National Park – located southeast of Chobe, these enormous salt pans is habitat to large herds of wildebeest and several antelope species as well as flamingos.
These places including Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Nxai Pan National Park and Linyanti/Kwando Swamps will amuse the safari holiday travelers with their rough yet reachable, secluded and marvelous wildlife.
Botswana’s unit of currency is the pula (P) which is divided into 100 thebe. Tourists will soon realize why their currency is named “pula” upon visiting the place. “Pula” means rain which is a precious commodity in this desert land.
Banking services are available only in major towns but ATM’s are emerging all over the country. Credit cards are accepted at most hotels and restaurants and cash advances are accessible at major banks.
The language mostly spoken by the locals in Botswana is English although some rural areas particularly the older generations use their indigenous mother tongue which is Setswana. It is easy to learn basic greetings and using them in conversing with the natives will definitely make them happy.
Try saying hello in Setswana – Dumela! You say Dumela Rra (pronounced borra) when you address men and Dumela Mma (pronounced as bomma) when addressing women.
Traveling with a "Trusted" Source
Vacations to Botswana are on many traveler's "bucket list." It's important to know and trust the company you are traveling with on your safari vacation. Trusted Adventures, through a member company, offers a a variety of trips to Botswana. Feel free to contact us or inquire about vacations to Botswana at any time.