How safe is Botswana?
Botswana is considered a safe travel destination. It is both financially and politically stable. It has been spared much of the unrest and turmoil that plagues so many countries in Africa. As is the case elsewhere, the larger cities and population centers generally have the most crime, but once you are on safari, such problems are all but non-existent. It is, however, a good idea to leave your valuables (expensive watches, jewelry, etc) at home, thus eliminating the temptation for possible theft. Luggage locks are always advisable when flying.
What type of travel documents do I need?
A valid passport is a requirement for any international travel. When traveling into Southern Africa your passport must be valid for a minimum of 6 months after your entrance date and have at least 2 blank pages. Citizens of certain countries are required to obtain visas for entry into Botswana. As this list of countries changes from time to time, it is important to check well in advance of your departure, regarding current visa requirements. Please note that it is your own responsibility to ensure that all necessary visas are obtained prior to entry (unless available on entry, such as Zambia, Zimbabwe at the current time).
What type of clothing will I need on safari?
Depending upon what time of year your safari is in Botswana, lightweight clothing of cotton and cotton blends is most suitable. During the winter months, it can become very cold and a warm jacket will be needed for early morning and evening game viewing activities. During the summer months bring a lightweight water/windproof jacket in case of rain, but otherwise, temperatures are very warm. For evenings bring lightweight long-sleeved clothing as protection from mosquitoes. Neutral colors such as khaki, beige/cream or olive green are appropriate and are less conspicuous to the animals. Laundry is done daily in lodge based and once during a week-long mobile safari, so it is not necessary to overpack. Consult our packing list as a general guide before you travel. It is recommended that on your international flight to Botswana you carry a change of clothing (eg T-shirt and underwear), any prescription medicines and your valuables (documents, camera, wallet) in your hand luggage in case of lost luggage or luggage delays from connecting international flights. In the case of lost luggage, we will assist where possible in calling the airlines to monitor progress in your luggage claim which, in most cases, arrives the following day. However, please note that it is often beyond our control and your best precaution is packing the essential items in your hand-luggage.
Is the water safe to drink?
Yes. Water supplies in camp are filtered to city standards. Water jugs in each tent are replenished on a daily basis. Bottled water is also readily available from the bar at each camp.
What type of safari vehicles will I be game viewing in?
Our safari operators use Toyota Landcruisers which have been specially built for game viewing and photography. All have completely open seating areas and cabs for unhindered photography. Each has ample seating (although we normally keep occupancy to six or less in each vehicle!), with seat pockets, charging stations on the mobile safaris, reference books, snacks, bottled water, toilet paper, insect spray and a cool box for refreshments.
Is electricity available in the lodges and camps?
For our lodge offerings, batteries may be recharged in camp during the day. Depending upon the electricity needed for camp operations, it may be possible to recharge video cameras during the day, but this will be at the discretion of the camp manager. Be sure you bring a 3-prong, round point adapter with you and also be sure to bring a spare battery for use whilst the other battery is being charged in camp, to avoid missing out on any photographic opportunities. For the mobile safari,
Please note that it is not possible to use appliances such as hairdryers and electric shavers in the delta camps as the power is insufficient and usage may result in the power tripping for the whole camp. If you bring a fully charged portable electric razor, it could very well last for the duration of the safari.
Ceiling fans are fitted in all the guest rooms in our camps. Unfortunately, due to the remoteness of our camps, it is not possible to run air conditioners due to the amount of power required to do so. Chobe Game Lodge and Chobe Savanna Lodge have 220V mains electricity. Our mobile safaris do not have ceiling fans. All tents have a 9 volt LED lighting for inside and outside in the en-suite quarters. Lanterns are lit and placed outside of your tent during the night.
To allow for the full peacefulness and relaxation while on safari, there is no access to WiFi or telephones. The camps do however have a guest computer situated in the lounge area, which guests can use to access the internet via satellite link-up which can be slow. Our mobile tented safaris do not have access to a mobile network or the Internet. In terms of telephonic communication, each camp has a satellite phone in the event of emergency situations.
What about tipping?
Tipping is not obligatory. It is, however, appropriate if you feel that the measure of service you received warrants a show of your personal appreciation, this is purely discretionary. The average tip amounts are approximately $10 per guest, per day. Customarily, $5–10 per day will go to your driver/guide camp staff, directly and $5 per day can be placed in the Tip Box provided in the lodges, Lodge Managers distribute the latter among the camp employees. It is a fair distribution system, ensuring that the ‘behind the scenes’ staff are also rewarded.
Is a safari strenuous?
No. Getting into and out of vehicles and light aircraft as well as some walking is the most strenuous activity you will encounter. Our safaris are considered ‘soft adventure’. Some of the road terrains can be bumpy as it is ‘off road’, this is part of the experience; however, if you have a back problem please do advise us in advance to check your suitability for a safari of this nature.
How much baggage can I bring on safari?
Since most safari travel is done in small aircraft, each passenger is limited to 20Kg’s of luggage in soft duffel bags including hand luggage and photographic equipment. Bear in mind the door to the luggage pod is only 65 x 25 cm. Soft type duffel bags are ideal and are required. Excess baggage be may subject to additional baggage/charter charges and please note that you have the option to store your excess baggage in our Maun office at no extra charge until the end of your safari (this option is available only if your safari starts and ends in Maun, otherwise alternate arrangements will need to be made). You are allowed to carry more baggage on mobile safaris. If you have booked a combined mobile and lodge-based trip, arrangements for your extra luggage will need to be arranged. More info: What to Pack on Mobile Safari.
How much money will I need?
Most major currencies are accepted throughout Botswana. You will not need large sums of cash while on safari, as our programs are all-inclusive. However, some guests enjoy shopping in Maun. Selected camps have a small gift shop stocked with various curios and safari items. Credit cards can be used (Master or Visa cards). Otherwise, you may need money for any accommodations, meals, and shopping before or after your scheduled safari as well as for visas (Zimbabwe etc) and taxes. The amount needed, of course, is your personal decision.
Botswana Currency: Pula
Zambian Currency; Kwacha
Zimbabwe Currency: USD – See Below
ZIMBABWE CREDIT CARD,CASH & CURRENCY PROBLEMS
All Guests going to Zimbabwe MUST bring enough cash, in US Dollars, to pay their meal and activity bills, as operators prefer cash as opposed to Credit Cards.
What about insects or snakes?
Surprisingly, there are very few snake problems in Botswana; normal common sense avoids contact with snakes (for instance, don’t go crawling through dense bushes!). Insect repellent is provided in all tents and safari vehicles. However, for your personal comfort, we recommend you bring some insect repellent of your own and take malarial prophylaxis (please consult your local travel medical specialist for the medication best suited to you).
What contact details should be left at my home/office?
You should leave the contact details with your safari operators’ Maun office in order that you can be contacted in the camps by radio, or to the satellite phone from Maun in case of an emergency.