Destinations

Botswana Safari FAQs

Questions about travel to botswana

Botswana is one of Africa’s most popular safari destinations, with wildly diverse landscapes, some of the most exclusive safari accommodation and abundant wildlife, from huge elephant and buffalo herds, to endearing meerkats, stealthy leopards and healthy lion packs.

Find out answers below to some of the most frequently asked questions about Botswana, and, of course, please email us or call for any more information.

Botswana FAQs

Your frequently answered Botswana questions answered by the experts at Natural World Safaris.

  • Can I drink tap water in Botswana?

    Make sure you avoid drinking tap water in Botswana. In urban areas the water is chlorinated and local people may drink it, however we very strongly advise you drink bottled water at all times. Water outside of the urban areas is contaminated.

    In short, no. The water in Botswana is not safe to drink. This means you must ensure that ice cubes, drinking water and even the water for brushing your teeth is bottled. Always double check water bottles when they are handed to you to ensure they are sealed. During your safari, bottled water is readily available.

  • Do I need vaccinations or malaria tablets?

    We always recommend you speak to your doctor or a health professional about vaccinations and malaria tablets well in advance of your safari.

    There are specialist travel clinics that are trained in the area, and they can keep you up to date with the current advice as it often changes. At present, certain areas of Botswana are affected by malaria.

    For up to date information, please head to one of the following sites:

    In the UK - Fit for Travel

    In the USA - CDC (Centres for Disease Control and Prevention)

  • What languages are spoken in Botswana?

    The official language of Botswana is English, yet most of the population also speak Setswana as well. Conversing with the locals is easily and happily done in English.

    Your game drives and other activities will be conducted in the English language too, so you don’t need to learn the local lingo before-hand, although I’m sure that would go down a treat!

    If you need your guide to speak a language other than English, it is worth contacting us to see what we can do to help.

  • How do I get around in Botswana?

    Travel in Botswana can be done in many ways; including combining game drives and small charter flights. The travel here is all part of the experience.

    A majority of travel in Botswana is done by private charter flights; in fact this is the only way to reach a majority of the camps in areas such as Chobe, Okavango Delta, Central Kalahari and the Moremi Reserve.  Many accommodations have private landing strips on location, or just a short game drive away. Scheduled light aircraft depart from Maun and Kasane, handling all inter-camp transfers as well.

    These flights give you an incredible perspective on Botswana’s beautifully diverse landscapes, and being in such a small plane can be quite a thrill. It also saves a lot of time compared to driving these distances, meaning more time on the ground to explore the many attractions of this fantastic destination.

    Light aircraft usually have a luggage restriction of 15kg. Bags must be in soft, squash-able bags so they can be easily handled and fit into the aircraft. You are also allowed 5kg of hand luggage.

  • Is Botswana good for families?

    Often known for being expensive, not everyone realises just how accessible Botswana is for families.

    Botswana can be a fantastic safari destination, offering the landscapes and wildlife one hopes for during an African safari. A safari here can be educational, inspiring and just amazing fun for all the family; however there are things to consider…

    Botswana is a truly wild destination, so many camps are unfenced. Children need to be of an age where they can be trusted not to run around outside alone, or at night. Our recommended age for children on safari in Botswana is 12, however there are lodges that specifically cater for families under this age - these lodges can provide you with a private vehicle, usually at extra cost. Read more about family safaris in Botswana here.

    We are happy to advise you on what could be best for your family, as we know every single family is unique. If your children are too young for Botswana, perhaps consider somewhere like Kenya for your family safari.

  • Where is the best place for a safari?

    Botswana is home to a huge array of private concessions and national parks, each rich in wildlife and natural wonders. It's a huge country, so finding the best place for your safari requires thoughts on what you want to see and when you want to travel.

    The Okavango Delta is undoubtedly the best known of Botswana’s parks and attractions. A bizarre natural wonder set within the famous Kalahari Basin, here you can spot some of the most truly inspiring wildlife and incredible vistas. The Okavango encapsulates the heart of wild Africa and a journey here guarantees jaw-dropping natural beauty and excellent game spotting. Yet the Okavango is just one of many places that we think makes the perfect Botswana safari, and we think it works best when combined with a few nights in some of the other, equally awe-inspiring areas of this stunning destination.

    You can combine it with some of the best parks and reserves including, Chobe National Park, famous for its huge elephant herds, or Savuti, amazing for spotting big populations of lion. For something completely different, you can head to the Kalahari for some amazing desert adapted animals, such as the endearing meerkats, or the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, one of the few places hyena call home, where in the winter you can find huge herds of Zebra and Antelope. You can also head to Linyanti for walking safaris, or even Nxai Pan for some very eccentric lodgings!

    As you can see there are myriad opportunities in Botswana, so we can’t recommend a ‘best place to go on safari’, take a look at our Botswana parks and attractions section for more details on each of the parks.

  • Do I need a visa for Botswana

    The answer to this question depends on which country you are a citizen of. Visitors to Botswana from most Commonwealth countries (including the UK, Ireland and Canada) and most EU countries, as well as Norway, Switzerland, Israel, South Africa and the United States, need only a valid passport. On arrival, your passport will be stamped with a 30-day Botswana visa. Extensions are available for up to three months. Applications for visas valid for longer than three months must be made directly to the Immigration & Passport Control Office in Gabarone before your departure to Botswana (see contact details, below). 
    Generally speaking, if you are a citizen of an African, Middle Eastern, or Asian country you will need a visa to enter Botswana, but there are several exceptions so please refer to the following lists:

    For those on a safari that combines Botswana with a trip to Zambia to view the Victoria Falls, tourist visas are available at the Botswana-Zambia border. For itineraries that combine Botswana with Namibia, a visa for the latter is not required by citizens of the UK, Ireland, Canada, the US, Australia and New Zealand.

    For further information, contact the Botswanan High Commission in London, 6 Stratford Place, London W1C 1AY 

    Tel: (+44) 20 7499 0031
    bohico@govbw.com

    Visa enquiries in Botswana are handled by the Immigration & Passport Control Office, cnr Molepole Rd & Nelson Mandela Dr, PO Box 942, Gabarone.

    Please note visa requirements do vary on a regular basis; this page is for advice only and all requirements should be checked with the relevant Embassy.
  • Where is Botswana?

    Botswana is a landlocked country in southern Africa. It shares a largely straight-edged border with Namibia to the west and north; its northernmost tip is a 700-metre-long border with Zambia running through the Zambezi River; to the east is Zimbabwe; and to the south is a 1,143-mile-long border with South Africa. 

    The closest border crossing for access to the Okavango Delta and Chobe National Park is the one with Zambia, near the Zambian city of Livingstone. Those embarking on our stunning 11-day Botswana and Zambia Wildlife and Waterfalls safari will be met on arrival at Livingstone airport for the transfer to Stanley Safari Lodge; while those indulging in our Okavango and Kalahari Wildlife Safari will depart from Livingstone airport, having flown into Maun airport 14 days before. 

    A town of some 55,000 dwelling in a mixture of modern and traditional buildings, Maun is situated to the north of Botswana and is the tourism hub for trips into the wonderful Okavango Delta. It is the starting point for many of our exceptional itineraries in Botswana, such as our Botswana Classic Camping Safari and The Beauty of Botswana Safari. Flights to Maun from the UK are typically via Johannesburg, with South African Airways or British Airways. There are also regular flights from Johannesburg to Livingstone.    

    Two further ports of entry are Kasane and Gabarone. Located in the north-east of Botswana on the Chobe River, just four miles from the border with Zambia, the small town of Kasane can be accessed by air from Maun, Gabarone and Johannesburg and is a convenient jumping off point for trips to Chobe National Park. Gabarone, Botswana’s capital and largest city, is located on the country’s southern edge, just 10 miles from the border with South Africa. Botswana’s main international airport – Sir Seretse Khama International Airport – is 10 miles north of the city and is connected to London via flights with Air Botswana, Air France, British Airways, KLM and Kenya Airways (all with at least one stop).

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