Experience a Botswana Safari!
Botswana Safari FAQs

Booking Your Botswana Safari:

Preparing for Your Trip:

The Africa Safari Experience:

Traveling in Africa:

When is the best time to go on a Botswana safari?
While Botswana safaris are available year-round, the best time for game-viewing is during the dry African winter (May through August). This is when vegetation becomes sparse and thinned out, providing less-obstructed views of the animals. Also, animal populations are concentrated at rivers, pools and other water sources. Temperatures are generally mild during this time. [top]
How far in advance should I book my Botswana safari?
It is best to book as far in advance as possible, as some safaris sell out months ahead of their departure dates. This is especially important for those planning to travel during peak seasons (July and August) and for those adding extensions to scheduled trips. [top]
Why are safaris labeled as budget, first class or deluxe? What is the difference?
Safaris are classified according to the quality and amenities of accommodations, and the quality and number of meals and activities included in the price of your vacation.
Budget safaris typically range from $60 to $250 per person, per day, plus airfare.
First-class safaris typically range from $150 to $500 per person, per day, plus airfare.
Deluxe safaris typically range from $175 to $850 per person, per day, plus airfare.
Are children allowed on Botswana safaris?
Most Botswana safari companies set specific age limits for children. For safety reasons, children five and under might not be allowed on game drives in the parks and reserves, where terrain may be rough. In some cases, very young children may not be permitted on a safari, and older children and teens must be accompanied by an adult. There are a few Botswana safaris designed just for families, providing an exciting and educational experience for all. [top]
How many people travel in a safari group?
Group sizes vary according to the tour operator. Many tour operators limit game drives to six or seven people per vehicle, using more than one vehicle if needed so that everyone is guaranteed a window seat and good photo opportunities. [top]
How long do safaris last?
We offer safaris that range from less than a week to a month or even longer. [top]
Is airfare included in my safari price?
In some cases, the prices shown on our site are for the safari only, but one of our travel counselors can quote air from your airport gateway. We may show an air-inclusive price on the site, though that price is based on air from certain gateways and will be different if you choose to depart from a different airport.

For customers departing from the US, we offer airfare to connect to the safari. Most tour operators do not offer air from other countries, so customers departing from gateways outside the US should arrange their own air. [top]
Is there an additional charge for solo travelers on Botswana safaris?
Safari prices are quoted based on double occupancy. Solo travelers who want their own room pay the per-person price plus the single supplement fee. A single supplement is a fee imposed by hotels, lodges and camps on individuals traveling alone who want private accommodations.

Some tour operators can arrange for two single travelers to share accommodations, providing they are on the same safari, of the same sex, and both persons agree to the arrangement. [top]
What are the entry requirements for the destination countries in Africa?
With the exception of guests traveling to South Africa, all safari guests must carry a passport that is valid for six months beyond the intended length of stay. Safari guests traveling to South Africa must carry a passport that is valid for 30 days beyond the intended length of stay. Some countries require visitors to purchase visas. It is recommended you purchase your visa in advance. Check with the consulate of your destination country for the latest visa and entry requirements. The following visa requirements are current for citizens of the United States.

Botswana: A visa is not required for tourists.

Kenya: A visa is required and costs approximately $25. A visa can be obtained through a Kenyan embassy in advance of your trip.

Namibia: A visa is required and costs approximately $50. A visa can be obtained through a Namibian embassy in advance of your trip.

Rwanda: A visa is required and costs approximately $30. A visa can be obtained upon arrival at Kigali International Airport or at Rwanda’s land borders.

South Africa: A visa is not required for tourists.

Tanzania: A visa is required and costs approximately $100. A visa can be obtained through a Tanzanian embassy in advance of your trip.

Uganda: A visa is required and costs approximately $50. A visa can be obtained through a Ugandan embassy in advance of your trip.

Zambia: A visa is required and costs approximately $50. A visa can be obtained through a Zambian embassy in advance of your trip. [top]
What should I pack for a Botswana safari?
Pack as lightly as possible, but be prepared for all the activities in which you are planning to participate. Pack for the destination and season you will encounter, and be mindful that climates may vary drastically from region to region. Temperatures can also vary quite a bit between the midday heat and the evening cool, so plan to dress in layers. Comfort will be a priority, but you might consider bringing a few dressy outfits for nights out in the cities.

Pack neutral-colored, comfortable, lightweight clothing. White, bright or vividly patterned clothing should be avoided when game viewing on foot so that safari-goers can blend in with the natural landscape as much as possible. Bring sturdy walking shoes or hiking boots, depending on the anticipated level of physical activity. Wide-brimmed hats, sunglasses, lip protection and good quality sunscreen are essential to protect against the harsh African sun. Insect repellent with DEET is also a must when on safari. Also pack a good pair of binoculars to optimize wildlife viewing.

A travel kit is recommended with any basic medications you may need, such as painkillers, antihistamines, allergy medicines or remedies for an upset stomach. If you take prescription medication, bring a sufficient supply to last for the duration of your trip, and write down the generic names so that the drugs could be replaced locally if necessary. Those who wear prescription glasses or contact lenses should bring spares.

Pack prescription medicines and spare contacts or glasses in your carry-on bag, in the event that your checked luggage is delayed.

Climbers and divers can hire gear locally but may wish to bring their own equipment, as well as dive certification cards. Those with digital camera or video camera battery chargers or other electrical items should bring the appropriate power converter and adapters.

Securely bind all travel documents together, including tickets, passports and any visa entries, vaccination certificates and travel insurance documents. Make extra copies of your passport, airline tickets and traveler's check numbers, some to pack and some to leave at home. A small daypack is a handy means of carrying travel documents, cameras and everyday items. [top]
What sort of luggage should I bring?
Due to space limitations aboard motorcoaches and domestic flights between safari destinations, tour operators may place restrictions upon the number of bags allowed per person, and upon the maximum weight of each bag. Guests also may be required to use only soft-sided luggage or duffel bags rather than hard-sided suitcases. Ask your travel counselor for more details. [top]
What medical precautions should I take before traveling to Africa?
It is worthwhile to protect your health and take basic precautions to ensure a smooth trip. Talk with your doctor or travel medicine specialist one to two months before your trip to discuss medical issues related to your travel destination. Travelers to Africa must take responsibility for obtaining required or recommended vaccinations, prescriptions, over-the-counter medications or insect repellents. Proof of vaccination may be required for entry into a destination country or for return entry into your originating country.

Your doctor can advise you of the latest health precautions, as vaccination requirements are subject to change. Vaccines that may be recommended for travelers to Africa include those for tetanus, diphtheria, polio, typhoid, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, yellow fever, rabies and meningitis. Some of these vaccines may not become effective immediately, or may require more than one dose. If a disease was recently prevalent and is endemic in the destination country, many doctors may recommend the vaccination as a precaution.

If you are taking prescription drugs, make sure you have an adequate supply of medication for the duration of your trip, as well as a copy of your prescription. [top]

See also "What is the risk of malaria?"
What are some of the attractions on a Botswana safari?
Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Makgadikgadi saltpans, Okavango Delta and Moremi Game Reserve, Chobe National Park [top]
What is the landscape like in Botswana?
The Kalahari Desert encompasses nearly all of this flat, landlocked country in southern Africa. The lush Okavango Delta provides a rich contrast to the scrub savannah and expansive saltpans -- shallow basins containing salt deposits from an evaporated lake. [top]
What is the best time of day to view the animals?
In general, the best times to see game are early morning and late afternoon. In the midday heat, animals frequently retreat to the cool of thick undergrowth, where they cannot be seen. Another benefit to morning and afternoon game drives is witnessing Africa's unforgettable sunrises and sunsets. [top]
How did Africa's "Big Five" get its name?
The "Big Five" are leopard, lion, elephant, rhino and buffalo and comprise a top viewing priority for many safari-goers. The term is a reference from the days of colonial trophy hunting, when hunters ranked African game according to how dangerous they were to pursue. [top]
What types of accommodations can I expect on a Botswana safari?
Accommodations will vary according to which type of safari you choose, from simple yet comfortable bungalows and participation camping to private, luxurious lodges. Guests may also stay in bush lodges, fine hotels or well-appointed, Hemingway-style tented camps. [top]
What types of transportation are used on Botswana safaris?
While it varies among tour operators, transportation is generally by private vehicle. Four-wheel-drive safari vehicles are essential throughout the national parks and game reserves. All vehicles are maintained with high standards of comfort and safety. Some safaris use internal flights to transport guests between destinations. [top]
What are the roads like in Botswana?
Most main roads are tarred, but not the rough roads of the national parks. [top]
What are the different cultures and religions to be encountered on Botswana safaris?
Botswana encompasses varied cultures due to a diverse ethnic composition, including the Batswana (descendants of immigrants from central western Africa), the Basarwa (indigenous hunter-gatherers also called the San), and the Herero (pastoralists). More than three-fourths of the population lives in rural areas. The majority of the population is Christian, while Islam, Hindu and indigenous beliefs are also represented. [top]
What languages are spoken in Botswana?
English is spoken widely throughout eastern and southern Africa, especially by those involved in the tourism industry. English is the official language, while Setswana is the national language. Other tribal languages are also spoken. [top]
Do you have any photography tips for travelers on an Africa safari?
As you are not always guaranteed to get extremely close to the wildlife, a typical "point-and-shoot" camera may be insufficient. A 35mm SLR (single lens reflex) camera with an interchangeable lens is recommended. A 35-70mm lens works well for landscapes; a zoom lens such as a 70-210mm lens is good for moving subjects; and a long lens such as an 80-200mm lens is good for wildlife photography. More serious photographers may choose telephoto lenses of 400-500mm, though any larger lens that might require a tripod would not be practical on a moving vehicle. A 2x teleconverter is a useful option to double the focal length of your lens.

The bright African sun provides good lighting, and a UV filter may be helpful. ASA/ISO 50 and 100 speed film will suffice in daylight conditions. Using larger lenses will require faster film, such as 200-400 ASA film, especially in the softer light of early morning or late afternoon.

Bring plenty of film and extra batteries. If you run out during your vacation, you generally can find film and batteries available at lodges and along major tourist routes. Protect your equipment on safari with a solid camera bag, as well as a lens cleaning cloth and a soft brush to eliminate dust.

Users of digital cameras should pack rechargeable batteries, a charger, adaptors and converter, and one or two high-capacity memory cards (1 gigabyte is often recommended) to store the photos you've taken.

For a digital video camera, bring long-life batteries, charger, and adaptors and converter for the charger.

It is important to remember that not all African cultures are comfortable with cameras. Rural populations may shy away from your camera, and some locals may ask for a fee in return for having their picture taken. It is advisable to avoid photographing anything relating to government and military installations, including personnel such as soldiers or police and buildings such as post offices, banks, airports, border posts and railway stations. [top]
What are the time differences in Africa?
Time zones in Africa safari destinations range from six to eight hours ahead of U.S. Eastern Standard Time. [top]
What is the local currency in Botswana, and where can I exchange currency?
The currency is the pula, in which notes are issued. The coins are thebe. Major hotels generally have foreign currency exchange facilities, and most shops and lodges will accept traveler's checks. [top]
When are banks open in Botswana?
Most banks are open from 9am to 3:30pm Monday to Friday, and 8:30am to 11am on Saturdays. [top]
Can I use my credit card for purchases made while on a Botswana safari?
Major credit cards are accepted at hotels, shops and restaurants. Certain lodges and restaurants do not accept payment by Diners Club or American Express. [top]
Is tipping a common practice in Botswana?
Tipping is not always common, but a discretionary 10% or loose change is appreciated. [top]
Will I have access to the Internet while on safari? How about international phone service?
While communications in remote tented camps will be limited, most major hotels and lodges offer Internet services as well as international telephone and fax services. Additionally, private communication centers and cyber cafes in larger towns enable tourists to stay connected. Some centers may close on Sundays and public holidays. The cellular networks in safari destination countries cover most large towns and tourist areas. There are post offices in many towns, and stamps are also sold in many shops in tourist lodges and hotels. [top]
What types of electrical outlets are used in Botswana?
The electrical current in lodges and hotels is 220 volts. If you plan to bring 110-volt electrical devices, it's suggested that you pack an electrical converter and an adapter plug set (socket configurations in destination countries vary between the two-pronged variety and the three-pronged variety). In general, there are no electrical outlets in the tents of safari camps. Many safari camps in remote locales produce their own electricity through a generator that runs when guests are away from the camp on activities. Your tour guide may be able to arrange for the charging of digital or video camera batteries at these times. [top]
What safety issues should I consider while traveling in Botswana?
Basic precautions should be taken in all countries. Tour guides are highly experienced in navigating each destination, but visitors should always be aware of their surroundings, especially in any rural villages that may be wary of foreigners. In less-developed countries where many people live in poverty, crimes of opportunity can occur, such as petty theft. Visitors are advised to stay alert and use common sense. Safari guests should limit the amount of cash they carry and lock valuables in a hotel safe or other secure place. Lock hotel rooms when you leave. Do not walk alone in deserted areas at night. Take extra care of purses, bags and wallets in crowded places such as malls and nightclubs. [top]
Is the water in Botswana safe to drink?
Tap water is purified and relatively safe to drink at urban hotels, lodges and restaurants. Water supplies are less reliable in rural regions and heavily utilized by wildlife and cattle. It is best to carry water when traveling through remote areas. Water is a scarce resource in Botswana, and travelers should be conservative in their water usage. [top]
What precautions should I take when dining in Africa?
It is worthwhile to be selective when traveling through the tropics, as possible disease hazards can range from minor bouts of travelers' diarrhea to dysentery and more serious parasitic diseases. Food should always be thoroughly cooked and served hot. Do not feel compelled to eat anything you might be wary about, as it is better to err on the side of caution.

Tour operators choose hotels and restaurants with high standards for food preparation. When dining elsewhere, it is best to avoid ice and raw produce. Avoid buying food or drink from street vendors.

If possible, avoid eating in empty restaurants or buffets (outside of those included in your tour), as the food may have been reheated or left sitting out for some time. Order meat well-done. In general it is best to avoid fish, unless you are on the coast and the seafood is fresh and thoroughly prepared. [top]
What is the risk of malaria?
Malaria is spread by mosquitoes, which bite mainly at dusk and at night. You can only contract malaria if you are bitten by an infected anopheles mosquito. Safari guests are advised to use insect repellent containing DEET (sprayed on clothing and any exposed skin), to keep arms and legs covered as much as possible, and to avoid the use of perfume, hairspray and other scented products that might attract mosquitoes.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) strongly recommends that visitors to southern and eastern Africa take anti-malarial medication. Consult your physician before your trip so that he or she can prescribe the appropriate drugs. Anti-malarial medications are generally taken prior to your departure, during your trip, and after you return home for periods determined by your doctor. Symptoms of malaria include aches, chills, headaches and fever, and may not appear until after your trip. Treatment is widely available, recovery times are fast, and with basic precautions, the risk of infection is minimal. [top]
Are there any other health concerns for travelers in Africa?
Depending on the season of your safari, the heat may be intense. Always stay well hydrated, use sunscreen with a high protection factor, wear a hat and light clothing, and stay indoors or in the shade during the hottest parts of the day. Keep a close eye on any minor wounds to ensure they do not get infected.

Travelers should avoid handling any animal, as rabies can be transmitted by licks and scratches as well as bites. Schistosomiasis, also known as Bilharzia, is a parasitic disease spread in Africa's streams and rivers. It is best to avoid swimming anywhere except in chlorinated pools. [top]

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