Botswana is a malaria area and recommended prophylaxis should be taken. Your doctor can advise you on the best type for the area of travel and your personal requirements. However, taking prophylaxis will not guarantee that you will not contract malaria! The best way to avoid malaria is to avoid being bitten by the mosquitoes that carry the parasite. Only the females of one species of mosquito (Anopheles) carry the tiny parasite, and the greatest incidence of malaria is in areas of high population where there are many people for the mosquito to bite and pass the parasite between. As most of Botswana's camps and lodges are in areas with very low populations, there are very few incidences of guests contracting malaria.
Mosquitoes usually bite between sunset and sunrise, so make sure that you are covered up during this time! Wear loose fitting, long sleeved shirts and trousers, use a good insect repellent and sleep underneath a mosquito net or in a tent/ room sealed with netting. If you do develop flu-like symptoms, or feel at all unwell, during your holiday or after your return home, you must make sure that your doctor knows that you have recently travelled in a malaria area. Malaria is not a serious problem provided people take adequate precautions and seek advice and treatment immediately if they feel unwell.
Botswana's major private hospitals are of a good standard with clean and safe facilities. However, serious medical cases will be evacuated by air to South Africa where further facilities are available. For this reason you must make sure that comprehensive travel insurance is taken out before you travel, this insurance should cover any medical expenses, air evacuation and repatriation if necessary.
The water is safe to drink all over Botswana. The channels of the Okavango Delta are lined with stands of papyrus which combines with the underlying, sandy soil to act as a perfect natural filter. The water can be drunk straight from the pristine waterways. Plenty of water must be drunk to prevent dehydration. We recommend 2-3 litres minimum, excluding beverages such as tea, coffee, juice and alcohol. Dehydration is responsible for the majority of air evacuations from lodges in the Okavango Delta and can cause very serious problems, it is totally avoidable, so don't let this spoil your holiday!
Rainy season: Late November to late March. Rainfall does not usually occur every day, and generally takes place in the afternoon with mornings being fairly clear.
Summer: October to March with a high of 40° C and a low of 18° C.
Winter: June to September with a high of 20° C and a low of 0° C.
There is no "best time" to visit Botswana as the different seasons all offer completely different experiences! However, you may like to consider the following when planning your trip:
Pros: Quieter tourism period, fantastic migrating birds, lush green landscape, beautiful sunsets and stunning views of electrical storms.
Cons: Wildlife is more spread out, very warm temperatures, activities may be interrupted by rain.
Pros: Higher chances of excellent game viewing, cooler, few mosquitoes.
Cons: Busiest tourism period, cold mornings and evenings, drier environment.
Our personal preference would be for either March-April or early November as these times are neither too hot nor too cool and the lodges are generally quieter. In March-April the game viewing is usually excellent and in November the migrating bird species are fantastic and the rains have not usually begun.
Bring plenty of memory cards and a spare camera battery as these items may not be available in some of the more remote areas of Botswana. A good zoom lens (minimum 200 mm) is essential for wildlife photography.
Neutral coloured casual clothing (shorts/shirts) for everyday wear, stout shoes (with soles thick enough to protect against thorns and for walking), light waterproof jacket for summer, warm jumper/ fleece for winter, warm long trousers for winter, two sets of good casual clothes for evening dining where appropriate, towel, broad brimmed hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, camera, plenty memory cards & spare battery, binoculars, reliable torch, sleeping bag if camping.
It is also worth noting that if you are travelling by light aircraft or as part of a guided safari, you should carry no more than 10-15kg of luggage in a soft bag for ease of packing.
The Botswana currency is one of the most stable in Africa. Each "pula" is divided into 100 units, called thebe. US$ can be easily exchanged throughout the country, as can Euro and pounds sterling. Traveller’s cheques can also be changed in banks and most lodges accept credit cards, mainly Visa or Mastercard, although this should be checked before arrival.
Visitors from the European Union and the USA can obtain tourist visas for up to 3 months at the border. Please contact us for details regarding your personal visa requirements.
Destination:Mozambique, Zambia, Botswana
Destination:Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana
Style:3-4*, Wildlife, Active
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