A landlocked country in southern Africa, Botswana has long been considered as wild Africa at its best. Here, big cats roam free and elephants number their greatest anywhere in the world. This is also where the Cubango River, which begins in Angola, gets stranded in the soft sands of the Kalahari Desert, forming a vast stretch of water world known as the Okavango Delta. Its permanent marshland as well as annually flooded plains form one of the last great refuge of wildlife, and sustain a large concentration of game such as cheetah, hippopotamus, elephant, leopard and zebra. The Botswana travel blog can help you put together an independent itinerary to increase your chances of spotting wildlife.
To the southeast, white rhinos can be sighted within Khama Rhino Sanctuary, while tens of thousands of elephants populate Chobe National Park in the north. As Kalahari Desert covers much of the country, seeing it is part of the Botswana travel experience. While it is an arid place, Kalahari is not lifeless. Some of Botswana’s national parks and game reserves are located in the desert, with tribal villages dotting the region, among them San settlements. The San people have lived in the Kalahari for the last 20,000 years as hunters-gatherers.
Because Botswana practices a high-price, low-number approach to tourism, its safaris are often exclusive, once-in-a-lifetime propositions. It’s possible to put together a self-drive itinerary by 4WD campervan hire in Botswana though, and enjoy a truly wild Botswana safari in every sense of the word.
Botswana Travel Blog Tips and Advice
- Crime and Safety – Unlike its northern neighbours, Botswana is free from civil wars and apartheid hangover that remains an issue in most of southern Africa. Along with diamond mining, tourism is one of the country’s highest earners, so levels of service are generally good with few hassles. Crime rate is low, but you still need to observe common sense when in touristy areas. Also be vigilant against predatory animals in rural areas.
- Heat exhaustion and Sunburn – Botswana has a very dry climate so the possibility of suffering from sunburn or heatstroke or heat exhaustion is very real. Try to avoid consuming caffeine and alcohol while upping your intake of water. Loose-fitting, long-sleeved garments are highly recommended on top of using high-factor sunblock.
- Medical and Health Concerns – HIV is quite a common occurrence in Botswana, infecting about 1 out of 4 people, so take extreme precautions in situations when bodily fluids are involved. Malaria is also a concern, particularly in Chobe National Parka and the Okavango Delta. Consider talking to your doctor for possible malaria vaccine as there can be unpleasant side effects for getting one.
- Potable Water – Tap water in urban areas is chlorinated and may upset sensitive stomachs, while outside of urban areas, water is often drawn straight from the borehole and may pose some risks for first-time travellers.
- Public Transportation – While it’s possible to get to your destination using a combination of coaches and combies, be aware that public transportation away from the big cities can be spotty. Travel by rental car, however, is easy as roads are generally paved and well-maintained, if littered with goats, cows and donkeys.