Botswana Quick Guide: Visiting one of SA's iconic neighbours made easy

2017-04-08 14:30
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Say yes to a much-needed gateway and #FindYourEscape in Botswana, but first like many good adventure-loving South Africans there are a few things you’ll need to get together before you go.

While Botswana is an extension of the iconic Kruger self-drives you may know and love so well, this is a border-cross break that requires a certain amount of preparation and planning if you want to make the most of it.  Here's what you need to know before you go:

SEE: SA Insider Guide: Easter school holidays events across SA

Essentials

Travel documents: visa free - but you will NEED your passport - so make sure it's valid.

SEE: 45 Practical tips for South Africans planning their first 4x4 Botswana trip

NOTE: If you’re travelling to the north of Botswana or find yourself in Limpopo, you should take Malaria medication well in advance and after your trip – in accordance with your doctor’s prescriptions. The risk is higher as authorities warn of the possibility of Malaria, especially in the north. Chobe National Park is included in the risk area. 

SEE: ALERT: Limpopo on high alert as Botswana issues Malaria warning

MONEY

Currency: Pula (P) at about R1.29/P

National Language: Setswana or Tswana (take note there is an abundance of languages spoken in Botswana, with Setswana being the most prominent).

Exchange rates: Dollars are also widely accepted and keep in mind the various park access fees as well as conservation fees as you plan your itinerary

On The Road

Botswana is teaming with wildlife in its numerous parks and reserves, including the Big 5. River safaris, home to Africa’s biggest elephant population - note  elephant back riding has been prohibited -  the Okavango Delta are just some of the country’s unique drawcards.

Border: 4 to 7 hours drive from Johannesburg, depending which of the 17 border crossings you choose.

WATCH: Botswana: An easy escape for South Africans

Where to Stay

Some of the top camps to check into in the Botswana include:

Central Botswana: Kalahari Plains Camp

Located in the Central Kalahari area of Botswana, Kalalhari Plains Camp is said to be two high-quality options within the enormous Central Kalahari Reserve. Activities are centred on vehicle safaris and bush walks. It is well-suited to the type of guests who tend to be attracted to this relatively unusual location. The sleep-out decks above the rooms are a particular highlight. 

Northern: Linyanti Tented Camp

Located Linyanti East in the Linyanti area of northern Botswana is a small, simple permanent tented camp in a pretty waterfront position on the superb Linyanti East Concession, which offers very strong wildlife viewing during May/Oct dry season, particularly notable for elephants, lions, wild dogs and leopards.

City Stay: Peermont

The Peermont has an 11-star presence in the capital city, Gaborone, with the Peermont Walmont and Peermont Metcourt Inn situated within the award winning Grand Palm Hotel Casino Convention Resort and the 4 star boutique Peermont Mondior hotel closer to the city center.

Must-visit:

- The Okavango Delta

- Chobe National Park


- Makgadikgadi Salt Pan (Makgadikgadi Pans National Park) 

 

- Kubu Island (Makgadikgadi Pans National Park)

- Kalahari Desert 

 

Enjoy some Seswaa:

The national dish of Botswana is called Seswaa. Meat stew served over thick polenta or pap. The stew is made by boiling meat with onion and pepper. Adding anything else is considered an infringement. 

NOTE: Trying the traditional cuisine of a country as this is also a way of showing interest and a great experience.

SEE: The Complete ‘Bundu-Bashing’ Menu for the serious adventure-loving family

Traveller24 tip:  When travelling to Botswana it is advisable to book with a registered tour agent for any tour activities as poor signage means it is easy to get lost unless you know the area well.

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