Botswana. Useful information for travellers.

We travelled through Botswana in October 2014 by sedan car, rented in South Africa. 

If you are thinking to go to Botswana as we did, you are an independent and low-cost traveller, this information can be useful. 
Please, don´t skip Botswana, even if on a budget, it´s possible to manage and you won´t regret it!

Botswana is an easy country for the traveller, with good roads and great accommodation (cheap if camping). Safe,quite developped and wealthy country. Wild. Botswana is real Africa!

If travelling with a 4x4 car, you will have more options but it´s also possible (and cheaper) to enjoy and do many things with a normal sedan car or by public transport.
 Just keep in mind that if visiting the national parks in Botswana, it´s sandy and a 4x4 is necessary. Self-drive is allowed.

Maun and Kasane are the main tourist centers.Many activities there, also for low-cost travellers.

An empty country, full of wilderness and wild animals. In Botswana, the entrance fees of the national parks are cheap (around 10 € or less) and the activity prices will not break your wallet. 
Yes, Botswana can also be a low-cost destination, it´s not more expensive than other African countries for all the wildness you get!

Enjoy true Africa! Magic moments like the Okavango Delta flight (we paid 50 € each!) or the Chobe safari-boat (less than 20 € each)!
 Where in Kenya or Tanzania can you do this? If only the famous park fees cost 50-80 $!

If travelling by car, lots of information (accommodation and maps) at: Tracks4Africa
You can read the BRADT guide (2003), complete online, old version but OK to get an idea about Botswana. Easy to find.
And just search for the last informations on the net.

ACCOMMODATION, DRIVING, BUDGET, VISA in BOTSWANA:
read the special information.

WEATHER IN BOTSWANA

The rainy season is from november til april, with more rain in january and february. It´s always hot.
Some hotels and camps can be closed during these heavy rain months.
Careful when driving on gravel and sandy roads.
In october, when we travelled, we had beautiful days, hot, just one storm in the afternoon.

MONEY IN BOTSWANA

In the main towns, there are banks with ATMs (usually close to the supermarkets).
No extra charge for foreign cards. Good exchange rate, no extra commissions, good withdraw limit.
Gas stations, supermarkets, hotels, activities, etc., can usually be paid directly by card.
But carry some cash just in case, specially if going to remote places.

When we travelled, in October 2014, the exchange rate was:  1 € euro = 11.55 Pulas.


NATIONAL PARKS IN BOTSWANA


Parks in Botswana are quite cheap, compared with other African countries.
Foreigners pay 120 P/pp/day (10 €), even cheaper if entering with an organised tour only 70 P/pp/day (6 €). It´s 10 P/Botswana car or 50 P/foreign car.

Camping is 30 P/pp/day (3 €) and the wilderness camps&hides (huts) are 200 P.


As we had a normal sedan car and didn´t want to join a safari tour, we didn´t drive inside a park (you need a 4x4). 
Many tours from Kasane or Maun.

We did the Chobe safari-boat, a “must-do”, amazing!

And also we took an Okavango Delta flight (no need to pay the park fee). Great!






Complete information, with entrance fees, camps, etc., in   www.mewt.gov.bw


TELECOMS AND SIM CARD IN BOTSWANA

Good mobil coverage. Mascom and Orange are the main companies. We bought a sim card in a chinese shop, no register needed.

The prices to buy a sim card are:  Mascom 10P (1 €), Orange 15 P, calls included. 
With our phone (?), 3 G didn´t work in Maun, Kasane and Nata (it worked in other african countries).
Most of the accommodation in towns has free wifi.

HEALTH IN BOTSWANA

We had no health problem.
In October, not many mosquitos around. We didn´t take malaria pills. Easy and cheap to find repellents at the supermarkets.
We saw big and new hospitals around the towns but Botswana is big and empty so better to have an insurance just in case and more if planning to cross the parks.
Hygiene is good, specially at the supermarkets and camps. Like in Europe or better!
Many big pharmacies in the main towns, close to the supermarkets.

LANGUAGES, HOW TO COMMUNICATE IN BOTSWANA

English is widely spoken, so no problem. Most of the people speak in Setswana.

SAFETY IN BOTSWANA
We never felt unsafe travelling around Botswana. The country looks safe, it´s very empty and calm, also we didn´t go to the two main cities, Gaborone and Franscistown.
Most of the camps have private security and access control.
Many wild animals and cattle, so avoid driving at night.
Everything´s easy for the traveller.

ELECTRIC PLUGS

Special type of plug, like in South Africa, with 3 big round holes. You need an adapter, easy and cheap to find in a Chinese shop, more expensive at the airport.

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