Moving around Botswana. Rental car and public transport.

3 months road trip in Southern Africa, 
Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland.
October – December 2014

  PUBLIC TRANSPORT IN BOTSWANA  

Just a few main roads and towns in Botswana, it´s an empty country. Buses are avalaible between the main towns, specially between Gaborone, Maun and Francistown and probably fewer for Kasane.
Prices are quite cheap, don´t worry.

Taxis and shared vans operate around towns.

There are international coaches, connecting Gaborone and Francistown mainly with South Africa (Johannesburg).  More limited offer connecting with other neighbor countries.


  HITCH - HIKING IN BOTSWANA  

On the roads you can see many local people doing it, and sometimes they pay for the ride. They hitch-hike because public transport can be limited (just a few buses) in some places. 
Some roads have very little traffic.

We stopped and pick-up local ladies on the way. One of them offer us money for the service, of course we said "no".

You can always try to hitch-hike. Start early, if you plan to cross the country. 
A good place to ask for a lift is in the campsites. Maybe other tourists will share the trip!



  
  RENTING A CAR IN BOTSWANA  

Renting a sedan normal car in Botswana, it´s more expensive and more limited than in neighbor South Africa and there are just a few towns, less options and companies (mainly Gaborone). Just have a look on the internet.
In Botswana, many travellers rent a 4x4 full equiped (prepared for camping, usually with a roof tent) but it´s quite expensive (100-150 €/day). The companies are usually in Gaborone, Maun and Kasane.
Depending on your plans, compare prices in Botswana and South Africa (Johannesburg is not that far).


It´s true that you need a 4x4 to go inside the Botswana national parks (self-driving is possible), it´s sandy. But with a simple sedan car you can drive along the good tarred main roads and you can book a game drive directly in the park or in Maun or Kasane.. or rent a 4x4 just for one or two days. Just adapt your trip to your budget.

We rent a Ford Fiesta at Johannesburg´s airport, for 3 months, with drop off in Polokwane, and paid only 11.75 euros/day. We rented with  www.rentalcars.com. Really recommended!
Complete information here or in the South Africa chapter.

We didn´t use navigation (no GPS), we had no maps. Only checked in advance Google maps. It´s really easy to drive there.

To enjoy more the wild in Botswana, we did a safari boat in Chobe National Park and flew over the Okavango Delta. Like a dream! Incredible! Anyway, Botswana is wild and we also saw many animals (even elephants) just driving on the main tarred roads.

                                       Access to Elephant Sands Camp                Elephant on the main Nata-Kasane Rd


   ROADS AND DRIVING IN BOTSWANA   
  • Main roads are tarred and good. Very little traffic.
  • Access to camps and hotels are usually Ok for a sedan car. Sometimes a bit sandy.
  • For other secondary roads and national parks, you will need a 4x4, and it´s sandy.So you have to know how to drive properly a 4x4.
  • Always drive carefully as cattle and wild animals can cross the main roads. Not many fences.
  • Always keep left. In Botswana, it´s like in South Africa and UK, the driver seats right of the car.
  • We travelled without a detail map or GPS navigation and it was really easy.
  • Maximum speed 120 km/h. Many speed signs, just respect them (maybe the police is controlling around). They never stopped us.
  • There are a few check-points, veterinarian and pests controls, but not always with staff. Quick controls. It seems that you can´t transport fresh meat but they never checked.
Note: If entering Botswana by car, there´s a border tax of 140 Pulas (12 €), also possible to pay by card. 

PETROL IN BOTSWANA

Unleaded 95 is 9.75 P/l (october 2014), less than 1 €. Payment with card avalaible.
Keep in mind that sometimes there aren´t gas stations for 200 km as there are no towns! 
A bit cheaper than in Namibia and South Africa. 

  FLIGHTS IN BOTSWANA  

The two big cities, Gaborone and Francistown have airports. So do the tourist towns of Maun and Kasane.
Flights are not specially cheap.
The national company is Air Botswana.
There are domestic flights between Maun and Kasane. Around 100 $.
Also international flights,mainly with South Africa, but also Namibia and neighbor countries . Check South African Airways, Air Namibia...
Use the internet...

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