FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT BOTSWANA
This information is intended as a guideline only. It is accurate to the best of our knowledge. Please note that we are providing links to external websites as guidelines for more information only. Karell Africa is not responsible for the content thereof.
WHAT ARE THE VISA REQUIREMENTS FOR BOTSWANA?
Passports are required by all foreign visitors to BOTSWANA and must be valid for at least 6 months after the intended length of your trip.
Visitors to BOTSWANA who also intend visiting South Africa should be advised that It is essential to have at least two blank, consecutive visa pages for each time entry to South Africa is sought. This excludes Amendment and Endorsement pages. Otherwise, the traveler, even when in possession of a valid South African visa, may be refused entry into South Africa, fined, and returned to their point of origin at the traveler’s expense.
Visas may be required for BOTSWANA depending on the nationality of your passport. It is your responsibility to check the entry visa requirements with the individual embassy of each country you intend visiting prior to departure.
Travelers who attempt to enter BOTSWANA with a temporary travel document (12-page emergency photo-digitized passport (EPDP) )must have a visa to enter. It is not possible to obtain a visa upon arrival in BOTSWANA, and U.S. citizens without a visa in a temporary passport will face possible fines and long administrative delays.
If you are a parent / guardian traveling with a minor (aged 18 or younger), you must be in possession of a certified letter of consent from the non-accompanying parent or guardian.
VISA STAMPS IN PASSPORTS UPON ARRIVAL IN EACH COUNTRY:
PLEASE CHECK THE DATES THAT THE OFFICIALS STAMP IN TO YOUR PASSPORTS TO MAKE SURE THE ALLOTTED TIME FOR YOUR STAY IS CORRECT BEFORE YOU WALK AWAY FROM THE COUNTER.
ON OCCASION PEOPLE HAVE BEEN GIVEN INCORRECT INCREMENTS OF TIME TO STAY IN THE COUNTRY CONCERNED CREATING A LOT OF UNNECESSARY AGGRAVATION AND INCONVENIENCE.
We also suggest that before you depart on any international trip that you take a photo of the information page of your passport as well as any visas on your cell phone and share with a family member or friend via text or email in case you lose your passport!
For more information please visit : TRAVISA.COM
WHAT IS THE WEATHER/CLIMATE LIKE IN BOTSWANA IN WINTER AND IN SUMMER?
The seasons in southern Africa are reversed from those in the US.
The summer months in BOTSWANA are from November to the end of March which can be very hot. It is also the rainy season – cloud coverage and rain can cool things down but only for a short period of time.
The winter season begins in May and ends in August. This is also the dry season when virtually no rainfall occurs. Winter days are invariably sunny and cool to warm however, evening and night temperatures can drop below freezing point in some areas.
The in-between periods – April/May and September/October – still tend to be dry, but the days are cooler than in summer and the nights are warmer than in winter.
Make no mistake, in the winter months the evenings and early mornings can be bitterly cold. On safari during this time you will need to take very warm clothing especially for early morning game drives.
For more weather information please visit : WEATHER.COM
WHAT IS THE CURRENCY AND WHAT CREDIT CARDS CAN I USE IN BOTSWANA?
BOTSWANA’S unit of currency is the Pula, denoted by the symbol P, with 100 thebe making up P1 (one Pula).
1.00 USD = 11.729393 BWP (As of Jan 1st 2022)
Credit Cards :
Although ATMs are probably available in larger cities such as Gaborone and Francistown, they will definitely not be available on safari so we suggest you “stock up” before you venture forth in to the bush! South African rands and American dollars and Euros are also accepted.
Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted throughout BOTSWANA.
American Express and Diners Club – not so much!
For up to dates rates of exchange click on the following link : WWW.XE.COM
WHAT IF I HAVE DIETARY REQUIREMENTS?
This is more important than you may realize. So please let us know in advance. Most dietary requirements (kosher, vegetarian hindu etc) can be organized provided we request them well in advance. This is particularly important if you will be visiting game lodges.
You must remember that many of the game lodges you may be visiting are in isolated areas so if you are not very specific in advance you may just go hungry! You cannot just pop out to the nearest restaurant or 7-11 – you are in the African bush.
We need to know about allergies too – gluten -lactose – peanuts etc.
Please also let us know if anyone in your party will be celebrating a birthday or anniversary!
WHAT IS THE LANGUAGE IN BOTSWANA?
The official languages of BOTSWANA are English and Tswana.
WILL I BE ABLE TO DO LAUNDRY DURING MY BOTSWANA TOUR?
Laundry service is available at most hotels, camps and lodges throughout BOTSWANA. However in most camps/game lodges throughout BOTSWANA the washing is done by hand, therefore underwear (bras, panties and men’s underwear) are not included in this service.
This is due to prevailing local traditions in the country.
WHAT ARE THE LUGGAGE RESTRICTIONS FOR A BOTSWANA SAFARI?
RULE OF THUMB – IF YOU WANT TO SEE IT AGAIN DO NOT PACK IT IN YOUR CHECKED BAGS!
Medications, eye glasses, sunglasses, wallets, passports, computers, iPads, cell phones, cameras, binoculars, jewelry etc should be carried with you at all times. And why are you taking that expensive jewelry with you anyway?
NOT A GOOD IDEA! Do not take anything with you that is not replaceable or anything that you would be devastated to lose!
Most airports today do offer plastic wrapping of bags for a small fee. Luggage restrictions vary between airlines / countries and aircraft. Please check with your travel consultant with regard to weight restrictions and quantity / size of bags permitted.
If you will be traveling in vehicles and small aircraft with limited luggage capacity, it is a requirement that you have a SOFT BAG without WHEELS, however, our brand new “wheeled” Karell safari bags which are made exclusively for us are unique as they have wheels but no solid frame which make them ideal for light aircraft transfers to and from camps/lodges.
Ideal travel bag example:
The Karell Duffel bag pictured above has been selected specifically for use on safaris utilizing light aircraft. It measures 26” x 14” x 12”, a perfect size and dimension for this type of travel.
NO HARD SUITCASES WILL BE ALLOWED!
Wilderness Air Weight & Luggage Restrictions for chartered aircraft in Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe and SOUTH AFRICA
- Luggage, including camera equipment and hand luggage, is restricted to 20 kg (44 lb) per person
- Only soft bags will be accepted – no wheels, frames or rigid structures can be transported as they physically cannot fit into the aircraft!
- Maximum dimensions of the soft bags are as follows: 25 cm (10 inches) wide x 30 cm (12 inches) high and 62 cm (24 inches) long.
- If guests weigh more than 100 kg (220 lb), an additional weight allowance on the aircraft must be purchased for safety and comfort. The cost for this is calculated on request according to specific region and routing, and provides for a maximum of 70 kg (154 lb) excess weight and will be at the passenger’s expense.
- If guests need to bring luggage in excess of the stipulated allowance, they have the option of purchasing additional weight allowance allowing for a maximum of 70kg (154lb) with the proviso that the excess bags conform to the maximum dimensions listed above. The additional cost of this varies depending on the flight schedule and routing and will be at the passenger’s expense.
These strict weight restrictions apply to any itinerary which includes light aircraft transfers for the following reasons:
- The aircraft are designed with a maximum bodyweight and luggage weight allowance.
- The aircraft have physical space restrictions. Please refer to the images below for an indication on the cargo hold compartment limitations.
SHOULD I TAKE A CAMERA? SHOULD I TAKE BINOCULARS?
Yes, You are going to a photographer’s paradise wherever you go in Africa so do take plenty of memory cards to record your trip. They will not always be readily available everywhere you go. So to avoid disappointment take a lot with you as well as spare batteries for flashes etc.
Yes, A good pair of strong binoculars is a must on safari, ESPECIALLY IF YOU ARE A KEEN BIRDER OR “TWITCHER”. Trust us, we know.
For everything you need to know about buying cameras and binoculars we invite you to visit : http://www.bhphotovideo.com
Or if you prefer to rent before you go: http://optics4rent.com/index.html
Camera equipment and lenses are so heavy and are included in hand baggage allowances so for your convenience, there are certain game lodges that rent equipment for the period of your stay.
We have provided these websites as guidelines for further information, Karell’s African Dream Vacations is not responsible for the content thereof.
WHAT IS THE ELECTRIC CURRENT IN BOTSWANA?
All electrical appliances in BOTSWANA run on 220V. Outlets are made to fit round 3 pin, 15 amp plugs. Although adaptors are generally available at hotels, we highly recommend taking your own.
If you are taking electric hair styling tools in any shape or form flatirons, curling irons, hairdryers etc. or any other electrical appliances, you should make sure they are dual voltage and remember to change the voltage if necessary when you get to BOTSWANA or you can undoubtedly kiss them goodbye!
Due to their remote locations, many camps/game lodges in BOTSWANA generate their own electricity by means of generators.
Generators run for about 6-7 hours per day providing power in the rooms/tents for lighting and possibly ceiling fans.
Not all camps provide plug points in the rooms/tents so if you have equipment that requires charging such as camera batteries the camps will often have charging facilities in the main areas.
Sooooooooooo…………….you may as well face it ladies, you will be having some bad hair days as at most camps no hair dryers, flat irons or the likes allowed!!!!! Just go with the flow and enjoy.
WHAT TIME ZONE IS BOTSWANA IN?
Local time in BOTSWANA is GMT +2
Which means it is always 6 or 7 hours ahead of us in the eastern United States depending on the time of the year and daylight savings time.
So, if it is 8PM IN GABORONE/MAUN OR FRANCISTOWN then it is 2PM the same day in NEW YORK !
Hope this helps. Probably won’t – you will be more confused than ever and will more than likely call home and get it all mixed up.
The following link may help: WORLDCLOCK.COM
WHAT ARE THE TIPPING AND GRATUITY GUIDELINES FOR A BOTSWANA SAFARI?
TO GIVE OR NOT TO GIVE, THAT IS THE QUESTION! AND IF SO HOW MUCH.
Tipping/Gratuity Guidelines – To Give or Not to Give, That is the Qestion! And if so, How Much?
This is one of the questions we are asked most often prior to departure: How much should we tip?
THE FOLLOWING IS A GUIDELINE:
Safari Guide / Game Ranger at Camps & Game Lodges : US$ 10 per guest per day.
Trackers at Camps & Game Lodges : US$ 5 per guest per day.
General Staff at Camps & Game LodgeS : US$ 5 per guest per day.
Porterage : US$ 1 per person per movement.
Restaurants / Hotels : 10% is customary.
DO I NEED ANY VACCINATIONS FOR BOTSWANA? IS BOTSWANA A MALARIA FREE AREA?
There is no formal requirement for any shots for entry into BOTSWANA.
However, Botswana is a MALARIA area therefore we highly recommend that you do take precautions particularly in the BOTSWANA summer months. Your physician will be able to assist you with a prescription for prophylaxis for malaria prior to your arrival in the malaria infested area.
To maximize the benefit of inoculations/immunizations we suggest you see a health-care provider at least 4–6 weeks before your trip to allow time for your vaccines to take effect.
Tips on avoiding Malaria:
Take a prescription antimalarial drug.
Use insect repellent liberally and wear long pants and sleeves to prevent mosquito bites.
Sleep in air-conditioned or well-screened rooms or use bednets.
Please consult with your physician for recommendations regarding inoculations/immunizations.
For further information please click on the following links CDC.gov and/or www.who.int/en/
CAN I DRINK TAP WATER IN BOTSWANA?
Although tap water may be fine in most areas for bathing and brushing teeth, we recommend that you drink bottled water at all times.
WHAT SHOULD I PACK FOR A SAFARI IN BOTSWANA?
WHAT TO PACK FOR BOTSWANA SAFARI (OR NOT) – RULE OF THUMB – DON’T PACK TOO MUCH
The other most frequently asked question. What do I need to pack if I am going on a Botswana Safari?
As a general guideline, comfortable casual wash and wear clothes are recommended.
If you are going on safari, the less you take the better as most camps lodges and hotels do offer laundry service if you are staying at least two days.
Muted colors such as stone, khaki, beige or brown are recommended when you are on safari.
Game drives in the early morning and evenings can BE VERY COLD especially in winter so you must pack accordingly.
“BUT WE ARE GOING TO AFRICA- WHY WOULD IT BE COLD?” Trust us, we know!
The key is to dress in layers in the early morning and strip down layer by layer as it gets warmer as the sun rises. Vice versa for evening game drives
“BUT WE ARE GOING TO AFRICA- WHY WOULD IT BE COLD?” Trust us, we know!
The key is to dress in layers in the early morning and strip down layer by layer as it gets warmer as the sun rises. Vice versa for evening game drives.
Light weight shirts/blouses with long sleeves as protection from the sun and mosquitos
Jeans or safari trousers
A light weight water-proof jacket
Comfortable walking shoes/sneakers
Comfortable walking sandals or flip flops for warmer days
A wide brimmed hat with under-chin tie to prevent it from flying away
A WARM WINDPROOF jacket (winter)
A fleece jacket that will go under the warm jacket (winter)
A warm polo neck shirt (winter)
A beanie (winter)
A warm scarf (winter)
Equipment & Other
Spare prescription eye glasses/contact lenses
Cameras and related paraphernalia like lenses etc and plenty of memory cards and spare batteries
A small powerful flashlight and extra batteries Travel alarm clock
Small purse size umbrella can come in handy
Small lint roller
A light pack-able backpack or tote to carry equipment and stuff on game vehicles
A supply of Ziploc bags in different sizes may come in handy for dust or water proofing cameras , wet bathing suits etc.
Chargers for cell phones, iPad, cameras, computers and you may want to invest in a mini travel charger surge protector with dual USB ports and five charging outlets.
Personal First Aid Kit
Itch spray for bug bites
Sunscreen with high SPF factor
Purse size kleenex packets
”make you go ” pills “make you not go” pills as well as any prescription medications that you rely on on a daily basis.