Botswana Travelling Tips

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We just came back from an 18 day safari in Botswana. The itinerary took us from Kubu Island through the Moremi and Savuti to Chobe and I decided to share some travel tips with you.

We enter Botswana at the Stockpoort border post nearby Ellisras instead of the popular and bigger Groblersbrug. It is a much smaller and quieter border post and one gets through much quicker.

 

Required documents:

You have to have your passports with the expiring date not within 6 months after your return date. There must also be at least two full blank pages.

The South African Police might want to see your vehicles original registration papers or certified copies thereof.  If the vehicle is not registered in your name you need to present an original letter from the lawful owner (border letter) with as much detail as possible giving you permission to take the vehicle out of the country and into Botswana for the duration of the safari.

You also have to display a ZA sticker on the rear of your vehicle. You can get that from the AA, Outdoor Warehouse or most 4X4 Shops.

 

Currency:

The local currency is Botswana Pula and is currently a bit stronger than the Rand (R 1.25 = BP 1.00) You can get Pula before the safari from your bank or you can change at the border.

 

Meat and Veggies:

There is no problem with Foot & Mouth disease at the moment and one is allowed to take fresh meat into the country when travelling from south to north. Work out your menu for the nights that you do not have restaurant facilities and vacuum pack the portions before packing it in your deep freeze. You can re-stock all other supplies at Maun and Kasane. There is currently a problem taking fruit and vegetables from South Africa into Botswana. That is due to the outbreak of the Asian Fruit Fly (Bactrocera invadens) in Limpopo Region, in South Africa.

Fruit and veggies are readily available in Botswana. We recommend that you rinse off fruit and veggies that you bought next to the road in Milton water.

From Stockpoort we drove via Mahalapye and Lethlekane to Kubu Island in the Makgadikgadi Pans where we will spend the first night………..“the real Botswana starts here”.

Remember that fuel is quite a bit cheaper in Botswana than in South Africa and we recommend that you fill up your long range fuel tanks and Jerry cans in Botswana and not at home.

 

The camping facilities at Kubu Island are poor. There are pit latrines, no showers and one must provide own fire wood.

                                   

Reservations:

You can make your reservations for Kubu Island at kubu.island@botsnet.bw

One do not come to Kubu for the great camping, but to be up early morning to enjoy the sunrise at this picturesque rocky outcrop covered with the most spectacular baobab trees. It is really a nature photographer’s dream. We had ample time exploring the island before leaving via Planet Baobab, a couple of kilo’s west of Gweta, for Maun. (Planet Baobab is home to one the funkiest pubs in Botswana).

On arrival in Maun, we pitched camp at Island Safari Lodge. There is a beautiful pool, pub and restaurant.

 

Good camping facilities with hot water showers and flushing toilets.

After we stock up with fuel, ice and some last minute shopping, we left via Shorobe and the Buffalo Fence for the Moremi Game Reserve – The Jewel of Africa – in the heart of the Okavango Delta. The Moremi forms an integral part of the Okavango Delta, comprising permanently swamped areas and dry land. It is probably the prime tourist destination in Botswana. Moremi is a prime wildlife area where elephant, hippo, lion, buffalo, giraffe and most other game can be seen in abundance. We stayed in Xakanaxa Camp for four nights and at North Gate Camp on the Khwai River for one night. Daily activities included 4X4 game drives, a sunset boat cruise on the waterways of the Okavango Delta, bird watching, brunches in the bush, sundowners and unforgettable nights around the campfire.

 

Fuel:

Diesel and Unleaded fuel is available throughout Botswana. The longest “stretch” that we had to cover without refueling was about 700 Km. Most filling stations accepts Master/VISA cards, but I recommend that you always have cash available for that one day that they tell you that the card machines are not working.

 

Drinking water:

Most of the water in Botswana will not be suitable for drinking. You have to take at least 10 liters of clean water per person with. Wash up water will be freely available.

 

Reservation:

You can make your reservations for  Xakanaxa, Maqwee and Ihaha  at               kwalatesafari@gmail.com

Reservations for park entry can be done through Department Wildlife National Parks at   dwnp@gov.bw

 

Good camping facilities with hot water showers and flushing toilets.

There are many hyenas in the area and make sure that you put away all foodstuff and things that wild animals will eat before you go to bed at night. The camps are not fenced and do not wonder out of camp after dark. Take a good torch with.

 

Malaria:

Botswana is a malaria area and you should therefore take the precautions. We suggest that you take enough Peaceful Sleep or Tabard and also talk to your chemist about prophylactic medication like Mephliam.

Our next destination was Savuti in the Chobe National Park on our way to Kasane. It is almost impossible to imagine that this desolate, harsh landscape was once submerged beneath an enormous inland sea. The Savuti channel also started to flow again after many years and it is really a spectacular sighting to find Saddle Bill Storks on the Savuti Marsh and to hear the call of Fish Eagles in the Campsite. The Savuti area is one of the most photographed areas in the whole of Botswana and most of the Africa Wildlife Videos (Derek and Beverly Joubert’s “Eternal Enemies” and others where filmed here. We  stayed over in Savuti Camp for two nights.

 

Good camping facilities with hot water showers and flushing toilets.

Reservation:

You can make your reservations for Savuti, Khwai, Linyanti through                                 reservations@sklcamps.co.bw

Reservations for park entry can be done through Department Wildlife National Parks at   dwnp@gov.bw

From Savuti we traversed the deep sand track further to Chobe Safari Lodge in Kasane. We camped in their lush green campsite on the bank of the Chobe River for nights. We did a a morning game drive in the Chobe National Park with our own vehicles as well as a three hour sunset boat cruise on the Chobe River. The Chobe is proud and very famous for it’s abundance of elephants – the highest concentration to be found anywhere in Africa. Chobe is also famous for its huge herds of buffalo, for its rich bird life and, not least for its exquisite sunsets.

It can be a good idea to do the morning game drive and the afternoon boat cruise on the same day as one will only pay park entry fees for the one day.

 

Good camping facilities with hot water showers and flushing toilets.

We spend our final night in Botswana at Woodlands, 10 km north of Francistown.  They have a very good campsite as well as chalets available. There is also a little shop where one can get firewood, beer and wine and braai packs.

Remember, you are now travelling from north to south and are not allowed to carry meat any more.

Speed limits:

They are very strict in Botswana and you have to obey the speedlimits.

If they catch you speeding in cities or villages,  you have to pay a spot fine in Botswana Pula.

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