How long are the flights to Botswana?
Anyone wishing to visit Botswana will have to fly via Johannesburg which acts as a hub for onward flights to either Kasane, Gaborone or Maun in Botswana. The flight to Johannesburg from London Heathrow takes approximately10.5 hours. The onward flight is between 1 and 2 hours depending on which airport you fly to in Botswana.
Can I fly from a regional UK Airport?
There are no direct flights from other UK regional airports but it is possible to fly via Heathrow, Amsterdam on KLM, or via Dubai on Emirates to Johannesburg.
Do I need a visa to visit Botswana?
This will depend on which nationality passport that you have but British Passports do not need to get a visa, it will be issued free of charge on arrival. All visitors must have 2 full clear pages in their passport, this is a requirement of the immigration department and is strictly enforced, the same stipulation will apply to anyone entering South Africa or Namibia afterwards, so you may need a minimum of 3 pages if you are going to continue your holiday in one of these countries. Your passport must also have a minimum of 6 months validity from your date of departure.
When is the best time for a safari in Botswana?
Botswana is in the southern hemisphere so their seasons are reversed from ours in the UK. From May to July you can expect clear skies and mild temperatures. During this time the Okavango Delta floodwaters start to fill the lagoons and waterways. The weather in August & September is like spring in Europe as the occasional rain showers gives way to the heat of the summer. October is considered to be the optimum game viewing, as the vegetation dies back and the water holes dry up forcing the animals to congregate in numbers around the remaining water sources. November and December also afford good game viewing. The winter months of June and July can be surprisingly cold at night with temperatures dipping to single figures but rising to the heart-warming mid-twenties by day.
When is the Okavango Delta in full flood?
The flood waters from Angola start to return in May and remain fairly full to July / August.
What can I expect to see in the Delta?
Bear in mind that you will be navigating through the water ways between islands, some of which are actually floating themselves. The vegetation is characterised by tall papyrus plants which can obscure your view, so it is unwise to have expectation of seeing all of the Big 5 whilst staying at a water based lodge. For this reason we suggest a lodge with both water and vehicle based activities or a few nights in the heart of the Delta and then a few where there is solid land for game drives. You are unlikely to see Rhino at all in the Delta area as the terrain is not suitable for them. The birdlife is magnificent and as you glide along in a mokoro canoe your guide will be able to point out some of the smaller amphibious creatures that make the Delta their home. Most lodges in the Delta will offer a guided walk on the islands, you can expect to see everything from antelope and warthog through to lions and elephants.
Where is the best place to go on safari?
The Delta is a unique experience but is only one of the options on offer in Botswana. We suggest combining it with a few nights in other locations, such as Savute which is famous for its lion population or Chobe with its vast herds of elephant and buffalo. The Makgadikgadi Salt Pans offer a different perspective and in winter play host to large herds of zebra and antelope. It is also one of the few places that the brown hyena calls home. Further south, in the Kalahari there is a surprising number of desert adapted species including the adorable meerkats.
Can I take my children on safari?
Most lodges will only accept children over 12 years old. However there are a few lodges that we can recommend that cater specifically for families with young children under 12. These lodges will provide a private game vehicle at an additional cost. There are some camps that offer larger families exclusive use of the camp, and will include a private safari vehicle at no additional cost – this should enable you to start and finish your day at whatever time suits.
How much luggage can I take?
International airlines mostly work on an allowance of 23kg for checked bags and 1 piece of hand luggage. However if you are traveling by light aircraft between locations in Botswana you will be allowed a total of 15kg including your hand luggage. This allowance is at the Captain’s discretion and will depend on whether the flight is full but we advise you to err on the side of caution and to assume that this is your weight limit. Most lodges offer a laundry service which is often free of charge so we suggest you take advantage of this to reduce your luggage.
What should I take on safari?
Cotton layers such as t-shirts, a light fleece, shorts and a pair of long trousers are the key items. The temperature can vary quite a bit from the early morning game drive to the heat of the day. Sun screen, a hat and a swimming costume are the other necessities. It is best to avoid bright colours for a safari. Footwear should include a pair of sandals or flip flops and some walking shoes (trainers would be fine). We also recommend the following items; insect repellent, headache/pain killer tablets, Imodium and as a precaution some rehydration sachets. It is easy to get dehydrated without noticing even though drinking water will be readily available.
Do I need any immunisations or malaria tablets?
The best person to speak to is your Doctor or Nurse Practitioner as the advice can change. Some parts of Botswana are affected by malaria and you will need a course of tablets. Please click here for further information from Fit For Travel.
Can I charge my camera/phone on safari?
Almost all safari lodges in Botswana have either a generator or solar power. This will provide electricity to the camp, but you may not have plug points in your room. There will be somewhere that you can charge your camera or phone but this maybe in the Managers office.
Can I use my credit card?
Yes, all lodges will accept credit cards for purchases such as souvenirs. It is also wise to carry some cash for staff gratuities, US Dollars are gratefully received, there is no need to change money into Botswana Pula. US Dollars are also accepted at the airport café should you wish to purchase drinks, but change will be given in Pula.
Is my holiday protected when booking via my travel agent or directly with Visions of Africa and Southern Africa Vacations?
Yes. Visions Of Africa and Southern Africa Vacations are part of the Visions Holiday Group Ltd – Visions Travel Group which holds an ATOL licence no: 5889. This licence has been granted to us by the UK Civil Aviation Authority. This licence offers complete financial protection but only for holiday vacation packages that include flights commencing in and returning to the UK only. Ground arrangement only holiday vacation packages, accommodation only arrangements and other non-flight packages excluding the pre-arranged travel to and from your destination are financially protected through a bond that we have placed with the Association Of Bonded Travel Organisers Trust Limited (ABTOT).
We are also members of ABTA – the Travel Association, IATA, ASTA and AITO – The Association of Independent Tours Operators.