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How to Plan a Botswana Safari: Frequently Asked Questions

Updated: August 2, 2022

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Herd of elephants along waterways of the Chobe River in Botswana

Chobe National Park, Botswana

How to get to Botswana and how long to spend in each location are just a few considerations during the safari planning process. We aim to answer these and more when considering the most frequently asked questions about visiting Botswana.

Open savannas merge with forested parks and scenic waterways blend with desert pans to create one of southern Africa’s key safari destinations. Captivating adventures and luxury accommodations for seniors, families, and honeymooners make a Botswana safari irresistible.

Knowing what to pack for your journey, how day-to-day activities work, and vital information such as medical and insurance requirements go a long way in ensuring your experience goes off without a hitch.

Overview

  1. Can I travel to Botswana?
  2. How long should I spend on safari in Botswana?
  3. What are the regions of Botswana?
  4. What are the different ways to enjoy a wildlife experience?
  5. How can I ensure I see my favorite animal?
  6. What is a day on safari like?
  7. What is the difference between a camp and a lodge in Botswana?
  8. When is the best time to visit Botswana?
  9. How does Botswana’s climate change during the year?
  10. How does the safari experience change during the different seasons of the year?
  11. What do I need to know about the food, water, and dietary requirements on my safari?
  12. What currency does Botswana use?
  13. How does tipping work on a Botswana safari?
  14. What do I need to know regarding voltage and electricity in Botswana?
  15. How should I fly in and out of Botswana?
  16. Is Botswana safe for travel?
  17. Are there any health concerns in Botswana?
  18. What should I pack for a Botswana safari?
  19. What should I know regarding baggage?
  20. Is Botswana a good destination for family safaris?
  21. Is Botswana suitable for senior travelers?
  22. Can I get around Botswana if I have a mobility issue?
  23. Is Botswana suitable for couples or honeymooners?
  24. How can Zicasso help me plan my trip to Botswana?
  25. Where can I find recommended itineraries for my trip?

Can I travel to Botswana?

U.S. citizens can travel to Botswana.

Entry requirements are subject to change at the discretion of the country’s government and a Zicasso Botswana safari specialist can provide you with up-to-date information regarding any changes that may affect your trip.

If you want to discover where else in the world you can visit, view our guide on Where Americans Can Travel Right Now.

Learn more: Plan Your Trip to Botswana

How long should I spend on safari in Botswana?

Five to 10 days will allow you to truly explore the country’s many safari regions. From the elephant-rich Chobe National Park to the channels of the Okavango Delta, the lush grasslands of the Linyanti to the dry pans of the Makgadikgadi, game-viewing options are endless.

There really is no set timeline when considering how long to spend on the Botswana safari circuit. However, knowing whether you are looking for a single game park or lodge experience, or a combination of a few, will help decide how long to spend in the country.

A minimum of three days in one destination is recommended to fully enjoy the bush and lodge or camp facilities in that region. With two game experiences on offer each day, a longer stay will ensure you have the opportunity to enjoy a little downtime between adventures at your camp or lodge. Our Zicasso Botswana specialists can guide you on how many days to spend in each place.

What are the regions of Botswana?

Botswana comprises contrasting regions that cover waterways and vegetation in the Okavango Delta, with elephant and other animal spotting from the Chobe River.

The expansive salt pans of the Makgadikgadi and the haunting ambiance of the Kalahari desert, as well as the Linyanti and Savuti regions, present diverse wildlife habitats

Prolific birdlife and elusive characters such as leopards may make an appearance, while lush surroundings create an overall tranquil vibe in many regions.

Learn more: 8 Best Places to Visit for a Botswana Safari

What are the different ways to enjoy a wildlife experience?

Depending on where you choose to go, your wildlife experience may take place in an open 4x4 vehicle, a boat, or a mokoro, which is a traditional dugout canoe. Each demonstrates the diverse beauty of Botswana and the many incredible ways to experience the wildlife.

In Chobe National Park the drives take you through open landscape and forested, elephant-filled habitat, with the option of taking your game viewing to a tender boat on the Chobe River. Elephants swim across the water, while hippos bob up and down near its edge and crocodiles laze on the banks.

A Poler will steer you down the Okavango Delta as you make your way through the channels, eyes peeled for creatures large and small among the reeds and in nearby trees. Some lodges and camps may offer walking safaris and private concessions can provide night drives, opening you to a world of unique sightings.

4 Ways to Get Around on an African Safari can give you more insight into the types of transportation you may find on a game drive across Sub-Saharan Africa.

How can I ensure I see my favorite animal?

Embarking on a safari in search of wildlife big and small is a thrilling and inspiring adventure because it gives you the opportunity to view the untouched wilderness at its pace. Getting the chance to see your favorite animal while traversing savannahs or stopping at a scenic waterhole is exciting, but not assured.

It is important to know that while your qualified guide will show you the key areas of the park or reserve where animals gather or have been spotted, sightings are never guaranteed. Every animal, big or small, is a delight, and spending a day in the African bush is one of the most rewarding and phenomenal experiences.

What is a day on safari like?

No two days on safari are the same, yet a typical day will include two three-hour game drives and downtime at your lodge or camp.

A day on safari involves a pre-dawn wake-up call followed by coffee or tea before you head off on your first game drive. After returning to the camp or lodge for brunch or lunch, there will be time to relax during the hottest part of the day.

Enjoy a second safari activity with a sundowner at a key viewing point, followed by dinner, and have the chance to reminisce after the day’s activities. Then it’s early to bed and up the next day to do it again.

Learn more: What a Day Is Like on a Safari

What is the difference between a camp and a lodge in Botswana?

Often referred to as “art galleries in the bush”, safari lodgings range from stylish camping to breathtaking builds in secluded wilderness. They can take the form of permanent set-ups or a mobile experience with a luxury twist.

Whether you prefer the more structured option of a main lodge with privately spaced-out rooms and a large public area to mingle with other guests or the more intimate idea of wood and canvas luxury tents overlooking open plains, you are guaranteed an unforgettable stay with outstanding hospitality and a window to an incredible wildlife experience.

From more group-focused lodges in the Chobe area to ecological tented and luxury chalet options in the Okavango Delta, locations for lodges and camps are always carefully chosen and guests are assured of a high level of service no matter where they stay.

Learn more: 3 Types of Safari Accommodations and How to Choose

When is the best time to visit Botswana?

The ideal time to embark on a Botswana safari is in the winter, between June and September. The bush is alive with animal and human activity, as game-drive vehicles, boats and mokoros make their way through the wilderness.

Capturing animals in the open or next to a tree or ravine is easier when the grass is low and dry weather boasts mild days and cool evenings, bringing the animals into the open.

Off-peak May is quieter. It’s a great time to start your Botswana adventure and avoid peak-season crowds. If you are looking for a birding experience, consider January and February, which coincide with the birthing season. At this time the landscape is also lush after summer rains.

Learn more: Best Time to Visit Botswana

How does Botswana’s climate change during the year?

Light rainfall begins in November and December, with heavier rainfall during January and February, eventually easing off at the end of March. The long grass means the safari scene is quieter in April and as the weather starts to cool down, the wilderness prepares for the winter.

The peak safari season kicks in as the dry season begins in June and continues until the end of September. Grasslands turn from green to brown and game viewing is spectacular. The heat in October causes many safari-goers to plan their experience before or after this rather warm month.

How does the safari experience change during the different seasons of the year?

It is key to plan your safari-focused adventure for a time when viewing is excellent. Knowing how the bush changes during each season will help with that.

Take advantage of the best time to witness wildlife by visiting between the drier months of May to September. Lower water levels have qualified guides searching for wildlife near watering holes and dams, and the shorter brown and beige vegetation makes it easier to see animals near and far.

Birthing season takes place during the wet, summer months of January and February, which coincide with birding season, creating a colorful and lively scene in any reserve or park.

What do I need to know about the food, water, and dietary requirements on my safari?

One of the joys of being on safari is the chance to try Botswana’s incredible cuisine and experience master chefs at work as they prepare and create delicious meals.

Your first of the day usually comes after your game drive and will comprise either a full English breakfast or brunch. Dinner may include anything from fresh local seafood to roast beef, lamb, chicken, or local game meat, followed by pastry, custards, or other desserts. Dietary requirements and restrictions are always considered, ensuring the clients have an excellent experience.

Bottle or filtered water will be available throughout your safari, with most lodges and camps providing an environmentally-friendly water bottle for you to use during your stay and keep as a souvenir. Soft drinks and impressive wine lists will be presented to those who wish to taste some of South Africa’s varietals, with other liquor available for those much-loved sundowners at the end of a game drive.

What currency does Botswana use?

The official currency in Botswana is the pula (P), however, the US dollar ($) is used throughout the country.

If you wish to have local currency on you, money can be exchanged at major banks or exchange bureaus in key cities. Having small notes on you is best, however.

Knowing what money to have with you on safari and the appropriate denominations will allow you to arrive at your camp or lodge with the ideal amount for souvenir purchases and tipping.

Credit cards are accepted at lodges and camps, and all accommodation and safari experiences will be pre-booked by your Botswana specialist.

How does tipping work on a Botswana safari?

Tipping is customary on a Botswana safari and demonstrates you appreciate the expertise of guides and trackers who ensure you are comfortable, safe, and having a fantastic experience.

Guidelines give you the chance to say thank you to baggage handlers, lodge staff, and those guiding you through wildlife reserves and parks. $15 per person per day is the norm for your guide, with a gesture of $10 per person for the tracker.

Your Zicasso Botswana specialist will be able to advise you on general tipping expectations at the time of your booking, also noting that while customary, tipping is still discretionary.

What do I need to know regarding voltage and electricity in Botswana?

Botswana works on 240v, with a standard frequency of 50Hz. Devices such as cameras, cellphones, and laptops have an input of 110-240v, so simply plugging those in when you get to your lodge or camp is a breeze.

A highlight of any safari is making sure you capture and share the magical moments, so ensuring your camera and other electronic devices are charged is key. Understanding how voltage works and whether your camp or lodge has full-time electricity or a generator that is switched off at night will help prepare you.

Leave behind your flat irons and remember to bring a plug adapter as Botswana’s plugs are rounded three-pronged. Your accommodations will be able to assist with these and voltage converters if required.

How should I fly in and out of Botswana?

Your journey begins from the moment you touch down in Botswana, with Maun (MUB) and Kasane (BBK) serving as the southern and northern hubs for the safari circuit.

Connecting internationally in South Africa is common, with Johannesburg and Cape Town considered major Southern African safari hubs. For those looking to explore a little more before or after their, Victoria Falls in neighboring Zimbabwe is a perfect entry or exit airport.

Maun and Kasane are also the main airports from which light aircraft or safari circuit air hops operate, connecting various regions with a few lodges and camps operating their own airstrips, in addition to those used for access to the national parks.

Your plane may touch down at one airstrip to drop off four passengers, before continuing to your concession.

Is Botswana safe for travel?

Botswana is safe for travelers, with the country governed at a first-world standard. It is considered one of the most advanced and stable countries in Africa.

Experiencing the African bush is unique. Quiet and far away from the hustle and bustle of larger cities and towns, being in nature is spectacular, with urban security concerns left behind. However, standard security practices are recommended in lodges and camps, and it is always good to be aware of your surroundings when in cities and towns.

During game drives, your guides will be sure to communicate at all times and adhering to their guidelines is key as they know how to read the bush. All lodges and camps will provide a safety briefing so you understand where you can go without a guide or lodge team member.

Are there any health concerns in Botswana?

Being prepared health-wise when venturing into the Botswana swamps, savannahs, and forests is key.

While there are very few mosquitoes during the dry season, significantly reducing the risk of malaria, a prophylactic is recommended.

There are no yellow fever concerns and all water will be bottled or filter stations set up. First aid kits and, if required, medical advice, will always be on hand at your destinations.

What should I pack for a Botswana safari?

Most domestic flights in Botswana have a strict 33lb per person luggage limit and require soft-sided bags.

Light clothing, in color and material, is ideal, with a light jacket for the evenings. Consider gloves and a scarf for early- morning starts if traveling in winter.

Hiking boots are unnecessary, so packing comfortable walking shoes is perfect. Learn more about how to prepare for your Botswana safari with our What to Bring on An African Safari: 6 Tips to Pack Your Bag.

What should I know regarding baggage?

You will arrive at Botswana’s Maun or Kasane international airports, or neighboring Victoria Falls, but many destinations require air hops in small or light aircraft with luggage restrictions.

Soft-sided duffel bags with wheels measuring around 12” high are recommended. Weight is restricted to 33lbs, with options for guests to purchase extra space. In some situations, oversized or excess luggage can be stored at hotels or with partners on the ground.

There is no requirement for formal wear on safari and most lodges or camps offer a laundry service, making packing light for your Botswana adventure easy.

Is Botswana a good destination for family safaris?

Botswana is a great destination for family safaris. Little explorers will get a chance to experience nature up close and personal through mini bush walks and short game drives.

Spending time in a variety of destinations within Botswana will give younger safari-goers a chance to experience diverse animal and birdlife on boat rides in the Okavango Delta or on the Makgadikgadi salt pans.

Children-friendly lodges and camps educate and ensure youngsters of all ages have fun, with kids programs including activities ranging from recording animal sightings in a journal to baking cookies with the chef.

Learn more: 7 Tips to Plan A Perfect Family African Safari

Is Botswana suitable for senior travelers?

Botswana is a great safari destination for senior travelers. Taking it slow is key and considering some road transfers, combined with one light-aircraft flight to a Delta delight, will ensure travel throughout the safari circuit is comfortable.

Letting lodge and camp staff know about any medical requirements or preferences helps and they will ensure your comfort is a priority.

There will be a fair amount of movement involved if combining several regions and lodges, or extending to other southern African destinations. However, the rewards of a safari experience are worth it.

Can I get around Botswana if I have a mobility issue?

Everybody should have the opportunity to experience the uniqueness of a safari and in Botswana there are ground-handlers who operate safaris for those with mobility issues.

Their vehicles are adapted to accommodate guests who require a wheelchair to get around and, in general, ease of entry for all guests is considered. Lodges and camps offer rooms that are adapted to accommodate visitors with mobility issues.

Working with your Zicasso safari specialist will ensure your mobility needs are met and your wildlife adventure is comfortable and memorable.

Is Botswana suitable for couples or honeymooners?

Botswana is a great destination for couples, whether on a honeymoon, an anniversary celebration, or looking for a romantic getaway.

The Okavango Delta is one of the most romantic destinations on the African safari circuit. With intimate lodges and camps set amongst stunning landscapes teeming with wildlife, Botswana is a top contender for a spirited and passionate break in the bush.

Private dining, breathtaking sunsets, and various safari activities all culminate for the perfect adventure.

How can Zicasso help me plan my trip to Botswana?

You can plan for your next vacation through Zicasso by visiting our Botswana Safaris for inspiration and learning about the possibilities that speak to you.

Pick specific experiences you like, from safari destinations that capture your imagination or culinary experiences that speak to a childhood dream. Each opportunity can act as the foundation from which you customize your Botswana safari.

To start planning your trip with Zicasso, fill out a Trip Request to provide an idea of the places you would like to go, the ideal length of your trip, your group size, and traveler ages.

You can offer suggestions or comments on your travel style and then set your budget. Our Travel Care team will contact you shortly after. They will match you with a top Botswana safari specialist who will work with you to plan a stress-free and perfect vacation that exceeds your expectations.

Learn more: How to Plan Your Zicasso Trip in 4 Easy StepsHow to Plan Your Zicasso Trip Budget in 3 Easy Steps

Where can I find recommended itineraries for my trip?

Leopard in a tree in the Okavango Delta, Botswana

Okavango Delta, Botswana

Discover a safari destination like no other as you move through Botswana’s various game-viewing destinations and uncover wildlife treasures at every turn.

With exciting ways to experience it all, you can enjoy Botswana over several days that encompass the kaleidoscope of possibilities. No matter your preferences, you can find inspiration with our selection of sample Botswana Safaris and in our Botswana Safari Guide.

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