Handy hints when

TRAVELING IN BOTSWANA

In 2016, Lonely Planet voted Botswana a top destination in the world to visit. Planning a trip to one of the last great wildlife destinations in the world is easy and can be planned from your desk or armchair.

It is important to plan your trip to avoid driving at night, with little to no fencing and plenty of wildlife on and near the roads at night, driving is a dangerous activity.

Plan your trip to arrive at Kwa Nokeng Lodge in the late afternoon, relax, fill up with fuel, stock up on important items, enjoy a hearty breakfast and leave in the early morning feeling refreshed.

Money Matters

The national currency of Botswana is the Pula although the US dollar is widely accepted at hotels and lodges in Botswana. Kwa Nokeng also accepts South Africa Rands, and we have a bureau de change where you can also exchange your Rands for Pula.

Most major credit cards are accepted at hotels, shops and restaurants.

ATM’s are becoming popular although full banking services are available in Botswana’s major towns.

Tipping Info

If service is good, it is customary to tip the lodge staff and guides in either Pula or any hard currency on your travels through Botswana. The amount that you tip depends on the staff members role and the size of your group, usually a 10% tip is the norm especially if a service charge has not been included.

Climate

Average summer temperatures: 18°C to 38°C

Average winter temperatures: 6°C to 27°C

Rainy season: October/November to March/April.

Rainfall is the highest in northern Botswana. Wide open woodlands dominate this environment. Botswana hosts several valuable wetlands, these being the Okavango Delta and The Chobe River system which support vast numbers of wildlife.

What to Pack

Be practical when packing for a trip to Botswana. Summer daytime temperatures can exceed 40°C, so shorts and t-shirts would be best, with slipslops or open sandals for your feet.  If you burn easily, a longer sleeved shirt for protection against the sun.. Lightweight long-sleeved clothing, for evenings/nights and early mornings to protect against mosquitoes, with closed shoes for your feet.

In the cooler months layering up is a good idea for the beautiful warm sunny days of Botswana, these can turn very chilly at night. Do pack a thick fleece or jacket for early morning and evening game drives.

Sun Protection, a good hats and even a rain jacket are advised all year round.

A good first aid kit for those just in case minor incidents.

Visa & Passport Requirements

All visitors to Botswana must check into customs at border control and be in possession of a passport that is valid until six months after the initial date of entry. No visas are required by citizens of EU countries, most Commonwealth countries, the USA, South Africa, Switzerland, Israel and Norway.

Upon arrival you will receive a 30-day entrance stamp and, for those who plan on travelling onwards to Botswana’s neighbouring countries, visas for Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe can be obtained in Gaborone.

Vehicle Registration/Vehicle License Papers

Kwa Nokeng offers assistance in obtaining vehicle permits – please click here for more information.

A certified copy of vehicle registration/vehicle lisense papers is required at the border posts. This should be accompanied with a letter from the bank giving you authorisation to take the vehicle across the border, and should also indicate relevant dates. It is advisable to take a bank letter and your license papers signed by a Commissioner of Oaths on your journey. If you are not the registered owner of the vehicle, please do carry an affidavit giving you authorisation from the financial institution or the owner to take the vehicle abroad.

There are rules and sometimes confusion about what type of meat you may take across the Botswana border. To prevent the spread of foot-and-mouth disease un-processed meat therefore is prohibited, although chicken is allowed. Botwana has very good quality beef and is often better priced than South Africa.

Officials stop vehicles randomly at checkpoints and they are entitled to search your vehicle. Most will only ask you to open your your cooler box. Occassionaly certain fruits and veg are confiscated to limit the spread of fruit flies.

Take along plenty of water for your journey.  3 litres of water per person per day to avoid debydration especially on a hot day. Remember you can stock up on your water needs at Kwa Nokengs general store and we also stock ice-cubes directly bottled from a local spring.

People & Culture

With a population of just over two million, Botswana has a fairly consistant culture and most people are Christian and speak Tswana, although English is widely understood and spoken. The people of Botswana are a traditionally friendly and courteous nation. It is considered respectful to remove sunglasses when speaking to any officials.

Greetings in the local language can go a long way in making friends along the way

Hello – Dumela Ma (women)  and Dumela Ra (man)

Thank-You – Ke a leboga Ma or Ra

Cellphone Networks & Coverage

SA cell phone networks do operate in Botswana, although roaming costs will apply. Most of the gateways, towns and main roads into and around Botswana have good cell phone coverage. It can be intermittent between towns on the highways.