Travelling to Botswana with Wilderness Safaris

Travel Advice for Botswana

Botswana is a landlocked country surrounded by Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa.

Full name: Republic of Botswana
Capital: Gaborone (Maun and Kasane are safari ‘hubs’)
Population: 2.1 million (2015)
Geographic coordinates: 22 00 S, 24 00 E
Area: 581 730 sq. km / 224 610 sq. mi
Time: +2 hours GMT

Climate and Seasonality

Summer is from November to the end of March and usually brings very high temperatures (approx. 19 – 30ºC / 66 – 89ºF). It is also the rainy season and cloud coverage and rain can cool things down, although only usually 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 (approx. 8 - 26ºC / 45 - 80ºF).

The in-between periods - April/early 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.

What to pack

  • Sunblock, sun hat and good quality sunglasses
  • Camera with waterproof/dustproof bag/cover
  • Good walking shoes (tennis shoes are fine)
  • Malaria tablets (if applicable)
  • Warm Anorak or Parka and scarf / gloves for winter
Download Packing list in PDF

Health and Safety

Botswana is a stable democracy; however, it is sensible to take basic precautions whilst travelling anywhere in the world. We advise that you ask Tourist Information Officers, camp/lodge and hotel staff and local residents about areas to avoid.

Wilderness Safaris camps in Botswana are situated in malaria-risk areas; please consult your medical practitioner regarding any anti-malarials. Please check with your health department/travel clinic prior to departure, in the event there have been changes in the health regulations of the country you are visiting.

Passports and Visas

Visitors to Africa must have a passport that is valid for at least 6 months beyond your intended departure date, together with onward travel documents, proof of accommodation and sufficient funds for the duration of your stay. Please also ensure that you have sufficient blank visa pages (not endorsement pages) in your passport, with at least 2 consecutive/side by side blank pages. Our recommendation is 3 pages (or even 4 if you are travelling through more than one country on your journey).

NOTE: All passengers under 18 years of age will need to present an unabridged birth certificate as well as a valid passport when entering, departing or transiting South Africa and Botswana. A sworn translation (certified/authenticated) in English should accompany all documentation that is in a language other than English.

For single parents, or those travelling alone with their child/ren, the following must be provided:

- An affidavit (no more than 3 months old on the date of travel) in which the absent parent gives consent for the child to travel, or
- A court order granting full responsibilities or legal guardianship of the child, or
- The death certificate of the absent parent.

Please speak to your Africa specialist to ensure that you have any appropriate travel documentation before departing on safari.

Banks and Foreign Exchange

Botswana banks, as well as Wilderness camps, only accept US Dollars, GBP Sterling, Euro and South African Rand in cash. Travellers Cheques in any of the above currencies are also acceptable. MasterCard and Visa are usually accepted throughout Botswana, but Diners Club and American Express are not.The currency is the Pula (P).


The official language is English, with Setswana the most widely spoken Southern African language. There are eight major Tswana tribes, each of which occupies its own separate territory with its own traditional chiefs, and each tribe maintains communal ownership over its lands.

Recommended Reading

  • Okavango: Wetland Wilderness - Adrian Bailey
  • Okavango River: The flow of a lifeline - John Mendelsohn, Selma El Obeid
  • Okavango: Jewel of the Kalahari - Karen Ross
  • This is Botswana - Daryl Balfour
  • The Bushmen - A Changing Way of Life - Anthony Bannister
  • Newman's Birds of Southern Africa - Ken Newman
  • Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - Phil Hockey, Ian Sinclair and Warwick Tarboton
  • Behaviour Guide to African Mammals - Richard Estes
  • Guide to the Trees & Shrubs of the Okavango Delta - Veronica Roodt
  • Guide to the Wildflowers of the Okavango Delta - Veronica Roodt
  • Botswana Tourist Map & Guide - Veronica Roodt
  • Running Wild: Dispelling the Myths of the African Wild Dog - John McNutt, Lesley Boggs, Dave Hamman & Helene Heldring
  • Botswana - The Bradt Travel Guide - Chris McIntyre