There are extra elephants in Botswana than any other country, the massive cats roam free and there’s everything from endangered African wild dogs to aquatic antelopes, from rhinos making a comeback to ample birdlife at each turn. This is also the land of the Okavango Delta and the Kalahari Desert, at once iconic African landscapes and significant stretches of wilderness. 38 percent of its whole land vicinity are committed to country wide parks, reserves and natural world management areas. Put these landscapes together with the wildlife that inhabits them, and it’s challenging to break out the conclusion that this is wild Africa at its best.
Botswana may additionally rank amongst Africa’s most one-of-a-kind destinations – lodging prices at most hotels are once-in-a-lifetime propositions – however self-drive expeditions are also possible. And whichever way you visit, Botswana is a without a doubt fantastic place. For the first time traveler, incredible fee will be found traveling in the “green season” of November to March” when the rains have come and the animals start their migration movements, especially to the Kalahari. April and May are also good months for recreation viewing when deciding on your camps carefully. For an all-round flora and fauna experience in Botswana, we generally advocate that you visit 3 camp locations staying seven nights.
Weather, Climate and Geography
Botswana's climate is semi-arid. Though it is hot and dry for much of the year, there is a rainy season, which runs through the summer months. Rainfall tends to be erratic, unpredictable and highly regional. Often a heavy downpour may occur in one area while 10 or 15 kilometers away there is no rain at all. Showers are often followed by strong sunshine so that a good deal of the rainfall does not penetrate the ground but is lost to evaporation and transpiration.
'Pula', one of the most frequently heard words in Botswana, is not only the name of Botswana's currency, but also the Setswana word for rain. So much of what takes place in Botswana relies on this essential, frequently scarce commodity.
The rainy season is in the summer, with October and April being transitional months. January and February are generally regarded as the peak months. The mean annual rainfall varies from a maximum of over 650mm in the extreme northeast area of the Chobe District to a minimum of less than 250mm in the extreme southwest part of Kgalagadi District (see the map for districts). Almost all rainfall occurs during the summer months while the winter period accounts for less than 10 percent of the annual rainfall. Generally, rainfall decreases in amount and increases in variability the further west and south you go.
Summer days are hot, especially in the weeks that precede the coming of the cooling rains, and shade temperatures rise to the 38°C mark and higher, reaching a blistering 44°C on rare occasions. Winters are clear-skied and bone-dry, the air seductively warm during the daylight hours but, because there is no cloud cover, cold at night and in the early mornings. Sometimes bitterly so - frost is common and small quantities of water can freeze.
In summer during the morning period humidity ranges from 60 to 80% and drops to between 30 and 40% in the afternoon. In winter humidity is considerably less and can vary between 40 and 70% during the morning and fall to between 20 and 30% in the afternoon.
For tourists, the best visiting months are from April through to October - in terms of both weather and game viewing. It is during this period that the wildlife of the great spaces gathers around what water there is - the natural waterholes and the borehole-fed dams - and are at their most visible.
The summer season begins in November and ends in March. It usually brings very high temperatures. However, summer is also the rainy season, and cloud coverage and rain can cool things down considerably, 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, especially in the southwest.
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.
Passports & Visas
To enter Botswana, a passport valid for at least six months is required by all nationals referred to in the chart above. Outgoing travel documents and sufficient funds are also required.
Visas are not required by all nationals referred to in the chart above for stays in Botswana of up to 90 days. Visas are also not required by transit passengers, provided they are continuing their journey by the same or first connecting aircraft, and do not leave the airport. Nationals not referred to in the chart above are advised to contact the high commission/embassy to check visa requirements. A tourism levy of US$30 applies to all visitors except those from residents and citizens of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) member states. This can be paid on arrival by cash or debit/credit card.
Those nationals who do require a visa for Botswana must include a copy of their travel itinerary with their application, along with a letter of support from their intended host and return visa or residence permit from his/her country of residence. Travelling with minors: As of 1 October 2016, those travelling with children under the age of 18 will need to supply an unabridged birth certificate showing the details of both parents. If the child is flying with one parent only, a parental consent affidavit signed by the absent parent will need to be produced. If the father is not named on the birth certificate, an affidavit will not need to be produced.
Types and Cost
Visitor visa: US$107.
Loose and natural fabrics are recommended. Light coats are also recommended for rainy days.