Travel to Botswana
When to visit
July to October is best for wildlife viewing in the popular Okavango Delta and Chobe National Park. Central Kalahari, Nxai Pan and Makgadikgadi Pans come to their own between December and March.
Visas and paperwork
US citizens do not require a visa to enter Botswana, provided they have a valid passport and do not spend more than 90 days in the country within a 12-month period.
Did You Know?
Did You Know?
Chobe National Park is a key component in the Kavango–Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area, a vast unfenced tract of wilderness that spans five different countries and is almost three times larger than Texas, extending across a total area of 200,000 square miles, including Botswana’s Okavango Delta, Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park, Zambia’s Kafue National Park, Namibia’s Caprivi Strip, Angola’s Mavinga National Park and the world-famous Victoria Falls.
At a Glance/Highlights
Botswana’s most alluring safari destination, the Okavango Delta is a 5,800-square-mile wetland wilderness dense with elephants, buffaloes, hippos and birds. Dugout trips through the central delta are truly thrilling, while game drives in Moremi Game Reserve offer the opportunity to tick the Big Five.
Attracting more than 100,000 elephants in the dry season, Chobe National Park is a great all-round safari destination whose main focal point is the Chobe River, a magnificent tropical waterway that can be explored by boat or along an extensive game drive circuit.
Ecologically, Botswana is dominated by the Kalahari, a vast tract of semi-arid savanna that still supports a substantial amount of wildlife. Much of this desert wilderness is protected within the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (the world’s largest such entity at 20,000+ square miles) and a pair of national parks protecting the white-crusted expenses of Nxai Pan and Makgadikgadi Pans.
Ranked among the world’s ten most sparsely populated countries, Botswana is a largely pristine wilderness destination that incorporates some of the best parks and reserves anywhere in Africa. Paradoxically, while the country is dominated by the sandy soils and open horizons of the semi-arid Kalahari Desert, its two most popular attractions – the wondrous Okavango Delta and Chobe River – are very much aquatic. Botswana adheres to a policy of high-cost, low-impact ecotourism, which means it tends to be less family oriented and budget friendly than most of its neighbours, but for those seeking a truly exclusive safari experience, it is hard to beat.
Most people traveling from North America route through Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport (JNB), which is the busiest regional flight hub. Sir Seretse Khama International Airport (GBE) near the capital Gaborone is Botswana’s largest. However, tourists are more likely to arrive at Maun Airport (MUB) or Kasane Airport (BBK), which respectively service the Okavango Delta and Chobe National Park. Those whose itinerary combines Botswana with Victoria Falls might transfer by road one-way between Zimbabwe’s Victoria Falls Airport (VFA) or Zambia’s Livingstone Airport (LVI).
Health and safety
Malaria is present, particularly in the rainy season, so take prophylactic drugs and cover up at night. In terms of crime, Botswana must rank as one of the world’s safest countries in terms of crime, the riskiest area being the capital Gaborone, which is seldom visited by tourists.