GETTING THERE AND AROUND
By Air to Botswana
Getting into Botswana is generally by air, with most international travellers flying first into O.R. Tambo Airport (Johannesburg) in South Africa before continuing up to Botswana.
There are flights between Johannesburg and Maun, gateway to the Okavango and most camps, as well as via Gaborone and Kasane.
SA Airlink operates flights to and from Maun and Johannesburg on a daily basis and from Cape Town six days a week.
Johannesburg to Maun 11h45 - 13h15, returning 14h00 - 15h40 [daily]
Johannesburg to Kasane 11h45 - 13h25, returning 13h55 - 15h45 [daily]
Cape Town to Maun 10h35 - 13h05 returning 13h35 - 16h10 [5 days a week, M T W T F S S]
Air Botswana flies the following routes and times
Johannesburg - Maun 11h10 - 13h10, returning 13h50 - 15h50 [daily]
Johannesburg - Gaborone - Maun 06h30 - 09h30, returns 15h30 - 18h50 [daily]
By Air Inside Botswana
Unless you are on a mobile safari you are almost definitely going to be accessing your lodge/s by light aircraft. This is a key element of your safari experience, flying you between remote bush camps, often inaccessible by land, and then back to centres like Maun, Kasane or Livingstone for onward connections. The service provides a totally different impression and appreciation of the country below – from the densely matted papyrus flanked waterways of the Okavango Delta and their secretive sitatunga inhabitants, to the majestic grandeur and scale of Victoria Falls.
If you are arriving by road you are most likely doing so from Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe or Livingstone in Zambia. You can drive there by road from Johannesburg but it is essentially a two day trip.
LIGHT AIRCRAFT FLIGHTS
& LUGGAGE LIMITS IN BOTSWANA
Accessing remote camps by light aircraft means that there are strict luggage styles and weight limits. The aircraft are not airliners – relatively speaking they are small. Typical luggage specifications are as follows:
Soft (all sides) luggage / duffel bags – with no frames or rigid structures. Wheels on a bag are only permissible if they are not part of a solid frame or rigid structure.
Maximum luggage weight is 20kg (44lbs), including all carry-on luggage if more than one bag and camera equipment.
Maximum luggage size is 25cm (10 inches) wide x 30cm (12 inches) high x 62cm (24 inches) long.
It is a condition of travel with us that you have the correct, comprehensive travel and medical insurance to cover yourself, as well as any dependants/travelling companions for the duration of your trip to Africa. This is the sole responsibility of the traveller. This insurance should include cover in respect of, but not limited to, the following eventualities:
emergency evacuation expenses,
cancellation or curtailment of trip,
damage/theft/loss of personal luggage, money and/or goods.
VISAS & MEDICAL
Visa & Passport Requirements
Every visitor to Botswana must be in possession of a passport that is valid until six months after the initial date of travel; however, 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.
Go the Botswana Government website to read more.
Botswana is generally a healthy country to visit. Several vaccines are sensible (typhoid, polio and tetanus), though none are required. Anti-malarial tablets are usually recommended. Always check the latest recommendations with your doctor or clinic before travelling, and perhaps see the US CDC or Scottish NHS websites for useful travel information about Botswana.
In Botswana, HIV infection rates are high, and AIDS is prevalent. Generally, this isn't an issue for travellers, but you should be aware of the situation – take the same sensible precautions to avoid infection which are wise in most countries. We understand that blood supplies used by the private hospitals in Botswana have been carefully screened for a long time.
WHAT TO BRING
Sun hat/bush hat
Headscarf/bandana – particularly for dusty dry regions
Golf-shirts and/or T-shirts – preferably with a sleeve to protect your shoulders from the sun
Long-sleeved cotton shirts
Shorts and/or skirts – really short skirts are not practical for getting in and out of game drive vehicles
Long trousers/slacks Track suit
Pyjamas – lightweight for summer and warm/thermal for winter
Underwear – on game drives the roads can be bumpy and uneven so a suitable bra may be required
Socks – thermal options are recommended for the winter months
Good closed walking shoes (running/tennis shoes are fine)
Sandals – preferably low heeled or flat if you are going on safari
Lightweight jersey or fleece / light rain gear or jacket for summer months.
Warm jersey or fleece plus anorak or parka as well as scarf, gloves and woollen hats for winter months.
Good quality sunglasses, UV protected, preferably polarised.
If you wear contact lenses, we recommend that you also bring a pair of glasses in case of dust irritation.
Personal toiletries (basic amenities are supplied by most establishments)
Moisturising cream and suntan lotion – SPF 30 or higher recommended
Insect repellent for body application, e.g. Tabard, Rid, Jungle Juice, etc.
Basic medical kit (aspirins, plasters, Imodium, antiseptic cream and antihistamine cream, etc.)
Malaria tablets (if applicable)
Antihistamine tablets for allergy suffers / anti-nausea table for motion sickness suffers.
Southern African bird guide if you are a keen birder, e.g., Newman’s or Sasol
Camera equipment including spare batteries, chargers, film, flash cards, memory sticks, etc.
Waterproof/dustproof bag or cover for your camera
Binoculars for viewing wildlife and birds. Recommended general purpose specifications are 8x40 or 10x42.
Visas, tickets, passports, money, credit cards, insurance details, etc.
NOTE 1: Bright colours and white are not advisable whilst on safari. Camouflage clothing is not recommended for travel in African countries.
NOTE 2: There may be a restriction on luggage limits on your safari – please ensure that you have the details from us, if you would like details on the feasibility and costs of taking excess luggage with you on any of these restricted luggage safaris.
NOTE 3: Most destinations carry reference materials in their camps and vehicles, so it is not necessary to bring these with you. However, we highly recommend that you do bring your own pair of binoculars in order to get the most out of your safari.
Books worth 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
Traveling with your family and children is very much possible, there are a number of camps that have family suites or interleading rooms. Please contact us to find out what is possible and what age limits apply for specific destinations and lodges.