Travel Information

Country Information
With 2.3 million inhabitants in an area larger than France, one can easily feel the vastness of the wilderness in Botswana. The same applies to the national parks, where access is very strictly regulated in order to keep the visitor, animal and plant life ratio at a sustainable level. The Government of Botswana, which fortunately always favoured an exclusive eco-tourism, strictly monitors the quality and sustainability of the camps. You will experience safaris in areas almost untouched by humans.

Botswana is safe and enjoys a stable political system. Theft, molestation and begging are not common. One should not be afraid to mingle with the locals. The country has an effective zero-tolerance policy against corruption and collusion. Botswana's economy is based on the three pillars of tourism, diamonds and raw material production, and ‘Botswana Beef’.

The lodges in Botswana operate in a sustainable manner with great environmental responsibility. However, the protection of animal and plant life can only be guaranteed if this model of operation is well established and economically sustainable in the long-term. The more successful the model, the smaller the chance that these wonderful ecosystems are destroyed or operated using a less sustainable economic model. Visiting the Okavango Delta, for instance, is a way to help preserve these unique floodplains and provide many people with jobs and confidence.

What does a safari in Botswana cost?
The exclusivity and intimacy of the lodges guarantee an unforgettable experience, but this comes with a high price tag. The cost of the safari camps in the private concessions in the Inner Okavango Delta is much more than CHF 1,000 per person per night in the high season. The cost of the internal flights that connect the various lodge is not relevant as the flight distance is usually quite short.

Climate & best times to visit
Expect the last rain drops in April and May. From June to October, the blue skies of Botswana are clear and cloudless. Expect sunny days and pleasant temparatures during the day. Nights can become cool, especially in June and July. October is the hottest month of the year, usually still dry and day temperatures reaching forty degrees. The rain arrives some time in November, but falls locally during regional storms. The rainy days are unlike anything we experience here in Europe. The chances of animal sightings are always high. In fact, the light rain facilitates the search for animal tracks and increases the chances of finding predators.

No jetlag
The only way to fly to Botswana is via Johannesburg. A direct flight from Zurich to Johannesburg takes about 10 hours. This is usually a night flight, which arrives in Johannesburg in the early morning. From here a transit is made to a connecting flight. The time difference is one hour maximum, depending on our daylight saving time.

Immigration rules and regulations
Both Swiss and EU citizens require a passport which is valid at least 6 months beyond the date of your departure from Botswana, and must contain at least two blank pages. No visa is required for Botswana. The exact rules and regulations will be clarified prior to travel.

Air Botswana and Airlink offer daily flights from Johannesburg to Maun and Kasane. There are also flights between Maun and Capetown. Small aircrafts operate between Maun, Kasane and the lodges in the Okavango Delta, the Kalahari and the Salt Pans. The smallest aircraft is a two-seater, while the largest transporters carry a maximum of 12 guests. These aircraft land on airstrips in the bush, from where you are taken to the lodges in open vehicles.

There is a strict weight limit of 20kg per person for all luggage on flights to the Okavango Delta. For safety reasons, this restriction is rigorously adhered to by the pilots. Do not bring hard suitcases, but only soft sports bags. The weight limit also includes hand luggage, camera equipment, laptop, etc.

Health and insurance
Malaria prophylaxis is recommended for travel to Maun, the Okavango Delta and all places further north. Malaria is mainly transmitted in large urban centres, the risk of infection at the lodges is minimal. Mosquitoes are only present during the rainy season from November to May. Nevertheless, for your best interests, we advise you to not take the risk. Make sure that you are adequately insured, particularly for a medical evacuation from a remote area and repatriation. All necessary medication must be brought from home. Do not rely on getting the required medication in Botswana. All medication must be kept in your hand luggage.

Currency and payment methods
The local currency is called Pula, which means rain. This is an indication of how important rain is in Botswana. Major credit cards are accepted, but please make sure that your PIN code works, as transactions via the automated teller machines (ATM) are faster and much more reliable. Most lodges accept credit cards. Tips to guides and camp staff can be given in cash in Euros, Dollars, Rand or Pula, or by credit card. The local staff can't change any other currency into local currency due to bank restrictions. Please note that your dollar bills should not be older than 2010 as the local banks do not accept older dollar bills.

Dress code
There is no specific clothes that you need to bring on a safari. Comfortable, casual clothes are your best choice. For the game drives, all colours are allowed. For walking safaris, only brown, green or beige tones are recommended. For the period from May to August, bring warm clothes, including hats and gloves. As for footwear, we recommend comfortable, open sandals and a pair of sturdy shoes. Hiking boots are not necessary unless you have planned extensive walks.

The official language in Botswana is English. The local colloquial language is called Setswana and is spoken by everyone. There are also several dialects and the locals often speak several languages. The younger ones are often very good in English. Mobile connection is usually good, unless you are far away from urban centres. However, most camps provide Internet / Wifi access nowadays.

Food and drink
Food is of good quality and mainly imported from South Africa. Diarrhoea is not a problem. We recommend you to drink only bottled drinking water. Only bottled mineral water and filtered ice are available at the lodges.

The power supply is 220 - 230 volts. Adapters for all countries are present at all good lodges and computers and cameras can be recharged. Power supply is available 24h at most lodges. The plugs have three large prongs (South African style). Our three-pronged Swiss plugs do not fit anywhere, so please make sure you bring a suitable adapter.

Laundry service
Clothes can be washed at most lodges. Please note that clothes are washed by hand and then sun dried at most of the lodges. Due to cultural differences, you may have to wash your underwear yourself. Do not bring too many clothes, instead make use of the laundry service wherever possible.

Just as in South Africa, all traffic in Botswana drives on the left-hand side, with drivers seated on the right-hand side of the vehicle. The traffic is very sparse in Botswana and you may drive on the wrong side of the road without realizing it. Be careful when turning and remember to go clockwise at roundabouts. The intercity roads are excellent, side roads mostly gravel and peter out into 4x4 territory. The police are fair and do not demand gifts.

Time difference
During the European summer, the time difference is plus one hour.
During the European winter, there is no time difference.

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