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Practical information about Botswana

On this page you will find answers to frequently asked questions about Botswana. Read about weather, visa, language and much more.

Practical information about Botswana
Practical information about Botswana

Practical information about Botswana

On this page you will find answers to frequently asked questions about Botswana. Read about weather, visa, language and much more.

CLIMATE

Best time to travel

Much of Botswana consists of desert. 70% of the country is covered by the Kalahari Desert, and the relatively high altitude of the country primarily gives it a subtropical steppe climate. A little rain does fall, however, though mostly in the north, where Chobe National Park and the Okavango Delta are located. The climate is generally fairly stable all year round, so the country can on the whole be visited throughout the year.

Rainy season in Botswana
It is summer in Botswana – and thus rainy season – in the period from November – March.

The period offers very high temperatures and a relatively high risk of rain and thunderstorms. However, the showers primarily fall in the afternoon.

The rainy season offers a beautiful, dramatic play of colours in the sky as well as a lush, green landscape, making this the most photogenic time of the year in Botswana. What’s more, the rainy season is the perfect time to visit the country if you’re a bird lover. You have every chance of seeing both the migrating birds and resident birds that breed during this period.

The trees are quite leafy so it can sometimes be difficult to spot the animals during your safari. On the other hand, there are plenty of baby animals and birds to look out for. The baby animals also attract predators such as lions, hyenas and leopards, which are on the look-out for easy prey.

November to December is the start of the rainy season, with the rain making a reappearance after the year’s dry season. These months offer high temperatures, especially during the daytime, so the rain is a welcome relief to animals and humans alike.

January to March are the last months of the rainy season. It is also the period when it rains the most, and when the rainfall can extend over longer periods. Despite the high rainfall, it is still hot. In the northern part of the country, some of the area’s camps may be closed due to the rain.

The dry season in Botswana
Botswana’s winter and dry season is from April to October.

The season offers cloudless blue skies and virtually no rain. It is relatively hot during the day, but it can get chilly at night as well as in the morning and evening. So it’s a good idea to pack some warm clothes for this period.

The trees lose their leaves during this season, giving you a good chance of spotting the impressive wildlife.

April to May is the start of the dry season. The temperature drops slightly compared to earlier months, but it is still warm during the day. It is generally dry, though with some rain during April. Although officially the dry season, the landscape is still relatively green and lush after the rainy season.

June to August is high season for safari. Daytime temperatures are pleasant and rain is virtually non-existent. Some places are getting dry, which means that the animals are gathering around the water holes.

It is also at this time of the year that the water hits the world’s largest inland delta: the Okavango Delta. Interestingly, the delta is not actually filled by the rainwater that falls in Botswana, but by the rainwater that falls over the mountains of Angola.

September to October is the end of the dry season. It starts to get hotter now as the rainy season is just around the corner. However, it is still very dry, which means a really good chance of seeing animals gathering around the remaining water holes.

Weather statistics for the Okavango Delta:
JAN
FEB
MAR
APR
MAY
JUN
JUL
AUG
SEP
OCT
NOV
DEC
Average maximum temperature
32
31
31
31
28
25
25
29
32
35
34
32
Average minimum temperature
19
19
18
15
10
6
6
9
14
19
19
19
Rainfall mm
104
95
81
25
5
1
1
0
1
17
43
81

 

Weather statistics for Chobe National Park:
JAN
FEB
MAR
APR
MAY
JUN
JUL
AUG
SEP
OCT
NOV
DEC
Average maximum temperature
32
31
32
31
30
27
27
30
34
35
34
32
Average minimum temperature
21
20
20
18
14
11
10
13
17
21
21
21
Rainfall mm
158
133
80
17
1
1
0
0
0
22
63
151
IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR TOUR

Passport & visa

It goes without saying that you need to bring your passport with you on your tour. A visa is not required for British citizens when entering and staying in Botswana for less than 90 days, but your passport must be valid for 6 months after your return home.

If you plan on visiting Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe, we recommend that you apply for a KAZA UniVisa upon entry, which costs 50 USD. Payment must be made in cash (USD).

Botswana – when you are travelling with minors under the age of 18
Children under the age of 18 are required to bring their birth certificate (in English) with them. This is also the case even if the child is travelling with both parents.

If the child is travelling with just one parent, the written consent of the parent who is not with them is required in the form of a legalised letter of attorney and a copy of their passport with a signature. This also applies even when parents have joint custody. The child is still required to bring their birth certificate (in English).

If the child is travelling without his or her parents, the same rules as described above apply.

If one parent has passed away, a copy of the death certificate (in English) is required.

Please note that a letter of attorney is only valid when legalised by an official authority. Read more about the Apostille stamp here.

The visa regulations can be checked on the Foreign & Commonwealth and Development Office website.

Travel documents

Prior to your departure, you can download our App here to find your travel documents and the contact details for TourCompass and our local partners.

We recommend that you download the WhatsApp app to your smartphone and add the phone numbers of our business partners. You can send messages and call them for free using the app when you have a Wi-Fi connection.

Vaccinations

We recommend that you contact a medical specialist, your GP or an authorised vaccination clinic for information about vaccinations. You can also read more about the rules regarding travel vaccinations here.

Please be aware of the rules about yellow fever – especially if you are entering via another country where yellow fever is present. Some countries require proof of yellow fever vaccination upon entry. Your vaccination certificate should therefore always be carried with you in your hand luggage when you travel.

Travel terms and conditions

Please read our general travel terms and conditions carefully, as these are part of the agreement terms for tours purchased at TourCompass. Tours purchased from us are covered under the “Package Travel Act”.

Click here to read our travel terms and conditions.

All the flights and flight-inclusive holidays on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. When you pay you will be supplied with an ATOL Certificate. Please ask for it and check to ensure that everything you booked (flights, hotels and other services) is listed on it.
Please see our booking conditions for further information or for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate click here.

Travel insurance

We always advise you to obtain comprehensive travel insurance when heading off on your dream holiday. It is also highly recommended to acquire cancellation insurance for extra protection. 

Click here to proceed to our page on insurance, where you can read more about our recommendations.

You should also be aware that it is a requirement that you have valid travel insurance to participate in the tour, and you will be asked to provide details of this this upon your arrival in Botswana.

BEFORE YOU TRAVEL

Currency, price level & tipping

Currency:

The local currency in Botswana is the Pula (BWP) – which also happens to mean “rain”.

We recommend that you exchange to Pula in Botswana or take out some Pula at the cash machine on your arrival in Botswana. In local tourist stores, you can pay primarily pay with Pula and sometimes small dollar bills. At lodges, USD and occasionally South African Rand are more common. We recommend exchanging some money, so you have both Pula and USD with you.

Tips:

Tipping in Botswana is voluntary but naturally much appreciated. If you have received extraordinary treatment during your stay and wish to show your appreciation, it is perfectly OK to give a tip. At lodges/hotels in Botswana, there is typically an envelope next to a “tips box”, where you place your tips for the entire staff when you leave. As a rule of thumb, you can reckon on the following:

  • Guides: 10-20 USD PPPD
  • Mokoro guide/nature guide/butler: 5-10 USD PPPD
  • Both USD and BWP are accepted.

Food & allergies

At the vast majority of our destinations, we are able to take allergies, as well as allergens or preferences into account when it comes to food, however it is important that you inform us of this when you book the tour.

If you wish to go on the “Botswana & Victoria Falls” tour, it’s important that you inform us of any allergies and allergens or preferences regarding food, or if you require a fridge to keep medicines cool, for example.

Telephones, Wi-Fi & electricity

Most hotels and lodges receive electricity from their own generators. The standard voltage is 240 V and 3-pin plugs are used.
Please be aware that there is not always sufficient power to use a hair dryer, for example.

In the hotel descriptions on our website, you can see whether Wi-Fi is available at the hotels. Please note that the connection may be unstable.

 

What to pack

Make sure you pack all your important and indispensable things in your hand luggage. This applies to items such as passports, visas, vaccination cards, travel documents, insurance documents, credit cards, money, computers, mobile phones and cameras, as well as information about your health and vital medicines.

We recommend that you pack your things in soft bags when going on a safari holiday. It’s easier to pack the safari cars with soft bags than suitcases. Hardcase suitcases are particularly difficult to fit in to the safari car. So, if possible, avoid using suitcases with hard edges.

We also recommend that you pack light clothes for the safaris and that you avoid bright colours where possible. Bring long trousers and long sleeved shirts that protect against mosquitoes after sunset and, if necessary, against the sun during the day. Avoid bare feet and legs in the evening due to the mosquitoes.

Remember to bring a small torch and extra batteries in case of the occasional power cut.

Bringing plant products into the UK

Visitors are not permitted to bring plants, seeds, fruit and other plant products into the UK from their travels outside the UK, unless they are accompanied by a plant health (phytosanitary) certificate. These rules also apply to smaller quantities of plants and plant products.

Read more about the rules here.

Travellers with impaired mobility

Please note that this tour is not generally suitable for people with impaired mobility. Please contact us for information about your options in relation to your specific needs.

THE FLIGHT

Airline tickets

Most airlines have electronic tickets (e-tickets).

It is important that you check your name for spelling errors, as the name on the reservation must be exactly as it appears on your passport. If your name needs to be corrected, please contact us as soon as possible. Please note that this may incur a fee from the airline.

Seat reservation

The airline will assign you a seat on the plane when you check in. If you have specific requests, you can make a seat reservation on the airline’s website or app. Please note that most airlines require payment for a seat reservation.

It varies when airlines open for seat reservations, but as a general rule, you can book seats from the time of booking and up to 48 hours before departure.

We also point out that the airline has complete control over all seats on the plane and that they are therefore entitled to make changes to the reservation at any time.
If you do not make a seat reservation before departure, the airline will assign you a seat at check-in.

Check-in

Your passport and your booking reference, which appears on your itinerary, are required to check in.

We recommend that you download the airline’s app on your phone. In the app, there is an option for online check-in, which opens 24 to 48 hours before departure. The app also allows you to stay informed of any flight changes and other important information about your flight.

Please note that the flight times may have changed in relation to those listed on the travel itinerary you received when you booked your holiday. It is always the flight times in the airline’s app or on the airline’s website that apply.

At the airport

We recommend that you arrive at the airport to check in at least two hours before departure. It is a good idea to check the airport’s website for the latest updates.

Baggage

We use many different airlines for our destinations. You can check the exact rules for hand luggage and checked baggage on the airline’s website or in their app.

If you are taking a domestic flight in Botswana, you should be aware that the maximum baggage allowance in the checked-in suitcase is 15-20 kg and the maximum hand luggage allowance is 5 kg. Please note that you are not usually permitted to bring a trolley bag as carry-on, as the planes do not have space for them in the overhead compartments above the seats.

If you are flying via O.R. Tambo Airport in Johannesburg, please be aware that checked baggage must have at least one flat side and must not have long, loose straps (such as a backpack). If you are travelling with a round sports bag or a backpack with long straps, you should make use of the baggage wrapping service at the airport before checking in your luggage.

Please note that if you fly via Johannesburg, you are occasionally required to collect your luggage from the baggage carousel and bring it through customs yourself, and then hand it in at the check-in counter again. When you check in, check whether this is the case or whether your luggage will be sent all the way to your final destination.

Delayed baggage

If your baggage is delayed, please contact the staff in the baggage reclaim area to report your missing baggage.

It is important that you have your baggage receipt when completing your PIR (Property Irregularity Report).

Please note that you must not leave the baggage area at the airport until you have completed the report.

In the event of delayed baggage, we ask you to contact our partner, who will ensure that your guide/driver waits for you.

Flight delays or cancellations

Should any changes occur in connection with your flight reservation before departure, we will of course contact you to let you know.

Should your flight be delayed after check-in, the airline is responsible for rebooking your flight. They will typically book the next possible flight and arrange any meals and accommodation if necessary.

Our partner checks for any changes in arrival times and will naturally still wait for you, even if your flight is delayed.

If, due to a delay or cancellation, the airline books you on another flight number after you have arrived at the airport, please contact us on TourCompass’ emergency number.

 

AT THE DESTINATION

Immigration & Customs

Immigration:

When you arrive at your final destination, you will go through immigration, where your passport and any entry documents and visas are checked. In many places, you will be required to provide fingerprints, and a photo of your face will also be taken for biometric recognition. You may also be asked questions about your travel plans in the country and possibly where you are staying.

 

Customs:
Once you’ve cleared immigration and picked up your luggage, you will head through customs. If you have nothing to declare, you can go through “nothing to declare”. If, on the other hand, you have something to declare, it is important that you go through “declare”. It’s your own responsibility to check the customs regulations that apply in the country you are travelling to.

Arrival

You will be picked up from the airport in Maun by Golden Africa Safaris, who will be taking care of your safari in the Okavango Delta. They will drive you to the hotel in Maun. The guide will usually be standing outside the arrivals hall in an area designated for guides.

On your arrival in Kasane, you will be met by our partner in the arrival hall.

There may be a little waiting time until all the guests have arrived.

In the unexpected event that you cannot find your guide/driver, please contact our partner on their emergency number.

Hotel check-in and check-out

Normal check-in is typically from 2 pm, and you cannot therefore count on getting your room earlier. If you’d like to check in early, this can be arranged for a fee when you book the tour.

When you check in, the receptionist will generally register your credit card and may reserve an amount. This is not an additional fee, but customary at hotels to ensure payment of any consumption from the minibar and the like. When you check out, the amount will be automatically released if you have not made use of this.

It is very normal for hotels to take a copy of your passport. In some places, this is a requirement of the local authorities.

Check-out is normally by 11 am. If you’re not travelling until the afternoon or evening, you can have your luggage stored until it’s time to leave. If you would like a late check-out instead, this can be arranged for a fee when you book the tour.

Type of tour and transport

In the event of unforeseen circumstances such as bad weather, blocked roads or otherwise, it may be necessary to change the order of sightseeing tours and attractions in your itinerary.

 

Need for help during the tour?

We have a 24-hour emergency hotline so that you can always get in touch with us should anything unforeseen occur during your tour. You will also be sent the telephone numbers and emergency telephone numbers of our partners at the destination. In some cases, it may be easiest and fastest to contact our partners due to time differences, if, for example, you find yourself in a situation where your pick-up for an excursion or transfer is more than 15 minutes delayed.

AFTER THE TOUR

Feedback/Contact

Our livelihood depends on satisfied guests, and we would therefore very much like to hear from you after your return home. Send us an email at info@tourcompass.co.uk or call us on tel.: 01279 704 135.

 

Africa
Catriona Hodge

Catriona is passionate about helping other people fulfill their travel dreams, as she knows how much travel has only improved her life for the better!

Opening hours
Monday-Thursday 9-15
Friday 9-13