Most of Botswana is a roadless wilderness, with vast tracts of space given over to wildlife and dramatic scenery, making it ideal for people on safaris and wildlife holidays or looking to experience something particularly memorable. [See Botswana itinerary ideas]
The Okavanago Delta, described as 'the river that never finds the sea' is the world's largest inland delta; rising in central Africa, the Okavango river simply dissipates into the Kalahari sands. Paddle a mokoro, traditional canoe, through the maze of waterways and islands to get close to the wildlife that makes its home here.
Other wildlife holidays in Botswana centre on Chobe National Park, which is home to huge numbers of elephant. A sunset cruise along the Chobe River will also bring you into close contact with crocodile, hippo, gazelle, giraffe and other plains game as well. The Moremi Game Reserve is also considered one of Africa's great, pristine wild spaces.
The Makgadikgadi Pans are the dried bed of a ginormous super-lake that covered much of the country at one point. These days the water has evaporated leaving spectacular, surreal saltpans that stretch as far as the eye can see. During the rainy season the pans are transformed into a wonderful watery landscape full of birds and wildlife.
Elsewhere, the Kalahari comprises the vast majority of the country. The last remaining San Bushmen live here; head to the Tsodilo Hills, which are considered sacred, to see 4,000 rock paintings daubed on cliffs by the ancestors of the current population.
When to go
The Tropic of Capricorn passes right through Botswana's centre and the country experiences surprisingly variant weather.
Winter months (June to early-September) are dry, clear and sunny. Daytime temperatures are pleasant, around the early 20s but nights can be very chilly with temperatures dropping well into single figures. This is the best season to see wildlife, which collects around shrinking waterholes and is easily spotted wandering over dry plains.
By contrast, summer is wet and humid, with temperatures reaching well into the 30s. The end of summer (February and early-March) is excellent bird watching time, but don't expect to see too much wildlife, which is obscured by long grass. Some country roads are also muddy and frequently impassable.
Capital - Gaborone
Size - 581,730 sq km
Language - Setswana, Kalanga, Sekgalagadi, English
Population - 2.1 million
Religion - Christian, Badimo
Currency - pula
Time zone - GMT +2
Flight time from the UK - 12 hours
February - World Wetlands Day Botswana
March - Maitisong Festival
May - Tjilenje (Ngwao Boswa) Culture Festival
July - Presidents' Day
August - Kuru Dance Festival
September - Botswana Day celebrations
October - Domboshaba Festival of Culture and History
Please note that entry requirements and visa regulations can change often and at short notice. We can provide general information about the passport and visa requirements for your trip and this information may be included after the itinerary section of your quotation. Your specific passport and visa requirements and other immigration requirements are your responsibility and you should confirm these with the relevant Embassies and/or Consulates. Neither we nor the principal(s) or supplier(s) accept any responsibility if you cannot travel because you have not complied with any passport, visa or immigration requirements. Please call your WEXAS specialist if you wish to discuss entry requirements.
Passports must be valid for a minimum of six months from the date of entry into Botswana.
The Botswana pula (P) is the official currency. Pula, literally translated, means 'rain'. Coins come in denominations of 5, 10, 25, 50 thebe and 1, 2, 5 pula; notes in 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 pula.
ATMs are available in the major towns and some larger villages, though the vast majority only accept Visa. There will likely be a small charge for foreign transactions, but exchange rates at ATMs are generally as good as you'll find anywhere else. Be sure to notify your bank of your travels as otherwise they may block your card when an international transaction is made. Most major credit cards are accepted at shops and restaurants in the main towns. Travellers' Cheques are accepted at most banks.