A safari in Botswana may be unlike any other holiday you’ve ever had – even if you have been on safari elsewhere in Africa. It is important to your enjoyment and satisfaction that what you find here approximates what you expect to find, and that you are properly equipped and prepared to reap the maximum benefit from what we hope will be the experience of a lifetime, and one which you will repeat, as many do, time and time again.
Perhaps the first thing is to properly understand the environment – Botswana is Africa in the raw, and you will find yourself closer here to nature than you may ever have been. Be prepared for close encounters – with animals small and large, with insects, with reptiles and with people. Rest assured that a Botswana safari is not particularly dangerous, but it may challenge your preconceptions of what is and what is not dangerous. You may worry that bats flying around in the building will expose you to lice and rabies – we welcome bats picking off mosquitoes as they home in on our ears. You may view a snake on the path as imminent death – we view snakes as useful and beautiful creatures that remind us that just as you would be unwise to cross a busy street without looking for traffic, you are unwise to walk in Africa without doing the same. Moths are not dangerous and can be safely ignored. Elephant just want to be treated with consideration. Predators do not view humans as prey but as superior predators. Bitter experience has brought them to this judgment. A lion will not attack you unless the circumstances are truly extraordinary, and even then will not press an attack upon a human with whom it has eye contact. These are considerations to enrich your experience, not to terrify you. The first thing to pack is a positive attitude.
On arrival in our lodges you will be required, as a precondition to embarking on excursions, to sign a waiver and indemnity. We cannot, and do not seek to, contract out of our own negligence. The purpose of the requirement is to remind you of where you are and for you to acknowledge that you are in an environment that is strange to you and that your own actions and vigilance play a crucial role in your safety and enjoyment of your safari. A copy of the waiver is available on request.
(OTHER) USEFUL THINGS TO PACK:
- No more than three changes of light, casual clothing in brown, khaki or green, preferably, so as to be as inconspicuous in the bush as possible
- A warm sweater AND a windcheater and scarf – Africa can be very cold
- A hat – Africa can be very hot!
- Good walking shoes and light shoes for relaxing in camp
- Insect repellent & sunscreen
- A good flashlight and spare batteries – essential
- A decent pair of binoculars will enhance your experience enormously
- Camera, batteries, spare memory – we can charge batteries off our solar arrays and keep an assortment of international plugs
- Whatever medicines you may need and a basic, small First Aid kit containing: anti-septic ointment, plasters, pain killers, anti-histamine tablets (especially March-May) and anti-histamine cream, tweezers, eye drops and Imodium
- All to weigh less than 15kgs (35lbs) and to be packed in a SOFT, HOLD-ALL type bag - VERY IMPORTANT!
- Do not over-pack – and if at all possible carry only hand luggage, especially if you are passing through OR Tambo Airport in South Africa. Baggage handling there is notoriously slow and you may be forced to continue your journey without checked luggage, and luggage that does not travel with you is liable to be pilfered.
Your safari is fully inclusive, and depending on which of our camps you visit you may have nothing to spend money on, or you may need to pay for drinks. You may wish to leave a tip for staff and guides along the way, and if you visit Sedibana village some basketry made by the women there may tempt you. Bring some US$ in cash, including some smaller denomination notes. As far as credit cards go, Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted in Botswana, but only in towns.
YOUR FLIGHT INFORMATION:
Air Botswana has moved exclusively to e-tickets and with a valid ID you will be given your seat assignment at the check-in counter. On arrival in Maun or Kasane you will be met by Delta Air ground staff who will help you to your next flight. Your inter-camp transfer times will be communicated to the camps and lodges you are staying in the day before your departure from them.
Your inter-camp transfers will be effected by single and/or twin-engined ‘bush’ ‘planes – aircraft designed for the short, dirt strips that serve the various camps and lodges. Most of these aircraft have baggage pods underneath the fuselage which assist in keeping the weight centralized, or, in flying parlance, ‘the centre of gravity within the envelope’. This is why it is important that your luggage is in SOFT bags that can be manipulated into the baggage pod. Transfers are usually flown at 1000 – 1500 ft above ground level, affording good views of the passing terrain and, sometimes, wildlife. Sectors are usually 15 – 60 minutes and the pilot will not be talking to you during the flight, due to ambient noise and the necessity of keeping a look-out for birds, etc. Wherever possible transfers are arranged so you will not miss an activity on the day, but every day’s schedule is different and your camp will be notified the day before your departure of your pick-up time. Midday transfers can be a little bumpy in hot weather but the turbulence does not constitute a safety hazard – and the discomfort is mitigated by the generally short duration on the flights.
Malaria is present, although rare, in the Okavango at certain times of the year so please take professional advice from your healthcare provider. Those travelling to or through Chobe are at greater risk.
If you are entering South Africa, however briefly, at stage of your safari, ensure that you have two blank pages side by side in your passport with a minimum of six months validity from your date of return home.
Please ask your travel consultant about each of the countries that you will be visiting for visa details that pertain specifically to you.
One Motswana, two Batswana, speak Setswana and live in Botswana. We are in the main a proud and courteous people and are pleased you are visiting. Men are called Rra and women are called Mma, and our greeting is ‘Dumela’. Although urbanization is eroding this and many aspects of our culture, it is considered polite to greet everyone, with those higher in rank greeting those of lower rank or lesser age as a sort of noblesse oblige. As a visitor and foreigner we respect you and it falls to you to initiate contact, although tourism industry workers will often greet you first, knowing that in most cultures it is the lower social ranks that initiate greetings. In place of articulating ‘thank you’, we usually accept anything handed to us by taking it with two hands, or by touching the arm with which we receive something lightly with our other arm. You could do the same.
HIV is a common topic raised by visitors, due to the well-publicised incidence of the infection in Botswana. We are happy to discuss this subject with you, but please remember that many of the people you will be talking to are living with HIV.