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Botswana

The Republic of Botswana is in Southern Africa and is bordered to the south and southeast to South Africa, in northeast Zambia, Zimbabwe to the east and to the north and west by Namibia. The capital and largest city is Gaborone in the south-east of the country. The official language of the country is English, but Setswana is spoken among the population. The surface of Botswana is almost 600 000 square kilometres (16 times the size of The Netherlands) and has a very low population density. The maximum length of the east to the west of the country is 1050 km from north to south and 920 kilometres.

Please note that many things in Botswana have to be paid in cash (entrance fees, etc.). So make sure that you have enough cash on hand. American dollars work best, but often South African Rand (or Euros) are accepted.

The central and southern parts of Botswana are occupied by the Kalahari Desert, nearly 70% of the land area, where the Bushmen have traditionally lived. To the east lie grassland and savannah and grazing for most of the Botswana livestock. In the north more precipitation and is therefore also more open, especially teak and Mopane forests. In addition to livestock and meat exports to Europe there is also mining (nickel, copper, diamonds, coal, etc.) and an emerging tourism extent, the sources of income of the population.

Botswana is known for its great variety of animals, including the Big Five, and the huge population of elephants that the country is rich of. Compared to the rest of Africa, Botswana is well protected against poachers because of the high penalties for poaching. According to statistics, the country has 164 species of mammals, 157 species of reptiles, eighty species of fish, 550 species of birds and innumerable species of insects.

A unique area in the north of the country is the Okavango Delta, a beautiful green and peaceful marshland. Here ends the 1600-kilometer Okavango River in the Kalahari and the river branches into numerous streams and this causes an inland delta. It is a stunning area with islands, streams, papyrus-, grass and reeds and water lilies. All common animals in Botswana except the rhino also live in the Okavango Delta. Mostly located in the Delta is the wildlife rich Moremi game reserve which in turn borders the famous Chobe National Park. Particularly in Botswana there are no fences around the reserves and the animals can thus freely migrate between the various game parks. Both wildlife parks are very popular safari destinations.

Another area can be found in the north-east Botswana: Makgadikgadi and Nxai Pan. This is one of the largest salt pans in the world and is a remnant of the huge Makgadikgadi Lake which has dried thousands of years ago. Actually, it is today not a single large salt pan, but several smaller interspersed with the desert. In the section called Sua Pan is the magic Kubu Island: a rock formation full of beautiful Baobabs in the middle of the barren flat saltpan. By drought and heat, there is almost no flora; it means that there is also is no food for animals. However, when the rainy season starts it attracts many animals (among others wild animals and large herds of zebras) through this area.

Most of Botswana is flat, an exception to the rocky hills south-west of the city Shakawe in the north of the country. These mysterious hills play a major role in traditional religions and you will find many rock drawings of the Bushmen.

Botswana has a subtropical climate, but periods of drought occur frequently. Winter (June / August) are dry and relatively cold. Especially valleys in the Kalahari area at night the temperature goes to freezing point and as the sun shows itself during the day it heats up. In summer (October to April) it is hot and rain comes in thunder storms. Both the day and the nights are very warm, the temperature can rise to over forty degrees. Rainfall varies in the inland and south-west section of less than 20 cm per year to 60 cm in the north.

Botswana has no extensive road network, but that is not necessary as there are not many villages / towns. A large part of the road is unpaved and cattle and wildlife on the road run regularly (even elephants!). In the parks the roads are often bad and a 4X4 vehicle is therefore strongly recommended. Also make sure that you always have enough water, food and any spare gasoline and oil with you. You will frequently come across a cattle guard; these secretions are to prevent the spread of any diseases like foot and mouth disease.

Self-drives not permitted to &Beyond Savute Under Canvas and Chobe Under Canvas

We are unable to accept self-drives to &Beyond's Savute and Chobe Under Canvas. Park regulations on our bookings do not allow us to have additional vehicles on site. The maximum number of vehicles permitted on each camp site is 3. With our 2 game drive vehicles and 1 supply vehicle we have maximised our quota permitted on site. Additionally, if guests do not fly in, and arrangements are made to meet them at other establishments, or at the gates, we may not be able to collect them, as we only have 2 guest vehicles. The gate and other lodges can be up to 2 hours away from the camp, and should our vehicles be busy on game drive or doing airstrip transfers, we are unable to meet them. While we welcome all business, we do need to follow regulations, and avoid compromising the experiences of other guests in camp.

Your holiday begins at South Africa Specialist.