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Botswana

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Lansmore Masa Square - dream vacation

Plot 54353 New CBD - Gaborone, Gaborone

Botswana is a land-locked country located in Southern Africa and bordering on Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Zambia. Formerly the British protectorate of Bechuanaland, Botswana adopted its new name upon independence in 1966. Its economy, one of the most robust on the continent, is dominated by diamond mining and tourism.

Botswana is famous for its wildlife, and areas like Chobe National Park, Moremi National Park in the Okavango Delta, and the Central Kalahari Game Reserve have a very high concentration of game. The bulk of the Kalahari desert falls within Botswana's borders and Botswana is home to most of the world's San (Bushman) population.

Regions

Cities

  • Gaborone or Gabs is a neat and tidy little capital with rapidly growing shantytowns on the periphery
  • Francistown
  • Ghanzi
  • Kasane
  • Maun
  • Mogapi
  • Nata
  • Palapye
  • Serowe

Other destinations

  • Okavango Delta - A unique geological formation where a delta is formed by a river (the Okavango) flowing into the Kalahari desert instead of the ocean. Part of the Delta is designated as Moremi National Park
  • Central Kalahari Game Reserve
  • Chobe National Park - a great place to see wildlife, and a good point from which to move on to Victoria Falls.
  • Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
  • Nxai Pan National Park
  • Northern Tuli Game Reserve - a unique corner of Africa where nature & culture combine in spectacular wildlife, stunning scenery and fascinating history

See also African National Parks

Understand

History

Botswana was never colonized by Europeans. Instead, the Three Chiefs went to the Queen of England to ask for protection from Boers to the south and Ndebele tribes from the north-east. The Boers were (to them) the white people that had invaded and were taking over South Africa. The Queen obliged. In 1964 the Three Chiefs went back to England and told the Queen that they did not need the protection any more. The Queen did away with the protection, and the Chiefs went back to Botswana. Botswana discovered diamonds in 1965. They produce 65% of the world diamonds today. In 1969 DeBeers created a partnership with the Botswana government to create the company Debswana.

Climate

Government

Botswana has been a stable representative democracy since independence and has been largely devoid of the racial and ethnic conflict some of its neighbours have suffered from — perhaps due in part to the relative dominance of its majority Tswana ethnic group. Since the turn of the century, thousands of Zimbabweans have sought sanctuary and economic betterment.

One of the poorest countries at independence, Botswana transformed itself into one of the fastest-growing economies in the world with a GDP (purchasing power parity) per capita of about USD14,000 per annum. In contrast to the sad situation of its eastern neighbour, Zimbabwe, kleptocracy has been absent and Botswana now also has the second highest Human Development Index of all continental Sub-Saharan African countries.

Public holidays

The public holidays in Botswana are:

  • 1 January. New Year's Day
  • Easter weekend. ("Good Friday", "Easter Saturday", "Easter Sunday" and "Easter Monday"): a four day long weekend in March or April set according to the Western Christian dates.
  • 1 May. Workers Day
  • 1 July. Sir Seretse Khama Day
  • Mid July. President's Day
  • 31 September. Botswana Day
  • 25 December. Christmas Day
  • 26 December. Day of Goodwill

The first Monday after Christmas is also a Public Holiday.

People

The Tswana, for whom Botswana is named, comprise 79% of the population.

Get in

Entry requirements

Unlike more stiff necked administrations such as India, Pakistan, Nigeria and China, the Botswana government has not erected high bureaucratic barriers to enrichment from tourism.

Citizens of Commonwealth countries do not need a visa to visit except those from Bangladesh, Cameroon, Ghana, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.

Citizens of EEA countries and Switzerland do not require a visa to visit.

Citizens of Argentina, Angola, Bahrain, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, Mexico, Oman, Paraguay, Peru, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, South Sudan, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United States of America, Uruguay, Venezuela, Zimbabwe do not require a visa to visit.

For citizens of other nations, a visa must be obtained prior to arrival and this usually takes about a week to process.

Visas can be applied for at a Botswana embassy in Australia, Belgium, Brazil, China, Ethiopia, India, Japan, Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Zambia, Zimbabwe and at the United Nations in New York, USA.

If you require a visa to enter Botswana, you might be able to apply for one at a British embassy, high commission or consulate in the country where you legally reside if there is no Botswana diplomatic post. The UK Government website lists UK embassies around the world where Commonwealth visas can be issued. British diplomatic posts charge £50 to process a Botswana visa application and an extra £70 if the authorities in Botswana require the visa application to be referred to them. The authorities in Botswana can also decide to charge an additional fee if they correspond with you directly.

By plane

Botswana's main airport is Sir Seretse Khama in Gaborone. International flights are to Zimbabwe, South Africa, Namibia, Kenya and Ethiopia. The airport in Maun can also be reached via Johannesburg, Cape Town, or Gaborone and, once a day (in summer 2009), from Windhoek, Namibia. The distance between Gaborone and Maun is more than 1,000 km. Maun is very much a tourist attraction spot.

Airlines that fly to Gaborone are.

  • Air Botswana. Harare, Victoria Falls, Lusaka, Johannesburg, Cape Town.
  • Airlink. Johannesburg.
  • Ethiopian airlines. via Addis Ababa. to Europe, Asia, Africa.
  • Kenya airways. Via Nairobi to Europe. Asia, Africa.
  • TAAG Angola airlines. Luanda.
  • South African express. Johannesburg.

By train

Trains to/from South Africa have been withdrawn since 1999. For domestic train service, see #Get around.

By car

There are several entry points by road to Botswana: In the south at Gaborone, providing access from Johannesburg; in the west providing access from Namibia; the north providing access from Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe; and at Francistown in the east, providing access from Harare. All road access is good and the primary roads within Botswana are paved and well maintained.

Possibly the busiest border crossing from South Africa is the Kopfontein/Tlokweng border crossing, as it is only a few minutes from the capital of Botswana. As a result, it is open for a long period of time, and has a large amount of trucks travelling through.

Coming from Namibia, you can either go north to Maun, or south along the Trans-Kalahari Highway to Lobatse.

By international bus

There is regular bus service from Johannesburg to Gaborone, which takes six hours. Intercape Mainliner is one of the bus lines from Gaborone to Johannesburg.

there are also buses from Gaborone to Zimbabwe. and from Gaborone to Windhoek Namibia.

  • Monnakgotla travel have buses two times a week from Gaborone to Windhoek Namibia.
  • T J Motlogelwa Expess have buses from Gaborone to Johannesburg two times per day.

By ferry

From Kazungula in Zambia you can cross the Zambezi River with ferry to the eponymous town in Botswana.

Get around

Very few locals know street names and addresses, and you are likely to have to get directions in terms of landmarks. Botswana doesn't have a postal delivery system to addresses (just to centralised mail collection points), so even when streets are well-marked, the names may be unfamiliar to residents.

Through a combination of coaches and combies (minivans), you can get anywhere in Botswana without any trouble, though public transport is spotty away from big cities and major routes but hitchhiking is popular and very easy. However, hitchhiking should only be done in desperate circumstances, as Botswana driving is often very erratic and it can be a harrowing experience to have a stranger drive you somewhere. It is advisable to arrive at the bus station quite early, as the buses do fill up quickly, and it is not uncommon to spend several hours standing in the aisle waiting for a seat to free up (remember to bring water, as the buses are often not air conditioned).

By car

The roads are paved and well maintained, so travel by car is also not a problem, provided that one keeps a close eye out for the cows, donkeys and goats that spend much time in the middle of the road.

The Trans-Kalahari Highway is an old cattle route, now newly paved and easily drivable with a 2-wheel drive. It runs from Lobatse to Ghanzi in Botswana, making the connection from Windhoek, Namibia to Gaborone, Botswana. It is a long and uneventful drive, but you get a good feel for the Kalahari Desert. Fuel is available in Kang at the Kang Ultra Shop, which also offers a respectable selection of food, overnight chalets, and inexpensive camping.

By bus

There are many bus companies in Botswana. One of the biggest is Seabelo. From Gaborone you can travel by bus to any bigger city in Botswana.

By train

Botswana Railways operates all trains in the country. The main line goes from Lobatse, near the South African border, via Gaborone to Francistown at the Zimbabwean border. After having been canceled in 2009, train service was reintroduced in 2016.

Talk

The official languages of Botswana are English and Tswana.

The language of business in Botswana is English and most people in urban areas speak it, although in the more rural areas many people do not speak English, particularly the older generations. The primary indigenous tongue is Tswana, and is the first language of the overwhelming majority of the population. It is not difficult to learn basic greetings and such, and using these in conversation will make people very happy.

See

Wildlife is Botswana's main draw. Wildlife parks compose nearly one-fifth of the country. In these parks you will find lions, cheetahs, crocodiles, hippos, elephants, antelope, wild dogs, and hundreds of species of birds. Visitors can take safaris and stay in lodges running the gamut from inexpensive dorms for backpackers with tour buses to $1,000+/night private lodges with your own maid & driver.

Among southern Africa's most impressive—and popular—wildlife destinations is the Okavango Delta where the Okavango River widens into the world's largest inland delta. Lying in the middle of the arid Kalahari, the swamps & water channels attract animals from thousands of kilometres around and triples in size (to 100 000 km2.!) during floods in July and August. Nearby Chobe National Park has a large population of elephants and it's also easy to spot many of Africa's well-known species, especially zebras and lions. The bleak salt pans of Makgadikgadi Pans National Park attract a large number and variety of birds year-round. Other great game parks include Nxai Pan National Park, Mokolodi Nature Reserve, & Gemsbok National Park.

Unfortunately, most of the native tribes in Botswana only dress in traditional outfits and perform rituals for tourists. Nevertheless, for the culture-vultures, the villages of D'Kar and Xai-Xai have many offerings, including arts, crafts, and the opportunity to participate in various rituals. Tsodilo Hills contain one of the largest collections of rock art on the continent.

Do

Buy

Money

Botswana's currency is the pula, denoted by the symbol "P" (ISO 4217 code: BWP). It is subdivided into 100 thebe. Pula means "rain" in Setswana (rain is very scarce in Botswana - home to much of the Kalahari Desert - and therefore valuable and a "blessing"). Thebe means "shield".

Banknotes of P10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 denomination circulate and the pula is one of the strongest, most stable currencies in Africa.

Eat

The cuisine of Botswana is unique but also shares some characteristics with other cuisine of Southern Africa. Examples of Botswana food include Pap, Samp, Vetkoek and Mopane worms.

A food unique to Botswana includes Seswaa, a meat dish made of beef, goat or lamb meat. The fatty meat is generally boiled until tender in any pot, with "just enough salt", and shredded or pounded. It is often served with pap (maize meal) or sorghum meal porridge.

Drink

Many soft drinks and alcohol drinks are produced in factories in Botswana, including Fanta and Coca-Cola. Local brands are Castle and Lion beers. Milk is fermented to make madila (sour milk) which is eaten on its own or added to porridge. A favourite non alcoholic home made drink is ginger beer.

Sleep

Most of the accommodation establishments in Botswana are located near the larger towns and cities, but there are also many secluded game lodges tucked away in the wilderness areas. Travellers can book their accommodation well in advance before travelling to Botswana. this can be done via travel agents that have knowledge of this country.

Learn

The University of Botswana is in Gaborone.

Stay safe

People in Botswana are very friendly and the crime rate is low. There isn't much to worry about on this front. Nevertheless, crime has been on the rise over the past several years, so always be aware of your surroundings. Basic common sense will keep you safe from the predatory wildlife in rural areas. Botswana happens to be one of the safest countries in Africa, no civil war, less corruption, more human rights, no natural disasters e.g. earthquakes or tsunamis.

Drugs

Drug trafficking is punished by a mandatory death sentence. This is important for you to know because if you need to take prescription drugs into Botswana, you will have to show a prescription for each medication. Failing to do so will result in the medication being classified as a drug and can result in capital punishment if undeclared.

Stay healthy

Botswana's HIV infection rate, estimated at 24.1% , is the 2nd highest reported in the world. Exercise regular universal precautions when dealing with any bodily fluid and remain aware of this high rate of infection. Take precautions accordingly. Wear rubber gloves when dressing someone else's cut, even if they are a child, and obviously absolutely never have unprotected sex. If you form a serious relationship, consider both getting an HIV test before taking things further.

The northern part of Botswana, including Chobe National Park and the Okavango Delta is in a malaria zone, so it is advisable to take the relevant precautions. Seek medical advice before travelling to these areas; vaccines such as typhoid and hepatitis A+B (if not already immune) are usually recommended. Oral vaccines are also suggested for prevention of diarrhea and cholera.

Water in urban areas is chlorinated, and is drunk from the tap by the local population. Still, short term visitors should drink bottled water to avoid traveller's diarrhoea. Outside of urban areas, the water is contaminated, and should not be used for drinking, ice-cubes, teeth cleaning, or eating washed unpeeled fruits and vegetables.

The Amateur Traveler talks to Spencer Quong who is a adventure travel guide about his recent trip to Botswana in south central Africa. After reading the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency his traveling companions were drawn to this country and its incredible wildlife.

union-jack

Photo: Petras Gagilas

AFTER THE BREXIT SHOCK, more and more Brits are looking to move away from the UK. I don’t blame them. I’m going to start by saying that it wasn’t always like this. About 10 years ago, when I came to study in Manchester, Britain was a different place.

But this was short lived because I arrived in the UK during a dark time for Romanians and Bulgarians who just joined the EU. It wasn’t all bells and whistles, because it took me jumping through a lot of hoops to be able to obtain what back then was called a Yellow Card.

This didn’t stop me, though — I persevered until I got accepted. I went above and beyond to integrate myself. I even learned the slang, so I feel one of “them.”

Throughout the years, I lived a relatively calm and happy life. I had my ups, my downs, no money whatsoever, but good friends and great prospects. In the end, I left my job at Apple, moved to Bristol, got a new job with a digital startup and met my future husband. We formed our own company, we started traveling the world, we became British citizens, we got married, and here we are.

But something, somewhere, went wrong… thus, we decided to leave the UK.

Why we chose to move away from the UK

So what went wrong? I think after a decade of living in the UK, certain things started changing a bit too much and got to us. We are what a Brit would call “middle-class young professionals”. We are a newly married couple with no children, heavily focused on work. We own a digital studio which enables us to be location independent, work long hours and pay taxes in the UK. We loved it. But you know what we also love? Traveling. Good food. Sunshine. Safety. All of which are either impossible, are becoming obsolete or prohibitively expensive in the UK. Let me explain.

The Weather

There are a lot of benefits of having so much rain in the UK. Rain makes this country a green heaven, which is ideal for keeping those beautiful rolling hills everyone loves. There is just one catch. It always rains. Which means an average British person has a wardrobe full of Autumn clothing and about 10 different types of wellies. As much as we once liked the rain, it eventually got to us. It took 10 years for this to happen. TEN YEARS! That’s a decade of rain. We’ve been eating vitamin D and Magnesium to keep afloat, but it comes a time when you are literally on the verge of depression because of lack of sunshine. In fact, when I go on holiday and get off the plane in a sunny destination, I feel like some vampire mole.

Traveling

The UK is not a cheap country. Rent prices are high, and when you add utilities, internet, council tax and all the rest, you end up with most of your salary gone. If you are not careful, it can be a cruel existence whereby you work to live and you live to work.

In reality, it’s hard to justify spending £50 for dinner for two, instead of buying food for 3 days with the same amount of money. It’s difficult to understand why a cold house with zero insulation in the outskirts of Bristol costs £1000 when a fantastic apartment in the centre of Lisbon is half the price.

Traveling is not cheap in the UK either. I still remember wanting to go from Bristol to London and prices being close to £150 for a return train ticket.

Culture

When I first came to the country, I said to my British friend. “I love the British culture.” His reply was: “What British culture?”

The great things about Britain, are the sheer amount of bright minds this country had along its history. There are myriad inventors, writers, rock stars, scientists… But the more you integrate, the more you see the issues too. The drinking culture in Britain seems to outshine the science scene. Theatres are far too expensive for the ordinary worker, but the pints are accessible still, even for the minimum wage. With so much rain and cold stone houses, what is one to do after work, but to pour their misery in a glass of ale and half mumble about their too demanding job and bad living conditions.

The culture in Britain has moved from brilliant to that of hate, racism and ignorance. The great educated gentleman is obsolete and the fine lady is on a verge of collapse.

Food

The core of the British kitchen is the oven, as you might already know from the Great British Bake Off. With sadness I must say, the British cuisine is unremarkable. In fact, let me tell you about the art of British food. We have pies (a variety of them), we have the mighty Sunday dinner, the toad in the hole, the stew, sausages and mash, fish and chips. Sorry, have I forgotten something? I think not!

Don’t despair, though, Britain is a great capitalist country, which means you can purchase anything your heart desires from the supermarket.

Brexit

The internet was flooded with articles about where should the Brits move now that the Brexit happened.

There are few things which surfaced with this whole Brexit situation. We learned that the vast majority of people in this country is racist. Politicians are liars and are now trying to get rid of the Human Rights. The great British government passed “the most extreme surveillance law in the history of western democracy” (to quote Snowden).

The most heartbreaking part is the attitude towards immigrants which Britain seems to have adopted.

After the Brexit vote, people started attacking immigrants, and even immigrant looking Brits. Sadly, the internet is full of these instances and what is even sadder is that we (although both British) felt the effects of this.

This brings me to the last point, which is safety. I used to feel safe in the UK, but for a while now, I am afraid to go around at night. I’m not too sure why, as Bristol is a relatively safe city and I live in a decent neighborhood in the suburbs. But in reality, I stopped feeling safe in the UK a few months ago, when people started assaulting immigrants in the street. From Downton Abbey, the UK became more of a Harry Brown.

But don’t just take my word for it. According to the Global Peace Index, the UK is the 47th safest country in the world (and the 26th in Europe), well below Romania, Hungary, and Botswana.

Will we ever come back to the UK?

We were both European expats who came here to study. We adapted, changed and integrated into the British society. We both naturalized to become British citizens and pledged our alliance to Her Majesty the Queen. We are both honest people, law abiding citizens who pay taxes as individuals and as a company. Our businesses will continue to be UK based and we will continue to pay taxes here.

Will we ever come back? We don’t know.

For now, we made the decision to buy a one-way ticket and see what happens.

Someone asked me when I told them we are moving: “What will you miss most about the UK?”

My answer was: “Scotland!”

This article was originally posted on You Could Travel

Striving for equality

An ad agency is challenging xenophobia by renaming itself after its founders. The agency was founded in New York City in 1917. In order to avoid the impact that anti-Semitism could have on the business, the two Jewish founders took the name “Grey” instead of their own last names. However, for the next 100 days, the agency will be renamed Valenstein & Fatt. [CNBC]

Valenstein & Fatt from Valenstein & Fatt on Vimeo.

Conservation and travel

You can now attend a sleepover with a sloth. The Zoological Wildlife Conservation Center, an animal rescue organization north of Portland, OR, is inviting the public to a sleepover with a bunch of sloths. For 600 bucks you can spend the night in a double occupancy tent surrounded by sloths. You’ll also get a 1-hour Q&A session with a staff member and an “I Slept With A Sloth” t-shirt. [Lonely Planet]

A tour company is offering trips inspired by BBC’s Planet Earth II. Tauck Earth Journeys is partnering with BBCEarth to bring travelers to the destinations featured in the show, like Costa Rica, Antarctica, Botswana and the Galápagos Islands. You’ll get to try out a lot of the technology and techniques used to film Planet Earth II while also hanging out with BBCEarth experts. [Condé Nast Traveler]

Ireland’s 46-km Waterford Greenway is now open to walkers and cyclers. It runs from Waterford City to Dungarvan, Ireland’s oldest city, and is now the longest off-road walking/cycling trail in the country. It has 11 bridges, three viaducts and a 400-metre tunnel. [Lonely Planet] Read more like this: The 50 greatest animal photobombs of all time

Traveling through Southern Africa gives you the opportunity to witness amazing fauna, explore diverse terrain in the national parks, and interact with centuries-old tribal communities. Travel writer and photographer Vicki Garside recently spent six weeks traveling through Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Namibia. This are just a few highlights of her epic trip.

You can see more of Vicky’s adventures on her website and Instagram. 1

Known locally as Mosi-oa-Tunya (the smoke that thunders), the Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe are considered one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. The place is also Africa’s adventure capital, with the falls providing the backdrop for bungee jumping, white water rafting, and helicopter flights.

2

There are more than a hundred mammal species, including the endangered black rhino, in Etosha National Park. Watering holes are a perfect place to spot a wide variety of animals, like these giraffes.

3

One of the most recognizable sights in Namibia, Dune 45 is so called because it sits 45 km from the Sesriem Gate on the road to Sossusvlei. Every morning you’ll find sunrise seekers racing to climb this 85-meter tall sand dune to get a glimpse of the colors of the desert at dawn.

Intermission

33 places to swim in the world’s clearest water

8 adventurous ways to explore Africa

17 images that will make you want to explore Iceland right now

4

The Himba are an indigenous tribe from the north of Namibia. Women wear very few clothes and protect their skin from the sun with a mixture of butter, fat and red ochre.

5

The sunsets in Africa are something to behold, especially with the sun setting behind the acacia trees in the Okavango Delta.

6

The farmers in Namibia have a problem with wild cheetahs killing their livestock. As the government prevents the relocation of the cheetahs to neighboring countries and National Parks, the immediate response is to kill them once captured. Cheetah farms have been established to house these animals. Some are domesticated and others live a semi-wild existence in large compounds. This baby was part of a family of four –mum, dad and a twin sister– but he was the biggest poser!

7

The Fish River Canyon, in Namibia, is the second largest gorge in the continent and one of the country’s most impressive sights. The Fish River Canyon Trail is one of the most popular hiking routes in Africa, especially with ultra-marathoners.

8

The bright red color of the soil is a characteristic of the Namib Desert, in Namibia. The landscape acquires different tones depending on the light conditions and the time of the day.

9

According to our guide, this little fellow was around seven months old. Lion cubs are just one of the many animals you can spot in the Hwange National Park, in Zimbabwe.

Intermission

20 awesomely untranslatable words from around the world

25 must-have experiences in Windhoek, Namibia

18 images that will convince you to take your kids to Galapagos

10

Spitzkoppe, in Namibia, is nothing less than a natural wonder. These collection of bald granite peaks are more than 120 million years old! And they make for one of the most incredible campsites.

11

These hippos in the Okavango Delta, Botswana, look so cute from the distance. But did you know they have one of the most powerful jaws on the planet? Locals say that they can chomp a crocodile in half in a single bite!

12

The view from our Overland Truck as we drove into a sandstorm. Africa is incredibly dry and dusty even without the sand getting involved. Despite having all the windows closed, the inside of the truck and everyone in it ended up covered in fine layer of dust and sand. There was definitely a rush to get a hot shower before the water ran out that day!

13

Another sunset in Botswana – I miss African sunsets so much!

People of the Earth: San tribe

 

Text and photographs by Aga Szidlick

 

The first people

Deeply rooted in their nomadic culture and in a symbiotic relationship with the animals and plants, the San or “Bushmen” are the original inhabitants of South Africa, aboriginal to sub-Saharan Africa. Their unique hunter-gatherer culture stretches back over 20 000 years. San genetic origins reach back to over one million years, revealing the oldest gene pattern amongst modern humans. Evolutionary studies support the evidence indicating that San are the closest surviving people to the original Homo sapiens and ancestors of contemporary humanity.

 

Stone Age

San civilization goes back to the Stone Age. The San did not use metals; all of their weapons were made of wood, stone, and bones, and instead of pottery, ostrich eggshells were used for storing liquids. They were known to live along the coast, fishing for crayfish, mussels, and seals as proven by a large number of bones found in coastal caves. These caves record their rich heritage in the form of rock art, extending all the way from the Kalahari to the modern-day Kingdom of Lesotho. Rock paintings were made using natural pigments such as manganese oxide, charcoal, or bird droppings, and the most common motives drawn were of people and animals, very often the Eland antelope, still regarded as a sacred spirit.

 

Sounds of the desert

Bushmen speak a variety of languages, all of which incorporate ‘click’ sounds represented in writing by symbols such as ! or /. San indigenous identity is based on their language and culture, families within a clan would speak a common language but neighboring clans would usually speak a different tongue, with a fair degree of similarity and understanding between them.

San are small in stature with light skin, which wrinkles very early in life giving them distinct, weathered appearance. They live in the vast expanse of the Kalahari Desert, which is divided among 3 countries — South Africa, Botswana and Namibia. Less than 3,000 of the tribe members have retained their traditional lifestyle of hunters and gatherers, following ancient cultural practices. In sub-Saharan Africa, there are many different Bushman groups, with no collective name for themselves, hence the fact that the terms ‘Bushman’, ‘San’, ‘or ‘Basarwa’ are used interchangeably.

 

Owner and the nomad

For thousands of years, San hunter-gatherer lifestyle remained relatively unchanged, as they had no concept of the ownership of land or animal. The change came with the acquisition of property, namely the sheep from North Sudanese tribes and cattle from Bantu. Newly found ownership have quickly led to conflict between different groups and rapid evolvement of a social, and economic hierarchy in which the status quo was determined by wealth in cattle and sheep.

San are always on the move in search of game and plant foods, therefore, they do not build permanent settlements, rather they use rock shelters or open camps, the choice depending on weather conditions. Bushmen are a nomadic tribe, but within fairly limited boundaries, distance governed by the proximity of other families and clans. When there are no other bordering clans, migrating tribe may stretch further out, as far as is needed to ensure a safe supply of food and water. Generally, the chief controls groups’ resources and all decisions are made by consensus of the tribe.

 

Social structure

San social structure is not totally tribal, it resembles loosely knit family culture where decisions are made by universal discussion and agreement by consensus. An individual’s opinion is naturally weighted according to their level, skill, and experience in the particular field of discussion. The roles of men and women are very distinct and rarely overlapping, which is a characteristic almost universal amongst hunter/gatherers around the world. Decisions are made based on survival needs, encouraging the most efficient utilisation of available skills and resources. Despite what is often perceived as a very gender-divided society, the importance of women is very high within the group and their opinions often take precedence, particularly where the food is concerned.

 

The hunter

The San are famous for their tracking skills. Using traps, bows, spears, and arrows coated with various toxins, such as snake venom, poisonous caterpillar, or a toxic plant, they are able to track animals for days across the desert plains. The poisons used by hunters will not be dangerous for consumption, as the hunter will simply remove the flesh where the arrow pierced the animal body. Each hunter is equipped with a cross and the bow, and leather bag containing medicine, tools, arrows, and amulets. San can easily determine the age and sex of the pray by examining the signs animal left behind, reading the bush as an open book. When a hunter’s arrow hits the animal, sortie will go to where it was standing and patiently track it down until the animal falls. Exceptional skill at tracking made San hunters very desired by armies, game hunters, and farmers to pursue guerrillas, game, and poachers.

 

The gatherer

Traditionally, women spent 3-4 days a week gathering wild plants, going out in groups to search for edible or medicinal plants. There are about 400-500 local plants known to Bushmen, providing not only balanced nutrition but also a source of hydration, as the moisture from roots is collected in ostrich eggshells during the drought. Plants are used in a similar way to western phytomedicine, treating wounds and illnesses or during healing ceremonies in which the healer would burn plants to make rain, trance to heal an ailment, or perform a charm to bring fertility.

 

Sacred spirits

Boys come of age when they kill their first antelope, and a girl becomes a woman upon her first menstruation, isolated in her hut. On this day, the tribe will perform the Eland Bull Dance, imitating the mating ritual of the Eland antelopes. The San believe that this dance brings peace and beauty to the girl and make her safe from hunger and thirst. San marriages are simple, the groom gives the Elands’ heart fat to bride’s parents, and the bride is anointed with this fat.

 

Medicine man

An essential element of the San cultural identity is their medicine dance, in which the rhythm is used to heal the individual. The medicine men have a supernatural potency within them, called n/um, which enables shaman to cure sickness. To activate n/um San dance and sing, creating sounds and a tempo that heats the supernatural force within, causing it to rise up to their heads to evoke trance.

 

Between two worlds

San believe in the spiritual and the material world. To enter into the spirit world, trance has to be initiated by a shaman through the hunting of power animals. When a power animal, such as an elephant or an eland antelope is killed, a link opens up between the two worlds. The eland appears in some of the rituals: boys’ first kill, girls’ puberty, marriage, and the trance dance. When this happens the shaman dances and reaches a trance in order to enter the spirit world. Once trance is achieved, the shaman is able to heal and protect people from sickness, evil spirits, control weather, see the future, ensure good hunting, and look over the general well-being of the tribe.

 

The sands of time

“I am as young as the most beautiful wish in my heart — and as old as all the unfulfilled longings in my life…”*

Southern Bushmen believe in spirits of the dead, but not as part of ancestor worship. The spirits are only vaguely identified and are thought to bring sickness and death. If a tribe member dies, the group will leave and never make a camp on this place again. However, if they arrive in a place of burial, they will throw pebbles on the grave and quietly say few words to the spirits to ensure good luck. They never step on the grave, as they believe that spirits are still active in the area above the grave. Shamans have contact with lesser gods, associated with illness and death, when they are performing trance dance. After death, the soul goes to the great god’s house in the sky, but the dead person continues to influence the life of those alive.

*”Elderly!” Kung Bushman’s answer to how old he was (Bjerre, p104)

 

The World Economic Forum (WEF) Travel and Tourism and Competitiveness Report was recently published. It shows the most expensive and cheapest places to travel in the world. The report covers the role travel and tourism plays in economies, an analysis of the industry’s sustained growth, work being done to preserve and protect local communities and the environment, and more. One of the most interesting sections of the report was the information on the top countries in the world for price competitiveness.

Here are the 20 cheapest places to travel to right now, according to the WEF Report.

Editor’s note: These spots are all taken directly from travelstoke®, a new app from Matador that connects you with fellow travelers and locals, and helps you build trip itineraries with spots that integrate seamlessly into Google Maps and Uber. Download the app to add any of the spots below directly to your future trips.

1. Iran

 Zoroastrian Towers of SilenceYazd, Iran#Zoroastrian #dakhma or Tower of Silence on the outskirts of #Yazd in #Iran. Believing a dead body was unclean and would pollute the soil, the Zoroastrians placed bodies at the top of this tower and exposed to the sun and vultures instead of being buried in the ground.

2. Egypt

 Cairo EgyptAl Fagalah, EgyptOne of Thé most unforgetable times having an hour long trip on camel at desert near Pyramids was excellent #history#ancienttimes

3. Malaysia

 Perdana Botanical GardensKuala Lumpur, MalaysiaPetrona Towers, impressive skyscraper.

4. Algeria

Sahara Desert, Tassili N

Photo: Dmitry Pichugin

5. Indonesia

 Dusun BambuCihanjuang Rahayu, IndonesiaWonderful nature

6. Bhutan

 Uma ParoParo, BhutanThey will take a little rice to clean their eating hand and put it on the ground . Then will proceed to eat . All ending eating at the same time . Great to watch . Ceremony like ! # lunch time # Bhutan # outdoors # travel photography

7. Yemen

Rock Palace de Csilla Zelko en 500px.com

Photo: Csilla Zelko

8. Kazakhstan

Big Almaty lake on december. Water, ice, mountains and snow. de Roman Barelko en 500px.com

Photo: Roman Barelko

9. Tunisia

Shades of White. Sidi Bou Saïd. de Bérenger Zyla en 500px.com

Photo: Berenger Zyla

10. India

 CHANDNI CHOWKGhaziabad, IndiaThis is my favorite #market . So life you can get all you need. This market design by Jahannara, princesses of mugal empire, daughter of shah Jahan . #clothes #souvenirs #bargins #cheap-eats #coffee

11. Russia

 Moscow MetroMoskva, RussiaCheck out some metro stations of 1930s – 1950s for the bronze statues, mosaics and marble colonnades.

12. Qatar

City Center de Jurics Caba en 500px.com

Photo: Jurics Caba

13. Botswana

Elephant Herd close-up on Chobe river de Vincent Andrews en 500px.com

Photo: Vincent Andrews

14. Laos

 Patuxay MonumentVientiane, LaosCool war monument dedicated to the people who fought for independence from France. You can go to the top and have a great view of the city. #history

15. Mongolia

the Camel Centipede de Coolbiere. A. en 500px.com

Photo: Coolbiere

16. Guatemala

 AntiguaAntigua Guatemala, GuatemalaStreet vendors on their way to set up at the Market

17. Saudi Arabia

Infinite de Kareem Alahdab en 500px.com

Photo: Kareem Alahdad

18. Thailand

 Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn)Bangkok, ThailandThis #temple build by porselen. Beautiful and shine temple. Must visit

19. Nepal

 BouddhatanathKathmandu, Nepal#temple #buddhism

20. Sri Lanka

 Seema MalakaColombo, Sri Lanka

Great family travel means different things to different people. There’s budget to consider, destination, the age of your children, and the type of travellers you are - do you want to fly and flop or scale the highest peak you can find?

For the best beach holidays, ski trips, adventure tours, and once-in-a-lifetime journeys, our family travel experts have tried and tested the following operators with their children, and recommend their offerings.

Please note that many of these firms excel in a number of areas - Scott Dunn has great beach and ski options; you could hire an exclusive seaside villa with Abercrombie & Kent, or find yourself on a riding safari in Kenya. But we have organised them based on the ways in which each firm really stands out.

British Airways holidays | All-inclusive escapes with hotel partners and customer support

Best generalists

British Airways holidays

The trusted airline’s range of holidays takes in the States, Caribbean and Indian Ocean, plus shorter-haul European destinations, many offering kids’ clubs and all-inclusive options. Try a long weekend of Roman history in the Eternal City, or an all-inclusive break in Cancun, Mexico. Check out low deposit and staggered payment options to spread costs.

Classic Collection | Luxury holidays tailored for each client

Classic Collection

Handpicked four- and five-star luxury hotels, many with kids’ clubs, are the main draw, while private transfers come as standard. Try also a family villa or the new lakes and mountains holidays. Options range from a family-owned hotel in Ibiza to an all-inclusive Caribbean resort with babysitting service. Bookings with children aged 4 to 11 earn a complimentary BubbleBum inflatable booster seat.

Kuoni | Luxury operator with an emphasis on personal touches

Kuoni

The leading long-haul operator, voted Best Large Luxury Tour Operator at the 2016 Telegraph Ultratravel Awards, majors on expert, personal service with high-street locations, including some within John Lewis department stores. From family safaris to all-inclusive beach resorts, it has handpicked hotels in over 90 countries, most notably in the Caribbean and Indian Ocean.

Scott Dunn | Bespoke holidays for 'experience' seekers plus luxury ski chalets and family villas

Scott Dunn

These tailor-made breaks to standout destinations cater for all ages. Childcare (from four months) options in the Alps and Med include private nannies and clubs, plus the CREW activity programme for ages 11 plus. Families with older children could try a family safari to Kenya or a family beach break off the Great Barrier Reef. Strong local partnerships are assured.

Smith & Family | A curated collection of luxury family hotels, holidays and child-friendly self-catering properties

Smith & Family

The new family offshoot of members-only travel club Mr & Mrs Smith indulges the hotel-Babylon passion with little ones in tow. That means the parent panel only selects properties with great childcare provision and attention to detail, plus also the right ambience for parents. Many, such as a luxury resort in Crete, let kids under 12 (sharing with parents) stay free and offer free childcare.

Virgin Holidays | The transatlantic specialist for all-inclusive and package family holidays

Virgin Holidays

The trusted Virgin brand pioneered fly-drive holidays to the States, notably Florida and its theme parks. The portfolio is on the smaller side but includes Disney holidays, Florida villas and all-inclusive breaks in Mexico and Cuba. New concept stores, integrated plans for special assistance and a concierge service to pre-book local attractions are amongst the company’s latest innovations.

Abercrombie & Kent | Bespoke trips with great on-the-ground partnerships

Best long-haul

Abercrombie & Kent

This former Africa specialist now offers expert-led bespoke luxury family tours all over the globe. From hands-on learning activities in China’s southwest to private Kenyan safaris, no expense is spared in getting families off the beaten track with truly phenomenal local guides who know how to engage with children.

Audley Travel | Luxury, tailor-made trips with a great network of local partners

​Audley Travel

Formerly an Asia specialist, Audley now offers expert-selected tours to over 75 destinations. From family safaris in Botswana to luxury family trips to Japan, the emphasis is on local experiences uncovered by local guides. Named Best Tour Operator at the 2016 Telegraph Travel Awards, search handpicked options for all age groups from babies to teenagers.

Cox & Kings | Exclusive small-group tours and private, tailor-made holidays from the world's longest-established travel company

Cox & Kings

With great service, plus airport meet-and-greet and an army of handpicked local guides, these family adventure holidays combine both discovery and comfort. Family breaks are on a private basis only with options including a family tour of Sri Lanka or a family safari to Tanzania. Choose from self-drive or private vehicle with driver options, and expect great on-the-ground support.

Exodus | Adventure holidays - for groups or tailor made - in the spirit of breaking new ground

Exodus

Adventure pioneers, Exodus, now pioneer family adventure holidays, including cycling, walking and wildlife safari breaks. With authentic destination experiences in the safe hands of local-expert tour leaders, you could ride camels through the Moroccan desert, or try snowshoeing through the Finnish winter. Book an extended family-group experience via the Private Adventures option.

Explore! | A huge variety of tour types and destinations for those with a spirit of adventure

Explore

Explore has a history of running small-group adventures with expert local guides and a strong responsible-travel ethos. The choice of Family Adventure Holidays, including options designed for grandchildren and single parents, ranges from trekking with hill tribes in Thailand to walking in Morocco’s Atlas Mountains. Save 5 per cent when booking second and subsequent trips with the family loyalty scheme.

Club Med | Premium all-inclusive holidays with a global reach

Best active beach breaks

​Club Med

The pioneer of the all-inclusive holiday now offers a huge range of holidays on a sporting motif from the Alps to the Andes, plus continues its long tradition of responsible tourism. There are over 60 activities available at resorts from Portugal to the Dominican Republic, plus interconnecting rooms and well-trained staff to engage with all ages, including younger children.

Mark Warner | Mediterranean sun and Alpine ski holidays for active families with childcare needs

Mark Warner

The former ski specialist now majors on well-regarded childcare with dedicated clubs for all ages, including a Baby Club from four months and an evening listening service until 10.30pm. Childcare for ages two to 17 is free, including evening activities. Choose from watersports in Greece, or Christmas skiing in Austria. If it’s all too much, try an adults-only week at selected resorts and chalets.

Neilson | Active escapes based around beach clubs, sailing or winter sports holidays

Neilson

Sporty families favour these high-octane holidays. Most beachclubs, such as a watersports break in Greece, offer interconnecting rooms and kids’ clubs, including the TAG club for teenagers and Hot Shots, a water-based club to gain RYA qualifications. Winter sports breaks, based on children aged 11 years and under, include a week in Les Deux Alps with dedicated childcare.

Sunsail | All aboard for global sailing holidays in 25 stunning destinations

Sunsail

The established Sunsail fleet now extends to over 500 yachts and covers all water-based activities from a tailor-made sailing holiday via a yacht charter, to sailing courses. Flotilla holidays work best for families and options include a Croatia flotilla holiday, touring the Dalmatian Coast in a small group with crew. Summer flotillas from Lefkas have a dedicated activity coordinator to arrange kids’ activities.

Thomas Cook | A high-street package-deal presence with an increasingly global reach

Best Budget

Thomas Cook

The high-street stalwart, booking holidays since 1841, continues to reinvent the family holiday with tailor-made stays and its charter airline flying from 23 UK airports. Sunwing Family Resorts offer first-class family facilities and kids under 12 eat free from the buffet. SENTIDO Hotels & Resorts, designed for more discerning families, include activities for kids and adults alike. You can book face to face and the company plans to open 25 new-format Discovery Stores by 2018.

Thomson | The high-street package specialist has a huge reach and years of experience

Thomson

Thomson has been booking holidays since the mid Sixties and continues to re-invent itself while Thomson Airways is now the UK’s largest charter airline. The Tui Family Life collection of hotels, with locations from the Canaries to Bulgaria, has an excellent range of childcare and clubs, plus activities ideal for multi-generational groups. Plus you can still book face to face at one of 650 high-street locations.

Trailfinders | Global tailor-made specialist with a reputation for value deals

Trailfinders

Big-hitting Trailfinders has a global reach for family options from cruises to small-group family adventure holidays, such as a touring group to Vietnam. Australia is a strong seller with offbeat family trips including a motorhome fly-drive trip along the Great Barrier Reef area coast. The policy of no credit card charges could save up to 5 per cent of travel costs.

Inghams | A ski, lakes and mountains specialist with an adventure twist

Best ski

Inghams

Founded by mountaineer Walter Ingham more than 80 years ago, the now Swiss-owned specialist prides itself on quality partner relationships and local reps. Skiing holidays are based around hand-picked Family Choice hotels while children aged 2 to 11 fly free on charter flights to Ingham’s’ chalets in Europe. Selected Alpine summer holidays offer free child places and hotels with kids’ clubs.

Canopy & Stars | Luxury glamping holidays for outdoorsy types

Best camping

Canopy & Stars

An offshoot to Alistair Sawday’s Special Places to Stay, the company has quirky UK and European breaks to more than 500 treehouses, cabins and yurts. As champions of the small and independent, the focus is on sustainable tourism. For families, that means low-impact stays suitable for all ages, including babies and non-car owners. Download the Nature Investigators packs to take along for in-situ family fun.

Botswana Safari Guide: Okavango Delta, Chobe, Northern Kalahari (Bradt Travel Guide)

Chris McIntyre

A safari in northern Botswana takes the traveller to a wilderness populated almost exclusively by wildlife. Here are the predators and their prey; here, too, are the elephants, the hippos and the astonishing birdlife of the Okavango Delta. This fourth edition of Bradt's Botswana Safari Guide provides unrivalled coverage of the region's wildlife, environment and history, as well as a thorough evaluation of when, where and how to go. The guide, written by an expert author, focuses on the country’s most popular areas, the Okavango Delta and the Kalahari and Chobe deserts.

Whatever You Do, Don't Run: True Tales Of A Botswana Safari Guide

Peter Allison

A hilarious, highly original collection of essays based on the Botswana truism: “only food runs!” With a new introduction and new material from the authorIn the tradition of Bill Bryson, a new writer brings us the lively adventures and biting wit of an African safari guide. Peter Allison gives us the guide’s-eye view of living in the bush, confronting the world’s fiercest terrain of wild animals and, most challenging of all, managing herds of gaping tourists. Passionate for the animals of the Kalahari, Allison works as a top safari guide in the wildlife-rich Okavango Delta. As he serves the whims of his wealthy clients, he often has to stop the impulse to run as far away from them as he can, as these tourists are sometimes more dangerous than a pride of lions. No one could make up these outrageous-but-true tales: the young woman who rejected the recommended safari-friendly khaki to wear a more “fashionable” hot pink ensemble; the lost tourist who happened to be drunk, half-naked, and a member of the British royal family; establishing a real friendship with the continent’s most vicious animal; the Japanese tourist who requested a repeat performance of Allison’s being charged by a lion so he could videotape it; and spending a crazy night in the wild after blowing a tire on a tour bus, revealing that Allison has as much good-natured scorn for himself. The author’s humor is exceeded only by his love and respect for the animals, and his goal is to limit any negative exposure to humans by planning trips that are minimally invasive—unfortunately it doesn’t always work out that way!New story: People often ask safari guides about the experience that frightened them the most. In this story Peter Allison tells of the time he became aware of unseen danger, and knew that somewhere within meters of him was a hunting lioness. Peter Allison is originally from Sydney, Australia. His safaris have been featured in National Geographic, Conde Nast Traveler, and on television programs such as Jack Hanna’s Animal Adventures. He travels frequently to speaking appearances, and splits most of his time between Botswana, Sydney, and San Francisco.

Lonely Planet Botswana & Namibia (Travel Guide)

Lonely Planet

Lonely Planet: The world's leading travel guide publisher

Lonely Planet Botswana & Namibia is your passport to all the most relevant and up-to-date advice on what to see, what to skip, and what hidden discoveries await you. Watch the wildlife gather in Etosha National Park, feel the soft sand of the Sossusvlei red dunes, or drift through the waters of Okavango; all with your trusted travel companion. Get to the heart of Botswana and Namibia and begin your journey now!

Inside Lonely Planet Botswana & Namibia Travel Guide:

Colour maps and images throughout Highlights and itineraries show you the simplest way to tailor your trip to your own personal needs and interests Insider tips save you time and money and help you get around like a local, avoiding crowds and trouble spots Essential info at your fingertips - including hours of operation, phone numbers, websites, transit tips, and prices Honest reviews for all budgets - including eating, sleeping, sight-seeing, going out, shopping, and hidden gems that most guidebooks miss Cultural insights give you a richer and more rewarding travel experience - including customs, history, art, literature, poetry, cinema, music, dance, architecture, politics, wildlife, and cuisine Over 53 local maps Useful features - including Top Experiences, Month-by-Month (annual festival calendar), and Planning a Safari Coverage of Windhoek, Gaborone, Victoria Falls, Zambia, Zimbabwe,  Kasane, the Okavango Delta, Kalahari, Damaraland, the Caprivi Strip, Swakopmund, Sossusvlei, Luderitz, Fish River Canyon, Tsodilo Hills, Skeleton Coast, and more

The Perfect Choice: Lonely Planet Botswana & Namibia, our most comprehensive guide to Botswana and Namibia, is perfect for those planning to both explore the top sights and take the road less travelled.

Looking for more extensive coverage? Check out Lonely Planet's Southern Africa Guide for a comprehensive look at all the region has to offer.

Authors: Written and researched by Lonely Planet, Alan Murphy, Anthony Ham, Trent Holden, and Kate Morgan.

About Lonely Planet: Started in 1973, Lonely Planet has become the world's leading travel guide publisher with guidebooks to every destination on the planet, as well as an award-winning website, a suite of mobile and digital travel products, and a dedicated traveller community. Lonely Planet's mission is to enable curious travellers to experience the world and to truly get to the heart of the places they find themselves in.

TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice Awards 2012 and 2013 winner in Favorite Travel Guide category

'Lonely Planet guides are, quite simply, like no other.' - New York Times

'Lonely Planet. It's on everyone's bookshelves; it's in every traveller's hands. It's on mobile phones. It's on the Internet. It's everywhere, and it's telling entire generations of people how to travel the world.' - Fairfax Media (Australia)

This is Botswana

Peter Joyce

This is Botswana takes the reader on a panoramic journey of discovery – from the arid vastness of the Kalahari Desert to the lush waterways of the Okavango Delta. It is a compelling visual essay on the country, its people and its wildlife. More than 250 stunning photographs provide an exciting and diverse overview of the country. These are complemented by a detailed introductory text that both establishes historical perspective and offers insight into the realities of a country moving hesitantly, but with hope, into a challenging future.

Botswana - Culture Smart!: The Essential Guide to Customs & Culture

Michael Main

Culture Smart! provides essential information on attitudes, beliefs and behavior in different countries, ensuring that you arrive at your destination aware of basic manners, common courtesies, and sensitive issues. These concise guides tell you what to expect, how to behave, and how to establish a rapport with your hosts. This inside knowledge will enable you to steer clear of embarrassing gaffes and mistakes, feel confident in unfamiliar situations, and develop trust, friendships, and successful business relationships. Culture Smart! offers illuminating insights into the culture and society of a particular country. It will help you to turn your visit-whether on business or for pleasure-into a memorable and enriching experience. Contents include * customs, values, and traditions * historical, religious, and political background * life at home * leisure, social, and cultural life * eating and drinking * dos, don'ts, and taboos * business practices * communication, spoken and unspoken

Botswana (National Geographic Adventure Map)

National Geographic Maps - Adventure

• Waterproof • Tear-Resistant • Travel Map

National Geographic's Botswana Adventure Map is expertly researched and contains an abundance of specialized content to meet the unique needs of adventure travelers, making it the perfect compliment to any tour book. The country is covered with unparalleled detail along with bordering areas of Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa. A user-friendly index of towns and protected areas, along with a clearly marked road network, complete with road designations and distances, will guide you to your destination. Tracks and smaller roads are also marked for those wishing to find hidden gems or travel off the beaten path. Other transportation network features are airports, airfields, rail lines and frontier crossings.

Hundreds of cultural, historical, ecological and recreational points of interest are pinpointed, such as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, national parks and reserves, historic ruins, churches, monuments, caves, campsites, scenic viewpoints and areas of swamps, forest cover and salt pans. The map's front side includes Chobe and Nxai-Pan National Parks, Caprivi Strip, Victoria Falls, Moremi and Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Okavango Delta, Tsodilo Hills and Makgadikgadi Pans. The reverse side covers the Central Kalahari and Khutse Game Reserves, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, Khama Rhino Sanctuary, Gemsbok National Park and the capital city, Gaborone.

Every Adventure Map is printed on durable synthetic paper, making them waterproof, tear-resistant and tough — capable of withstanding the rigors of international travel.

Map Scale = 1:1,100,000Sheet Size = 37.75" x 25.5"Folded Size = 4.25" x 9.25"

Botswana Travel Pack (Globetrotter Travel Packs)

Alan Brough

The handy pocket-size guide is packed with useful information, tips and recommendations, accompanied by color photographs, charts and maps for the first-time traveller who wants to experience the major highlights that Botswana has to offer. The foldout map of Botswana is ideal for tourists and visitors.

Botswana Essays: Four Decades of Immersion in an African Culture

John D. Holm

This collection of essays critically examines common perceptions the developed world has about Africa. The author, using his experience of living and working in Botswana and, to a lesser degree in other African countries, argues for a more nuanced portrayal of the dynamics of significant forms of African social interaction. In metaphoric terms, his intention is to take the charming images of Botswana presented by McCall Smith in his The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency novels and add to these images a more balanced structure and meaning—combining the enchanting and amusing with the troubling and confounding.The essays are intended for two audiences. One is citizens of Botswana and students of the country who are interested in reflecting on the extent to which rapid modernization since independence has transformed social relations. The other audience is readers intent on obtaining a keener sense of ways a modernizing African society is different from the developed world. This latter group includes students and travelers who want to consider some underlying forces they may observe with a sustained immersion in a developing country, and particularly Botswana.The discussion in each essay is founded largely on experiences the author has had in a wide range of contexts. He seeks to weave these experiences into one or more generalizations about the way in which Botswana society works in a particular environment. In the process he raises questions about prevailing perceptions that the developed world has of less-developed countries. He admits in the course of most essays to have himself once held some version of these developed-world misperceptions.The topics covered are ones which are highly contested in both public and private discussions within Botswana. The specific focus of the various essays are as follows: Rejection of market values at the cattle postCritical role of “face time” above all other means of communicationsMeaning of moneyGrave risks of drivingObsession with cleanlinessBlending of traditional religious beliefs with ChristianitySocial divisions between women and menImportance of tribal identity in interpersonal social interactionsExtent of racial conflictPrimacy of obedience to the law Authoritarian nature of Botswana’s culture of democracySouth Africa’s broad domination of its small neighbor’s societyFailure of western radicalism in BotswanaDynamics of Ken Good’s deportationBrain drain within Botswana and with neighboring African statesFears Botswana students have of American graduate educationFailure of aid and exchange programs to recognize psychological dimensions of their endeavors in BotswanaFailure of local university lecturers to perform normal academic dutiesThe author is a PhD-trained political scientist. He began field research in Botswana in 1970. He returned regularly for the next thirty-five years for varying periods of time, the longest of which was 14 months. As a researcher in these years he traveled over most of the country and met a wide range of the citizenry from top executives to hunter-gatherers on the Kalahari. Beginning in January of 2006, he served for four years as the first Director of International Programs at the University of Botswana. In this position he was able to observe the internal dynamics of a major social institution as well as the misconceptions of visiting students and scholars. In the course of his career, the author has also visited many other African countries and engaged in field projects in Ghana, Nigeria, Lesotho, and Zambia. However, Botswana is his second home.

Exercise normal security precautions

The decision to travel is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your personal safety abroad. The purpose of this Travel Advice is to provide up-to-date information to enable you to make well-informed decisions.

Most Canadian visitors to Botswana do not experience problems, as Botswana is politically and economically stable, with no recent violent civil disturbances.

Crime

Pickpocketing, thefts and “smash and grab” robberies are on the rise in the country. You should not show signs of affluence and should remain aware of your surroundings. Avoid walking alone after dark, particularly in urban and peri-urban areas.

Carry a photocopy of your passport with you at all times, and keep your original document in safekeeping facilities. It is also advisable to leave a photocopy of your travel documents with a relative or a friend at home.

Demonstrations

Demonstrations occur and have the potential to suddenly turn violent. They can lead to significant disruptions to traffic and public transportation. Avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings, follow the advice of local authorities and monitor local media.

Wild animals

Wild animals can pose risks. Observe all local or park regulations and instructions given by tour guides. Wildlife areas are not fenced and warning signs are few. Do not swim in rivers or lakes as wildlife attacks are possible, particularly from crocodiles and hippopotamus. Do not walk alone or unescorted after dark because of the threat from nocturnal predators, particularly lion, hyena or leopard.

Road travel

Road conditions are generally good in major towns, but overland travel outside major centres can be dangerous. Driving standards, high speed limits, long stretches of highway and poor lighting pose hazards, particularly at night. A reliable private roadside assistance service called Medical Rescue International is available by calling 390-1601.

Failure to obey traffic signs, driving while intoxicated or not being in possession of a valid driver’s licence may result in arrest and heavy fines.

Pedestrians and roaming livestock or wild animals may pose a hazard on rural roadways, particularly in the Okavango, Chobe, Savuti, Pandamatenga and Ghanzi districts.

Desert conditions and conditions in remote areas are harsh. Travel to these areas should not be undertaken without a guide if possible nor without serious planning in advance, and a four-wheel-drive vehicle well equipped with provisions, fuel and water.

When you travel by road, for example, if you have hired an Avis 4 x 4 vehicle, you will be entirely responsible for your safety as there are generally no guides provided then or when you enter the parks. You should ensure that friends or relatives are aware of your travel itinerary so that they can keep in contact with you.  Guides are provided by private camps or mobile safaris when you fly directly into the Delta or similar conservancy areas, as they are part of the commercial or guided safari packages. This is not necessarily the case with self-drive travel.

Some hotels operate a minibus service between the airport and Gaborone. You should verify whether your hotel provides this service and reserve the transfer in advance. Vehicles can be rented at the airport in Gaborone. In major towns, taxis are generally safe, but the fare should be determined before departure.

Public transportation

Domestic air services are available. Consult our Transportation FAQ in order to verify if national airlines meet safety standards. Passenger train service in Botswana has been discontinued. There are reliable buses for long distance journeys to Johannesburg, Lusaka, Harare, which can be found at the main Bus Rank in Gaborone. Mini buses leave at hourly intervals to Johannesburg from the main Bus Rank in Gaborone. Long distance buses normally leave in the early hours, around 6 a.m.  For reliable transportation to Johannesburg from Gaborone, you must book at least one day before the travel date. Reliable operators used for the Johannesburg-Gaborone/Gaborone-Johannesburg Routes are:

InterCape Bus Service – telephone +267 3974294

T. J. Motlogelwa’s Express – telephone +267 3190395

Emergency assistance

In case of an emergency, dial 999 for police, 998 for fire, and 997 for ambulance services.

Health

Related Travel Health Notices
Consult a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic preferably six weeks before you travel.
Vaccines

Routine Vaccines

Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.

Vaccines to Consider

You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread by contaminated food or water. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.

Influenza

Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or through personal contact with unwashed hands. Get the flu shot.

Measles

Measles occurs worldwide but is a common disease in developing countries, particularly in parts of Africa and Asia. Measles is a highly contagious disease. Be sure your vaccination against measles is up-to-date regardless of the travel destination.
 

Rabies

Rabies is a disease that attacks the central nervous system spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from a rabid animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (i.e., close contact with animals, occupational risk, and children).

Typhoid

Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among travellers going to rural areas, visiting friends and relatives, or with weakened immune systems. Travellers visiting regions with typhoid risk, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should consider getting vaccinated.

Yellow Fever Vaccination

Yellow fever is a disease caused by the bite of an infected mosquito.

Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.

* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
Risk
  • There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
  • Proof of yellow fever vaccination is required if you are coming from a country where yellow fever occurs.
Recommendation
  • Vaccination is not recommended.
  • Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care provider.
Food/Water

Food and Water-borne Diseases

Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.

In some areas in Southern Africa, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in Southern Africa. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!

Schistosomiasis

Schistosomiasis is caused by blood flukes (tiny worms) spread to humans through contaminated water. The eggs of the worms can cause stomach illnesses like diarrhea and cramps or urinary problems. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Avoid swimming in contaminated water. There is no vaccine available for schistosomiasis.

Travellers' diarrhea
  • Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
  • Risk of developing travellers’ diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
  • The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.

Insects

Insects and Illness

In some areas in Southern Africa, certain insects carry and spread diseases like African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, chikungunya, leishmaniasis, lymphatic filariasis, malaria, Rift Valley fever, and West Nile virus.

Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.


Malaria

Malaria

  • There is a risk of malaria in certain areas and/or during a certain time of year in this country.
  • Malaria is a serious and occasionally fatal disease that is spread by mosquitoes. There is no vaccine against malaria.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites. This includes covering up, using insect repellent and staying in well-screened, air-conditioned accommodations. You may also consider sleeping under an insecticide-treated bed net or pre-treating travel gear with insecticides.
  • Antimalarial medication may be recommended depending on your itinerary and the time of year you are travelling. See a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic, preferably six weeks before you travel to discuss your options.

Animals

Animals and Illness

Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Some infections found in Southern Africa, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.


Person-to-Person

Person-to-Person Infections

Crowded conditions can increase your risk of certain illnesses. Remember to wash your hands often and practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette to avoid colds, the flu and other illnesses.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV are spread through blood and bodily fluids; practise safer sex.

HIV

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that attacks and impairs the immune system, resulting in a chronic, progressive illness known as AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). 

Practise safe sex while travelling, and don’t share needles, razors, or other objects which could transmit infection.

Remember that HIV can also be spread through the use of unsterile medical equipment during medical and dental procedures, tattooing, body piercing or acupuncture. Diseases can also be spread though blood transfusions and organ transplantation if the blood or organs are not screened for HIV or other blood-borne pathogens.

Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis is an infection caused by bacteria and usually affects the lungs.

For most travellers the risk of tuberculosis is low.

Travellers who may be at high risk while travelling in regions with risk of tuberculosis should discuss pre- and post-travel options with a health care provider.

High-risk travellers include those visiting or working in prisons, refugee camps, homeless shelters, or hospitals, or travellers visiting friends and relatives.


Medical services and facilities

Medical services and facilities

Outside major centres, medical facilities and supplies are limited.

Keep in Mind...

The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.

Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.

You are subject to local laws. Consult our Arrest and Detention page for more information.

Laws and illegal activities

Persons convicted of unlawful dealing or possession of illegal drugs such as cannabis (known locally as motokwane or dagga) are subject to harsh punishments.

Prior permission is required to import firearms and munitions.

Possession of pornographic material is illegal.

Homosexuality is still an offence under law in Botswana, but is seldom pursued by the police or prosecuted in court anymore.

It is prohibited to take photographs of military and government installations. Always ask permission before photographing individuals.

Traffic drives on the left.

An International Driving Permit is recommended.

Animal “trophies’’

Botswana law strictly regulates the sale, possession or removal of animal “trophies”. Any animal, dead or alive, or trophy from an animal such as a horn, tooth, tusk, bone, claw, hoof, hide, skin, hair, feather, egg or other durable portion of an animal, whether it has been processed or not, cannot be owned or removed from the country without a government permit or a receipt from a licensed shop. All souvenirs are subject to the National Trophy Law, and travellers must present a receipt from a licensed store upon departure. It is strictly prohibited to remove elephant hair, ivory and rhinoceros horn products.

Dual citizenship

Dual citizenship is not legally recognized in Botswana, which may limit the ability of Canadian officials to provide consular services. You should travel using your Canadian passport and present yourself as Canadian to foreign authorities at all times. Consult our publication entitled Dual Citizenship: What You Need to Know for more information.

Money

The currency is the pula (P). There are no import or export restrictions on foreign currency, provided it is declared upon arrival. A maximum of P1,000 in cash can be carried into or out of the country. Credit cards are not widely accepted. Many hotels and lodges accept major foreign currencies and traveller’s cheques, but a high surcharge may be applied. Automated banking machines in Botswana work well, are reliable, and are easily accessible across the country.

Climate

There are two seasons in Botswana: summer (September to April), with frequent rains and thunderstorms; and winter (May to August), with cold and dry days and nights.