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    Botswana

    Whilst travelling in Botswana you can experience the extremes of nature; lushness of the Okavango Delta to the dry starkness of the Makgadikgadi salt pans.  It is of course home to the famous Chobe National Park.  This is wildlife at its best. Enjoy a cruise on the Chobe River within close proximity to the wildlife – an experience that shall never be forgotten!

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    About Botswana

    Official Name: Republic of Botswana

    Population:  2.25 million

    Land Area:   600,370 square km

    Capital:  Gaborone

    Currency:  Botswana pula AUD 1 = BWP 7.4 (Botswana Pula; calculated 18 June 2019).
    US dollars are often accepted at hotels or as tips.

    Time:   2 hours ahead of GMT

    Language:  English is the official language with Setswana the national language

    Schooling:  As of 2001, 86% of children who started primary school were likely to reach grade 5. In Botswana education system, girls and boys have equal access to education. Girls, however, are likely to drop out of secondary school due to pregnancy. Secondary education is neither free nor compulsory.

    Agriculture:  With its hot climate, many regions of Botswana have little rain and agriculture can be affected by severe droughts. Crops grown for domestic consumption here include sorghum and maize and roots or tubers such as sweet potatoes. On a larger scale, Livestock farming, primarily beef, is also farmed.

    Key Industries:  Botswana is a wealthy country by African standards. It contains extensive mineral resources such as the Jwaneng Diamond Mine, the richest in the world, which was found when termites pushed specks of diamond to the surface. Tourism and livestock farming are also key industries.

    Health Tips:  Botswana is not listed as infected with cholera at present. Malaria risk exists from November to May / June in northern parts of the country including Chobe and Okavango. Yellow fever does not occur in Botswana however a yellow fever certificate is required from travellers over 1 year of age coming from or having passed through areas with risk of yellow fever transmission.  For up to date travel advice refer to  http://www.smartraveller.gov.au

    Geography & Climate:  During the coolest winter months of June and July, temperatures average around 25°C in the daytime. But they can dip well below freezing at night where there is no cloud cover. In the wet summer months of January and February, daytime temperatures are moderated by cloud to between 20°C-30°C, but clear skies can see temperatures soar to 40°C

    Botswana is landlocked by South Africa in the South, Namibia to the west and north, Zimbabwe to the northeast and Zambia to the north.

    Over 10% of the population live in the capital city of Gaborone.

    Botswana became independent in 1966 and is the oldest democratic state in Africa.  First President Sir Seretse Khama is credited with increasing prosperity and is known as the George Washington of Africa with his efforts to bring racial harmony.

    The country is predominantly flat, tending towards gently rolling tableland.  Botswana is dominated by the Kalahari Desert a semi-arid sandy expansewhich covers up to 70% of its land surface.

    The Okavango Delta in the northwest, is a complete contrast to the desert; an oasis in an arid country.  Fed by the Okavango River’s annual floodwater, the vast 7000 square km delta supports a wide array of African wildlife from hippos to elephants in its water channels, lagoons and islands..  It is one of the worlds largest inland deltas and wilderness sanctuaries in Africa.  Approximately 11 cubic kilometers of water floods over the area, this water does not flow into any sea or ocean but evaporates and transpires over the year.  It  is a huge draw card for wildlife to congregate attracting animals from kilometers around creating both a permanent and seasonal home for a wide variety of mammals and birdlife  – some are not often seen elsewhere, such as sitatunga, wild dog, and wattled crane.

    The Makgadikgadi Pan the largest salt pan in the world and is found in the Kalahari Basin.  The most commonly visited are Sua, Ntwetwe and Nxai Pans. This region has a number of archaeological features and unusual landmarks such as rocky outcrops and Baobab trees. This is a perfect spot to observe the gorgeous meerkat.

    Chobe Region is home to an abundance of wildlife and serves as the rendezvous point for four countries: Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana, and Namibia. Rising in the Angolan highlands, the Chobe River is flanked by riverine forests, floodplains and open woodlands. The best time to visit the Chobe River is during Botswana’s dry season – April to October – when game regularly seen include herds of elephant and buffalo, many antelope and classic plains game species, plus a full range of predators – lion, crocodile, cheetah, leopard and spotted hyena. The Chobe River meets the Zambezi River at a place called Kazungula (meaning small sausage tree). If elephants make your heart flutter, the largest concentration of African Elephants in the world can be found at Chobe National Park.  Four of the Big Five can also be found at the 11,000 square National Park, minus the Rhino (very rarely spotted here).

    Botswana has diverse areas of wildlife habitat.  In addition to the delta and desert areas, there are grasslands and savannahs where Blue Wildebeest, antelopes, African Buffalo, Giraffe, Lion, Kudu, Black and White Rhinoceros and many more varieties are found.

    BOTSWANA PLASTIC BAG BAN
    The Botswana Government have announced their intention to ban the use of plastic carrier bags effective from the 1st of November 2018. Guests travelling to Botswana should be aware of this and are advised to not carry plastic bags into the country. The proposed fine for carrying plastic bags will be US$500.