Botswana is situated in the southern part of Africa, and despite the fact that the country is completely landlocked (between Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa) its two big rivers, the Okavango (with its delta) and the Chobe River, make it a haven for its wildlife to thrive in all year round. A safari to see the Big Five (lions, elephants, buffalo, rhinoceros and leopard) anywhere in the pristine wilderness of the Okavango Delta or the vast red expanse of the Kalahari Desert plains will make a lifelong impression that will be hard to match.

Wildlife viewing is magnificent with the massive zebra migrations at the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans during the flood season, the Savuti plains with its large prides of lions, and of course Chobe Game Reserve which is home to one of the largest herd of free-ranging elephants in the world. Travelling through many parts of the country can be likened to moving through an immense wonderland of nature with around 38% of the country’s surface dedicated to national parks, reserves and wildlife management areas.

Botswana remains wonderfully untamed and is truly one of the last great refuges for Nature’s magnificent pageantry of life. Ikewana will help you experience Botswana, with endless starry night skies, intimate and exclusive lodges, and the sights and sounds of wild animal life right outside your lodge walls or luxury tented camp. As with all the itineraries on our website, we give just a few examples of what is possible. After liaising with you, we will be happy to plan your obligation-free itinerary according to your budget and individual needs. You only need to contact us today to start planning your dream adventure to Botswana.

Botswana's Climate

Botswana’s climate is semi-arid and for much of the year it is hot and dry. The rainy season runs through the summer months and is fairly erratic and unpredictable. The word “pula” is not only the name of Botswana’s currency, but also the Setswana word for rain – an essential and frequently scarce commodity.

Summer begins in November and ends in March, and brings very high temperatures. It is also the rainy season, and cloud coverage and rain can cool things down considerably, although only usually for a short period of time. The days are hot, especially in the weeks that precede the coming of the cooling rains, and shade temperatures rise to the 38°C mark and higher, reaching a blistering 44°C on rare occasions.

Winter begins in May and ends in August and, as it is dry season, virtually no rainfall occurs. The days are invariably sunny and cool to warm; however, evening and night temperatures can drop below freezing point in some areas, especially in the southwest. Winters are clear-skied and bone-dry, the air seductively warm during the daylight hours, but because there is no cloud cover, cold at night and in the early mornings.

  • Elephants in abundance It is estimated that 160 000 elephants are resident in Botswana, with 40 000 migratory herds passing through, which adds up to approximately one-third of the total global African elephant population.
  • The privilege of intimacy With its network of private "concessions" dotted with just a handful of small, well-designed safari lodges, Botswana safaris offers exclusivity and an outstanding overall guest experience.
  • Safari wonderland The yearly transformation of the desert as water levels flood around 15 000 square kilometres of land making for a wildlife spectacular.
  • Experience animals from another vantage point View animals drinking from a motor boat, a makoro (traditional canoe-like vessel) or the comfort of your houseboat’s deck.
  • Leaders in Ecotourism Botswana’s visionary government has boldly led the way in making ecotourism work for both wildlife and the communities that share their homes with it, through a transition from consumptive to non-consumptive tourism and a country wide hunting ban since 2013.
  • Migrations Two of Africa’s largest migrations of zebra and antelope take place annually in the summer months across Makgadikgadi and Savute.
  • Capital: Gaborone

    Language: English is the official language, but Setswana (the national language) is the most widely spoken by over 78% of the people in Botswana. There are also other indigenous languages which include Kalanga, Sekgalagadi, Shona, Ndebele, Tshwa, Tuu and Afrikaans.

    Capital: The Botswana Pula (BWP) is divided into 100 thebe. Some establishments accept US Dollars, Euros, British sterling and South African Rands, but these are easily converted at banks, bureau de change and authorised hotels.
  • Airports: Sir Seretse Khama International Airport (GBE) is located 9 miles outside of the capital Gaborone. Air Botswana, Botswana’s national and only airline, provides international flights between Gaborone - Johannesburg, Gaborone - Harare, Maun - Johannesburg, Kasane - Johannesburg and Francistown - Johannesburg. International flights include Air Botswana (to/from Harare, Johannesburg, Lusaka, Nairobi, Victoria Falls and Windhoek), Air France, Air Zimbabwe, South African Airways and British Airways. The easiest route into Botswana is via Johannesburg International Airport; from here, Air Botswana and South African Airways fly to Gaborone, Maun, Francistown or Kasane. There are major airports in Maun, Kasane and Gaborone. Domestic flights run between Gaborone to Francistown, Maun to Kasane, and the airline has recently re-introduced its Maun to Kasane flight.
  • Electricity: Botswana’s electrical sockets supply electricity at between 220 – 240 volts AC. Electrical socket (outlets) in Botswana are the "Type M" South African SABS1661 ("Large" 15 amp BS-546) socket – an old British standard. The "Type M" South African plug and socket can easily be confused with the "Type D" Indian plug and socket as they look similar, though the former is much larger and thus physically incompatible. If your appliance's plug doesn't match the shape of these sockets, you will need a travel plug adapter. These will not change the voltage, so please ensure that the voltage coming through is correct.
  • Getting around: As most of Botswana’s tourist attractions lie off the beaten track, public transport is of little use. It is recommended that you are experienced when it comes to off-road driving in 4x4 vehicles and that you are correctly equipped. Most of the lodges offer transfers. If you will be driving in Botswana you will need your driving licence from your home country (with an official English translation if necessary). Driving is on the left side of the road and the national speed limit on tarred roads is 120km/h and 60km/h in towns and villages. Watch out for wild animals on the roads.
  • When to go: Simply put, Botswana’s Dry Season is Safari High Season, i.e. the winter months between May and August. Visibility is at its best because animals are concentrated in ever-increasing numbers at water sources. Even though this is winter, the day time temperatures still reach around 68 degrees Fahrenheit (25ºC). But, bear in mind that night time temperatures are chilly and that you should layer up warmly for the morning game drives (especially in July and August). Places in and around the Okavango tend to have less extreme, more moderate temperatures than the drier areas of the Kalahari. If you plan to visit the Kalahari during this time, you can expect some really frosty mornings and chilly evenings. By October however, the temperatures are on the rise and it can be very hot, around 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40ºC) during the day. It's generally still a dry and bearable heat, but be prepared for some intense sunlight. September and October, when temperatures start climbing again and the landscapes are even dryer, are considered the best time for big game safaris as the game are even more concentrated. For keen birders, the time to visit is the rainy season, from December to March, and it is at this time that Botswana’s landscape completely transforms. It is a beautiful sight and also a time of wildlife births, from tiny warthogs, infant zebra and baby impala. But because of the dense bushes and taller grass, spotting them will not be easy. On a final note, Chobe’s Savute region and the Kalahari offer excellent summer game viewing (from November to end of March), not least because they lie on the path of migrating animals – particularly zebra.
  • What to wear: In summer, we recommend you wear lightweight and light-coloured cottons and that you avoid synthetic materials and black clothing, which increase perspiration and discomfort. In winter, wear trousers, long-sleeved shirts and jerseys. From May to August, the night temperatures can fall below zero degrees Celsius, so warm jerseys and jackets are vital, especially on morning and evening game drives. On safari, wear neutral coloured clothes that blend in with the bush. Bring a lightweight jacket and/or jersey for unexpected temperature changes or rain. Closed, comfortable walking shoes or trainers are a must for all seasons. And irrespective of the season you should wear a good quality sunscreen and wide-brimmed sun hats and polarised sunglasses.

    Area: Botswana covers a mostly flat area of 566 730 km2 and is similar in size to France. It is a landlocked country in southern Africa, and approximately two-thirds of the area lie within the Tropics. Up to 70% of the country is covered by the Kalahari Desert, the vast arid to semi-arid landscape in Southern Africa covering much of Botswana and parts of Namibia and South Africa. The majority of the population is concentrated in the eastern part of the country.
  • The Central Kalahari Game Reserve The Central Kalahari Game Reserve with its magnificent black-maned lions, swaying golden grasses, fossil river valleys and the echoes of the indigenous San people, is the second largest nature reserve in the world. Most of its 50 000 km² is still inaccessible and this is considered to be one of the most remote places you’ll get to visit.

    Nxai National Park Nxai pan is another of the world’s largest salt pans and one of Botswana’s hidden gems. Once the ‘green’ season begins with its rain, gemsbok, elephant and zebra in their thousands migrate to the area, offering spectacular scenic views and natural isolation.
  • Makgadikgadi Game Reserve Formed on the bed of the ancient and now very dry Makgadikgadi Lake, lie the world’s largest network of salt pans, the Makgadikgadi Pans. Covering an impressive 3900 km² the area reveals a multitude of natural wonders including the second-largest zebra migration in the world and to view this spectacle is quite breathtaking. With the rains, the salt pans transform from a sun-baked salt desert into a magnificent lake and become home to a cornucopia of gloriously pink flamingos and other waterbirds. It is also at this time that game viewing is at its best when the plains teem with an extraordinary diversity of wildlife.

Destinations in Botswana