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Botswana Travelers Tips

Botswana travel information - insurance, visas, credit cards and currency, luggage, photography, duty free

Koker_trees

A Typical day on Safari

This is a sample only - activities are flexible and can be tailor-made according to guest's requirements.

Summer / Winter
05h30 / 06h30 - Wake up call. Light continental breakfast consisting of cereals, tea/coffee/juices and pastries to be served in the dining area.

06h30/07h30 - Depart on morning activity, returning to camp at approximately 10h00

10h30/11h00 - Brunch consisting of a selection of breakfast and lunch dishes. After brunch until afternoon tea, guests will be at leisure.

15h30/15h00 - Afternoon tea is served consisting of a selection of sweet and savoury snacks.

16h00/15h30 - Depart on afternoon game viewing activity - drinks and snacks will be served for sundowners during the course of the activity.
Sunset - Return to camp (depending on park rules)

19h30/19h00 - Pre-dinner drinks and snacks will be served at the pub.

20h00/19h30 - Three-course dinner - generally speaking the starter and desert is served, whilst the main course is buffet style.

21h30/21h00 - Coffee and liqueurs will be served at the camp fire.

bateleur

INSURANCE

The responsibility lies with the guest to ensure that they carry the correct comprehensive travel and medical insurance to cover themselves, as well as any dependants/travelling companions for the duration of their trip to Southern Africa.

This insurance should include cover in respect of, but not limited to, the following eventualities: cancellation or curtailment of the safari, emergency evacuation expenses, medical expenses, and repatriation expenses, damage/theft/loss of personal baggage, money and goods.

Guests will be charged directly by the relevant service providers for any emergency services they may require, and may find themselves in a position unable to access such services should they not be carrying the relevant insurance cover.

Please ensure that you and your belongings are adequately insured before your departure. It is better to purchase a policy locally, as this will cover repatriation back to your home country. Please contact Wilderness Safaris, your broker or your travel agent for details. We cannot be held liable for any losses or damages incurred.

a) Health Insurance
It is compulsory to have full medical, emergency evacuation and repatriation cover for the period of time you are away.

b) Cancellation and Curtailment
You might have to cancel or curtail your journey due to unforeseen circumstances. If for any reason you cancel a trip close to departure date, you could lose the entire cost of your holiday. Should you have to leave before your holiday is finished, we cannot refund you the cost of the portion of the package you do not complete. In the eventuality of this happening, insurance may cover you, depending on the reason for cancellation and curtailment.

c) Baggage & Money Insurance
It is advisable to take out baggage and money insurance, especially if you are carrying a lot of cash or expensive and valuable camera equipment. You should always carry such equipment as "carry-on" luggage. Do not put anything of value in your checked-in baggage!

 

TIPPING / GRATUITIES

Tipping is not compulsory. If, however, you want to tip because you have received good service, here is a brief guideline to assist you:

a) Camp, Game Lodge and Specialist Guides
Here we recommend US$5 per guest per day for travel to Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe and R50 per guest per day for visitors to Namibia and South Africa.

b) The General Safari Camp / Lodge Staff
Recommended tip is about US$3 per guest per day for safari camps in Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe and R30 per guest per day for safari camps in Namibia and South Africa. This should be placed in the communal tipping box to be distributed equally amongst all the staff at a later stage

c) Hotel Staff: Please allow between R5 and R10 per guest per day for hotel staff ie housekeeping etc

d) Porterage: Here we recommend about US$1 per person per movement.

e) Mokoro Paddlers and Trackers: We recommend that each paddler receive US$3 per guest per day and the camp / lodge trackers receive R35 per guest per day.

f) Transfer and Touring Driver/guides: Transfer R10 per person
Half day tour R25 per person
Full day tour R50 per person

g) Restaurants / Hotels: 10% is customary on meal accounts but only if you are satisfied with the service.

TRAVELLING COMPANIONS

You will meet up with other guests from different parts of the world who are of various ages. Co-operation and harmony between guests lends itself to a memorable safari experience.

All guests are required to conduct themselves in a manner condusive to an enjoyable safari. Most safaris are conducted in English and it is therefore required that all participants on the safari have the ability to communicate and understand this language.

Meerkat

 

WALKING IN PARKS AND RESERVES

We will walk where possible but this is often determined by the local area and country regulations.

NOTE: Walking is at your own risk as these walks can take you close to dangerous wild animals.

 

PASSPORTS & VISAS

International visitor require a valid passport together with onward travel documents.

If travelling to South Africa then guests must please ensure that their passport is valid for at least 6 months after their entry date and that they have a minimum of 2 blank pages (if there is insufficient space in the passport then entry will be denied) in their passport to enable the entry visa to be issued. In addition if a father (or mother) is travelling with his (her) children alone then a letter of consent, certified by their local police, must be signed by the mother (father) and carried with them.

All passport holders should verify with their travel agent or relevant consulate concerning visa entry requirements. If you are extending your journey to other countries, please establish entry requirements for those countries as well.

Please ensure that you have all the necessary visas prior to departure (unless available on entry)

DRIVING CONDITIONS

If visiting remote areas or national parks and reserves, the roads could be rough and bumpy and occasionally we will travel "off road", where it is possible that injuries may occur - if for example a hidden pothole is struck.

Operations companies and their staff members, associates or agents can be held liable for any accidents or any damages!

 

Sunrise_Busanga

 

RESPECTING WILDLIFE & SAFETY WHEN STAYING AT SAFARI CAMPS/LODGES

- The wild animals are not like those found in theme parks - they aren't tame.
- Most of the safari camps are unfenced and dangerous animals can (and do!) wander through the camps.
- Please listen to the camp staff and guides. The safety precautions need to be taken seriously, and strictly adhered to.
- Don't go wandering off on your own without a guide - even to your rooms. After retiring to your rooms at night, don't leave them.
- Observe animals silently and with a minimum of disturbance to their natural activities. Loud talking on game drives can frighten the animals away.
- Never attempt to attract an animal's attention. Don't imitate animal sounds, clap your hands, pound the vehicle or throw objects.
- Please respect your driver-guide's judgment about proximity to lions, cheetahs and leopards. Don't insist that he take the vehicle closer so you can get a better photograph. A vehicle driven too close can hinder a hunt or cause animals to abandon a hard-earned meal.
- Litter tossed on the ground can choke or poison animals and birds and is unsightly.
- Never attempt to feed or approach any wild animal on foot. This is especially important near lodges or in campsites where animals may have become accustomed to human visitors.
- Refrain from smoking on game drives. The dry African bush ignites very easily, and a flash fire can kill animals. Many of the animals and reptiles you will see are potentially dangerous.

Attacks by wild animals are rare. However, there are no guarantees that such incidents will not occur.
The operations company and staff members, associates, agents, or their suppliers can be held liable for any injuries caused during an incident involving the behaviour of wild animals.

POWER
Camps thyat are situated in remote areas have to generate their own electricity. Most camps have a generator that runs for about 6 hours per day (3 hours in the morning and 3 in the afternoon when guests are out on activities). These generators then charge batteries located at each tented room.

There are no 220v or 110v power points in mst camps. If you need to have your video battery re-charged we can do so while you are out on an activity. Therefore, please bring a spare battery for use while the other is being charged. These systems are simple but perfectly functional.

If you are a keen birder we recommend that you bring your OWN bird book. There are a number available in most book stores

Everyone must bring his or her own pair of BINOCULARS & CAMERA in order to get the most out of the safari.

strelitzia

 

SATELLITE & IRIDIUM TELEPHONES

Telecommunications in the urban areas are easily accessible but please note that the safari lodges and camps you may be visiting could be located in very remote parts of Southern Africa and often do not have telephones.

An increasing number of guests have been bringing satellite phones along with them on safari. As most people come on safari to "get away from it all", we feel that we must set some limitations on the use of these phones when on safari.

We suggest the following guidelines on the use of satellite phones:

1. Please ensure the ring tone is kept at a low volume to avoid disturbing other guests.
2. Please use your phone in the privacy of your room and not any of the common areas: dining room, bar/lounge area, or on any of the vehicles or on game drives

 

squirrels

EXCESS BAGGAGE


The most common mode of transport in Botswana is by light aircraft and usually on a seat-in-plane shared basis. If you have to bring more baggage with you, we can "sell" you and your party an extra seat on most safaris. This will allow you to bring an additional 70 kg (154 lbs). The cost of this extra seat varies - depending on your safari - but should cost in the region of US$140 per flight.

On arrival in either Maun or Kasane, you also have the option of sending your excess baggage ahead at an additional cost of US$100 per person. If the safari begins in Maun, the excess baggage will be forwarded to Kasane and stored. If starting in Kasane, the excess baggage will be forwarded to Maun for storage. You can then collect this excess baggage at the end of your Botswana safari. We would prefer to know in advance if this service will be needed so that arrangements can be made and the transfer can be handled smoothly.

Please ensure that you are in possession of full travel insurance including luggage cover.

CREDIT CARDS
Visa and MasterCard are usually accepted throughout Botswana but American Express and Diners Club are often not accepted.

CURRENCY
Botswana banks will only accept US Dollars, Pound Sterling, Euro and South African Rand cash. Therefore, any cash payments to camps for curios, or gratuities to guides or staff, need to be in one of these currencies. Travellers' cheques in any of the above currencies are also acceptable.

DUTY FREE
There is no duty free shopping available at Johannesburg International Airport on a flight to Botswana. Please make sure any duty free purchases of camera film, alcohol, etc. are made before arriving in southern Africa.

LAUNDRY
Laundry can be done at most camps. This service is usually complimentary but there may be a nominal charge at some establishments. The camp staff will not wash underwear, due to prevailing local traditions in the country.

 

 

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