February 17, 2016 2 min read
Bostwana is well-known for its game reserves and luxury safaris. More affordable than other African destinations (including Tanzania and Kenya), Bostwana also has additional things to offer: diamond-rich deserts, rides on mokoro (traditional canoes), hot air balloon experiences and interactions with bushman tribes.
Organizing a trip to Bostwana might take some time and dedication, but here are some basic (but often ignored) tips to get you started.
Plan for Erratic Weather
If there’s something that can be said about the climate of Bostwana is that it’s always changing. Case in point: average summer temperatures can vary from 64 F to over 100 F. In winter, average temperatures can be anywhere from 42 F to 80 F. You should also keep in mind that October/November and March/April are rainy season months, which means heavy rains (sometimes short showers, sometimes day-long heavy downpours) are possible at any time.
The sun is very strong, especially in summer, so long-sleeve shirts are a must during the hotter months. This will also help protect you against mosquitoes, which are in full force in summer and during rainy season.
One of the first things visitors notice when they arrive in Bostwana is that nobody seems to use an address system to get somewhere. Ask where such or such place is, and you’ll likely be directed there in terms of landmarks (turn right at the blue building, walk till you reach the red tall house).
This doesn’t mean public transportation doesn’t exist. You just have to know where you’re going and when to get off if you want to use the many combies and coaches that make up Bostwana’s public transportation system.
Two things to remember: you can’t buy tickets in advance (so arrive early if you want to make sure you’ll get a seat on a specific bus) and you must be ready to endure the weather, as vehicles rarely have air-conditioner or heating.
Understanding Money and Costs
Bostwana can be expensive for visitors, especially those who want a certain degree of comfort—meaning uninterrupted AC/heating, eating at restaurants and accommodation at one of the many safari camps that make this a popular destination for foreigners. For comfortable living (which doesn’t necessarily mean luxury), you will need as much as $400/per day in Bostwana.
If you don’t mind staying in the city, using local transportation and hiring short tours/safaris separately, you can survive on as little as $90/day, although closer to $140 is more reasonable. There are cheaper places to stay and eat, but you should keep safety in mind, especially if you’re a woman or if you’re traveling alone.
While Bostwana has its own currency (the “pula”), most touristic places will set their prices in dollars and Euros.
Focus on Health and Prevention
Bostwana is in a malaria-affected zone. If you plan on spending a lot of time outside—which means a higher risk of mosquito bites—you should talk to your doctor about malaria medication. There’s also a high risk of consuming contaminated food or water in Bostwana (especially if you plan on buying food from stalls or local eateries), so getting vaccinated against hepatitis A and typhoid is also a good idea.
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