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The Safari Experience
A safari in Botswana is a magical experience. A feeling of extraordinary connectedness with Nature often occurs on safari -- a perfect blend of stunning and pristine landscapes, sky and water, the staggering abundance of wildlife that roams freely across the land... and you in the middle of it all.
Whether you choose to safari by boat, on foot, in an open rugged 4WD, on the back of a horse or an elephant, or maybe even a combination of these experiences, we want you to have an exciting, memorable, and most of all... safe... adventure of a lifetime -- again and again!
Keep these helpful suggestions and tips in mind when planning your safari experience
April through early November offer the best times to view large numbers of animals as they migrate towards the waterways of the Okavango Delta. It is during this dry season period that the big game, wildlife and birds congregate around water sources - the natural waterholes and the borehole-fed dams - and are at their most visible.
But Botswana is truly a year-round tourist destination. The landscapes change dramatically with the seasons, and wildlife roams freely across the game reserves and parks, providing unique safari experiences year-round.
November and December - the calving months - are an excellent time to witness nature's own timetable of regeneration.
December through February/March is the wet summer season. Temperatures during these months can be quite hot and rain may make some roads muddy and impassable. During the rainy summer season, animals in many game areas disperse, offering a different safari experience for the visitor.
The wet season, from January to March, sees the migration of large numbers of game into the summer grazing areas, while the delta comes alive with sounds of hundreds of bird species.
In March and April thousands of zebras and other animals migrate towards the Savuti area of Chobe National Park.
Avoid synthetic materials and black clothing, as they increase perspiration and discomfort.
In winter, bring a pair of trousers, long-sleeved shirts or blouses and pullovers. Make sure you have a very warm jacket for early mornings and evenings - it does get surprisingly cold at night but warms up during the day.
safaris, wear neutral colors that allow you to blend in with the landscape
and make you less visible to the wildlife.
Most people choose to have a professional, experienced safari operator handle all the details of their safari trip. But if you're an intrepid traveler and self-drive camping enthusiast, you will be delighted with self-drive camping in Botswana - it is truly a campers' paradise.
on a camping trip into the bush requires a good deal of planning and
preparation. You will be going to remote areas, accessible only by four-wheel
drive, where water, petrol, or food, may not be available. You will
often be driving on rough roads and under conditions which are very
different from those you may be used to.
Credit Card machines have also been installed at these offices where tourists have an option of paying using Visa and MasterCard credit cards. Sorry, but Diners Card and American Express cards are not accepted. Preparations are ongoing to install another Point of Sales machine in Tsabong.
Provision of this service will in the near future lead to reduction of cash collection at Park Entry Gates of all our National Parks and Game Reserves. The system will enhance the Department of Wildlife & National Parks endeavor to improve customer satisfaction and efficient service delivery since campers will no longer have to carry large amounts of cash into our National Parks and Game Reserves.
As a general guideline
self-drive campers are advised as follows;
Keep your maps, bird and animal identification books, flashlights, toilet paper, binoculars, and camera within easy reach. Pack everything evenly, so as not to weigh down one side of the vehicle more than the other. Balance is important on sand roads where ruts may cause the vehicle to swerve around.
Carry at least 100 to 150 litres of petrol in long-range tanks, if you have them, or in approved-use gasoline cans (never use plastic containers). If you do not have a long-range tank, use a funnel or hand-pump to put petrol into the tank. Mouth siphoning petrol through a hosepipe can be highly dangerous.
Spare Car Parts
gravel roads and sand tracks of Botswana certainly requires some practice.
Awareness of the common pitfalls - and what to do about them - can be
of great help.
The dust raised by an on-coming vehicle, an over-taking vehicle, or cars or lorries moving slowly in front of you creates another potentially dangerous situation, as your vision is radically reduced. Put on your headlights, reduce your speed until you can see the road, or if necessary, pull over to the side of the road until the dust settles.
Driving on Sand
Driving on sand requires continual concentration, as conditions are constantly changing. When you see a rough patch ahead, slow down and change down a gear before you meet it but do not stop.
Many sand tracks are corrugated and driving along them is rather uncomfortable. Reduce your speed considerably, or you will find your head hitting the roof, your supplies bouncing up and down, the suspension on your vehicle damaged and your back aching.
Driving in deep sand can be made easier by lowering the air pressure in the tires to increase the gripping area.
Also if you get stuck in the sand and you can't get out using your driving expertise, a wrench would help. If there are no trees around, then take your spare wheel, dig a hole in the ground, put the spare wheel in the hole and hook the wrench to the wheel. Seal back the hole and you will have enough power to get out. (This is an interesting tip from an experienced bush-driver).
Some areas have the infamous 'black cotton soil' which, when wet, is notorious for bogging vehicles down axle-deep in mud. One such area to be careful of is the stretch between Khwai River and Savuti. Be especially mindful during the rainy season. If the soil appears wet and black, try to go around it over a dry patch. You might even pre-test it by walking over a small stretch - the top may appear caked and dry while underneath the soil is wet and slippery.
Driving on Pans
If you do become stuck in sand or mud, first dig out from under the wheels with a shovel, then place sticks and logs under the wheels to give them traction. If necessary, jack the vehicle up to place sticks and logs further underneath the wheels. A hydraulic jack can be used to jack up the wheel itself by placing it in the rim of the wheel, but take care as the jack slips easily and the handle can suddenly fly up.
Driving in the Parks
Allow a good distance
between the animals and your vehicle. Do not get out of your vehicle
when on game drives, unless it is absolutely necessary and do not go
very far. The speed limit in Botswana's game parks is 40kph (25mph).
Off-road driving is NOT allowed.
It is essential to behave properly near wild animals, to respect the environment and avoid potentially dangerous situations. If you are camping on safari for the first time you may feel some anxiety by the possibility of elephants, lion, hyenas or other animals roaming freely around the campsite.
This does take some getting used to, and your first reaction may be to flee. It would be wise to discuss the best reaction response to an aggressive animal encounter with an experienced guide or animal expert -- preferably before you are out on safari. Different behavior is recommended for different animals, and it is important to get it right. However, in the unlikely event of an animal becoming aggressive towards you, do not panic, but stay calm and keep quiet. Whatever you do, don't run.
When visiting or
staying in the animals' habitat, remember these rules: