Local traditions and culture in Botswana

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  • Local Customs
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  • Local Customs
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Most Viewed Local Customs in Botswana

  • JohanIsWeg's Profile Photo

    How to Decide what to Pay a Safari Guide

    by JohanIsWeg Written Nov 26, 2014

    Because cost of living differ from country to country, it is often difficult to know what would be a fair wage for a safari guide on a trip to Botswana.

    A modest amount of basic research will quickly identify a specific country's salary scales and give a good indication of what a reasonable wage would be.

    The basic wage can then be fine-tuned by establishing what qualities and skills the guide will bring to the table. For example, the following questions may indicate a guide's abilities:

    What qualifications does he have?
    How well does he know the wildlife?
    How good is he as a driver?
    Is he a good bush navigator?
    Will he be able to maintain the vehicle?
    Is he first aid trained?

    Game rangers are often quite poorly paid and many of them rely on tips to supplement their income. In fact, they will expect a tip above and beyond the base salary. Tips should be based on performance and how much the guide's service added to your enjoyment of the safari. Ask yourself?

    Was he a good communicator?
    Did he know how to use a camera?
    Was he able to communicate fluently in your language?
    What were his inter-personal skills like?
    Was he prepared to share local knowledge?
    Did he introduce you to local customs?

    You want to reward skills and effort. Tip to remunerate the extent to which he contributed towards a successful safari.

    Do not pay the full amount up front. Unscrupulous characters may turn up on the first day to collect their wages, and disappear for the rest of the safari. Judicious tipping will serve as an incentive to return each day and provide good service.

    Related to:
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
    • Safari
    • Seniors

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    by DAO Updated Aug 26, 2012

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Many campsites, motels and holiday ranches have big metal gates you must open before you can drive your car though. Please always shut and latch them behind you. They not only keep livestock and wild animals in – they keep them out. One of the places they keep them out of is the road you were just driving down. It also helps keep down the spread of Foot & Mouth Disease. Also remember to make sure the gate won’t swing back and hit your car as you drive through!

    Related to:
    • Road Trip
    • National/State Park
    • Safari

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    Donkey boiler

    by magor65 Written Feb 18, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This system of heating water is very common in Botswana and other African countries. It consists of a big drum under which the fire is lit. Cold water is poured itnto the drum (donkey's body) through a funnel. The fire heats the water inside the drum and hot water goes to an outlet pipe (donkey's tail) and then through the system of pipes into the bathroom. It means of course that you can't have hot water all day long.

    donkey boiler and the hot water goes to a bathroom
    Related to:
    • Camping

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    by smirnofforiginal Written Jan 2, 2010

    2 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Yes! You may laugh but I wondered why some of the folk were staring at me. Of course, my husband had his ideas - puny, little white girl. I thought it may have been that I was wearing shorts and a t.shirt whilst all the locals were in puffer jackets and winter hats (in their 40 degrees winter sun!).
    Nope apparently the reason some of the older generation stared was because of my blue eyes - blonde hair, blue eyes - in witchcraft is the sign of the cat. I am not sure if this is good or bad... but nothing bad happened to me and nothing bad seemed to happen to any of those who were around me...

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    by manchkeen Written Sep 20, 2009

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Make sure you have enough currency (pula or dollars) to tip local guides and helpers. For example, in the Delta we were told that it is best to tip the head poler, rather than each poler individually. Also, this should be separate to the other helpers' tips.
    This does make sense, and shows appreciation for their responsible tourism that they promote in these parts. Our poler was a fantastic tracker as well, and with a good tracker you are more likely to see the ultimate - wild lions - which we did. Go Morotse!

    Related to:
    • Safari

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    cross border

    by rosequartzlover1 Written Apr 24, 2009

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    If you rent a car from South Africa and drive into Botswana for example at Martins drift border post,you have to pay for vehicle crossing.At that moment of year 2007 I paid 60 pula for a simple 4x4.The rate is depend on the size of your vehicle.This border post accept SA rand as well.Try to get there in early morning time to prevent lots of traffic that can make you wait in line for long time for the border crossing.It can be from 2 to 6 hours.I arrived there at Grobler bridge border post( SA side) in early morning,it took us only 30 min to get through,and 15 min at Martins drift border post(Botswana side).But I heard that 3 days after me some body arrived there in late afternoon and they have to wait for 6 hours!!

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    by Acirfa Updated Sep 27, 2008

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    It is good manners to always greet a person, particularly government persons but everyone generally too by saying 'dumela rra' to a man and 'dumela mma' to a lady.

    When shaking hands it is a sign of respect to touch the arm of the hand you are using to shake hands with (see pic)

    Thank you = Ke a leboga
    How are you = Lo Kae
    Yes = Ee
    No = Nnyaa

    The Batswan Respectful Way Teaching the English way The Buddy Way The Brit/SA/Batswan Way - I think!!!
    Related to:
    • Safari
    • Photography
    • National/State Park

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    by DAO Written Dec 12, 2007

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    Botswana uses a 220/240 volts AC 50 Hertz system for domestic electrical plugs. They utilise the South African style – 2 circular metal pins with a large circular grounding pin (pictured). Adapters can be very expensive, so shop around. I paid $2 in Gantsi.

    Related to:
    • Backpacking
    • Family Travel
    • Business Travel

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    What is a Safari?

    by kucha Written Jun 9, 2006

    Safari is the Swahili name for "journey", specifically an overland expedition undertaken for exploring or hunting. Today, the word is synonymous with adventure and discovery of the wildlife and habitats of the great African continent!

    An African safari can be undertaken in many ways - from self driving a 4x4 to luxury fly-in African safaris. Essentially, however, there are threebasic categories - lodge safari, permanent tented safari and mobile safari, while the journey can have many themes - honeymoon, canoeing, elephant back, horse back and Big Five to name a few.

    Check out the Budgeting / General Tip for more on safari types and budgeting.

    Hippos (one of the most deadly animals to tourist) A Stately Leopard

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    Local Etiquette

    by kucha Written Jun 9, 2006

    There are certain points of etiquette to remember when traveling anywehre in Africa and Botswana is no exception. Hate speech, racist remarks and outbursts are not tolerated and will probably lead one into confrontation with locals. Refrain from criticism of governments or authorities, particularly at border posts. Be polite and corteous and the locals will return the compliment!

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    People of God

    by Sajt Written Feb 26, 2005

    We met many people when we travelled around Botswana. This time we met some South-African pastors. They were very nice and they helped us. One time they invited us to have a dinner. After the dinner we did sing.

    People of God
    Related to:
    • Budget Travel

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    Women carry a Heavy Load

    by windsorgirl Written Sep 28, 2003

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    I noticed in Botswana that the women are often burdoned by large loads, usually on their head as well as in their hands and sometimes a baby on their back also. However, the men don't carry much if anything at all. The reason for this, is that traditionally the men need their hands free in order to defend their family from possible enemy/animal attacks.

    woman in Botswana

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    Changing your money.

    by tompt Updated Oct 10, 2002

    1 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    When you have cash US dollars and want to change them into the local currency ( Pula )go to a bank. No matter how long the queue is, you can go first. Most banks have this rule, just ask. It saved us a lot of time.


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    by marko727 Written Aug 25, 2002

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  • Kwela's Profile Photo

    Botswana is rated the cleanest...

    by Kwela Written Aug 24, 2002

    0.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Botswana is rated the cleanest country in the world. The biggest offence is littering. The people respect the law. Another serious crime is game poaching. Botswana people still has respect for others' lives. Murderers are sent to the gallows.
    Maybe that's what South Africa needs in order to get off the list as the world's highest murder and crime country.

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Botswana Hotels

See all 20 Hotels in Botswana
  • Mondior Summit Hotel

    Plot 21117, Corner Mobuto and Maratadiba, The Village - Private Bag 00324, Gaborone, Botswana

    Satisfaction: Excellent

    Good for: Solo

  • Khwai River Lodge

    P.O. Box 100, Maun, Botswana

    Satisfaction: Excellent

    Good for: Families

  • Chobe Safari Lodge

    Chobe National Park

    Satisfaction: Excellent

    Good for: Business

    Hotel Class 3 out of 5 stars

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Botswana Local Customs

Reviews and photos of Botswana local customs posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for Botswana sightseeing.
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