Local traditions and culture in Botswana

  • SHUT THE GATE BEHIND YOU!
    SHUT THE GATE BEHIND YOU!
    by DAO
  • Local Customs
    by DAO
  • Local Customs
    by DAO

Most Viewed Local Customs in Botswana

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    SHUT THE GATE BEHIND YOU!

    by DAO Updated Aug 26, 2012

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    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

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    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.

    Related to:
    • Camping

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    Witchcraft

    by smirnofforiginal Written Jan 2, 2010

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    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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    Tipping

    by manchkeen Written Sep 20, 2009

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    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

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    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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    Greetings

    by Acirfa Updated Sep 27, 2008

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    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

    Related to:
    • Safari
    • National/State Park
    • Photography

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    ELECTRICAL PLUGS

    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
    • Business Travel
    • Family 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.

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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.

    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.

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    Changing your money.

    by tompt Updated Oct 10, 2002

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    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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    SHORTLY AFTER CROSSING THE...

    by marko727 Written Aug 25, 2002

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    SHORTLY AFTER CROSSING THE BORDER INTO BOTSWANA FROM ZIMBABWE, WE WERE MADE TO STOP AND PARTAKE IN A FUTILE STATE SPONSERED EXERCISE OSTENSIBLY TO REDUCE THE SPREAD OF DISEASE. EVERYONE WAS REQUIRED TO SCRUB THE BOTTOM OF THEIR BOOTS ON A BRISTLE-LIKE CARPET SET UP ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD. THAT'S IT!

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    Botswana is rated the cleanest...

    by Kwela Written Aug 24, 2002

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    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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  • Don't take pictures of the...

    by DaKoyote Written Aug 24, 2002

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    Don't take pictures of the natives unless you ask for their permission. Some think that they will lose their soul if their picture is taken!! Some will ask for money after you take your pictures...so ASK FIRST...!!

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Botswana Local Customs

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