Can you see the gate across the road you will be approaching at 120 kilometres per hour (75 mph)? Neither could I. That’s why I hit it and damaged my car. Approaching this barrier from the North of Nata there are NO SIGNS and the paint on the road saying to slow down and stop has worn away. Bizarrely there are signs and paint on the road as you approach Nata from the South. Nice one. So why the barrier?
They are Veterinary Disease Control Points. More in my Transport tips. The others across Botswana are marked.
I had to go report it to the Police, some of whom where drunk and I had to pay a bribe to get a report! Nata – avoid the place if you can.
I am not accusing anyone, but I have no doubt more than one VT Member has stolen hotel towels at some time in their travels. Well, don’t do it here! I first noticed this in the capital Gaborone. Hotels in Botswana embroider their towels with the name of the accommodation and the telephone number. You really don’t want to get involved with the police here and you certainly don’t want something on you that says “I HAVE BEEN STOLEN FROM THE ..... HOTEL”. I was threatened with jail and a fine when I drove to the police Station to report I hit a fence with my car. What do you think they would do with a real crime and criminal?
Don’t do it here. I suggest you try another country if you really need some free towels.
Having traversed Africa one would expect you are aware.
We left South Africa nine people, three families in three vehicles equipped with everything.
My Trailer (I built myself) loaded with water and food to sustain us all for a 6 week trip, 4 hours out from Johannesburg we reached the Botswana Boarder, the trailer drew attention wherever we went and today was the turn of the customs inspector, he insisted that I burn all food produce immediately or leave it with the local people. He was not going to listen to any reasoning, or letter from the Botswana tourist authority listing the items we were allowed to take in.
My sister in law bless her heart, took out a can of bully beef from the trailer and pointed out to the officer that it was in fact "produce of Botswana" and the can was stamped "permitted for transport to Botswana".
The darling fellow threw his hands in the air and told us to move through, this gave us all reason to grin like Cheshire cat's, just as my wife slipped in the mud and fell flat on her fanny, Guess when things go in your favor you should be grateful right?.
Malaria is a big problem in Africa. As northern Botswana lies in the high risk zone we decided to take anti-malaria tablets. We choose malarone recommended to us by our doctor. We had to start taking a tablet every 24 hours one day before entering the malaria zone and continue until one week after leaving it. Luckily, we didn't feel any side effects.
Actually, I didn't see a single mosquito, but we were there in a dry season. In spite of that, just to be on the safe side, I would take it again if I were to travel to any malaria zone.
Botswana has a lot of ‘roads’ that are actually just sand. You can drive a 2 wheel drive car through almost all of Botswana, but avoid sand roads. You have to maintain at least a 40km per hour speed to push through and you are just asking for trouble. I got stuck twice (pictured) and had to be towed out twice. It could be very dangerous in remote areas. If you really want to get off road – hire a 4 wheel drive vehicle.
Make sure to go all the way to Kasane and DON'T stop your journey at the border. Ngoma border is close to a game reserve and it's nothing there. No people lives in this area. It's not allowed to walk in the game reserve due to the wild animals. And the road is closed at night.
My taxi driver from Namibia had forgotten his passport and couldn't drive in Botswana. So I had to go off at the border. Thought it wouldn't be so difficult to take a taxi or bus from the Botswana border. But there were nobody here except for some dutch speaking people with 3-4 safari cars. I think they were in family because one guy had his mother in the other car. I kindly asked to pay for a ride to Kasane, but they refused (August 1, 2009). Thanks for a truck-driver who was stuck at the customs on the Botswana side. The south-African driver didn't have enough money to cross Botswana with his truck, so I paid the 200 Pula and joined his truck to Kasane.
If you are camping in a game reserve such as Moremi or Chobe, do NOT sleep in the open curled up only in a sleeping bag. If lion or hyenas are around, you may find yourself being dragged off into the bushes - never to see dawn again!
Camp fires do NOT frighten lion or hyena away. Make sure that you sleep inside a tent with no portion of your body protruding. You will lose a toe or foot; or perhaps even more.
On many nights we awoke with hyenas sniffing against the tent. It was on such occasions that I was deeply thankful I was INSIDE the tent!
There are no fuel supplies available in Moremi. The nearest fuel and garage facilities are in Maun, about 100km from Moremi. If you are travelling 4WD it is always a good idea to carry spare fuel (but never inside the vehicle).
There is a risk of malaria in Northern Botswana, this includes the Okavango Delta, Moremi and Chobe. The predominant species is Plasmodium falciparum, which is the most dangerous of the four species of human malaria.
Chloroquine is not effective in Botswana. Consider one of the following antimalarial drugs: atovaquone/proguanil, doxycycline or mefloquine.
Visit your health care provider 4-6 weeks before travelling to Botswana for any necessary vaccinations and a prescription for an antimalarial drug.
Use DEET insect repellent on exposed skin and flying insect spray in the room where you sleep.
Wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts, particularly at dusk and dawn.
Sleep under a mosquito net.
I would like to Bring to the attention of the Self Driving people that the Police fines being handed out in Botswana has gone up Insanely!. I would recommend that you take extreme care to avoid buggering up your holidays due to unnecessary fines. A sample of the fine is attached.
1) Exceeding Speed Limits P3000-P5000 or 18-2Yrs in Prison
2) Drunken Driving P5000-P10 000 2 to 5 Yrs in Prison
3) Dangerous / Reckless Driving P 2000-P10 000
4) Failure TO Obey police Instructions P 1000- P5000
5) Improper Vehicle Condition P 1000- P 10 000
Oh yes and if you a foreigner be expected to be treated specially ! ( if you know what I mean).
This photo says it all really, so do take care, make sure when camping or staying in lodges that you don't wander out alone after dark. Depending on your accommodation, you will often be walked to your lodge by an armed ranger but if you are camping in the bush then make sure you have a fire lit until you turn in and then make sure you are sleeping in a tight shut tent.
These animals get hungry so best not tempt them.
Elephants like peace and quiet so making a row will just incite them, hyena on the other hand will run away if you bang a few pots together but they won't run shy of children or anyone vulnerable.
So, if taking children on a safari, do make sure you understand all the rules to keep them and yourself safe, then you will have a magical time.
In order to prevent the spread of Foot & Mouth Disease in livestock, the following items are banned from being brought into Botswana:
* Meat and meat products from cloven hoofed animals
* Livestock feeds, fodder, manure and bedding
* Hides, skins, reams, etc.
* Bones, hoofs, etc.
* Game trophies and skins
* Fresh milk
The country also does not want you to bring in other items (not related to foot & mouth) like pornography or 2-way radios. Yes that is a Police van pictured. Don’t take chances, especially with the Police in Botswana. Don’t bring it in.
Going out in the bush to get some firewood for a braai? Watch out! Botswana has a special, extra-large, nearly fatal size thorn bushes. These are ask big as knitting needles and they hurt! Just look at my hand. I recommend you only walk where you can see at night and slowly even then. I still have a scar on my hand.
When we were doing our evening game drive one night in Moremi we came across a couple who had broken down in their self-drive Landrover. They had no GPS, an old map, no clue where they were, no spare fuel, no spare water, no satellite phone. If we had not stumbled across them and insisted we take them back with us I dread to think what would have happened to them. I remember when we set off I was thinking all our spare fuel and water and rescue equipment was OTT, but finding that couple stranded in Moremi, stuck in their car, surrounded by Game, was an acute reminder that you can never be too safe. Whatever you do, equip yourself, don't take silly unnecessary risks, the dangers are real but easily avoidable.
Malaria is prevalent especially in the north of the country, though not so much in gaborone.
Get medical advice on what malaria tablets to take and start taking anti malaria tablets atleast a week before entering botswana and keep taking the tablets for a further one week on returning home.
Plot 21117, Corner Mobuto and Maratadiba, The Village - Private Bag 00324, Gaborone, Botswana
Good for: Families
P.O. Box 100, Maun, Botswana
Good for: Families
Chobe River, Kasane, Botswana
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Business
More Regions in Botswana