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    Kasane's giant baobab tree

    by King_Golo Updated Jun 16, 2016

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    Just outside the town of Kasane you can find one of the country's biggest and oldest baobab trees. These strange trees (although biologists aren't even sure whether they should be classified as trees) look as though somebody took a giant trunk complete with all the roots and rammed it into the ground upside down. The baobab is also described as being born old - young trees apparently don't have any similarities with their older counterparts. A baobab can be used in many different ways. Due to the smooth and slippery wood, the insides of baobab trunks were used as prisons - nobody could climb up and escape. In other cases, usage as graves or houses are documented. The fruits can be used for cosmetic purposes and are said to taste like something between grapefruit, pear and vanilla. The fibrous wood can be used to make fishing nets, ropes, baskets or packaging materials. The leaves can be eaten like spinach and are used as a condiment. Update: In the last few weeks I've repeatedly seen (and bought) passion fruit & baobab yoghurt in Germany. It tastes delicious!

    The baobab and we The baobab, my wife and our safari truck
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    Okavango Delta IV - Walking Safaris

    by King_Golo Written Oct 16, 2015

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    Walking safaris are a great way to spend your time in the Okavango Delta. We did one in the evening and another one early in the morning. Both of them were great, but the morning safari was more successful.
    Most of the islands in the Okavango Delta started as a termite hill, so this is one thing you can count on seeing during your safari. The hills, reaching up to 8m in height in extreme cases, consist of a very hard material (earth and termite saliva mixed together) which humans often use to built their houses from. A termite hill is a perfect little ecosystem, complete with ventilation and a constant temperature of about 30°C inside. After the termite hill, we ventured further through the bush, but weren't exactly lucky in terms of seeing wildlife. So our guides focused on explaining the different types of dung from antelope droppings to zebra droppings. The former was used by hunters to camouflage themselves when hunting antelopes. They smeared it all over their body and the animals would sense only a familiar smell, but not that of a human trying to shoot them. Our evening safari ended with a spectacular sunset.
    We were out and about again by sunrise, and this time we saw more animals. First, we came across a tree full of baboons, then we spotted a herd of zebra peacefully grazing on the riverside. Eventually, we came across three giraffes which trotted through the savanna parallel to us - they followed us (or we them) for about two hours. Apart from that, we spotted a few hippos in a pool and lots of birds. We also came across one lechwe antelope, which is curious as they normally appear in huge herds. When the sun had risen too high, we walked back to the camp - along with some 150 photos on the memory card.

    A giraffe accompanying us A relatively small termite hill Zebra droppings
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    • Eco-Tourism
    • Safari

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    Okavango Delta III - Camping on a remote island

    by King_Golo Written Oct 14, 2015

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    Having reached our destination, an unnamed island somewhere in the middle of the Okavango Delta, we were surprised to see that our tents had already been put up by the guides. The tents were located around a termite hill of some 3m height, a buffalo skull lying at its bottom. Consequently, we nicknamed our impromptu camp "Camp Buffalo". We could also have called it "Camp Elephant" because only a few minutes after our arrival, an elephant paid us a visit, looking curiously at all the tourists from behind a tree nearby. He then decided not to cross the camp, but to wade through the nearby river arm.
    Our camp consisted of the sleeping tents, a toilet tent (i.e. a kind of three-wall screen around a dugout hole) and a shower tent (similar, but this time with a sack of hot water hanging in a tree and the three-wall screen around a few planks of wood). We also had some camping chairs grouped around our campfire and a table to prepare food on.
    Before the night came, we received a kind of "toilet survival training". If one had to pay a visit to the loo at night, the first important step was to have a torch at the ready. This they would have to swivel around to see if any big animal is in the camp. If not, they would carefully open the tent door zipper and look out to repeat the procedure. Still no animal in sight? Great, then it's time to step out of the tent, constantly swivelling the torch to watch out for animals. The toilet was about 15m away from the tents behind some bushes, so this meant 15m of possible encounters. Therefore, the torch should be turned in all directions before sitting down. In case of seeing the eyes of an animal, one was meant to blind it and carefully move backwards to the tent again. Our guide said that this wouldn't solve our original problem, but at least it wouldn't be our main problem anymore...
    When we were not out and about on a walking safari or a mokoro sunset cruise, we spent the time reading, taking pictures of hornbills sitting on the branches, or dozing in one of the camping chairs. If you find time to read at any point during a safari through Namibia and Botswana, it will be here. Plus, the scorching midday sun isn't too appealing to do something more active anyway. At night, before sleeping, we would watch "Bush TV", i.e. the flames and sparks of the camp fire in front of a night sky. On our first evening, our guides were a bit shy, but on the second evening we learned a lot from them about their life in Botswana.

    Preparing food in One of many hornbills visiting the camp
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    • Birdwatching
    • National/State Park

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    Okavango Delta II - Take a mokoro boat

    by King_Golo Written Oct 14, 2015

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    The only way to get around in the countless canals, passages and creeks of the Okavango Delta is a mokoro boat. A mokoro is pretty much a dugout canoe, traditionally made from the wood of the sausage tree. This tree, named after its very heavy sausage-like looking fruits, is becoming rarer and rarer so that nowadays you will also find dugout canoes made from fibreglass. In fact, a lot of the sustainably acting tour operators will support projects in which the locals should be convinced to buy a longer-lasting fibreglass mokoro instead of a wooden one.
    Anyway, after a jeep has transported you deeper into the delta, you will change into a mokoro. The boats are rather narrow and quite wobbly, but with the help of an experienced punter you will be safe - unless, of course, you shake the boat so much that it capsizes. Gliding silently through the reed-and-savanna landscape of the delta was one of the highlights of our stay there. I think the saying "The journey is the reward" has never occured to be more true to me. It's simply a great experience to glide through the river's clear waters, enter hidden narrow passages through the reed, watch birds such as hornbills or openbill storks flying away when the boat passes, hear the soft Botswanan chit-chat between the punters and enjoy the silence. When we reached "our" island about two hours later, I was even a bit sad that this journey was already over.

    Mokoros waiting for passengers On the way to the island
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    Okavango Delta I - General Facts

    by King_Golo Written Oct 14, 2015

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    The huge delta of the Okavango River is Botswana's main tourist attraction. At a size of more than 20,000km², it covers most of Botswana's northwesternmost corner. The Okavango Delta experiences a complex system of expansion and decline. Between December and April, during the rainy season, the rainfalls fill the rivers and canals with water and make the delta expand slowly but surely. When the dry season starts, this process turns around and the delta slowly loses its water again. A lot of it evaporates, the rest seeps away in the sandy desert and savanna ground.
    The fact that the Okavango River carries most water when the dry season has already started means that an enormous amount of animals is attracted by the river. More than 700 different kinds of animals, among them 444 types of birds and 122 types of mammals, have been identified in the delta. It's very likely for any visitor to the delta to see animals. Most of these live on the numerous islands in the Okavango River. Interestingly, a lot of these were created by termites. The soil they bound was often enough for trees to grow on which bit by bit expanded the island.
    Most visitors enter the Okavango Delta from Maun, a small, but lively and well-equipped town at its southern end. From Maun's small airport, you can book flights over the delta while the many tour operators will provide you with a tailor-made delta tour. Don't forget to stock up on groceries and water before heading for the delta.

    Three giraffes on the island we camped on
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    Chobe River cruise

    by King_Golo Written Oct 4, 2015

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    We reached Kasane and the Chobe River on the very last day of our holiday. Everybody was already a bit weary and probably already thinking about home and work again. We were told there would be one more point on our agenda - a cruise on the Chobe River. Our guide said, she'd recommend bringing full batteries and empty SD cards as there would be the chance to take some nice pictures. As we had been on river cruises and game drives before, we thought "Okay, one more such thing", but obediently brought the things recommended.

    At 4pm we started our cruise - and pretty much immediately saw elephants crossing the water, crocodiles sleepily waiting for prey at the riverside, a hippo family from just 10m away, countless spectacular birds, buffaloes peacefully grazing and many many more things. The air on our boat was constantly filled with the sound of clicking cameras as everybody needed to get just one more picture of a crocodile an arm's length away. This was what made the cruise so unforgettable - the physical closeness of the animals. Unlike in places such as Etosha NP where you needed a telephoto lens and a pair of binoculars to really see the animals, you could look into their faces from just 5m away at Chobe River. Sometimes we got even closer. Our light-weight aluminium boat could easily drive up on the banks, just next to the crocodiles.

    Towards the end of the cruise we were also treated to a spectacular riverside sunset over Namibia - it couldn't have been better! A Chobe River cruise is something that every tourist to Botswana does, but they do it for a reason. The river is full of tourist boats which is at some points a bit annoying (e.g. if a big ship drives in your line of vision), but it's just too good to be missed. We were very happy with our small boat as it allowed the captain to get as close as possible to the animals while some of the bigger boats needed to stay further in the middle of the river. Another option is to book a place at a professional photo safari boat from Pangolin Photo Safaris where you will be equipped with an excellent camera which is fixed on a movable tripod on board. We saw several of these boats and considered it a good idea - particularly if your own camera doesn't have a good telephoto lens. Check out their website below.

    For more photos, see my travelogue.

    Elephants greeting each other in Chobe River
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    Bushwalk with a San guide

    by King_Golo Written Sep 26, 2015

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    The San are one of the oldest peoples of the earth. Traditionally at home in the vast wilderness areas of Namibia, Botswana and South Africa, their hunting-and-gathering lifestyle is now at risk of becoming extinct. Botswana, where the majority of today's San are at home, has forbidden hunting in general and thereby deprived the San of their major food source. Hunting animals was an essential part of their life and is now only possible with a special concession. A lot of San men have since become alcoholics. For young San, the life in the bush is also not too appealing, so that their traditions and above all their enormous knowledge about the bush are likely to disappear soon.

    Fortunately, there are several projects to help the San protect their lifestyle. One of them is the Dqae Qare San Lodge 20km outside Ghanzi. It's quite a unique project: nomad hunters and gatherers running a lodge for tourists who mostly wouldn't know an acacia from a baobab. Life in the wilderness meets life in the city. We stayed at the lodge for a night and had just arrived early enough for a short bushwalk with a San man, Gaucha. Gaucha wore the traditional clothes of the San, i.e. nothing but a loincloth. He carried a quiver made from springbok, filled with throwing spears. Unfortunately, we only had 45 minutes until it was too dark to walk around, but this time was filled with so much information that we had the feeling we, too, could survive in the bush! Gaucha showed us the fruits the San eat, the branches and roots they use for treating ailments or broken bones, the twigs suitable for spear-making, the droppings of all kinds of animals, when they were dispersed and what you can tell from the state they are in. He told us how to find water in the extremely dry Kalahari and explained the ingenious way the San hide water from animals (a blown-out ostrich egg buried in a hole and wrapped in extremely thorny branches so that they can't accidentally empty it). To Gaucha, the Kalahari desert was an open book in which he could read every page. To us, the Kalahari was just thorny bushes and a lot of dust - but this has changed a little bit!

    First encounter: western tourists and Gaucha Gaucha showing us the use of a Kalahari shrub
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    • Desert
    • National/State Park

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    Spectacular sunsets and noisy flamingos

    by King_Golo Written Sep 26, 2015

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    25km south of the small town of Nata, at the rim of the Makgadikgadi Pans, is Sowa Pan, the second-biggest salt flat in Botswana. Its neighbour, Ntwetwe Pan is slightly bigger, but doesn't often get water whereas Sowa Pan is flooded for long periods of the year. It thereby attracts countless birds and lots of other wildlife as well. Some of the birds you can see at Nata Bird Sanctuary - it is allegedly home to 165 different species. We came there for the sunset which is incredibly beautiful at the shore of the mirror-like water, so there weren't too many birds around. In the distance, however, Sowa Pan's most common visitor was unmistakable: the flamingo. A line of flamingos ranging from one end of the horizon to the other created such a din that we could easily hear them from 300m away. Allegedly, there are about 250,000 of them at Nata Bird Sanctuary. I have the feeling that they were all around the day we were there...

    Sunset at the salt flats Flamingo feather
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    FREE CONDOMS

    by DAO Written May 12, 2014

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    Free Condoms or FREE INCURABLE AND PAINFUL DISEASE. The choice is entirely yours here in Botswana. If you want to go and meet local people and have sex with them, make sure you don’t get a gift that keeps on giving – until the end of your shortened life. Have a few drinks at the local “shebeen” or bar may bring you into closer contact with local culture than you planned. Don’t worry! In many cases the bartender can give you free condoms so everyone is safer in this sort of cultural encounter.

    If not – the things I have written below should scare the hell out of you. Even drunk.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    OPPORTUNISTIC DISEASES.
    Doesn’t sound like a nice way to die does it? Please note that Diseases is plural. Very plural. If you want to get to know a local African VERY well – make sure you use a condom. There are plenty of signs. I do mean by the road side, in hotels and in many graveyards.

    You can get condoms for free in many places. Just ask at many Tourist Information Offices or even at a pharmacy. Still, a few dollars of prevention is better than Herpes for free. For life.

    Unfortunately so many developing countries have a high infection rate. Being reckless can kill you. Worse – you could get something really nasty that will make you regret living.

    Just in case you don’t believe it, I have listed some of the diseases and infections you can contract after getting AIDS (just AIDS!)

    Bacterial Pneumonia, Septicaemia (blood poisoning), Tuberculosis, Cryptococcosis, Penicilliosis, Herpes Simplex, Herpes Zoster Virus, Isopsoriasis, Leishmaniasis, Candidiasis, Cryptosporidiosis, Microsporidiosis, Toxoplasmosis, Kaposi's Sarcoma, Squamous Cell Carcinoma, and Lymphoma. This list drives my Spellchecker crazy and they all sound horrible. With good reason.

    All these diseases, viruses, infections and growths are available FREE when you save time and money not using a condom.

    Please be careful.

    LOCAL BUSINESSES OFFERING FREE CONDOMS ! BE CAREFUL
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    • Singles

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    THE MEMORIAL TO 23 ROAD DEATHS

    by DAO Written Apr 12, 2014

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    To the east of Ghanzi, just as you turn right towards the Namibian border, you will come across this large road sign. On 1 September 2003 there was a road crash involving a fuel carrier, a bus and several cars. 23 people were killed and many more burned very badly. Please drive carefully in Botswana, only during the day, and rest when tired. Wild animals run across the road and other drivers may be very bad drivers.

    Take care.

    THE MEMORIAL
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    • Motorcycle

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    Makoro trip(picture)

    by rosequartzlover1 Written Nov 8, 2013

    Some more pictures to share from Makoro trip.
    First pic ..Boarding the makoro,assisting by Sam.In the picture I tried to stand on makoro but it's hard to stand stable that's why I had a little strange posture.
    2.We were at water level or actually a little under water level when sitting on makoro..surrounded by only nature ,..very quiet ..can hear only the sound of our makoro passing through the grass and water.
    3.Water level that time in November was not high ,from my estimate ..it's average depth was about 80 to 120 cm. so we can see everything in the water clearly until the bottom.But at the starting point was very shallow,so it's little hard for Sam to drag the makoro out into the deeper part especially when passenger are heavy ,luckily I wasn't that big passenger for him.But after came back home seeing picture again and thought about Sam.. I thought we should have walked a little bit in the water until deeper enough for easier paddling.

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    Chobe National Park

    by Africancrab Written Dec 30, 2012

    Chobe National Park has the largest concentration of Elephants in all of Africa. Located in the northeastern part of Botswana it attracts thousands of tourists each year. Like the Serengeti and Masai Mara in East Africa, it has a great Zebra migration each year, a spectacular event not to be missed. When I was there many years back, the migration was already complete, but I was still able to experience the large herds as well as other wildlife like hippos, warthogs, the great African elephants, giraffe etc.

    Accommodation for visitors to the park is mostly concentrated in Kasane. It is also the place where the river is wide enough for one to go on a kayak to watch the famous sunsets. In the evening, the tranquility of the river sends you to another place and another time. I do not recall the name of the lodge we stayed at, but I know it was comfortable enough.

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    • National/State Park
    • Jungle and Rain Forest

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    Moremi Game Reserve

    by Africancrab Written Dec 30, 2012

    The Okavango Delta Channel Safari is one of the more adventurous ones you can take when in Botswana. The Okavango Delta is in fact a huge swamp, one of the largest inland water systems in Botswana. The waters of the delta come all the way from the Angolan highlands; they are a result of the rains that fall in the highlands then flows down to the delta with tributaries along the way. One of the most adventurous safari activities on the delta is a canoe ride; the locals call these dug up canoes ‘Mokoro’. In the evenings, some of the best sunsets can be seen while rowing the canoes on the channel.

    One other adventurous way of exploring the channel is on the back on an elephant. Elephant back ride safaris are popular and offer tourists the experience of Africa like no other. Of course you can also choose walking safaris, helicopter rides or the traditional 4x4 car safari. The game viewing is nothing short of outstanding, huge herds of zebras, elephants, antelopes, leopards, lions, cheetahs and hippos. Since the Okavango is within the Moremi and the park receives plenty of rain year round, there is constant water which makes game viewing in the dry season exciting.

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    • Arts and Culture

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    CASH IN A FLASH – THE BOB ATM

    by DAO Updated Oct 10, 2012

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    BOB’s your uncle! OK, maybe he is not. The saying “Bob’s your uncle” is an English expression meaning life is great. The First National Bank (Bank Of Botswana) has an extensive network of ATM’s across Botswana, Namibia and South Africa. Their helpful website, listed below, has a Branch and/or ATM finder so you can get your money for your adventures. They have a huge network and they often have ATM’s at petrol garages near border areas and in shopping areas. Just where you need your cash to be. So don’t worry about carrying large amounts of cash in Southern Africa. BOB’s your uncle!

    GABORONE AT THE PETROL GARAGE ALONG THE WAY
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    KEEP BOTSWANA CLEAN & BEAUTIFUL

    by DAO Updated Oct 10, 2012

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    The sign says it all. “Littering is prohibited”. Botswana is a huge country full of natural beauty and not much litter. Please keep it that way. If you are driving you will come across many many rubbish bins (trash cans) to empty your litter. My favourite one (pictured) says “Feed Me”. The government of Botswana actively encourages local people to keep the environment clean for visitors. A Minister of Parliament was quoted as saying “tourists do not want to visit dirty destinations, and urged residents to take environmental sanitation issues seriously.” That works both ways. If you can wait 20-30 minutes while driving, you will come across a place to put it and somewhere to stretch your legs.

    Sadly, some of my pictures show where litter was thrown near the bins and not in. Idiots.

    KEEP BOTSWANA BEAUTIFUL ! FEED ME ! IDIOTS HAVE BEEN HERE
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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 Things to Do

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