Botswana/Zimbabwe

 

Botswana is the geographical heart of sub-Saharan Africa. The country is entirely landlocked and 85 % of it is taken up by the Kalahari. Nearly all of the country is flat. Botswana is a large country but with a very low population density of less than 3 people per km². 
 
The official language of Botswana is English although Setswana is widely spoken across the country. 
 
Visitors from Europe can obtain tourist visas at the international airports and borders (if one doesn’t stay more than 90 days). Time zone : GMT + 2. 
Certain vaccinations are recommended (not mandatory) : hepatitis A,/B, boosters for tetanus, ... Yellow fever is not a risk here and the certificate is only required if you are traveling from an infected area. Precautions should be taken in malaria areas. 
 
The national currency is the Pula. One Pula is subdivided into 100 thebe. Pula literally means "rain" in Setswana, because rain is very scarce in Botswana and therefore valuable.
 
The main attraction of Botswana is the Okavango Delta, the world's largest inland delta that is produced by seasonal flooding. The Okavango river drains the summer (January to February) rainfall from the Angola highlands and the surge flows 1200 kilometres in approximately one month. The water then spreads over the 250 km  by 150 km area of the delta over the next 4 months (March-June). The high temperature of the delta causes rapid transpiration and evaporation, resulting in a cycle of rising and falling water levels.The flood peaks between June and August, during Botswana’s dry winter months, when the delta swells to 3 times its permanent size, attracting animals from kilometres around and creating one of Africa’s greatest concentrations of wildlife.    
     
The flooding of the Okavango Delta from late December through to March is one of the worst times to travel there as most of the 4WD tracks become impassable and may force the closure of parts of the Chobe National Park and Moremi Game Reserve. Some of the lodges in and around the Delta also close up shop from December to February. The roads are very bad during the rainy season but it is certainly good for the more adventurous traveller who does not mind getting stuck a few times. Advantages of the rainy season is that most of the animals have their young at this time, the landscape is green and beautifully decorated with wild flowers and you have virtually the whole place to yourself.
 
In the Kalahari temperatures below freezing are normal at night time in July and August.
Highlights : the Okavango Delta and Moremi Game Reserve, Chobe National Park, the Kalahari desert, the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, and much much more !
 
From the northern towns of Kasane and Kazangula travellers can cross to Zimbabwe to visit the majestic Victoria Falls. When in the town of Victoria Falls it is possible to go across the bridge and look at the falls from the Zambian side in Livingstone.  The two countries permit tourists to make day trips from each side and visas can be obtained at the border posts.
 
Visa regulations :  A passport valid for at least six months beyond date of departure is required. Two blank pages are needed. Nationals of most European countries may obtain visas valid for up to 90 days on arrival in Zimbabwe, provided they are holding tickets and documents for return or onward travel and sufficient funds for their stay.
 
David Livingstone gave the falls the name 'Victoria Falls' in honor of his Queen, but the indigenous name of 'Mosi-oa-Tunya' — literally meaning the 'Smoke that Thunders' — is also well known. While it is neither the highest nor the widest waterfall in the world, it is claimed to be the largest.