Friday, November 6, 2009

Botswana tips and costs

Botswana is considered to be just about THE most expensive country for a tourist to visit in Africa. There are however ways to keep the costs down to a reasonable level, albeit losing a bit of the exclusive nature of their 'high income-low impact' tourism strategy.

Visa (if needed, citizens of most Western countries do not require visas, those from Eastern Europe, Israel etc may do) - USD$75, the application can take up to two weeks and may be rejected without refund. A hotel booking, proof of sufficient funds and an onward/return flight may be required. Pretoria seems to be the best and fastest place to apply. Monika applied in Lusaka, it took 5 days.

To enter Botswana from Zambia requires a short ferry across the Zambezi to the town of Kazangula. This costs around 2000Kwa, or $0.50USD

Taxi from Kazangula to Kasane - 30P, 5km
Camping at Chobe Safari Lodge, Kasane - 60P p.p. Really luxury lodge with nice pool and bar overlooking the river. Campsite hidden behind the chalets, warthogs wandering around the gardens.
Info at Botswana Tourism Board, Kasane - good, friendly and free
Meal of rice and beans with salad at Spar or Chappies supermarkets, Kasane - 15P per tray. Good value.
Internet in Kasane - from 4P per 10 mins!!! Horrifically expensive.
Beer at Chobe Safari Lodge - 16P (we only had one!)
Afternoon boat cruise in Chobe NP - 235P p.p. inc 70P park fee. From WaterLily Lodge. All lodges offer the tour but many are in 55 seater ferries, WaterLily has a 12-seater which allows exploration much further into the park and also much closer to the animals.
Bus/Hitching from Kasane to Nata - 55P p.p. 5 hours, 300km, shit road.
Meal of rice and beef stew at Crossroads Cafe, Nata - 18P
Groceries in Nata - only tomatoes, onions, bread and other basics available! Toms/Onion - 1-2P each, Bread - 7P loaf, Water - 7P 1.5l
Bus from Nata to Planet Baobab - 15P p.p. 1hour, 70km
Camping at Planet Baobab - 65P p.p. Great experience, like camping in a fairy tale. Excellent secluded location, fantastic design and construction, friendly staff and good trips.
Trips to Makgadikgadi salt pans from Planet Baobab - from 750P p.p. inc lunch, game drive, quad biking and visit to meerkat family. If you are lucky you may get offered a good deal to join an existing trip.
St. Louis beer at Planet Baobab - 11.5P
Bus from Planet Baobab to Maun - 37-40P p.p. approx 200km, 2.5 hours
Private/Shared taxi/minibus from Maun to The Old Bridge Backpackers - 20P/3.8P/2.75P, 7km, 15 mins
Camping at The Old Bridge - 33P p.p. Nice place by the river, friendly atmosphere, good music, well run. Many local ex-pats frequent the bar.
Internet in Maun - from 15P per hour.
Groceries in Maun - everything around 6P per kg/packet
Mokoro trip to Okavango Delta from The Old Bridge - 605P/770P for 1/2 days trip (pick-up and speedboat transfer and mokoro with poler only, self-catered)
Beer at The Old Bridge - 11-15P depending on brand.
Birthday cake at Chappies - 30P
Cheeses - from 15P per 200gr.
Hitching from Maun to Windhoek (Namibia) - 900km. No public transport. Can take two days, we did it in 14 hours. It cost us around 100P plus 100ND each but could cost more or less depending on your luck.

Ave budget per person per day - 240P.

Approx exchange rate - 6P=USD$1, 10P=GBP1

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