Preparing for your Safari in Botswana

CURRENCY

• Cash in US Dollars is a universally accepted currency
• VISA is the most widely accepted credit card (IMPORTANT: Zimbabwe does not accept any more credit cards!)
• A ‘back up’ of cash or travelers cheque’s is also recommended
• We do not recommend to change Zimbabwe Dollars or Zambian Kwatcha, as you cannot convert to other currency once you have left.
• If you withdraw excess Botswana Pula it can be changed at a good rate in Victoria Falls or Livingstone due to Botswana’s proximity. However, once you are out of this area, exchange rates will not be in your favour.
TRAVEL INSURANCE
• Degrees of Africa does not provide travel insurance, please consult your travel agent.
• Cover for cancellation and curtailment, medical, baggage and emergency evacuation is compulsory for all of our safaris.

MEDICAL PRECAUTIONS
• It is recommended that you bring any medicines you may need as you will probably have no access to pharmacies in camps – aspirin, motion sickness remedy (especially for flights in small aircrafts), laxative, immodium, anti-hystamin pills and ointment, all medication you don’t require a doctor script for, band aids, electrolyte sachets, wet wipes.
• Botswana is considered a malaria area and preventative medications should be taken. We urge all our clients to get malaria prophylactics 24 hours before entering the country and take them for a week after leaving the country – when buying them, explain to your doctor that you are visiting Botswana as certain anti-malaria medicines are tailored to particular areas only.
• Precaution measures to prevent contact with mosquitoes include sleeping under a mosquito net, making use of mosquito–repelling lotion and wearing long-sleeved clothing when outside at night.
• If you suffer from motion sickness it may be an idea to take necessary precautions before travelling, particularly on a light aircraft.
• Please note: A first aid kit is always available in camps, but personal medicines must be available for the duration of travel.
• Visit the WORLD HEALTH ORGANISATION website for up to date information www.who.int

MEDICAL EVACUATION
• All clients for our safaris must have their own medical evacuation insurance
• They need to understand that it is a long way from the camps to any decent medical facilities.
• The Camps are still not able to evacuate clients out of camps in the delta after dark.
• The clients are flown to Maun to be stabilised pending their transfer to South Africa for proper medical treatment.
• Medical facilities in Botswana are very limited and therefore there is always a risk involved. We have an emergency service on the ground in Maun that facilities the whole process.
• If clients need special medication, they must ensure that they have this with them and possibly keep a back-up supply.

SAFETY
• Botswana is considered a safe destination as it is economically and politically stable. However, it is wise to take certain standard security precautions.
• As you will meet different guides in different camps, please listen to them attentively on safety precautions particular to each camp.
• Depending on your itinerary, you might spend only a short time in Livingstone, Zambia/Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, therefore you should not encounter many of the problems that affect the rest of these countries.
• Please do not leave your luggage unattended at airports and at borders.
• Please do not have your valuables on display when visiting the falls and markets
• Many camps and lodges have safes in the rooms, where clients can lock up their personal valuables.

TRAVEL DOCUMENTATION
• Valid passport – it must have at least 6 months validity before expiry date and 6 empty pages
• Citizens of certain countries are required to obtain visas before travelling. Please note that certain visas can take up to 3 months to be processed so please consider this when booking and note that it is your responsibility to check before final confirmation.
LUGGAGE & FLYING INFO
• For safety reasons light aircraft transfers have a 15kg luggage restrictions in soft bags plus 5kg of hand luggage.
• The maximum size per bag is 72cm wide / long and 29 cm high, this is the size of the pod of a Cessna 206, which is the generally used aircraft for inter camp transfers.
• Please do not bring hard suitcases or soft bags with inflexible frames and wheels as they will not fit on a light aircraft.
-    It is up to the pilot to determine if he will allow you to take more luggage then allowed. Remember that you will have other passengers on your flight and you can expect to have up to 2 stops en-route to your final destination.
CLOTHING
As most game viewing activities are taken in open safari vehicles or boats, it is important that you wear appropriate clothing to suit. Generally layers of clothing are recommended so that you can take off or add on as the day warms up/cools down.

• Warm jacket/fleece/jumper – windproof in winter months, waterproof in summer months.
• Hat/cap and gloves in winter months (May – Sept)
• Sports’ or Jogging Bra – very recommendable on bumpy roads!
• Swimming costume
• Cotton scarf or sarong, that can be wet during the hot hours in the day, rolled up and put around your neck or as a light cover during siesta this will be your homemade air-condition.
• Natural clothing (i.e. no bright colours and no white), t-shirts, shorts, a pair of light weight long trousers and light weight long sleeves shirt (long sleeves are extremely useful for sun protection during the day and mosquito protection during evening)
• Please note that camouflage printed clothing is okay for the bush but please do not wear in towns or when crossing borders (particularly in Zimbabwe)
• Comfortable walking shoes ie trainers are very important and flip flops/sandals for in camp.

PERSONAL EQUIPMENT
• Waterproof/zip lock bags for storing personal items and films, memory cards, batteries to keep dust free and/or dry
• Sunglasses and a pair of spare sunglasses
• Spare pair of prescription glasses and spare contact lenses
• binoculars
• In most camps torches will be provided, but we urge our clients to bring their own head lamps, as there are very useful – also spare batteries
• Camera equipment, binoculars, lots of spare film, batteries and spare memory cards for digital cameras are essential as the opportunity to download photos is limited
• Reading materials – Some camps have a library but it is useful to bring your own favourite books/novel for siesta.
TIPPING
• While tipping is not a requirement, it is a generally accepted form of “thanks” throughout the world and highly appreciated by all levels of staff.
• Tipping should reflect the level of service you have received throughout your trip.
• In Botswana it is appreciated if you tip in the local currency although foreign currencies are also accepted.
• In Zimbabwe and Zambia it is recommended that you tip in foreign currencies.
• As an idea of who you may want to tip, we have listed the following:
•    Guides and mokoro polers are tipped individually in the camps – guides approx USD 5- 8 per day and person / mokoro polers USD 3-5 per day and person
•    Most camps provide a tip box for all general staff in the main area – the content of the box is divided between all employees except of managers and guides, so all the helping hands in camp (also those behind the scenes) get their fair share: approx USD 5 per day and person.

SHOPPING
They are many places that you can buy souvenirs like crafts, including baskets, beadwork, masks and woodcarvings.
• For curios and crafts the best value shopping is in the Victoria Falls area.
• There is a good variety of shops in Botswana towns which sells local Botswana crafts
• Due to limitation of luggage weight, we encourage shopping at the end of the trip either, in Victoria Falls, Livingstone or Maun which will depend on your itinerary.

   
 
     
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belinda burrows
telephone | +27 72 761 6234
skype | belinda . burrows
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