Chobe National Park, Botswana
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Chobe National Park, Botswana

© www.123rf.com / Nico Smit

Botswana Travel Guide

Key Facts
Area

581,730 sq km (224,607 sq miles).

Population

2.1 million (2013).

Population density

3.6 per sq km.

Capital

Gaborone.

Government

Parliamentary republic. Independent from the UK since 1966.

Head of state

President Seretse Khama Ian Khama since 2008.

Head of government

President Seretse Khama Ian Khama since 2008.

Electricity

220-240 volts AC, 50Hz. 15- and 13-amp plug sockets are in use. Plugs used are British-style with two flat blades and one flat grounding blade, or South African/Indian-style with two circular metal pins above a large circular grounding pin.

Outstandingly dramatic, Botswana encompasses striking salt pans, diamond-rich deserts and fertile flood plains which teem with game. The north, in particular, offers superb wildlife-watching opportunities, making this one of southern Africa's top safari destinations.

A sizable proportion of the country - over 40% - is given over to national parks, reserves and private concessions, where tourists crane their necks out of jeeps to check out the roving animals. But Botswana's policy of favouring low-impact luxury tourism ensures that even the most famous game-viewing areas rarely feel crowded.

The jewel in Botswana's crown is, without a doubt, the Okavango Delta - the largest inland delta in the world. Its seasonal lagoons and waterways are crammed with hovering birds, while zebras and giraffes amble across vast grass flats. Northeast of here is Chobe National Park, home to gigantic elephant herds, some of them 400-strong.

Botswana is one of Africa's success stories. Since gaining independence in 1966, it has achieved steady economic growth through successful exploitation of its agricultural potential and its enviable diamond reserves. It has not escaped controversy - the HIV/AIDS pandemic and alleged maltreatment of the Kalahari Bushmen have caused international concern - but it remains a peaceful and stable nation of remarkable natural beauty.

Travel Advice

Last updated: 17 September 2014

The travel advice summary below is provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. 'We' refers to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For their full travel advice, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.

The Botswanan government has introduced measures to screen travellers arriving from West African countries for Ebola and has announced that travellers arriving from Ebola affected countries may be denied entry to Botswana. Further information is available from the Ministry of Health.

Around 19,000 British nationals visit Botswana every year. Most visits are trouble free.

Wildlife and livestock on roads are a hazard, particularly at night.

Carry some form of identification with you at all times. A photocopy of your passport is sufficient.

Attacks on tourists are rare, but you should take sensible precautions to protect yourself from petty and violent crime.

There is a low threat from terrorism.

Take out travel and medical insurance before travelling.

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