Eco-friendly travel guide to Botswana advises how to be a responsible tourist. Learn how to travel in a sustainable way and how to respect the local people and culture. Make your trip green by supporting locally owned hotels, organic restaurants and other businesses. Read more on how to protect the environment by making conscientious choices and how to travel green in Botswana, Africa.
- Air quality: 2/ 5
- Bus connections: 4 / 5
- Train connections: 4 / 5
- Hitchhiking: 4.5 / 5
- National parks: 5 / 5
- Outdoor activities: 3.5/ 5
- Locals' English level: 4 / 5
- Safety: 3.5 / 5
- Accommodation: US20- $130
- Budget per day: US$60 - $200
- 1 Responsible Travel
- 2 Air Quality and Pollution
- 3 Respect the Culture
- 4 Top 10 Places to Visit
- 5 Explore
- 6 Eat
- 7 Drink
- 8 Activities
- 9 Accommodation
- 10 Regions
- 11 Cities
- 12 Getting There and Moving Around
- 13 Sustainable Shopping
- 14 Recycling
- 15 Work and Study Abroad
- 16 See Also
It will not be a bad idea to spend your next holidays in Africa, specifically the South African region. If you do not know where to visit, allow us to recommend Botswana. It is a country with many places for a tourist to explore, so you would always have a fun time.
The culture of the land is fascinating, and you might not want to leave when visiting. The locals also have a warm aura that makes foreigners feel welcomed.
The best thing one can do when in the city is to find how to contribute to their economy to boost the country to become better.
Air Quality and Pollution
Botswana might have strongholds in tourism and other aspects, but not in air quality. If you decide to check the world ranking of most polluted countries, it is one of the highest-ranked.
Many factors contribute to air pollution in the country, including individual and company activities. Often, people are ignorant that their activities could lead to pollution.
Typically, a foreigner should be cautious when in the country, and we would advise that you the safe side.
The country’s air quality is usually what tourists complain about, hoping that something can be done so that the environment would be conducive in all aspects. Hopefully, a solution would be gotten soon.
Respect the Culture
It is common to hear that respect is reciprocal, so you should be respectful of all individuals in Botswana if you have to have a pleasant stay.
The people are usually welcoming and eager to help out foreigners. They are curious when it concerns a tourist, so you can say that it is easy to get their attention. However, they would not respond to you if you give them a cold attitude.
They love when foreigners respect the culture and try to get themselves involved in local activities. If you can do such, you will gain a special place in their hearts and enjoy your stay.
Top 10 Places to Visit
Here are some of the top places for anyone to visit in Botswana:
- Moremi Game Reserve (Okavango Delta): A lush vegetation is among the numerous things you will enjoy visiting this place. You will also get to see interesting wildlife animals that you may have never seen before. It is the perfect place to visit if you want to connect with nature.
- Tsodilo Hills (Okavango): Since it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is not surprising that there are tour guides at this place, as it is the only way you will get a full experience. The paintings are fascinating and would always get the interest of tourists. History says the san tribe painted it.
- Kubu Island: It is one of the national treasures in the country and captivating sight. If you want to experience Botswana, it is not out of place to visit this island. The locals would be eager to have you exploring.
- Kgale Hill (Gaborone): It is a famous tourist attraction in the country. If you love to go for hikes, it is a place to visit in Botswana. It is nicknamed The Sleeping Giant, and foreigners see it as an accomplishment climbing to the top.
- Guma Lagoon (Okavango): Botswana has proven to be a country for campers, and this is one of the top campsites in the country. It allows you to see wildlife, and the lagoons can be fascinating. You should ensure to visit it.
- Khama Rhino Sanctuary: It is a source of revenue generation for the country as it attracts many foreigners. Have you ever seen a rhino before? If no, you should make plans to visit this place before leaving the country. It also houses other animal species.
- Tswapong Hills (Central District): Visiting this place allows you to appreciate nature in its true form, serving as a means of relaxation. There are no regrets about visiting this place, so it should be on your list. The locals also have it amongst the places they recommend.
- National Botanical Garden (Gaborone): It is the first botanical garden in the country and was established in 2007. Since then, it has served as a relaxation spot for people as you would see that picnics are held at this place. It allows you to meet people and make friends.
- Iskcon Botswana Temple (Gaborone): It is an outstanding Hindu temple in the country that gets the attention of many due to its architectural features. It is impossible to pass it without taking a second look. Thus, it is a top tourist attraction in the country.
- Otse Hill (Otse): If you would love to be at the highest peak of Botswana, you should visit this hill and climb to the top.
There is no better thing to do in a country that to explore different places. After all, it would add to the stories you tell when you leave the country.
Exploration is a normal thing for foreigners, so it is normal for any tourist. Knowing the different places to visit in Botswana would not be an issue, as we would highlight some of them. Since the locals are warm and welcoming, they will also help you will recommendations and ideas.
If you are in the country for other affairs, you should find how to incorporate exploration into your schedule to not miss out on any fun.
One of the places to visit when exploring a country is the city parks. Some of the city parks in the country are:
- Kgale Hill Public Park (Gaborone): There are many things and activities you can do at this park, so it is an interesting place to visit. There are trails for hiking and exercising, and you would see other people doing the same thing. It also has a hill that you can climb to the top as a challenge.
- Tsholofelo Park (Gaborone): Visiting this park is always relaxing as it is a cool place and allows you to connect with nature. The serenity of this place is something that many people love.
There are also national parks in Botswana, and some of them are:
- Chobe National Park (Okavango): It is always fascinating to visit this place as you get to see wildlife and take walks in the serene environment. It comes in handy that this place is well-managed so it is always clean. You can have fun by engaging in different activities, including going on boat rides. Everyone says they usually have a superb experience at this park.
- Nxai Pan National Park (Nxai Pan): We do not know if you have seen landscapes like the ones at this place. It is an amazing place to explore as you get to see lush vegetation and appreciate nature.
Hanging out at the beach has become a favourite past time for some people, and they say that it is the best way for them to relax. Thus, they are always looking for beaches when in a new place.
We have noticed that some people add exploring beaches on their list of fun things to do when in a new country, especially as looking at water waves has a certain peace it brings.
Unfortunately, there are no beaches in Botswana as the country has no access to the sea, so exploring beaches is not a feasible idea.
This may be disappointing to many, but you can indulge in other activities.
Landmarks are typically outstanding features in a place that sticks to your mind almost immediately, and you can identify it at any time.
Some of the landmarks in Botswana are:
- The Three Dikgosi Monument (Gaborone): The statues depict three dikgosi: Khama III of the Bangwato, Sebele I of the Bakwena, and Bathoen I of the Bangwaketse. It is a popular tourist attraction in the country, and almost everyone knows about it. You would have a tour guide to lead you through whenever you visit this place. It was created in 2005 and has since been always able to get the attention of people. Thus, classifying as a historic landmark.
Some of the museums in Botswana are:
- National Museum and Art Gallery (Gaborone): The exterior of this would fascinate you, but the interior goes further to blow your mind. It has art exhibitions that tell the heritage of the country. It is a great place to get more knowledge about Botswana.
- Phuthadikobo Museum (Mochudi): if you are into architectural details, we know that this place would get your interest. It also tells stories about Botswana culture and heritage. The insights are always clear, and the environment is welcoming. It is a great place for any foreigner to visit especially as you can learn something new anytime you visit it.
People are usually curious about the available food options in Botswana, and it is understandable. After all, one has to eat while in the country, and you might be attracted to the traditional local meals.
Dikgobe is one of the irresistible meals in the country, consisting of beans, corn, and lamb. Some people start salivating once they see it, and we know that you will not be an exception.
Another traditional local meal you can enjoy in Botswana is Phaphatha. It serves as the perfect breakfast meal as it is almost like the typical bread, but the preparation process sometimes differs as some people would stuff it with meat.
The country also has other enjoyable options.
If you are looking for the best place to enjoy any of the local meals, it will be best for you to visit a traditional restaurant as you know that it is their focus, and they would cook these meals to perfection.
It is impossible not to see a traditional local restaurant in any of the cities, so you are covered irrespective of where you stay. If you encounter difficulties in tracing these restaurants, you can ask a local for direction.
Typically, the locals would be excited to recommend these restaurants as they want foreigners to have a taste of their local meals. Ensure that you do not rob yourself of this enjoyment.
The same way there are restaurants in Botswana is the same way there are places that focus on vegan preferences. Thus, no one is left out of the enjoyment concerning local traditional meals.
We know that vegetarians usually have worries when visiting a new place as they are concerned about finding a place that specializes in vegan meals. It also bothers them when they cannot find a place as it means that they cannot enjoy the local meals.
However, these worries fly out of the window when you are in Botswana as some of the restaurants in different cities ensure that they put vegans into consideration.
Another food aspect that cannot be ignored when talking about the available food options in Botswana is street food. These are quick meals that are usually enjoyable, and some people are on the lookout for them once they arrive in a new place.
We would not say that there are many street food options in Botswana, but the available few are satisfiable, and people usually give good commendations.
We do not know if you have ever eaten corn-on-the-cob, but it is one of the available options that you should try. You would also see roasted meat as a part of the street food options.
The commonest street food to find in this country are doughnuts, and we know that people would not have second thoughts about eating them as it is also available in different countries.
You will need a drink to accompany some of your meals, so it is only right if we also talk about the available drink options in Botswana. Interestingly, you can get both alcoholic and non-alcoholic options.
Beers are famous in the country, and you will notice various beer brands, including castle and lion beers.
Another drink option in Botswana is the ginger drink. It is typically homemade with ginger as the main ingredient and a combination of other elements. Khadi is another homemade option, and it is made from mushrooms and distilled sugars. These homemade drinks are not alcoholic.
You would also see soft drinks in the country, so you choose from an array of options.
It is best for us to also talk about tap water in Botswana as it is a type of drink, and people should know what to expect before getting to the country.
We always advise that people avoid drinking tap water in Botswana as it is unsafe and not portable. It is sometimes heavily chlorinated, and the water sources are not reliable.
Once you get to the country, it is best to buy bottled water or boil the water. This is to ensure that you should not compromise your health when you drink unsafe water. We would always say that it is best to safe than to be sorry.
We usually help foreigners highlight the various activities they can do in a new place. Some of these activities are usually dependent on water bodies such as fishing and kayaking.
However, since Botswana is not connected to large water bodies as we see no beaches in the country, carrying out these activities is sometimes difficult. This is not to say that you cannot go fishing at all as it is possible to see small water bodies around.
If you are interested in any of these water activities, it is best to seek advice from the locals as they are in the best place to give adequate information.
Drifting away from water activities, another activity you can do while in Botswana is yoga. Some people might already be used to this, while others would not. However, we are sure that you would find it interesting.
The best part of yoga is that it is helpful to the body system as it serves as a form of stress relief. You will see other yogis in Botswana, and there are studios where people go to carry out these activities.
If you are a beginner, these studios usually have instructors to help out. You might be wary of other new people for a while, but we are sure that you will make new friends.
If you have not thought about where to stay before traveling to a place, you are making a huge mistake as you stand the risk of being stranded while there.
It could be that the money you kept as accommodation budget is not enough, which is why you need to research before going there.
It could also be that there are other options you would have preferred if you had known earlier. We know that there are various accommodation options in Botswana, so you should check and make a choice.
You will have peace of mind when you do not have to worry about accommodation when traveling.
We do not know if you have heard of green hotels before or if you have ever stayed in one. However, it is one of the Botswana’s available options, and we have not seen anyone who had regrets about it.
A typical green hotel is ecofriendly with amenities that promise comfort. It is usually helpful when your hotel is in a central location, so you should keep that in mind when choosing.
Although the number of green hotels across the various cities is not much, we know that there are high chances of finding one in the place you stay. If you are a fan of sustainability, this is the option for you.
Hostels and Guest Houses
When you research more about Botswana’s available accommodation options, you would see hostels and guest houses.
These are usually cheaper options that come in handy to people who are on a budget. Due to the setting of these places, you are prone to make new friends as you would be able to mix and mingle with others.
These places are always kept in a clean state, so you should not have any worries. There are high chances of seeing a hostel or guesthouse in any Botswana city, so the process of finding one is not hard.
The friendly aura and warmth surrounding these places are always welcoming.
If you are not concerned about the money spent on accommodation and willing to pay any amount, we would say that you should consider staying at in apartment. Although it is a more expensive option than the rest, it usually gives value for your money.
Some people say that you will get a treatment fit for a king and queen when you stay in an apartment. Many of the Botswana apartments are built to taste, and the staff are always ready to attend to your needs.
Your comfort is always assured when you stay at in apartment, so we are sure that you will not have any complaints.
What do you think about staying with a local while in Botswana? Are you open to the idea but do not know how to go about it? If you are in such a category, have no further worries as Couchsurfing is there to make it feasible.
The Couchsurfing community helps to connect locals and foreigners as there are locals willing to let tourists stay in their homes.
Understandably, there is a need for a compromise when staying with a local. However, we are sure that you will experience the country differently from others as these people will be on the ground to always guide you and ensure you have maximum fun.
If you do not know, Botswana has some campsites, so you should know that camping is a feasible idea in the country.
You can either visit the country to camp for a few days or add camping to your list of things to do before leaving the country. It is always best to have a local while going camping, so you need to be friends with them if you want them to carry you along.
The camping experience is always fun as it is different from your everyday activities. When you go camping, always try to get involved in different activities.
The sparsely populated Kalahari Desert and its fringe.
The northern part of the country with the Okavango Delta and good game reserves like Chobe National Park and Moremi National Park
- Gaborone or Gabs is a neat and tidy little capital with rapidly growing shantytowns on the periphery
Getting There and Moving Around
We see that some people usually encounter issues when it concerns how to get to their destination. It could be that they have never been there before and do not know the transport system that would get them from their present location to their destination. Thus, it becomes a problem.
It is typical to look for someone else who has been there and ask questions not to encounter any problem as the goal is to reach your destination and have fun. After all, no one likes to encounter a complicated process.
It is essential to research how to get there ahead of time so that you can be well-prepared.
When you get to your location, you also need to know how to move around as there is always a need for movement. It would be wrong to assume that the transport system which works in your home city is the same that would work in the new country.
No two systems are alike, so there would always be a difference even if you see something that looks similar. You need to know how payments work and other essentials so that you would have ease in moving around.
If you are friendly with the locals, you know that they would readily assist you and ensure that you are not stressed.
One of the stress-free means that comes to play when it concerns moving around in Botswana is to walk. With your legs, you get to cover distances at your pace, and you can also interact with people as you are moving around.
Typically, you would see foreigners with a camera as they walk around as they wish to capture moments that they would not get if they use another means to move around. The locals would usually be on broad smiles when a tourist is walking and taking pictures as it assures them that the foreigner finds their country interesting, which boosts their tourism sector.
It is common to see people moving around with bicycles in different cities, and we know that you might also want to cycle even if you do not know how to do it. If you would love to use a bicycle to move around, the locals are willing to teach you how to cycle. You will see that some locals usually engage in a cycling competition, and you can also join them as it is fun and helps you bond with them.
You can rent a bicycle from a rental shop in any of the cities and enjoy your time exploring the country at your pace.
You will also notice that you can use electronic vehicles in Botswana like a scooter. It is almost similar to using a bicycle, but you must ensure that you know how to ride one before getting it.
You can rent a scooter the same way you would rent a bicycle, but safety gears should be accompanied, especially a helmet. By doing this, you are staying safe and abiding by the laws of the country.
Taking time to study the country’s driving pattern is also important as it could be that you are not used to the system there, and you need to prepare yourself before hitting the road.
We doubt that there is any country without an airport. The main airport in Botswana is in Gaborone, so that is where you will land if you are using air as it receives international flights.
If you do not plan to stay in Gaborone, you will get a means of transport from the airport to your desired city.
It is easier to get a flight to Botswana if you are in a South African country. We doubt that you can get a direct flight to the country if you are not in Africa. Using a flight to this country usually comes in handy as it is fast.
We hope you do not expect to use a bus to Botswana if your current location is far from the country. It would not make sense as you would spend hours on the road, and it could be that there is no road connection linking the countries.
You do not need to worry about road connection if you are within the South African region, as the road connection is usually in place.
Using the road, you are willing to use a longer time, but you can capture the scenery and probably have discussions with others about the country before you reach, ensuring that you are acquainted.
You should know that you can also use a bus to move around Botswana, and you do not need to worry about getting a bus as there are many bus companies in the country. It is the main means of moving around, and you can easily get information from others.
These buses would operate within the cities and can also get you to other cities. Thus, navigation between cities is easy, and you can spread out your exploration.
The locals would help you understand the bus system better, so you should always ask questions if you are ever confused about anything.
There is a railway in Botswana, so you can be sure to use a train to get into the country. However, you should know that it is not every country that has a railway connection with Botswana.
It would be imaginable to think that you can use a train to Botswana if you are in another country. It is also not all countries in Africa that has a railway connection with the country.
It is typical for anyone to think that you can use a train to Botswana within the South Africa region. However, this is not always the case. Zimbabwe is a country that you are sure to get a train that operates to Botswana.
When we tell people that it is possible to get a free ride to Botswana, they usually look at us as if we speak a strange language or have grown an extra head.
However, if you are in a country that connects Botswana via road networks and you feel up to a road trip, you can stand on the road and try flagging a driver to make negotiations for a free trip.
It usually works for most people.
We usually get questions asking if there are any other means of getting into Botswana except the ones we highlighted above. Unfortunately, there is no other way of getting into the country.
If you are wondering about using a ship, you should remember that there are no major water bodies in the country, so there is no linkage for a ship.
We know that one of the other options would be suitable for you, so pick an option and enter Botswana.
It could be that you have always been hearing about sustainable shopping, but you do not know what it entails. It is a means of shopping that requires you patronizing the local vendors to boost the country’s economy. Foreigners are usually encouraged to engage in this type of shopping when in a new place.
If you have worries about getting something you like, it should fly out of the window as there are always various options.
Food is an important aspect of any foreigners’ journey, and we have highlighted some of the local meals you can get in Botswana. If you are in an accommodation option that has a kitchen, it could be that you wish to try out how to cook these meals. Thus, you need to purchase food items.
There is no other place to visit in the country than the various food markets spread across different cities as you would get the best deals.
Another way of engaging in sustainable shopping is to patronize second-hand stores. People usually fear the quality of what they would get from such stores and are concerned about limitations.
Allow us to assure you that the vendors carry out thorough checks before displaying the items, and there are no limitations to what you can get from a second-hand store.
You will notice that there are various second-hand stores specialize in different items, so pick the option that sells what you need. The talk about sustainable shopping will not be complete if we fail to mention eco-fashion, which is gradually gaining Botswana grounds.
You should know that the locals do not limit their creativity, so you would see them using recyclable items to make clothes, ensuring that there are eco-friendly.
Nothing should stop you from purchasing these fashion items as you would be contributing to the environment, and it goes a long way.
Since we mentioned that Botswana locals use recyclable materials to make clothes, one would assume that most of them are involved in recycling. However, we cannot say that there is an active recycling plan in the country.
Apart from fashion items, most people collect recyclable items and export them to other countries with active recycling plans.
It will come in handy if you have an initiative that aids in fostering recycling in Botswana.
There are plans to aid in curbing waste pollution in the country, so you would see the government encouraging the locals to engage in recycling.
Although we cannot say that the waste management system in this country is over the top, it occurs, and people should be more supportive of it.
You should play your role towards the support by avoiding loitering when in the country and educating others on the importance of an effective waste management system.
Work and Study Abroad
There are many reasons why a person would want to study in Botswana, but we cannot say that it is the best in terms of education.
However, one common question we get from people is knowing if students are allowed to work while schooling.
Botswana does not have any restrictions on working and studying, so it is left to the individual to know how to effectively balance both aspects of life so that none would lack for the other.
Typically, it could be that they have heard much about the customs and traditions and also wish to experience the same.
Most of the Botswana schools have an active exchange student program with schools in different countries and continents, so you should check if your school connects with them. If yes, you can be an exchange student in the country.
The Au Pair system helps people get jobs faster in different countries, and Botswana is not an exception.
The idea is for families to register on the au pair website and display their available job offers. Thus, you come across it as you browse through the site, and you can choose a favorable option.
It is a way for foreigners to connect with the locals as the jobs are usually house jobs like being a tutor or caretaker.
We do not know if there is any country that does not accept volunteers. Even if there is, it is a minimal amount.
If you plan on going to Botswana as a volunteer, the country will welcome you with open arms as they know that you are bound to create a change in your desired sector.
As a volunteer, you are tasked with the responsibility of not slacking. If you are serious about the job and people see your passion, it paves the way for better opportunities.