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Car Hire Botswana
When you decide to rent a car in Botswana, you are choosing to see exactly what you want on the road, whenever you see fit. In fact, this does not mean you will miss out on anything important as having a rental car does not mean you are limited or unable to avail of safari options along the way. Simply put, the simple act of choosing to rent a car will enable you more flexibility and provide you with the “best of both worlds”.
Entertainment and Sport in Botswana
Known as “the Zebras”, the National football team in Botswana is arguably the pinnacle of sports interest in this part of Africa. You can expect to see football pitches in towns and villages along the way, but aside from football, there are very few sports in which the locals participate. On the contrary, Botswana is a very primitive place to visit in Africa in which local gatherings, celebrations, and social events are more common regarding entertainment.
While this may come as a disappointment to some visitors, most new arrivals will feel stimulated by such an entirely different culture where the focus is more focused on family, friendship and unity rather than the prospect of opposing teams.
Weather in Botswana
Botswana is dominated by the infamous Kalahari Desert and a climate which ensures it is dry and humid for most of the year. However, during the rainy season, the Okavango River will reach the northern territories and soak into the Kalahari sands to form the world famous Okavango Delta. This is a unique wilderness in which many tourists will take a safari, but the landscape throughout the country is otherwise a very dry place.
Between November and March, the summer months are very hot but then this is also a rainy season which inevitably brings cool periods. Winter comes during the period between May and August but there is no rain, and the land is very dry.
Many tourists will arrive during the rainy season which coincides with vacation period in most western countries, but the winter can be a great time to visit given how the animals congregate around watering holes making them very easy to find on safari.
Popular Cities in Botswana
While most of Botswana is quite a barren landscape, the simply structure of its road network and lack of traffic make it a very comfortable place to drive. At the same time, any encounter with wildlife on these roads can feel like a thrill and require composure from drivers to pass safely. In saying that, these encounters and unusually straight roads are all part of the experience – something you would inevitably miss had you decided not to rent a car in Botswana.
While the city of Maun is more like a medium sized town, this is the starting point for a safari into the Okavango Delta, the largest remaining wilderness in the world. Affordable and frequent, you can easily park the car here for two days while you explore the Delta.
Located close to the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe, Kasane is another starting point but this time for Chobe National Park. Again, there are safe places to leave your rental car in town while you venture into the park on a day safari or take a trip down the Chobe River in a boat.
South of Kasane and north of the junction in Nata, you will embark along the elephant highway. True to the name, you should encounter herds of elephant and possibly a lot more along this stretch although just make sure the driver is aware that this can happen at any time – even on road side, toilet stops.
Although Gweta itself is largely uneventful, there are some nice lodges here which offer trips into Makgadigadi Pans. These are enormous salt pans with wildlife all around, but arguably the most interesting creatures to follow here are the meerkats, of which there are many.
Although international driving licenses and foreign driver permits are accepted, it is essential to carry this with you at all times while driving in Botswana. From time to time, there are also checkpoints in which the vehicle is stopped for “Foot and mouth control,” but aside from this, the regulations are quite similar to anywhere else in the world.
However, it is important to know about the basic rules of the road in any new country and for this reason here are some of the most important points to keep in mind:
- The direction of traffic – In Botswana, drivers are required to keep to the left-hand side of the road unless of course, you are overtaking.
- Age limit – All drivers must be above the age of 18, and this is also the same age limit for car rental in Botswana.
- Use of seatbelts – Seatbelts are mandatory, and fines are handed out accordingly at the many routine checkpoints on the roads in Botswana.
- Speed limit – Although the limit is 30kmh in cities and built up areas, this is increased to 60kmh in towns and villages and 120kmh on highways.
- Use of cellphones – please be aware that police are quick to hand out fines for the use of cellphones while driving.
- Emergency number – 999 (Police Emergency)
Airports in Botswana
Arguably the best way to start a trip to Botswana is by opting for an airport car rental. Whether you decide to rent a car in Maun or Gaborone, this will ensure you avoid the heavy taxi or transport fees for which each destination is known. Yes, getting around Botswana is not very difficult, but the cost is high.
Furthermore, this is a great way to become accustomed to driving in a wildlife region as the animals tend to stay clear of built up areas, but you still need to look out for them. For this reason, it is unlikely you will encounter elephants on the main street in Maun, but at least you are getting into the habit of keeping an eye out for them.