Botswana

When We Were There: April 26-28, & May 2, 2009

Places We Visited: Tsodilo Hills, Seronga, Kasane, Gabarone.

View all of our posts about Botswana here.

Exchange Rate: $1 = Botswana Dollars
See a breakdown of our Botswana budget here.

WHAT WE DID

Tsodilo Hills
A set of three hills considered sacred by local people, Tsodilo is famous for its San Bushmen drawings. We hired a guide who led us up and around the hill, pointing out and explaining the various drawings, many of which we would have missed on our own. Though the road back to the hills is rough, it is accessible to 2WD (as long as it isn’t too wet). 50 Botswana pula for a guide.

Seronga/Okavango Delta
We used Seronga as our base for exploring the Okavango Delta on a budget. In general, the Delta is an extremely expensive destination, marketed mainly to luxury travelers. But a group of locals in Seronga has created a community trust with a campground (with campsite and cabins) and polers that will take you out on a mekoro trip into the Delta. We did a two-day/one-night trip that involved camping on an island, hiking, and poling around in the boat…all with animals a bit closer than I found comfortable. We also camped at the Okavango Poler’s Trust campground two nights, one on each side of our trip.

Kasane
We used Kasane as a jumping-off point for Victoria Falls. Since it’s very difficult to take a car into Zimbabwe/Zambia and impossible to take a rental car, we chose Kasane because they offered transfers to the Falls. Kasane is also a good base for visiting Chobe National Park. We drove through on our way to the campground but didn’t visit extensively.

Gabarone
On our drive through Botswana back to South Africa, we stopped overnight in Gabarone. We found it to be a very modern and cosmopolitan city. I’m not sure it has much to offer for a longer stay, but it was nice for an evening and morning.

WHERE WE STAYED
Sepopa Swamp Stop (Sepopa): Fairly close to Tsodilo Hills, the place doesn’t have a whole lot more to recommend it. We camped out, but heard from others the rooms weren’t so great. If it’s been raining a lot, give it a pass for sure. We found most of the place to be flooded, so much so that we had to park our car way down the road and be poled over to the campground in a mekoro. The campground was extremely basic, and the bathroom wasn’t great. 160 Botswana pula for a campsite.

Okavango Polers Trust Campground (Seronga): The campsite is lovely, a large grassy area right near the waterfront, and the staff will build you a big fire each night. The bathrooms are basic but sufficient.

Thebe River Camping (Kasane): This campground was a little helter-skelter. Some sites were large and nice while others were cramped. The restrooms weren’t working when we were there, so we had to walk to the lodge to use theirs. 138 Botswana pula for a campsite.

Planet Lodge (Gabarone): The room was spacious and clean as was the bathroom. Breakfast is delivered to your room, which is strange as it’s a pretty basic place. 374 Botswana pula for a double room private bathroom, TV, and breakfast.

PLACES WE ATE
Except for in Gabarone, we cooked for ourselves while camping. The Spar supermarket has most everything you could want.

Ecuatorial Cafe (Gabarone):
Located in a mall full of Western food restaurants, the cafe offered really nice salads and sandwiches, as well as good muffins. Wi-fi is available with purchase. 90 Botswana pula for dinner for two; 30 Botswana pula for breakfast for two

NOTES
*Without a 4WD vehicle much of Botswana is off-limits. The road network is extremely limited.

*Botswana is one of the most expensive countries in Africa. It’s not really set up for backpackers, but you can see the Okavango Delta and a few other sights on a stretched budget if you aren’t afraid to camp.

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