SA Airlink will be increasing their flight frequency between Maun, Botswana and Cape Town from the 6th of June 2017. The airline is currently operating 5 return flights a week between Cape Town and Maun, the new flight schedule will see them operating a daily scheduled service on the route. Flights will depart Cape Town at 10h35 and arrive at Maun International Airport at 13h05. The return flight will depart at 13h35, arriving in Cape Town at 16h05.
Guide to Botswana
Languages: Botswana’s official language is English. Setswana, Botswana’s indigenous language, is also widely spoken across the country.
Currency: The Botswana Pula is the country’s official currency. The Pula (pula means ‘rain’ in Setswana) is stronger than the rand. R1.00 will get you 0.70 Botswanan Pula at the current exchange rate.
Climate: Botswana has a semi-arid climate. It is hot and dry for most of the year. Summer begins in November and ends in March, while winter begins in May and ends in August. October and November are on average the hottest months of the year with temperatures regularly peaking around 40°C during the day and 30°C at night. The rainy season runs through the summer months.
Time zone: GMT +2 (Same time as in South Africa).
When to go: The best time to visit Botswana is during the dry season which runs through the winter months. Average daytime temperatures are pleasant and night-time temperatures are low. Game viewing is also much better during the dry season. Spotting wildlife gets easier as the bush dries out. Animals also tend to stay close to water sources which makes it easier to predict their movements.
Getting there: Self-drive safaris in Botswana are very popular among South Africans. Travellers can use any of the 15 border posts between South Africa and Botswana to enter or exit the country. South African passport holders are allowed to enter the country for up to 90 days without a visa. SA Airlink and Air Botswana operate flights from Johannesburg and Cape Town (from 11 March 2016) to Maun, Gaborone and Kasane respectively.
Where to go:
The Okavango Delta is one of the world’s newest UNESCO World Heritage Sites, number 1000 to be exact. Summer rainfalls in Angola flow down to the Okavango Panhandle in northern Botswana, which floods the channels and floodplains of the delta. This water gives life to one of the largest wildlife gatherings in the world. The Okavango is one of the larges inland deltas in the world, when flooded it reaches 18,000 km2 in size. All of the water is either evaporated by the sun or it drains into the sands of the Kalahari. Maun is the gateway to the Okavango. Safari companies run luxurious fly-in safaris to the Okavango from Maun. Each lodge has a private dirt landing strip to which visitors are flown on small aircraft. The flight over the Okavango Delta is the highlight of the trip for most visitors. The Moremi Game reserve covers one third of the Okavango Delta. The majority of the luxury lodges and campsites are situated within the Moremi Game reserve.
Chobe National Park
The Chobe National Park is home to the largest population of elephants in Africa. For such a large number of elephants to survive, the landscape has to be diverse and extremely fertile, the Chobe National Park is exactly that. The 11,700 km2 park has three main areas, the Serondela area (or Chobe riverfront), Savute and Linyanti. The Chobe riverfront sits on the northern boundary of the park. The Chobe River is the boundary between the park and the Caprivi Strip. Large herds of buffalo and elephant can be seen in this area. To the south of the Chobe riverfront lies the Savute Marsh. The marsh a relic of a large ancient inland lake that dried up millions of years ago. Savute is arguably the best place in Africa to view the behaviour of predators. Savute is the only place in the world where lions have been witnessed hunting elephant. Linyanti is the most secluded part of the Chobe National Park. The area consists of woodlands, lagoons, flood plains and two rivers. The area also boasts an extremely rich birdlife.
The Makgadikgadi Pans is an uninhabited area to the south east of the country. The Pans used to be an ancient inland lake. Today it is a vast dry area that is totally barren. Gazing over the vastness of the pans is akin to gazing over the open ocean, the horizon lies unbroken for miles and miles. Baobab Island and Lekubu Island are where one can camp when travelling to the Pans, the sunsets here are beautiful. There are ruins on Lekubu Island that date back 2000 years. What makes the pans so beautiful is the vast open space that lies at your feet when you look over it. Visiting this surreal place is a truly humbling experience.