Useful Information about Botswana
Botswana is bordered by Zambia and Zimbabwe to the northeast, Namibia to the north and west, and South Africa to the south and southeast. At Kazungula, four countries – Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Namibia – meet at a single point mid-stream in the Zambezi River. The area of Botswana is approximately 581,730 square kilometres and is about the size of France or Kenya.
Botswana’s climate is semi-arid. Though it is hot and dry for much of the year, there is a rainy season, which runs through the summer months. Summer days are hot, especially in the weeks that precede the coming of the cooling rains, and shade temperatures rise to the 38°C mark and higher, reaching a blistering 44°C on rare occasions. Winters are clear-skied and bone-dry, the air seductively warm during the daylight hours but, because there is no cloud cover, cold at night and in the early mornings. Sometimes bitterly so – frost is common and small quantities of water can freeze.
It is recommended that you obtain some vaccinations and medication before coming to Botswana. You should see your GP or visit a travel clinic at a suitable time before arrival – you can also check here: www.mdtravelhealth.com. Tell them where you are going and they can tell you what vaccinations are required and what medical precautions you need to take.
The medical facilities around Limpopo-Lipadi are basic and not capable of dealing with serious trauma or illness. In the unlikely event of either of the above you will need to be evacuated to Polokwane and/or Johannesburg in South Africa. During the wet season (from October to April), it is strongly recommended that volunteers/students protect themselves against ticks as some tick-borne diseases can be quite severe by wearing long sleeves, long pants, hats and shoes (rather than sandals). DEET may also be applied to clothing.
Limpopo-Lipadi is in a low risk malaria area. However, if you plan on travelling in lower altitude areas around Southern Africa, we want to reiterate that malaria is a very real and serious risk and advise you to take prophylaxis as advised by your medical practitioner as well as using insect repellents, preferably those containing DEET. If you are planning to travel to the North of Botswana you should bring the necessary anti-malaria treatments with you. Please bring sufficient supplies of all other medication you may require, as not all drugs may be available in Botswana.
Passport and Visas
Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months after the time of arrival. Visitor’s visas are issued at Botswana’s international borders, including airports and are valid for up to 90 days. Please ensure that you ask for the correct number of days or even ask for extra days if you are unsure of your plans. They will often only give you a 30 day visa at the airport or border, unless you specify how long you wish to stay. If you are staying longer make sure you get the days you need.
Life as a Volunteer!
Watch this short video to see what life is like as a volunteer at the Limpopo Lipadi Game Reserve in Botswana and become inspired to join us in the field!