FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How safe is Botswana? What type of travel documents do I need? Who will meet me on arrival and where? What type of clothing will I need on my Yoga Safari? Is the water safe to drink? What type of aircraft will I be using on safari? What type of safari vehicles will I be game viewing in? Is electricity available in the safari camps? How long does it take to get from one camp to another? What about tipping? Is a safari strenuous? How much baggage can I bring on safari? How much money will I need? What about insects or snakes? What contact details should be left at my home/office? What if there is a medical emergency? What to bring?
Botswana is considered a safe travel destination. It is both financially and politically stable. It has been spared much of the unrest and turmoil, which plagues so many countries in Africa. As is the case elsewhere, the larger cities and population centres generally have the most crime, but once you are on safari, such problems are all but nonexistent. It is, however, a good idea to leave your valuables (expensive watches, jewelry, etc.) at home, thus eliminating the temptation for possible thieves. It’s also a good idea to use luggage locks when flying.
A valid passport is required for international travel, when traveling into Southern Africa your passport needs to be valid for a minimum of 6 months after your entrance date, as well as have 2 blank pages, side by side left in the book. Citizens of certain countries need visas for entry into Botswana. As this list of countries changes from time to time, it is important to check regarding current visa requirements, well in advance of your departure. Please note that it is your own responsibility to ensure all necessary visas are obtained prior to entry. Yoga Safari cannot be held responsible if you are refused entry into Botswana because you omitted to purchase a visa.
You will be met at the airport in Maun. After passing through customs, you should look for a Yoga Safari representative with a sign showing your name. They will then assist you with the transfer to your flight to camp, or to the vehicle transfer to your hotel, or to the hire company for your hire car.
Depending upon the time of year you come to Botswana, lightweight clothing of cotton and cotton/blends is most suitable. During the winter months (Mid May – mid to late August) it can be very cold and a warm jacket and hat and gloves will be needed for early morning and evening game viewing, and Yoga and Star Gazing activities too. Thermal underwear is also a good idea as is a warm hat, gloves and scarf. During the summer months (Sept - mid May) bring a lightweight water/windproof jacket in case of rain, otherwise temperatures are very warm. For evenings bring lightweight long sleeved clothing as protection from mosquitoes. Neutral colours such as khaki, beige/cream, brown or olive green are appropriate, and are less conspicuous to the animals when on safari. See What to bring?. Your normal Yoga clothes will suffice for your Yoga practice. Laundry is done daily in most camps, so it is not necessary to over pack. It is recommended that you carry a change of clothing (e.g. t-shirt, long pants and underwear), any prescription medicines and your valuables (documents, camera, wallet, binoculars) in your carry-on bags in case of lost luggage or luggage delays from connecting international flights. Should your luggage go missing, Yoga Safari will assist you where possible in calling the airlines to monitor the progress of your luggage claim which, in most cases, arrives the following day. However please note that sometimes it is beyond our control to locate your bags and your best precaution is to pack all your essential items in your hand luggage. And of course have travel insurance to cover lost luggage.
You will be advised if the water is safe to drink at each camp you got to. Most camps provide filtered water. And bottled water is also available at most camps.
Flights are generally in Cessna's either the 206 or 208 (Caravan) and sometimes the AirVan light aircraft, these are the most reliable and efficient craft available, able to take off and land in the remote bush airstrips with ease. Depending upon factors such as occupancy, distance and destination, both the charter company and the type of aircraft used may vary. You may also have two stops on the way to your final destination.
Toyota Land cruisers and Land Rovers, which have been specially built for game viewing and photography are used at the camps. Most have completely open seating areas and cabs for unhindered photography. Each has ample seating and a cool box is carried for refreshments.
As our camps are situated in remote areas some have electricity and some don't. Please ask you safari consultant to confirm which camps have it and which don't. In the camps that do have electricity, for the most part it is generated by either a diesel generator or solar power. Where a camp is run on solar power there is a back-up generator to boost the batteries when needed. Due to the noise of the generators they are normally only run when guests are out of camp on activities. In most of the camps in the evenings, the generator is switched off, and the camps run on the inverter system where batteries provide lighting in each room. Please note at some camps there is no electricity generated at all and lighting is by paraffin lamps and/or solar or battery powered lamps. Some of the camps offer charging points in your room and others offer charging points in the main area. Be sure you bring a spare battery for use whilst the other battery is being charged, to avoid missing out on any photographic opportunities. Please also bring an adapter that will convert your plug to either the European two pins or South African 3 round pins. Please note that in most camps it is not possible to use appliances such as hairdryers or anything with a heating unit. Ask your safari consultant to find out if the camps you are visiting allow the use of hairdryers.
Most of the inter camp transfers are provided by light aircraft. Transfer times, on average, take between one hour and one hour twenty with the minimum being thirty minutes. Flights are booked on a 'seat rate' basis which allows us to offer a more economical transfer than a private charter. This means that flight times are scheduled by the charter company the day prior to fit in with their flying schedule. All requests are taken into consideration for flight times, and international flights are guaranteed to be met provided correct information is provided by the guests. Meals and activities are planned around the flights and transfers. Please note you may have up to two stops along the way on any light aircraft flight transfer. If you are booked onto a mobile safari the length of time it takes between campsites is dependent on the number of stops you and your guide make along the way.
Tipping is not obligatory. It is, however, appropriate if you feel that the measure of service you received warrants a show of your personal appreciation, this is purely discretionary. The average tip amounts are approximately $10 - $20 per guest, per day.
Customarily, $5-10 per day will go to your driver/guide directly and $5 - $10 per day can be placed in the Tip Box provided in the camps, Camp Managers distribute the latter among the camp employees. It is a fair distribution system ensuring that the 'behind the scenes' staff are also rewarded.
No. Your Yoga practice and getting into and out of vehicles, boats and light aircraft as well as some walking are the most strenuous activities you will encounter. Some of the road terrain can be bumpy as it is 'off road', this is part of the experience, however if you have a back problem please do advise us in advance so we can check for suitability for a safari of this nature.
Since most safari travel is done in small aircraft, each passenger is limited to one soft-sided bag, weighing no more than 20 kgs (44 lbs), plus a typical sized camera bag. Bear in mind the door to the luggage compartment on some of the light aircraft might be as small as 70 x 25 cm (25.6 x 10 ins). Soft duffel type bags are ideal and are required. Excess baggage may be subject to additional baggage/charter charges. There is an option to store your excess baggage in our Maun office at no extra charge until the end of your safari, but this is only available to you if your safari starts and ends in Maun, otherwise alternate arrangements will need to be made. Please do not bring hard suitcases, or bags with wheels.
Most major currencies are accepted throughout Botswana. You will not need large sums of cash while on safari, as most of the safaris we offer are all inclusive, with the exception of tips. However, some guests enjoy shopping in Maun and at the curio shops at the camps where credit cards are often accepted (Master or Visa cards only). If you are on a mobile safari you might need money for any accommodations, meals, drinks and shopping before or after your safari. There are ATM machines in Maun where you can get cash.
Surprisingly, there are very few snake problems in Botswana, normal common sense avoids contact with snakes (i.e. don't go crawling through dense bushes!). For your personal comfort, we recommend you bring some insect repellent with you and take malarial prophylaxis (please consult your local travel medical specialist for the medication best suited to you). It is also a good idea to bring sunscreen as even in the winter months the days are warm and clear, and as you spend a large part of the day outside on activities, there is a risk of sunburn.
We suggest that you leave the contact details as per the Contact Information page on your final itinerary with your family/friends in case of an emergency. Our booking form asks for an emergency contact for your next of kin, in case we should need to send an urgent message through.
In the case of a genuine medical emergency we call Okavango Air Rescue who are based in Maun and they will arrange to have a Medivac aircraft dispatched to the closest airstrip to come and assess the needs of the patient. Depending upon these needs, the patient will be transported either to a hospital in Maun or Gaborone for treatment. Please note your insurance company will be contacted prior to any medical intervention and therefore you must be in possession of comprehensive travel/medical insurance prior to traveling.
SUGGESTED PHOTO EQUIPMENT (for the ‘keen’ photographer)
PACKING CHECKLIST – suggestion only
3 Pair of lightweight trousers/long pants 6 Shirts - 3 long and 3 short sleeved 2 Pairs of shorts 3 T-shirts 1 Pair of comfortable walking/tennis shoes or lightweight hiking boots 1 Fleece for evenings and early mornings 7 Underpants/knickers 1 Pyjamas 5 Pair socks 1 Swimsuit 1 Sarong 1 Protective sun hat 2 Pairs flip flops/sandals 1 Lightweight rain jacket (November – April) 1 Warm & windproof jacket (May – August, & gloves/warm hat/scarf 3 Sets of Yoga clothes (if on a Yoga Safari)