Writer: Katrina Smith, keen traveller and Consultant for Travel Counsellors
Most people have a safari holiday on their bucket list. To see beautiful wild animals in their own habitat is a must, and Botswana is certainly the place to achieve this dream.
Botswana is one of the last true wilderness areas in Africa. Including the world class Chobe National Park, through the wild wetlands of the Okavango Delta (World RAMSAR site), the rugged and rocky lands of the Tuli and Limpopo valley, the vast and open solitude of the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, to the undulating sand veldts of the thirsty and untameable Kalahari Desert.
Botswana is in the centre of Southern Africa and is roughly the size of France and is entirely landlocked, bordered by its neighbours South Africa, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. It has a semi-arid climate, with hot summers during the months of December through March, and a cool, dry winter during the months of June, July and August. December and January are the hottest months, with average temperatures rising to 40 degrees Celsius. Winter temperatures are moderate during the day, but cold at night, and can drop below freezing. The rainy season corresponds with the summer months, but rains are erratic, unpredictable and highly regional. The best months to travel are April to October.
I recently completed training with the Botswana Tourist Board and was very happy to learn that they have a very positive attitude to developing tourism in a sustainable way. They strongly believe in environmentally responsible tourism and the development of facilities and services which will position Botswana as a leading sustainable tourism destination.
Ecotourism operators must demonstrate that they are protecting the environment and also offer a diverse experience that broadens their clients’ horizons. Eco-tour packages MUST take travellers off the conventional circuits and encourage a genuine exchange with the natural environment, local communities and culture.
Tour companies are assessed and certified and awarded a marketable logo that demonstrates it meets the standards prescribed by the program. Companies are awarded one of three levels – Green, Green+ and Ecotoursim. Included in these standards are areas such as water conservation, waste water management, solid waste management, energy conservation, hazardous water management and culture and heritage.
With more operators in Botswana appreciating the requirements of the environment and the tourist to ‘go green’, there is a thirst for improving the sustainability of the product. This should ensure that Botswana remains the extraordinary and pristine destination it is today for many years to come.
For help with your dream eco holiday contact Katrina: firstname.lastname@example.org