Blessed with some of the greatest wildlife spectacles on earth, Botswana is one of the great safari destinations in Africa. And recently the President of Botswana has announced the opening of Botswana’s borders.
The President’s phased approach will see first air travel to resume at Botswana’s three key airports: Sir Seretse Khama International Airport in Gaborone, Kasane, and Maun.
International air travel will then follow, resuming from December 1 at Phillip Gaonwe Matante International Airport in Francistown, as well as the opening of ground crossings at the commercial border points of Kazungula Road, Kazungula ferry, Ngoma Ramokgwebana, Martins Drift, Ramatlabama, Tlokweng, Mamuno, Pioneer and Mohembo.
All arriving travelers will be expected to meet the following requirements:
Present a valid 72-hour negative covid-19 PCR result from time of departure
Be screened for covid symptoms upon entry
Undertake mandatory testing, possible isolation and quarantine if they are symptomatic
Be in contact with local health authorities for 14 days
Returning citizens not meeting the requirements will need to undertake 14 days of mandatory quarantine and testing, while non-citizen travelers will not be permitted entry into Botswana.
Where to Stay
Botswana is an increasingly popular destination among those who want to experience a safari with a difference. Luxurious lodges sit by enchanting wetlands and mokoro canoes provide a pleasant alternative for a safari to conventional 4x4s.
Nowhere else on earth will you find so many remote and utterly exclusive lodges and tented camps, accessible only by air or boat, where your every dream of the perfect safari comes true. Most are in the Okavango Delta, but you’ll also find them in the neighbouring areas of Chobe National Park and the Central Kalahari Game Reserve.
Watch lions, cheetahs, leopards, buffalos, elephants and rhinos wandering this marshy plain, which triples in size during the flood months of July and August. If time permits, head further west to the Tsodilo Hills for a lesson in ancient art – the dramatic, vivid rocks found here display thousands of prehistoric paintings. To the northeast, Chobe National Park also draws its fair share of adventurers, boasting the world’s largest herds of elephants, along with other well-known species like zebras and antelope. Other great game parks include Nxai Pan and Mokolodi Nature Reserve, which borders Botswana’s capital, Gaborone. Here, grassy plains make way for shiny skyscrapers and busy roads, though there are some quiet spots within the city’s realms. Climb Kgale Hill in time for an orange-streaked sunset over nearby mountains, for an epic end – or beginning – to a very special holiday. Finding hotels in most parts of Botswana is easy, especially in Gaborone and the northern national parks. Luxury lodges are also available to rent for safari trips, as well as remote tented camps with excellent facilities.
Perfectly timed for Botswana’s opening, Xigera Safari Lodge is set to open its doors to guests for the first time in January 2021. Situated on the western side of the Moremi Game Reserve, Xigera will be the culmination of a lifelong dream of the Tollman family, and their love letter to the African bush. The lodge will feature 12 individually designed suites, including one two bedroom family suite situated on two islands. Each suite will float delicately above the water, allowing wildlife to pass uninterruptedly beneath, innovatively created without the use of any concrete. Inspired by a sighting on his first visit to the site, Architect Anton de Kock conceptualised each suite as a Pel’s Fishing Owl in flight– one of Africa’s most sought-after and elusive birds. Along with Anton, the lodge’s design has been conceptualised by Toni Tollman and Philip Fourie, who have collaborated with Southern Guild in an unrivalled design partnership. Commissioning over 76 leading artists within Africa, every piece guests will look at, touch and interact with has been hand crafted and inspired by the incredible natural surroundings. The lodge will sleep a maximum of 24 guests, ensuring a completely personalised safari, with no set times or itineraries. Guests will be treated to life-changing experiences, such as glass-bottom mokoro excursions gliding across the Delta’s waterways, enriching game drives and the first Tata Harper spa in Africa. The team cannot wait to welcome guests for the first time when borders open, creating experiences that are, quite simply, extraordinary.
Rates at Xigera Safari Lodge start from $2,320 (approx. £1,847) per adult per night sharing. This includes accommodation on a fully inclusive basis, park fees and all activities.