Botswana: Holidays, Events, Climate
There are a number of public holidays that do not have a fixed date, but are based on the location of Easter.
Easter takes place on the first Sunday that follows the first full moon after the beginning of spring. Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, which ends on Holy Saturday, is 46 days before Holy Saturday.
The date for Pentecost is then 50 days after Easter.
The Corpus Christi festival is celebrated on the 2nd Thursday after Pentecost.
All Saints’ Day is celebrated for Orthodox Christians on the 1st Sunday after Pentecost, but for Catholic Christians the date is fixed on November 1st.
On October 31, Protestants celebrate Reformation Day. The Halloween festival also takes place on this day.
|January 1st and 2||New Year|
|1st of May||Labor Day|
|July 1||Serets Khama Day|
|on two days between July 17th and 21||Presidential days|
|September 30th, October 1||Botswana Days|
|December 25th and 26||Christmas|
Source: Countryaah – Botswana Holidays
Presidents Days and Botswana Days are celebrated with traditional dances and music.
The following events take place annually in Botswana:
– on the first weekend in March the Botswana Art Festival in Gaborone (with dance groups and numerous artisans)
– in April the Maitisong festival in Gaborone
– in July the national music Eisteddfod in Selebi-Phikwe and
– on the first weekend in August the festival of the San in Dkar near Ghanzi.
Heavy Metal Festival
A special feature is the heavy metal festival that has been held annually in the savannah of the country since May 2010. The festival is celebrated for almost 48 hours and there is, among other things, Eiselsfleisch with corn porridge. Beer is the main drink.
Many 1,000 people from all parts of Bootswana and the surrounding countries take part in the festival.
The climate in Botswana differs in the north and south.
The average temperatures vary from December to April between 31 – 32 ° C. From April it will be significantly cooler. Temperatures drop to 25 °C by June/July. By October they rise to 35 °C. At night the temperature remains relatively constant at 19 °C. Average temperatures can drop to 6 °C by June/ July. There is hardly any precipitation from May to November. Only in the rest of the time there are about 7-10 rainy days per month.
The further south you go, the greater the differences between “summer” and “winter”. Just that those times have turned. The hottest time here is the coldest time in southern Botswana. From June/July the average daytime temperatures are only 21-22 °C. Temperatures in January reach their maximum values at around 35 °C. During the night, temperatures drop to 1 – 2 °C in June/July. January is also the warmest at night with around 19 °C. There is hardly any rainfall all year round.
- Abbreviationfinder.org: Presents the way that BC stands for the nation of Botswana as a two-letter acronym.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites
The Tsodilo Hills with the rock paintings are located in the north-west of the country in the Kalahari Desert. In the World Heritage area there are four massive rocks, the steep walls of which slope down to the desert.
The highest of the rocks rises over 400 meters from the surrounding plains of the Kalahari.
Here the visitor will find around 4,000 well-preserved rock drawings from a 20,000-year-old Sans culture. There is now an approx. 50 km long car track from Shakawe to Tsodilo. There is also an informative museum in the area.
The Tsodilo Hills have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2001.
The Okavango Delta is located in northwest Botswana on the Okavango River. The Kunyere and Thamalakanes fissures limit the area.
The Okawango rises in Angola and does not flow into the sea, another river or a large lake, but rather “seeps” into the earth in the Okawango Delta in the Kalahari Desert.
However, far less 10% of the water actually seeps away here – the rest evaporates beforehand or is used for agriculture.
The evaporation and seepage of the river creates a semi-arid area in the Kalahari zone that is around 20,000 km² in size. The area is made up of canals, swamps and lakes with islands floating in them.
In the area of the Okavango Delta is the Okavango Panhandle to the northwest. This is a network of lakes, rivers, islands and forests consisting of five main arms.
Furthermore, the delta can be divided into the three areas “Eastern Delta”, “Inner Delta” and the area of the “Moremi Game Reserve”. During the rainy season the landscape is transformed into the largest inland delta in the world – with an area of 15,500 km².
The then suddenly blooming lush vegetation attracts countless animal species such as antelopes, wildebeest, lions, leopards, rhinos, cheetahs, warthogs, crocodiles, giraffes, hyenas, hippos, buffaloes, snakes, elephants and rhinos.
In the delta you move with the Mokoro – the old wooden dugout canoe – or meanwhile with modern Morokos made of plastic.
Although human dwellings were found in this delta in earlier times, only a few people live here today, because sleeping sickness and malaria are particularly common.
An exception is Maun, which is located in the north-west district on the edge of the delta. The population of this region is around 50,000. Almost all safaris into the Okavango Delta start from here. Since tourism is the livelihood for many of Maun’s residents, there is a lot of advertising for the safaris. One can only hope that this will not damage the ecosystem.
The Okawanga Delta was added to the list of UNESCO World Natural Heritage Sites in June 2014.
The second largest city of Botswana with almost 90,000 residents is an economically important city, but not of interest to tourists. Only a small museum about the Kalanga people and the proximity to the Makgadikgadi salt pans and the Tuli Block are reasons to visit Francistown.
Gaborone is the capital and largest city of Botswana with around 210,000 residents. It is located near the South African border and is one of the fastest growing cities in Africa. The city itself has little to offer in terms of tourism and is mainly used as a place for travelers to pass through quickly. Kasane Kasane has about 8,000 residents and is located in the Chobe National Park in the northeast of the country. This location is particularly interesting for through traffic to the Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe.
Maun has a population of around 45,000, making it the fifth largest city in Botswana. Maun is also known as Botswana’s tourist capital. This is due to the fact that many safari operators are based in the city, so a trip to the Okawango Delta is not a problem.
National Museum in Gaborone
The National Museum of Gaborone, located on Independence Avenue, has existed since 1968 and is well worth a visit due to the interesting collections on traditional arts and crafts. Works by local artists are shown in seven different departments.
Phuthadikabo Museum in Mochudi
The museum illustrates the history of the Bakgatla tribe.
University of Botswana
The University of Botswana, founded in 1982, is the only university in the country. It is divided into two campuses in Gaborone and one each in Francistown and Maun. There are currently around 15,700 students studying at the university’s six faculties. Subjects offered are humanities, social, engineering, economics and natural sciences as well as education and technology.
- Central Kalahari Game Reserve
- Chobe National Park in the Okavango Basin
- Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park
- Khutse Game Reserve
- Makgadikgadi Pans National Park
- Moremi game reserve
- Mokolodi Nature Reserve
- Nxai Pan National Park
More natural beauties
The Kalahari semi-desert covers over 52,800 km² of the country. This semi-arid savannah landscape has only been made accessible to tourists since 1998. Due to the low annual rainfall of less than 300 mm, an almost unique landscape has developed and preserved here. Red sand, dry grass and individual groups of trees characterize most of the landscape, which is the last habitat of the indigenous population, the San (Bushmen). Around 600 of the legendary Kalahai lions still live here. Of the 100,000 still existing Bushmen (San) with an almost 25,000 year old culture, around 60,000 live in Botswana and of these only around 600 live in the Kalahari semi-desert.
Makgadikgadi Salt Pans
The Makgadikgadi Salt Pans are located in the Kalahari semi-desert. These salty remains of one of the largest lakes in Africa, which existed here until around 20,000 years ago, stretch over an area of more than 12,000 km². After the spring rains, these salt pans (pans) are flooded, the desert blooms and attracts thousands of water birds, flamingos, pelicans and steppe animals. The remote rocky island of Kubu Island is overgrown with tall baobabs (baobabs).
The Tuli Block is a narrow strip of very fertile land along the Limpopo River in the triangle of Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe – in the southeast of Botswana. Here you can experience great canyons, dried-up rivers or marvel at the Solomon’s Wall exposed by nature. Here is the 450 km ² Mashatu Game Reserve (Mashatu Wildlife Reserve), the largest private game reserve in Southern Africa. Also the 75 km²large Tuli Game Reserve with its over 500 year old trees and the glowing Mashatu trees is worth a visit. Smaller farms converted into guest houses offer tourists visitors an excellent service. But the elephant population as well as leopards, hyenas and baboons are particularly spectacular. Game drives (only possible in combination with overnight stays) are therefore worthwhile, even at night. The multi-day Bush Walk Safaris (on foot) or on horseback are highly recommended.
National parks, reserves and protected areas
Chobe National Park in the Okavango Basin
With around 80,000 animals, Botswana has the largest elephant population in Africa, around two thirds of which live in this park.
It is divided into the Savuti Marsh, the Linyanti swamps, the Serondela plain and forests and the grassy landscape on the rivers.
The annual zebra migration is an attraction for various predators.
Large packs of hyenas and lions live in the dry Savuti Marsh.
Chobe National Park was established in 1967 as the first national park in Botswana. Today it covers an area of 10,566 km². The national park got its name after the river Chobe, which forms the northern border of the park.
The Chobe comes from Angola, where it is called the Kuando River. In addition to the elephants, one can find antelopes, buffalo, hippos, lions and crocodiles here.
In addition, around 440 listed bird species live here. The park is open to all year round on well-developed slopes with off-road vehicles. The provincial capital Kasane has become the starting point for most tourists in the national park. As the four-country corner of Sim-Sam-Nam-Bots (Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia and Botswana) is located here, you can combine a visit to the park with cross-border safaris, for example to Zambia or Namibia. The starting point for visits to the park and the surrounding area is the provincial metropolis of Kasane in the far north-east of the country.
About 12 km from Kasane is the border town of Kazungula, from where you can enter Zimbabwe or Zambia, for example to visit the Victoria Falls, which are about 60 km away.
Nxai Pan National Park
The Nxai Pan National Park is located north of the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park – on the northeastern edge of the Kalahari Desert halfway between Maun and Francis Town.
The park got its name from the hook-shaped metal rod (= Nxai), which was used to dig spring hares out of their underground passages.
The park covers an area of 2,578 km².
In the vicinity of the park are the Kudiakam Pan, the Nxai Pan and the Kgama Pan. These salt pans (pan = pan) belong to the Makgadikgadi salt pans system and are the remains of a large lake. In years with heavy rainfall, the salt pans can refill with water.
The park is located on the migration route of herds of animals between the Okavango Delta and Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe, or of the grasslands in and around Makgadikgadi Pans National Park. Therefore you only see these animals at certain times of the year.
During the rainy season, billy goats, elephants and zebras come to the park. But giraffes, impalas, kudu, spoonhounds, lions, black-backed jackals or springboks can be found here all the time. Next to the
The bird lover will find a great diversity of bird species. A special feature are the groups of baobab trees over 1,0000 years old and over 20 m high.
Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park
The Kalahari Gemsbok National Park in South Africa and the Gemsbok National Park in Botswana were merged in 1999 to form the Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park. The park thus extends over both two countries and covers a total area of 42,000 km2.
The park is home to African wildcats, wildebeest, giraffes, springboks, spring hares, oryx antelopes (gemsbok), ostriches, mongooses, meerkats and its numerous lions.
The very poisonous Cape Cobra also occurs here.
The geckos bark at sunset. the border crossing to Namibia (Mata-Mata), which was closed for a long time, has been reopened in 2007, so that the entire park can be explored.
The landscape of the park is extremely arid and large parts of the park consist only of sand dunes.
Wind turbines installed during the First World War still help to bring groundwater to the surface, so that a number of animals can live here.
You can see springboks, gourmets, wildebeest, red hartebeest and eland, and around 250 lions, spoonhounds, spotted hyenas and crown duikers live here.
There are also around 30 newly settled giraffes here.
It is possible to ride the famous dune landscapes of the Kalahari and the Wilderness Trail on a one-week tour. But this requires four-wheel drive vehicles. Since the opening of the Trans-Klahari Highway, the approach has become much easier.
Makgadikgadi Pans National Park
The Makgadikgadi Pans National Park, founded in 1992, is located in the north-west of the country – south of the Nxai-Pan National Park and covers an area of 4.87 km2.
In the west, the Boteti River forms the boundary of the park. Makgadikgadi means vast lifeless land. Because of the extreme lack of water, the area was almost never populated.
The park belongs to the approximately 16,000 km2 system of the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, which includes the Kudiakam Pan, Kgama Pan and Nxai Pan in the Nxai Pan National Park.
The salt pans are the remains of a large inland lake. In the event of heavy rainfall, the salt pans can fill up again with water. elephants, zebras and, in some waterholes, hippos live on the edges of the Boteti River. But only in the rainy season, when the salt pans are filled with water, there is a noteworthy number of animals, then the park also has a large variety of bird species.
Central Kalahari Game Reserve
The Central Kalahari Game Reserve covers an area of around 58,000 km2. According to its name, it is located in the center of the country. The park was established in 1961 and is located on the Kalahari sand desert.
The park’s landscape is mostly flat and covered with bushes, grass, sand dunes, and large trees. Four petrified rivers that are “petrified” traverse the area – including the Deception Valley, which began to form 16,000 years ago.
Here you can see the following animals: giraffes, saddleback hyenas, warthogs, cheetahs, wild dogs, leopards, lions, blue wildebeest, eland, billy goats, kudu and red hartebeest.
The Basarwa or San used to live here and roamed the region as nomadic hunters. As a result of resettlements, there are now only a few hundred.
Khutse Game Reserve
The Khutse Game Reserve, opened in 1971, covers an area of around 2,500 km2. In the language of the San – Bushmen, Khutse means something like: “Where you have to kneel down to drink”.
The reserve in the Kalahari borders the Central Kalahari Game Reserve in the north and is one of the less visited reserves in the country. It is part of an ancient river system that stretched in a northeastern direction to Lake Makgadikgadi. But today you can only see a few dry river beds and pans of these rivers.
Since there is practically hardly any water, only the animals live here that live on the barren grass and drink the water rich in minerals from the salt pans and lick the salts in the dry season. Still, there are large numbers of springboks and ostriches to be seen all year round.
During and some time after the rainy season you can find giraffes, oryx, eland, kudu, wildebeest, spdringbok, ibex, gray duiker, lions, leopards, cheetahs, jackals and numerous smaller mammals as well as numerous species of birds.
The best time to visit is after the rainy season, from December to April. It must be taken into account that there is no water or other goods for visitors, it must be purchased at the Ranger Camp. Around 100 Bushmen still live in the reserve, who have been hunters as they have always done.
Moremi game reserve
The Moremi Game Reserve (Moremi Game Reserve) in the Okavango Delta covers an area of 4871 km2. It was founded in 1963 to protect nature in part of the Okavango Delta.
In the reserve, mopane forests, dry savannahs alternate with swamps and grasslands. There are also permanent bodies of water here.
In no area of southern Africa is the animal density as great as here. Not least because of this, the reserve is one of the most popular visitor destinations in Botswana.
Mokolodi Nature Reserve
The Mokolodi Nature Reserve covers an area of only approx. 30 km2. The reserve is about 15 km south of the capital. The landscape of the reserve is very attractive and is home to many animals and a large variety of plants. The visitor can experience the following animals here: impalas, greater kudu, brown hyenas, waterbuck, warthogs, bear baboons, ibexes, crown ducks and black-backed jackals, as well as numerous animal species from South Africa such as the white rhinoceros, mountain reedbucks, zebras, red hartebeests, sable antelopes and antelopes Hippos. Tame elephants and cheetahs also live here.
The Kavango-Zambezi Conservation Area (KAZA) stretches across five countries in southern Africa, including Botswana, Angola, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The entire area covers an area of around 444,000 km² – which is roughly the area of Germany and Austria. The area has so far been largely spared from tourists. But nature lovers from all over the world are increasingly discovering this cross-border natural attraction with its fascinating flora and fauna.
The protected area serves the following four purposes in particular:
- The preservation of biodiversity
- Creation of development opportunities for the local population
- Promotion of tourism
- Secure peace in the region through cross-border cooperation.