Botswana - Tourism, travel, and recreation

Botswana's beautiful and well-stocked game reserves are its principal tourist attraction, with both hunting and photographic safaris available. Popular with tourists is the Okavango Delta region, which during the rainy season is a maze of waterways, islands, and lakes; it includes the Moremi Wildlife Refuge. Nearby is Chobe National Park. In all, eight national parks and game reserves cover almost 20% of the land area. The Kalahari Desert is another attraction, as are the country's tapestry weavers, potters, and rugmakers. The Tsodilo Hills have cave paintings by the ancestors of the Basarwa (Bushmen), the earliest known inhabitants of Botswana. The government's "National Conservation Strategy and Tourism Policy" is intended to promote tourism while protecting wildlife areas. Citizens of the US, South Africa, Commonwealth countries, and most Western European countries do not need visas for visits up to 90 days. Passports are required. Proof of yellow fever and cholera vaccinations are required of travelers from infected areas. Antimalarial precautions are advisable. As of 1999, there were 2,100 hotel rooms with 3,720 beds and a 53% occupancy rate. In 2000, tourism receipts totaled $313 million. In 1999, 843,314 visitors arrived in Botswana; more than 720,000 were from other African nations.

In 2003, the US Department of State estimated the daily cost of staying in Gaborone at $129. The estimated expenditure in Kasane was $125. In other regions, costs may be as low as $50 per day for food and lodging.

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