Botswana's principal tourist attractions are its game reserves, with hunting and photographic safaris available. Other attractions include the Okavango Delta region, which during the rainy season is a maze of waterways, islands, and lakes. The tourism industry also helped to diversify Botswana's economy from traditional sources such as diamonds and beef and created 23,000 jobs in 2005.
Botswana offers the traveller a choice of accommodation options from top class tourist hotels, luxury lodges and safari camps, to budget guesthouses and camping grounds. The major tourist areas have a choice of private lodges, safari camps, and public camping sites.
A variety of cuisines are served in hotels and restaurants from local favourites and game meat, to continental and Asian dishes. There are also plenty of fast food outlets and small restaurants/takeaways offering local dishes. For the full collection of accommodation sources, you can browse at Tourism in Botswana - Africa Tourism Web Portal.
Central Kalahari Game Reserve is an extensive national park in the Kalahari desert of Botswana. Established in 1961 it covers an area of 52,800 km2, making it the second largest game reserve in the world. The park contains wildlife such as giraffe, brown hyena, warthog, cheetah, wild dog, leopard, lion, blue wildebeest, eland, gemsbok, kudu and red hartebeest.
Chobe National Park, in northwest Botswana, has one of the largest games concentration in Africa continent. By size, this is the third largest park of the country, after the Central Kalahari Game Reserve and the Gemsbok National Park, and is the most diverse. This is also the country's first national park.
Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is a large wildlife preserve and conservation area in southern Africa. The park straddles the border between South Africa and Botswana and comprises two adjoining national parks: Kalahari Gemsbok National Park in South Africa and Gemsbok National Park in Botswana. The total area of the park is 38000 km2 (14,668 mi2). Approximately three-quarters of the park lies in Botswana and one-quarter in South Africa.
The Botswana government's National Conservation Strategy and Tourism Policy was created to promote tourism while protecting wildlife areas. Citizens of the United States, South Africa, British Commonwealth countries, and most Western European countries do not need visas for stays of less than 91 days. Passports are required for travel in the country. Proof of yellow fever and cholera immunizations are required of tourists from infected areas.
The World Economic Forum report on Travel and Tourism Global Competitiveness ranked Botswana 88 out of 141 countries in its 2015 Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index. The same report praised Botswana's attractions, and the low rating was due to challenges confronting tourists, including lack of access to modern technologies, poor roads and communications.
In 1999, there were 2,100 hotel rooms with 3,720 beds and a 53% occupancy rate. 843,314 visitors arrived in Botswana that year with more than 720,000 from other African countries. Tourism revenues in the year 2000 totaled $313 million. In 2003, the US Department of State estimated the average daily cost of staying in Gaborone to be $129, compared to Kasane at $125. Costs may be as low as $50 in other regions of the country. Botswana is considered the safest country to visit in Africa.
Most visitors arriving to Botswana who stated holiday as their purpose of entry in 2014 came from the following countries of nationality:
|Total arrivals for holiday||274,701|
Most foreign nationals arriving to Botswana in 2014 for any purpose (holiday, business, returning residents, students, workers and visitors in transit) came from the following countries of nationality:
|Total in transit||591,545|
|Total returning residents||116,998|
|Total arrivals for holiday||274,701|
|Total arrivals for business||599,782|
|Total visiting friends and relatives||417,034|