How would you rate Air Botswana?

Jan 28th, 2005, 04:23 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553
How would you rate Air Botswana?

I am researching the flight schedules of Air Botswana (although they are listed as such for 2003/2004 on their website).

One drawback to visiting Botswana this year over Zambia, is that I will be sacrificing a free add-on r/t flight in Business Class from Joburg to Lusaka.

SAA does not fly to Maun...only to Victoria Falls. If I decide to visit Makalolo Plains and Victoria Falls, SAA may still work out. It would be something like:

Matetsi, halfway between Victoria Falls and Kasane on Zim side or Kwando Songwe Village on Zambian side of Vic Falls (2)
Kwando Lagoon (4)
Kwando Kwara (4)
Makalolo Plains (4)
V&A Waterfront Marina Luxury Self Catering Apartment (5)

I don't know if Makalolo Plains will measure up to Kwando, but I would much rather end with Makalolo Plains than Matetsi/Songwe Village.

However, if I decided to skip Zimbabwe/Victoria Falls, altogether, I would probably then fly Air Botswana and it would look something like this:

Westcliff Hotel, Joburg (2)
Kwando Lagoon (3)
Kwando Lebala (3) (Lebala and Lagoon are close enough that six nights between the two would be more than enough, while Kwara would justify a fourth night)
Kwando Kwara (4)
Cape Town (5)

With this itinerary, I would be best off flying on Air Botswana, if my dates matched up, as it is only through AB that I would be able to go directly from Maun to Cape Town, getting me there at a reasonable hour.

I would shorten my itinerary by a couple days or maybe add a couple nights specifically in the Cape Winelands or Hermanus.

Also, I had been concerned with not visiting the Linyati area, but the nearest camps to Duma Tau in Linyati, may actually be Kwando Lagoon and Kwando Lebala, so I should get a similar experience. It is just so hard for me to understand the distance between the camps.

Just trying to learn Botswana, after focusing on Zambia the last couple years.

Anyway, if anybody is still with me, what has been your experience with Air Botswana. I need a reliable airline that is going to get me to my destinations somewhat on-time.

Roccco is offline  
Jan 28th, 2005, 04:55 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440

Either of those itineraries would be game-packed. Other than Bongos and Bonobos, you should see it all!

My one Air Botswana experience was in 1998. Minutes before boarding a Maun- Joburg Air Botswana flight, the plane took off without any of its approximately 75 passengers. We were told that "dignataries needed to use the plane in Vic Falls." That's the problem with not being a dignatary! A replacement plane did not materialize for about 5 hours, resulting in numerous missed connecting flights out of Joburg. My connection was back to the US and I was delayed fortunately only one day & night because my travel agent was able to rustle up another flight for me. Others were not so lucky and spent a bit more time in an airport hotel in Johannesburg.

Having recounted that horror story of delays, I am scheduled on two Air Botswana flights in August. Pick any airline and any destination and you can find many tales of woe. I wouldn't let one airline be the deciding factor in your itinerary, although it is wise of you to take it into consideration.

From your past postings it appears as though you will be making annual pilgrimages to Africa. If so, you could
save Makalolo for another time when you might do just Zimbabwe, minimizing some of the transportation time, cost, and issues. If your heart is set on Makalolo, then of course such a minor inconvenience as country to country travel is meaningless.

atravelynn is offline  
Jan 29th, 2005, 01:51 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 1,895
We used Air Botswana from JNB-Maun in Aug. 2003 with no problems whatsoever. I believe it was a 10 or 11 am flt.
moremiles is offline  
Jan 29th, 2005, 03:44 PM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,766

Have flown Air Bots three with only one problem encountered and one special favor to us.

Problem was last September, our flight from Maun to Jo'burg deeveloped engine trouble so we set down in Gaberone and had about an hour and a half delay. They told us what was going on and soon had a replacement plane and we go to Jo'Burg in plenty of time for our connection, though without as much time in the Virgin lounge as we are used to, and little time to shop.

In October 2003 we were connecting from Chiefs Camp to Mashatu via Kasane and due to a mix up we arrived very late at Kasane, they held the flight for us, but we were taxiing down the runway as we got into our seats.

I am not sure I would spend ten days just in the Kwando concession. We went to Lagoon last year and it was ou most disappointing experience so far. It was good but there were several issues.

Tents are very close and so not much privacy. Food good not great. Game not bad, did see a Cheetah kill, but our guide totally blew it. We took up position where it was likely that the encircling Cheetah's would push Impala toward the third Cheetah right next to us. Our guide turned off the engine and said we needed to be patient, none of us were first timers, so not a problem. Less than a minute later he switched on the engine and headed off after the encirclers, with the result that the Impala ran straight at the spot we vacated and one was taken down. Just prior to this while looking for the Cheetah, my wife spotted a Leopard, as we drove towards him, he evaded us and so instead of hanging back we pursued him with another vehicle - way too pushy and with the result we lost the Leopard - and so probably will everyone else for some time, this was no way to habituate a shy young Leopard. In our opinion it was unacceptable.

Our guide was not as forthcoming with information as we like and spent more time joking with the tracker.

We did have great luck with unusual sightings here though, Caracal, Serval and Honey Badger.

One more thing the vehicles hold six in close quarters and we saw many of them with six people looking very squashed - not much room for extra layers, camera gear etc.

Lagoon to Lebala is about two hours so you will cover a lot of the same ground.

I would recommend thinking about Savuti which is awesome, particularly with the hide or Selinda which I've heard good things about. And of course there is always the Delta.

And whats a trip to Botswana without small plane flights feeling like your about to lose your lunch!
napamatt is offline  
Feb 1st, 2005, 08:09 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 207
We booked our original flights based on the Air Botswana schedule. Before our flights were ticketed. The AB flight was canceled. We had to rework our itinerary by changing the order of our camps.
We were able to make it work, but it caused a little concern.
Our scheduled flights were on time. No issues after ticketing.
JackieSun is offline  

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