In Africa, Botswana is a wild and dramatic land characterized not only by its bountiful wildlife, but also by its extraordinary scenery.Every visitor to Botswana must be in possession of a passport that is valid until six months after the initial date of travel; however, no visas are required by citizens of EU countries, most Commonwealth countries, the USA, South Africa, Switzerland, Israel and Norway. The history of Botswana is characterized by migrations of peoples into the country from the north and west and particularly from the east and south, as well as internal movements of groups of people. The group which eventually emerged as most numerous, and dominant, were the Batswana. Their pattern of dividing and migrating saw the formation of numerous Tswana tribes, and their eventual occupation of all areas of the country. The term “Batswana” refers to the ethnic group of people who speak the Setswana language and share the Sotho-Tswana culture, while in its common contemporary usage, it refers to all citizens of the Republic of Botswana, regardless of their ethnic background. The singular is “Motswana”: a citizen of the country. “Tswana” is used as an adjective – for example “Tswana state” or “Tswana culture”. With an area of 582,000 sq km the country is slightly larger than France, or slightly smaller than the U.S. state of Texas. Approximately two-thirds of the country lies within the Tropics. Botswana is well known for having some of the best wilderness and wildlife areas on the African continent. 38% of its total land area are devoted to national parks, reserves and wildlife management areas. The country is sparsely populated because up to 70% of the country is covered by the Kalahari Desert, the vast arid to semi-arid landscape in Southern Africa covering much of Botswana and parts of Namibia and South Africa. Botswana’s population of under 2 million people (in 2015) is concentrated in the eastern part of the country. The national currency of Botswana is the Pula – a regionally strong currency – but the US dollar is widely accepted at lodges and hotels throughout the country. Major hotels have foreign exchange desks and most shops, lodges and travel agencies will accept traveler’s cheques. All major credit cards are accepted at hotels, lodges, shops and restaurants. However, some establishments do not accept payment by Diners or American Express. When packing for a Botswana safari, practicality is key. In the summer months, daytime temperatures can exceed 40°C, so shorts and t-shirts are best, with a longer shirt for protection against the sun if you burn easily. Choose clothing in neutral colors (try to avoid white) and wear lightweight long-sleeved clothing at night and in the early mornings to protect against mosquitoes. During the cooler months it is best to layer up as the days are still warm and sunny but the night time temperatures can drop close to freezing point. Be sure to pack a thick fleece or jacket for early morning and evening game drives, which can be very cold.