flag Botswana Botswana: Travelling

In this page: Entry Requirements | Organising Your Trip | Visiting | Living Conditions | Eating | Paying | Speaking | Useful Resources

 

Entry Requirements

Passport and Visa Service
Visa Information from the government of Botswana
Guidelines for Completing a Visa Application
For Further Information
Diplomatic Missions of Botswana
 
Check IATA Travel Website for visa requirements and health advices.
 

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Organising Your Trip

Means of Transport Recommended in Town

Recommendation
Combis (minibuses) and taxis are the main mode of transport in the capital city of Gaborone. Combis are recognisable by their colour (white) and the line they operate is painted on the front. They can be hailed along major roads or from the combi stand. Public (shared) taxis are recognisable by their blue number plates and circulate according to set routes (usually going to destinations with no combi service). Passengers can be picked up and dropped off only at designated stops marked 'bus/taxi stop'. Private taxis can also be identified by their blue number plates; however, they are harder to come by in the city as very few cruise the streets. It is better to book a private cab directly through a hotel. There is no daily passenger train operating within Gaborone.
Maps of Urban Networks
Gaborone Location Map

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Transportation From Airport to City Centre:


Airport

Distance

Taxi

Bus

Train

Car Rental
Sir Seretse Khama International Airport 15 km BWP 100-150/ 15 minutes No offical bus lines but hotels operate courtesy shuttle services - -

Means of Transport Recommended in the Rest of the Country

Recommendation
Botswana has a relatively extended public transport network; however, sparsely populated areas are hard to reach by bus or train. Public transport is also of little use to foreigners who visit the country for leisure as most of Botswana’s tourist attractions lie off the beaten track.
Buses and combis (white minibuses) operate between major towns and villages, especially the ones along the main roads. Buses are cheap, reliable and usually comfortable. Nevertheless, long-distance services are very rare, therefore most people travelling Gaborone (south) and Kasane (north), may need to transfer in Francistown (centre, west).
Passenger rail services were reintroduced in 2016. Trains operate between Lobatse (south) and Francistown, passing through the capital city of Gaborone. Connection is also available to Zimbabwe.

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Airlines

Name Type Domestic Flights International Flights
Air Botswana National Yes Yes
Mack Air Charter Yes Yes
Wilderness Air Charter Yes Yes

You Can Consult The EU Air Safety List. Look Also at the rating of the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

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Travelling By Yourself

Recommendation
Highways connecting major towns and district capitals are completely paved and safe to use. Trans-Kalahari Corridor Highway connects the country to Walvis Bay in Namibia and the Gauteng Province in South Africa. Roads are usually in good condition. However, occasional large potholes along the highway can slow down the journey. Animal crossings, including elephants, ostriches and giraffes, are very frequent and drivers must take caution. It is also recommended not to drive after dark as some animals are hard to see when they cross the highway. Petrol stations are very rare; therefore, it is better to top off the car when passing through a large town. There are various checkpoints along the highway (roughly every 200 km). Officials stop the cars to check registration and ensure they work in proper condition. Traffic jams are common in the capital city of Gaborone. However, they are much more manageable than in most parts of Africa.
Road Maps
University of Texas - Botswana Maps
Area-by-area Botswana Maps
Find an Itinerary
Via Michelin Botswana Road Map
Ezilon Botswana Road Network Map

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Visiting

Different Forms of Tourism

Historical
Most of historical sites in Botswana date back to the British colonial rule; however, there are also older sites from the Greater Zimbabwe period. One example is the site of Domboshaba located in the northeast of the country. The site contains cement-less stone walls dating back to the 15th century. Old Palapye, in eastern Botswana, artefacts from the Middle Stone Age, the Late Stone Age, the Early Iron Age, but also from the colonial era. The site was also one of the earliest meeting points between Europeans and the Batswana people. Serowe, in the Central District, is the birthplace of Botswana's founding father and first president Sir Seretse Khama and is home to the Khama III Memorial Museum. Manyana, near the capital city of Gaborone, is a rock painting site that includes giraffe, antelope, human figures and geometric designs, dating from between 12th and 18th centuries.
Cultural
Gabane, a village 15 km away from the capital city of Gaborone, is home to cultural sites where visitors can experience local arts and crafts. The village is home to pottery studios and the Pelegano Village Industry that includes a glass factory, metal works and a sorghum milling plant. Thamaga, located southwest of Gaborone, is another village known for its pottery. Francistown, the second largest city, is home to the Supa Ngwao Museum which hosts exhibitions on the culture and history of the Kalanga people, as well as visuals from the early years of the city and Botswana.
Nature
Botswana's nature is the main attraction for many tourists that visit the country each year. The wildlife is one of the unique in Africa and most nature reserves are easily accessible, which makes the country an ideal destination for safari. Okavango Delta, part of UNESCO's World Heritage, is an inland river delta that is home to the world's most endangered mammals, including cheetah and white rhinoceros. The Delta boasts numerous reserves and parks, including Moremi Game Reserve and Chobe National Park. Central Kalahari Game Reserve, larger than the Netherlands and almost 10% of Botswana's total land area, is the second largest game reserve in the world. Mokolodi Nature Reserve, near the capital city of Gaborone and Khama Rhino Sanctuary are among other natural sites to visit in Botswana.
Religious
While the Batswana are predominantly Christian, the country is home to major Hindu temples, including ISKCON Sri Sri Krishna Balaram Mandir and Sri Balaji Temple. Christ the King Cathedral in the capital city of Gaborone, is another major religious site visited by tourists.
Thermal
Botswana is not rich in mineral and thermal water; however, the city of Kasane (north) has hot springs that are located within a wildlife corridor.
Beach
There are no beaches in Botswana as it is a landlocked country.
Winter Sports
The climate of Botswana is not suitable for winter sports.
Outdoor Activities
Safari is by far the most popular outdoor activity in Botswana. Some safari sites also include private camps located next to wildlife hotspots. Mokoro (dugout canoes) safari through the water trails of Okavango Delta is another popular outdoor activity. There are also expeditions that include cultural activities, such as the Bushman safari to meet the San people, members of various indigenous hunter-gatherer groups.
Shopping
Some of the major handicrafts/gift items to buy in Botswana include: Lentswe-la-Oodi wall tapestries, Kalahari quilts, hand-dyed textiles, San jewellery and baskets, and pottery.
Tourism Organisations
Botswana Tourism Organisation

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Living Conditions

Health and Safety

Health Precautions
WHO and foreign ministries of various countries recommend the following vaccines before entering Botswana: Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Hepatitis B, Malaria and Rabies, and vaccine against yellow fever if travelling from a country with risk of yellow fever transmission.
For Further Information on Sanitary Conditions
CDC - Health Information for Travelers to Botswana
For Further Information on Safety Conditions
U.S. Department of State - Botswana Travel Information
Government of Canada - Botswana Travel Advice
OSAC - Botswana Crime and Safety Report
Centres for Disease Control and Prevention - Botswana Health Information
Foreign and Commonwealth Office - Botswana Travel Advice
 

Emergency Numbers

Ambulance 997
Police 999
Fire Brigade 998
Medical Rescue 911
 

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Time Difference and Climate

Time and Time Difference
It is %T:%M %A In Gaborone (GMT+2)
Summer Time Period
None
 

Map of the Time Zone

Time zone

Type of Climate
The climate in Botswana is semi-arid, with hot and dry weather throughout most of the year. The rainy season runs through summer months, with January and February being the peak months while October and April are regarded as transitional months. Rainfall tends to be erratic, unpredictable and regional. It can reach a maximum of over 650 mm in the extreme northeast area of the Chobe District and a minimum of 250 mm in the extreme southwest part of Kgalagadi District. Winter begins in May and ends in August. Winter days are invariably sunny and cool to warm; however, evening and night temperatures can drop below freezing point in some areas, especially in the southwest.
For Further Information
Botswana Tourism Organisation
 

Average Annual Temperatures and Rainfall

Climate

 

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Eating

Food Specialties
The cuisine of Botswana shares some characteristics with other cuisines of Southern Africa and as such, most dishes are based on meat and maize. Seswaa is among the most popular local culinary specialties in Botswana. The dish consists of meat stew served over thick polenta or pap. The stew is made by boiling meat for two hours (mostly by men) with onion and pepper. The food is then served with a leafy green called Morogo. Goat meat, which is often stewed is the second most popular meat after beef. Bogobe, a sorghum porridge, is another popular dish and is often eaten at breakfast. Vetkoek, fried dough bread introduced by the Afrikaners, is another popular dish. Mopane worm, an edible caterpillar, is mostly served in rural areas.
Drinks
Botswana boasts a variety of non-wheat beers, as other parts of Southern Africa. Bojalwa jwa Setswana is the traditional beer brewed from fermented sorghum seeds. Millet and maize beer is also a popular beverage, especially in smaller cities, towns and villages. Madila (sour milk) is one of the most popular soft drinks in Botswana. Made from fermented milk, the drink can be consumed on its own or added to porridge. Homemade ginger beer is another soft drink that is widely consumed in Botswana.
Dietary Restrictions
None

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Paying

Domestic Currency
Botswana Pula
ISO Code
BWP
To Obtain Domestic Currency
Foreign currency may be exchanged at banks, forex bureaus, and authorised hotels. The US dollar, Euros, British Pound and the South African Rand are the most easily convertible currencies.
Possible Means of Payment
ATMs accept most foreign cards; however, they are mostly found in larger towns and cities. Cultural sites and local art and craft shops tend to accept cash only.

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Speaking

Official Language
English, Tswana
Other Languages Spoken
Kalanga, Sekgalagadi, Shona
Business Language
English
Getting Some Knowledge
Peace Corps Guide gives an introduction into the Setswana Language.
Free Translation Tools
Setswana-English Oxford Dictionary :

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Latest Update: June 2022