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Botswana is a landlocked country in Southern Africa and is sandwiched between three countries: Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Botswana is a true gem among African nations, boasting a remarkable level of wealth and tranquility that few other countries on the continent can match. With its high standard of living and extremely low crime rates, Botswana has established itself as an oasis of stability amidst the many challenges faced by its neighbours.

But Botswana is much more than just a peaceful haven. This captivating country is also home to a wealth of attractions that are sure to delight any traveller. From the stunning Tsodilo Hills and Chobe National Park to the Moremi Game Reserve in the Okavango Delta and the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, there is no shortage of natural wonders to explore.

Come along and experience all that this mesmerising country has to offer!



There are only two major cities in Botswana, being Francistown and Gaborone which is also the capital city.

Other destinations

  • 1 Okavango Delta - A unique geological formation where a delta is formed by a river (the Okavango) flowing into the Kalahari desert instead of the ocean. Part of the Delta is designated as Moremi Game Reserve
  • 2 Central Kalahari Game Reserve
  • Chobe National Park - a great place to see wildlife with the greatest concentration of elephants in Africa, and a good point from which to move on to Victoria Falls.
  • 4 Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
  • 5 Nxai Pan National Park
  • 6 Northern Tuli Game Reserve - a unique corner of Africa where nature & culture combine in spectacular wildlife, stunning scenery and fascinating history
  • 7 Tsodilo – contains rock art that has been made for over 100,000 years, with around 4,500 rock paintings.

See also African National Parks



Botswana was never really colonised by the Europeans: instead in 1885, John Mackenzie, who was a Scottish Christian missionary, argued for the land and human rights of the tribe of Bamangwato which he worked really close with. He believed the territory of the Ngwato was being threatened by the Boers to the south who were then capturing and settling in Areas owned by the African tribes. Because of this he and the three chiefs of the three major tribes travelled to Britain to negotiate for the establishment of what became the Bechuanaland Protectorate, to be ruled directly from Britain. As a protectorate rather than a British colony, the local Tswana rulers were left in power, and British administration was limited to the police force to protect Bechuanaland's borders against other European colonial ventures and the Boers. In June 1964, the British queen accepted proposals for a democratic self-government in the protectorate. In 1966 the protectorate came to be known as the Republic of Botswana as it had gained independence from the British. The country now celebrates Independence Day on the 30th of September annually.

Upon gaining independence Botswana was one of the poorest countries in Africa. The country discovered diamonds shortly after, and transformed itself into one of the fastest growing economies in the world. As of 2016, the country contributes just a little over 31.6 million carats of diamonds to the world's diamond industry.



Botswana has been a stable representative democracy since independence and has been largely devoid of the racial and ethnic conflict some of its neighbours have suffered from — perhaps due in part to the relative dominance of its majority Tswana ethnic group. Since the turn of the century, thousands of Zimbabweans have sought sanctuary and economic betterment.

One of the poorest countries at independence, Botswana transformed itself into one of the fastest-growing economies in the world with a GDP (purchasing power parity) per capita of about USD14,000 per annum. In contrast to the sad situation of its eastern neighbour, Zimbabwe, kleptocracy has been absent and Botswana now also has the second highest Human Development Index of all continental Sub-Saharan African countries.

Public holidays

The public holidays in Botswana are:

  • New Year's Day
  • Easter weekend ("Good Friday", "Holy Saturday", "Easter Sunday" and "Easter Monday"): a four day long weekend in March or April set according to the Western Christian dates)
  • Workers Day (1 May)
  • Sir Seretse Khama Day (1 July)
  • President's Day (Mid July)
  • Independence Day (30 September)
  • Christmas Day (25 December)
  • Boxing Day (26 December)
  • The first Monday after Christmas is also a public holiday.


The Tswana, for whom Botswana is named, comprise 79% of the population. The principal Tswana tribes are:

  • Bafokeng
  • Bakwena
  • Balete
  • Bangwato
  • BaNgwaketse
  • Barolong
  • Bataung
  • Batlhaping
  • Batlôkwa

The tribes of Bakwena, Bangwato and Bangwaketse are all related, they were formed in the 17th century when three brothers, Kwena, Ngwaketse and Ngwato, broke away from their father, Chief Malope, to establish their own tribes, this due to a drought and search for new pastures and arable land.

Other than the Tswana tribes, there is also the Kalanga who reside in the northeast side of Botswana near Zimbabwe, the Ndebele, the Khoi and San who make about 13% of country's total population, the remaining 8% is made up of several groups which even include Boer descendants, Kgalagadi, whites etc.


See also: Tswana phrasebook

The official languages of Botswana are English and Tswana.

Tswana is the country's national language and usually serves as people's first language.

You are not really pressured to learn Tswana as English is widely used in everyday business. Almost everyone you encounter will speak and understand English, so it won't be that hard to converse with the locals, but it is also best to learn a bit of Tswana, just to be on the safe side.

A lot of older people in rural areas might understand a bit of English but won't speak it very well.

Get in

Entry requirements

Unlike more stiff necked administrations such as India, Pakistan, Nigeria and China, the Botswana government has not erected high bureaucratic barriers to enrichment from tourism.

Citizens of Commonwealth countries do not need a visa to visit except those from Bangladesh, Cameroon, Ghana, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.

Citizens of European Union countries, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland do not require a visa to visit.

Citizens of Argentina, Angola, Bahrain, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, Mexico, Oman, Paraguay, Peru, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, South Sudan, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United States of America, Uruguay, Venezuela, Zimbabwe do not require a visa to visit.

For citizens of other nations, a visa must be obtained prior to arrival and this usually takes about a week to process.

Visas can be applied for at a Botswana embassy in Australia, Belgium, Brazil, China, Ethiopia, India, Japan, Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Zambia, Zimbabwe and at the United Nations in New York City, USA.

If you require a visa to enter Botswana, you might be able to apply for one at a British embassy, high commission or consulate in the country where you legally reside if there is no Botswana diplomatic post. The UK Government website lists UK embassies around the world where Commonwealth visas can be issued. British diplomatic posts charge £50 to process a Botswana visa application and an extra £70 if the authorities in Botswana require the visa application to be referred to them. The authorities in Botswana can also decide to charge an additional fee if they correspond with you directly.

By plane

Botswana's main airport is Sir Seretse Khama International Airport which is located roughly 15 kilometres (9 mi) north of downtown Gaborone , which has international flights from Zimbabwe, South Africa, Namibia, Kenya and Ethiopia. The airport in Maun can also be reached via Johannesburg, Cape Town, or Gaborone and, once a day, from Windhoek, Namibia. The distance between Gaborone and Maun is more than 1,000 km. Maun is very much a tourist attraction spot.

Airlines that fly to Gaborone are:

  • Air Botswana from Harare, Victoria Falls, Lusaka, Johannesburg, Cape Town.
  • Airlink from Johannesburg.
  • Ethiopian Airlines via Addis Ababa from Europe, Asia, Africa.
  • Kenya Airways via Nairobi from Europe, Asia, Africa.
  • TAAG Angola Airlines from Luanda.

By train

Trains from South Africa have been withdrawn since 1999. For domestic train service, see #Get around.

By car

There are several entry points by road to Botswana: in the south at Gaborone, providing access from Johannesburg; in the west providing access from Namibia; the north providing access from Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe; and at Francistown in the east, providing access from Harare. All road access is good and the primary roads within Botswana are paved and well maintained.

Possibly the busiest border crossing from South Africa is the Kopfontein/Tlokweng border crossing, as it is only a few minutes from the capital of Botswana. As a result, it is open for a long period of time, and has a large number of trucks travelling through.

Coming from Namibia, you can either go north to Maun, or south along the Trans-Kalahari Highway to Lobatse.

All foreign registered vehicles entering Botswana are required to pay a National Road Safety Fund levy, and a Road Transport Permit levy. The amounts for a vehicle up to 3,500 kg and up to 15 seats are P50 for the safety fund and P52 for the transport permit. Be aware that from August 2019 onwards, foreign currencies are not accepted anymore because of the exchange costs associated with them. Credit cards are accepted. This information can be obtained from www.burs.org.bw, sections customs and excise, clearance of motor vehicles.

By international bus

There is regular bus service from Johannesburg to Gaborone, which takes six hours. Intercape Mainliner is one of the bus lines to Gaborone from Johannesburg.

There are also buses to Gaborone from Zimbabwe, and to Gaborone from Windhoek, Namibia.

  • Monnakgotla travel have buses twice a week to Gaborone from Windhoek Namibia.
  • Metrolyn bus lines have buses to Gaborone from Harare Zimbabwe.
  • T J Motlogelwa Expess have buses to Gaborone from Johannesburg twice a day.

By ferry

From Kazungula in Zambia you can cross the Zambezi River with ferry to the eponymous town in Botswana.

Get around

Very few locals know street names and addresses, and you are likely to have to get directions in terms of landmarks. Botswana doesn't have a postal delivery system to addresses (just to centralised mail collection points), so even when streets are well-marked, the names may be unfamiliar to residents.

Through a combination of coaches and combies (minivans) and taxies, you can get anywhere in Botswana without any trouble, though public transport is spotty away from big cities and major routes but hitchhiking is popular and very easy. However, hitchhiking should only be done in desperate circumstances, as Botswana driving is often very erratic and it can be a harrowing experience to have a stranger drive you somewhere. It is advisable to arrive at the bus station quite early, as the buses do fill up quickly, and it is not uncommon to spend several hours standing in the aisle waiting for a seat to free up (remember to bring water, as the buses are often not air conditioned).Apart from Public transport you can opt to call a private cab which can take you anywhere you want in around and around the city, phone numbers for cabs can be found anywhere around the city in pamphlets pasted on bus stops or can be found in notice boards mainly located in shopping malls.

By taxi

Taxis are the most common way to travel,the taxis can only travel on designated routes so its best to ask first where the taxi is heading and where it makes its stops, taxis can only travel in the city it is in,ie you cant catch a taxi in a specific city and intend to travel outside that specific city with that taxi.Taxis as of 2022 cost only P9.00 which roughly equals 0.80 US Dollars

By car

The roads are paved and well maintained, so travel by car is also not a problem. Traffic is on the left. Much of the road network outside urban areas is unpaved and requires four-wheel drive vehicles. There are no signposts in rural areas, so independent travellers are advised to use a GPS device. In sparsely populated areas, at least two vehicles should be used. Car accidents are common.

It is advisable to ensure in advance that you have fuel and water for your next destination, as well as a spare tyre. When travelling at night, watch out for sleeping donkeys, cows and other animals on the roads.

The Trans-Kalahari Highway is an old cattle route, now newly paved and easily drivable with a 2-wheel drive. It runs from Lobatse to Ghanzi in Botswana, making the connection from Windhoek, Namibia to Gaborone, Botswana. It is a long and uneventful drive, but you get a good feel for the Kalahari Desert. Fuel is available in Kang at the Kang Ultra Shop, which also offers a respectable selection of food, overnight chalets, and inexpensive camping.

By bus

Every city in Botswana has its own bus station and set of bus stops where you can catch a bus to any part of the country surrounding the city where you initially boarded the bus. From Gaborone you can travel by bus to practically any major city around the country. If you intend to board a bus in a city except Gaborone, it is best to first ask a local where you can catch the bus as most cities bus stations and bus stops aren't easy to find using only a GPS or a map.It is also best to inquire first about the bus fare of the bus you intend to board as buses have different fares depending on where you board the bus and where you intend to get off.

The buses on major routes are pretty nice compared to many other African countries, but still not exactly luxurious: 5 sometimes 4, non-reclining seats in a row, little leg-room and no bathrooms (however, they generally make frequent stops that are long enough to use a bathroom and buy some food). Smaller buses are even less comfortable and more likely to fill up completely. If travelling during the winter (Jun, Jul, and Aug) make sure to dress in layers, since it is freezing cold in the morning and toasty hot in the afternoon.
Most smaller buses do not have any air-conditioning, and sometimes you might need to carry some of your luggage with you as smaller buses have limited space for putting your luggage,this might make your journey a little uncomfortable,so think ahead...be early to secure spots for your luggage.

By train

Botswana Railways operates all trains in the country. The main line goes from Lobatse, near the South African border, via Gaborone to Francistown at the Zimbabwean border. Passenger trains stopped operating in 2009 but were introduced again shortly after, in 2016.


Wildlife is Botswana's main draw. Wildlife parks compose nearly one-fifth of the country. In these parks you will find lions, cheetahs, crocodiles, hippos, elephants, antelope, wild dogs, and hundreds of species of birds. Visitors can take safaris and stay in lodges running the gamut from inexpensive dorms for backpackers with tour buses to $1,000+/night private lodges with your own maid & driver.

Among Southern Africa's most impressive—and popular—wildlife destinations is the Okavango Delta where the Okavango River widens into the world's largest inland delta. Lying in the middle of the arid Kalahari, the swamps & water channels attract animals from thousands of kilometres around and triples in size (to 100,000 km2!) during floods in July and August. Nearby Chobe National Park has a large population of elephants and it's also easy to spot many of Africa's well-known species, especially zebras and lions. The bleak salt pans of Makgadikgadi Pans National Park attract a large number and variety of birds year-round. Other great game parks include Nxai Pan National Park, Mokolodi Nature Reserve, & Gemsbok National Park.

Most of the native tribes in Botswana only dress in traditional outfits and perform for tourists. The villages of D'Kar and Xai-Xai have many offerings, including arts, crafts, and the opportunity to participate in various performances. Tsodilo Hills contain one of the largest collections of rock art on the continent.The perfect time to witness all the tribes in one place performing would be in mid July during the national arts festival but also if you want to see a more specific tribe it would be best to attend their own unique festival most notably the Dithubaruba Cultural Festival held annually for 2 days by the Kwena tribe in Kweneng region in September. The Bakgatla tribe also have their own unique culture festival which is usually held after a successful farming season.




Botswana's currency is the pula, denoted by the symbol "P" (ISO 4217 code: BWP). It is subdivided into 100 thebe. Pula means "rain" in Setswana (rain is very scarce in Botswana - home to much of the Kalahari Desert - and therefore valuable and a "blessing"). Thebe means "shield".

Banknotes of P10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 denomination circulate,coins circulating start from 5thebe(5t),they are 5t, 10t, 25t, 50t, P1, P2 and P5. The pula is one of the strongest and most stable currencies in Africa.

click here to see how you can identify the Banknotes and coins.


The cuisine of Botswana is unique but also shares some characteristics with other cuisine of Southern Africa. Examples of Botswana food include Pap, Samp, Vetkoek and Mopane worms.

A food unique to Botswana includes Seswaa, a meat dish made of beef, goat or lamb meat. The fatty meat is generally boiled until tender in any pot, with "just enough salt", and shredded or pounded. It is often served with pap (maize meal) or sorghum meal porridge.


Many soft drinks and alcohol drinks are produced in factories in Botswana, including Fanta and Coca-Cola. Local brands are Castle and Lion beers. Milk is fermented to make madila (sour milk) which is eaten on its own or added to porridge. A favourite non alcoholic home made drink is ginger beer. A local company Native Foods also produces a variety of refreshments including Mosukujane Iced Tea.


Most of the accommodation establishments in Botswana are located near the larger towns and cities, but there are also many secluded game lodges tucked away in the wilderness areas.


The University of Botswana is in Gaborone and Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST) is in Palapye . A number of private tertiary instituations such as Limkokwing University, Botho University, Boitekanelo College, Ba-Isago University also offers a variety programs for study.

Stay safe

People in Botswana are very friendly and the crime rate is low. Nevertheless, crime has been on the rise over the past several years, so always be aware of your surroundings. Basic common sense will keep you safe from the predatory wildlife in rural areas. Botswana is one of the safest countries in Africa, no civil war, less corruption, more human rights, no natural disasters e.g. earthquakes or tsunamis.


Drug trafficking is punished by a mandatory prison sentence. This is important for you to know because if you need to take prescription drugs into Botswana, you will have to show a prescription for each medication and if undeclared, you may be subject to a fine or even worse,a prison sentence, since any type of drug smuggling is entirely frowned upon.

Stay healthy

Generally speaking, medical care in Botswana is quite good compared to other African countries. Botswana has a universal healthcare system and the vast majority of Botswana live within five kilometers of a healthcare facility. Cities like Gaborone have wonderful hospitals, but quality healthcare is non-existent in rural areas.

In case of an emergency and you want to be assisted quickly, it is best to find a private hospital rather than a government hospital, though this might cost you. If it's a small emergency that doesn't need medical attention quickly, it is best to go to a government owned hospital/clinic.

If you run out of your prescription pills/medicines and you have a form of proof that you need them, be it a letter from your doctor or your prescription bill, you can go to the nearest pharmacy (dubbed chemist by locals) and present your proof to the Pharmacist so they can assist. The fee depends on the pills/medicine you need.

Perhaps the biggest health danger is HIV/AIDS. Botswana has been experiencing one of the most severe HIV/AIDS epidemics in the world. As of 2022, the country's HIV/AIDS prevalence rate among adults is at 22.2%, which is the third highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rate in the world. Take the necessary precautions, including not sharing needles and never having unprotected sex. If you form a serious relationship with a local, you both should consider getting an HIV test before taking things further.

The northern part of Botswana, including Chobe National Park and the Okavango Delta is in a malaria zone, so it is advisable to take the relevant precautions. Seek medical advice before travelling to these areas; vaccines such as typhoid and hepatitis A+B (if not already immune) are usually recommended. Oral vaccines are also suggested for prevention of diarrhea and cholera.

Water in urban and semi-urban areas is chlorinated, and is drunk from the tap by the local population. Still, short term visitors should drink bottled water to avoid traveller's diarrhoea. Outside of urban and semi-urban areas, the water is contaminated, and should not be used for drinking, ice-cubes, teeth cleaning, or eating washed unpeeled fruits and vegetables.


Botswana's country code is +267 which was allocated to the country by the International Telecommunications Union in the late 1960s, Fixed line numbers in Botswana are seven digits long in a closed telephone numbering plan, with the geographical area being indicated by the first two or three digits, meaning that there are no area codes.

Calling formats

xx xxxxx or xxx xxxxx – calling within Botswana
+267 xx xxxxx or +267 xxx xxxxx - calling from outside Botswana
[countrycode] Areacode][Phonenumber] - if calling an international number from within Botswana.

click here for an extended page on Botswana phone numbers and how to call to and from Botswana.

As of 2022 the government is working on installing free public WiFi in shopping malls and several government owned facilities, so you there's high chance of you stumbling upon free WiFi while shopping for stuff. Apart from free public WiFi, several shopping malls and shops have their own free WiFi dubbed WiFi Hot-spots for their customers, even though this kind of WiFi is free. You can only use it for about 15minutes ie per phone, if that time expires you might need to buy a token if you still want to connect.
Libraries also have free WiFi, each library has a set of desktop computers available for anyone who wants to use them. There are also plenty of internet cafes with desktop computers available if you don't feel like going to a library or if you can't find one.

Depending on the internet provider, the speed of the WiFi you've connected to can be fast or slow. If you're using public free WiFi there's a high chance that you're not the only one on that WiFi, so it will definitely be slow.

You can also buy personal internet data bundles using your phone, depending on what mobile telecommunications company you bought your sim-card from internet speed can be fast or slow also depending on where you are in the country (4G speed in and around the big cities and 3G and even 2G speed in very rural areas).

Exercise normal security precautions

The decision to travel is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your personal safety abroad. The purpose of this Travel Advice is to provide up-to-date information to enable you to make well-informed decisions.

Most Canadian visitors to Botswana do not experience problems, as Botswana is politically and economically stable, with no recent violent civil disturbances.


Pickpocketing, thefts and “smash and grab” robberies are on the rise in the country. You should not show signs of affluence and should remain aware of your surroundings. Avoid walking alone after dark, particularly in urban and peri-urban areas.

Carry a photocopy of your passport with you at all times, and keep your original document in safekeeping facilities. It is also advisable to leave a photocopy of your travel documents with a relative or a friend at home.


Demonstrations occur and have the potential to suddenly turn violent. They can lead to significant disruptions to traffic and public transportation. Avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings, follow the advice of local authorities and monitor local media.

Wild animals

Wild animals can pose risks. Observe all local or park regulations and instructions given by tour guides. Wildlife areas are not fenced and warning signs are few. Do not swim in rivers or lakes as wildlife attacks are possible, particularly from crocodiles and hippopotamus. Do not walk alone or unescorted after dark because of the threat from nocturnal predators, particularly lion, hyena or leopard.

Road travel

Road conditions are generally good in major towns, but overland travel outside major centres can be dangerous. Driving standards, high speed limits, long stretches of highway and poor lighting pose hazards, particularly at night. A reliable private roadside assistance service called Medical Rescue International is available by calling 390-1601.

Failure to obey traffic signs, driving while intoxicated or not being in possession of a valid driver’s licence may result in arrest and heavy fines.

Pedestrians and roaming livestock or wild animals may pose a hazard on rural roadways, particularly in the Okavango, Chobe, Savuti, Pandamatenga and Ghanzi districts.

Desert conditions and conditions in remote areas are harsh. Travel to these areas should not be undertaken without a guide if possible nor without serious planning in advance, and a four-wheel-drive vehicle well equipped with provisions, fuel and water.

When you travel by road, for example, if you have hired an Avis 4 x 4 vehicle, you will be entirely responsible for your safety as there are generally no guides provided then or when you enter the parks. You should ensure that friends or relatives are aware of your travel itinerary so that they can keep in contact with you.  Guides are provided by private camps or mobile safaris when you fly directly into the Delta or similar conservancy areas, as they are part of the commercial or guided safari packages. This is not necessarily the case with self-drive travel.

Some hotels operate a minibus service between the airport and Gaborone. You should verify whether your hotel provides this service and reserve the transfer in advance. Vehicles can be rented at the airport in Gaborone. In major towns, taxis are generally safe, but the fare should be determined before departure.

Public transportation

Domestic air services are available. Consult our Transportation FAQ in order to verify if national airlines meet safety standards. Passenger train service in Botswana has been discontinued. There are reliable buses for long distance journeys to Johannesburg, Lusaka, Harare, which can be found at the main Bus Rank in Gaborone. Mini buses leave at hourly intervals to Johannesburg from the main Bus Rank in Gaborone. Long distance buses normally leave in the early hours, around 6 a.m.  For reliable transportation to Johannesburg from Gaborone, you must book at least one day before the travel date. Reliable operators used for the Johannesburg-Gaborone/Gaborone-Johannesburg Routes are:

InterCape Bus Service – telephone +267 3974294

T. J. Motlogelwa’s Express – telephone +267 3190395

Emergency assistance

In case of an emergency, dial 999 for police, 998 for fire, and 997 for ambulance services.


Related Travel Health Notices
Consult a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic preferably six weeks before you travel.

Routine Vaccines

Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.

Vaccines to Consider

You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread by contaminated food or water. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.


Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or through personal contact with unwashed hands. Get the flu shot.


Measles occurs worldwide but is a common disease in developing countries, particularly in parts of Africa and Asia. Measles is a highly contagious disease. Be sure your vaccination against measles is up-to-date regardless of the travel destination.


Rabies is a disease that attacks the central nervous system spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from a rabid animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (i.e., close contact with animals, occupational risk, and children).


Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among travellers going to rural areas, visiting friends and relatives, or with weakened immune systems. Travellers visiting regions with typhoid risk, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should consider getting vaccinated.

Yellow Fever Vaccination

Yellow fever is a disease caused by the bite of an infected mosquito.

Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.

* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
  • There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
  • Proof of yellow fever vaccination is required if you are coming from a country where yellow fever occurs.
  • Vaccination is not recommended.
  • Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care provider.

Food and Water-borne Diseases

Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.

In some areas in Southern Africa, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in Southern Africa. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!


Schistosomiasis is caused by blood flukes (tiny worms) spread to humans through contaminated water. The eggs of the worms can cause stomach illnesses like diarrhea and cramps or urinary problems. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Avoid swimming in contaminated water. There is no vaccine available for schistosomiasis.

Travellers' diarrhea
  • Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
  • Risk of developing travellers’ diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
  • The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.


Insects and Illness

In some areas in Southern Africa, certain insects carry and spread diseases like African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, chikungunya, leishmaniasis, lymphatic filariasis, malaria, Rift Valley fever, and West Nile virus.

Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.



  • There is a risk of malaria in certain areas and/or during a certain time of year in this country.
  • Malaria is a serious and occasionally fatal disease that is spread by mosquitoes. There is no vaccine against malaria.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites. This includes covering up, using insect repellent and staying in well-screened, air-conditioned accommodations. You may also consider sleeping under an insecticide-treated bed net or pre-treating travel gear with insecticides.
  • Antimalarial medication may be recommended depending on your itinerary and the time of year you are travelling. See a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic, preferably six weeks before you travel to discuss your options.


Animals and Illness

Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Some infections found in Southern Africa, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.


Person-to-Person Infections

Crowded conditions can increase your risk of certain illnesses. Remember to wash your hands often and practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette to avoid colds, the flu and other illnesses.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV are spread through blood and bodily fluids; practise safer sex.


HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that attacks and impairs the immune system, resulting in a chronic, progressive illness known as AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). 

Practise safe sex while travelling, and don’t share needles, razors, or other objects which could transmit infection.

Remember that HIV can also be spread through the use of unsterile medical equipment during medical and dental procedures, tattooing, body piercing or acupuncture. Diseases can also be spread though blood transfusions and organ transplantation if the blood or organs are not screened for HIV or other blood-borne pathogens.


Tuberculosis is an infection caused by bacteria and usually affects the lungs.

For most travellers the risk of tuberculosis is low.

Travellers who may be at high risk while travelling in regions with risk of tuberculosis should discuss pre- and post-travel options with a health care provider.

High-risk travellers include those visiting or working in prisons, refugee camps, homeless shelters, or hospitals, or travellers visiting friends and relatives.

Medical services and facilities

Medical services and facilities

Outside major centres, medical facilities and supplies are limited.

Keep in Mind...

The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.

Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.

You are subject to local laws. Consult our Arrest and Detention page for more information.

Laws and illegal activities

Persons convicted of unlawful dealing or possession of illegal drugs such as cannabis (known locally as motokwane or dagga) are subject to harsh punishments.

Prior permission is required to import firearms and munitions.

Possession of pornographic material is illegal.

Homosexuality is still an offence under law in Botswana, but is seldom pursued by the police or prosecuted in court anymore.

It is prohibited to take photographs of military and government installations. Always ask permission before photographing individuals.

Traffic drives on the left.

An International Driving Permit is recommended.

Animal “trophies’’

Botswana law strictly regulates the sale, possession or removal of animal “trophies”. Any animal, dead or alive, or trophy from an animal such as a horn, tooth, tusk, bone, claw, hoof, hide, skin, hair, feather, egg or other durable portion of an animal, whether it has been processed or not, cannot be owned or removed from the country without a government permit or a receipt from a licensed shop. All souvenirs are subject to the National Trophy Law, and travellers must present a receipt from a licensed store upon departure. It is strictly prohibited to remove elephant hair, ivory and rhinoceros horn products.

Dual citizenship

Dual citizenship is not legally recognized in Botswana, which may limit the ability of Canadian officials to provide consular services. You should travel using your Canadian passport and present yourself as Canadian to foreign authorities at all times. Consult our publication entitled Dual Citizenship: What You Need to Know for more information.


The currency is the pula (P). There are no import or export restrictions on foreign currency, provided it is declared upon arrival. A maximum of P1,000 in cash can be carried into or out of the country. Credit cards are not widely accepted. Many hotels and lodges accept major foreign currencies and traveller’s cheques, but a high surcharge may be applied. Automated banking machines in Botswana work well, are reliable, and are easily accessible across the country.


There are two seasons in Botswana: summer (September to April), with frequent rains and thunderstorms; and winter (May to August), with cold and dry days and nights.

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