Botswana - Abbey Travel, Ireland



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Welcome to Botswana


The Republic of Botswana is a landlocked country constituted by a vast plateau that provides a natural habitat for a huge variety of African wildlife. This scenic wonderland draws thousands of tourists from around the world throughout the year. Most visitors arrive under the auspices of expensive safari-package operators.

At the time that it gained Independence in 1966, Botswana was counted among the ten poorest nations on earth. A dramatic turnaround came just a few years later when a treasure-trove of diamonds was discovered. Now the country is the third largest producer of diamonds in the world and Botswana is enjoying a growth rate and economic buoyancy unparalleled in Africa.

The country is bordered by South Africa in the south and southeast; Zambia and Zimbabwe in the northeast; and Namibia in the north and west. It is the northwest corner of the country that is the most sought-after by wildlife enthusiasts because it is here that the Okavango River drains inland from Angola to form the Okavango Delta - the largest inland delta in the world - which provides sustenance to a rich profusion of wildlife. The delta is extremely beautiful, big sky country with spectacular scenery across grassy plains and limpid lagoons. The Moremi Wildlife Reserve, covering 700 square miles (1,812 sq km) in the northeast corner of the Okavango Delta, is the ultimate African safari destination.

Information & Facts


Business is fairly relaxed in Botswana and dress is generally smart casual. Handshakes begin and end meetings, which are usually held in private. Women are often viewed with a certain amount of sexism, but will be politely treated. Office hours are usually 8am to 5pm Monday to Friday, or 7.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday between October and April.


Botswana weather is generally quite enjoyable. The hottest time of year in Botswana is also the wettest. The rainy season occurs in summer between October and April. Dry and cool weather, with cold and often frosty nights, occurs between May and September, when the average daytime temperature is a pleasant 77ºF (25ºC). The months between April and October are ideal for tourists in terms of weather and game viewing. This is the time when the wildlife is most prolific and easily spotted around the natural waterholes and dams.


The international access code for Botswana is +267. The outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0027 for South Africa). Gaborone's area code is 31, 35, 36 or 39; there is no NDD prefix for calling within Botswana. Mobile phones operate on a GSM 900 network and are limited to urban areas; most North American cell phones will not work. Internet cafes are available in Gaborone and Maun.


Homosexuality is illegal. Taking photos or videos near government or military buildings is prohibited, and permission should always be sought before taking photos of local people.

Duty Free

Travellers to Botswana over the age of 18 can enter the country with 400 cigarettes; 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco; 2 litres of wine and 1 litre of alcoholic beverages; 50ml of perfume and 250ml of eau de toilette without incurring customs duty. Gifts and personal goods to the value of P500 can also be imported without incurring customs duty.

230 volts, 50Hz. Round three-pin plugs are used.

Malaria is a particular risk in Botswana between November and June in the northern parts of the country. Visitors who are camping or walking in the bush should be cautious of tick bites. There are no compulsory vaccinations, but a yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers over one year of age coming from infected countries. Occasional outbreaks of anthrax occur among wild animals, and visitors to affected areas should seek local advice and not touch dead animal carcasses. Botswana has a good public health system, but facilities are limited outside urban areas. Health insurance for visitors is vital. Tap water in towns is safe to drink, and all foodstuffs are safe to consume.

English is the official language but Setswana is widely spoken.

The unit of currency is the Botswana Pula (BWP), which is divided into 100 Thebe. The word 'Pula' means rain and 'Thebe' means shield. The shield appears on the national coat of arms. Major credit cards are widely accepted, and travellers cheques and foreign currency are accepted at most large hotels and lodges. There are banks and exchange bureaux in all the main towns, as well as ATM machines. Surcharges are often high on travellers cheques, and it is best to carry cheques in US Dollars or Pounds Sterling.

Passport Visa

All visitors require a passport, return or onward tickets and sufficient funds to cover their stay in Botswana. Visa extensions are possible and should be organised prior to arrival.


The majority of visits to Botswana are trouble-free, but visitors should be aware of the increasing incidence of crime, particularly armed robbery and rape, in the main towns. Wildlife and livestock make driving hazardous, so driving at night should be avoided.

GMT +2.

Tipping is expected in tourist hotels and restaurants. Many automatically add a service charge, but where not, a 10-15% tip is appreciated. Taxi drivers, porters and golf caddies should also be tipped a relative amount. Tour guides, trackers and game rangers rely largely on tips for their income and should be rewarded accordingly.

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