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