Botswana

Travel information, travel guide and need to know information for Botswana including flight Information, when to go, visa requirements, health advice, government travel advice, travel news, recommended books and maps, money matters, getting around and other essential travel information.

Map of Botswana

Events in Botswana

Event Occurs Description
Maitisong Festival April A cultural event of music, and dance performances in Gaborone.
National Music Eisteddfod August Choir singing, traditional dances and coming-of-age ceremonies at Selebi-Phikwe.
Maun Carnival August The carnival includes a colourful procession of floats and an air display.

Climate of Botswana

The climate of Botswana can be described as continental semi-arid. Due to the country’s location in the sub-tropical high pressure belt of the southern hemisphere in the interior of southern Africa far away from oceanic influences, rainfall is low and seasonal and diurnal ranges of temperature are high. The mean annual rainfall in Botswana varies from less than 250mm in the extreme southwestern part of the country to over 650mm in Kasane in the extreme north.

The highest mean monthly maximum temperatures range between 32 and 35 degrees C and are generally recorded in the month of October in the northern parts and January for the southern parts. The lowest mean monthly maximum temperatures, which range between 23 and 25 degrees C in the north and 21 and 23 degrees C in the southern regions are recorded in June and July. They tend to increase northwards and eastwards.

Flights in Botswana

Air Botswana operates a domestic flight schedule linking the major towns and cities in Botswana, including Gaborone, Maun, Francistown and Kasane. There are currently no low-cost flight services serving Botswana.

Air Botswana flights in Botswana

www.airbotswana.co.bw

Air Botswana provide a domestic flight service between major cities in Botswana, including Gaborone, Maun, Kasane and Francistown. There are numerous charter flight companies based in Maun, serving the Okavango Delta and other remote parks, reserves and camps.

Flights from UK to Botswana

There are no international direct flights from the UK to Botswana. Air Botswana are the national carrier and offer flights from South Africa to Botswana. Connecting flights can be made via Johannesburg or Windhoek.

Air Botswana flights from United Kingdom to Botswana

www.airbotswana.co.bw

Air Botswana operate daily flights from Johannesburg to Maun and Gaborone and twice weekly from Cape Town to Maun. Flights from Johannesburg to Maun take 1 hour 40 minutes, Johannesburg to Gabarone 1 hour and Cape Town to Maun 1 hour 30 minutes.

British Airways flights from United Kingdom to Botswana

www.britishairways.com

British Airways fly daily from London Heathrow to Johannesburg or Cape Town wiith a connecting flight to Maun on Air Botswana. Flyling time is a minimum of 15 hours 40 minutes depending on flight connections.

South African Airways flights from United Kingdom to Botswana

www.flysaa.com

South African Airways fly daily from London Heathrow to Johannesburg with a connecting flight to Maun on Air Botswana. Flying time is a minimum of 15 hours 40 minutes depending on flight connections.

Virgin Atlantic flights from United Kingdom to Botswana

www.virgin-atlantic.com

Virgin Atlantic fly daily from London Heathrow to Johannesburg or Cape Town with connecting flights to Maun. Flying time is a minimum of 15 hours 40 minutes depending on flight connections.

Air Namibia flights from United Kingdom to Botswana

www.airnamibia.com.na

Air Namibia fly 3 times a week from London Gatwick to Maun via Windhoek, however these flights do not connect and an overnight stay in Windhoek would be necessary. 10 hours 15 minutes London Gatwick to Windhoek and 50 minutes Windhoek to Maun.

Botswana Culture and Traditions

Batswana appreciate visitors trying to use their language. Greet everyone, regardless of the time of day, with the word ‘dumela’ and add the word ‘ra’ if addressing a man or ‘mma’ if a woman. When giving or accepting anything, always do so with the right hand and support that hand with the left hand under the right forearm. Greet men before woman, be patient, smile and believe that laughter is the lingua franca of Africa.

Plugs and Electricity in Botswana

Electricity

Voltage

231 V

Frequency

50 Hz

Plug

Large square plug with three large round pins.

Transport in Botswana

Buses

Buses are the main form of transport used by locals. They are frequent and good value and a great way to meet local people, though they are often crowded and noisy – no real difference to other parts of Africa. Both smaller minibuses and large coach-style buses operate all main routes along tarred routes.

Taxis

Taxis operate in major towns and cities, though standards do vary.

Car Hire

Self-drive between major towns and cities (on tar roads) in Botswana is an option. Self-drive cars and 4WD vehicles can be hired at many locations (though best pre-arranged), and it is possible to undertake self-drive safaris for those with significant off-road driving experience and excellent navigation skills. Most travellers though choose to take a private or small group safari with an expert driver/guide.

Driving

Driving is on the left in Botswana and the standard of driving is generally variable. Speeds are often extremely slow or very fast. Drunken driving is very common, especially at night. Cattle, goats, sheep and donkeys are deadly hazards on the roads. Red traffic lights are frequently ignored.

Botswana’s main roads are tarmac and built (and maintained) to international standards. There are numerous non-tarmac roads from maintained gravel surfaces and sand roads to bush tracks. 4WD is pretty much essential for travelling through the National Parks, and advice from a local expert should always be sought before setting off into the bush. For travellers contemplating off-road driving, a familiarity with 4WD is essential as is the ability to drive in mud and hot, often deep, sand. Travel with a second vehicle in remote areas in case of problems or breakdowns.

Trains

A limited railway service exists in Botswana that links Gaborone, Francistown, Lobatse and Palapye with South Africa. It is not often used by travellers as doesn’t serve the popular north of the country.

Boats

At Kazungula (near Kasane) in northern Botswana, a local ferry makes several crossings of the Zambezi each day between Botswana and Zambia. The ferry takes large trucks and smaller vehicles as well as foot passengers.

Entry Requirements for Botswana

Visa and Passport Requirements for Botswana

Entry Warning

The documentation and fee required for obtaining visas varies according to both your nationality and where you are applying from. It is the sole right of each country to determine who is allowed to enter.

Passport

All passports must be valid for six months and have two clear pages free.

Taxes

Some countries may charge an arrival or departure tax which may or may not be included in the price of an airline ticket, or may need to be paid in cash on arrival or departure.

Visa Requirements

Travelling from Requirements
Australia A visa is not required.
Canada A visa is not required.
Denmark A visa is not required.
Ireland A visa is not required.
Netherlands A visa is not required.
New Zealand A visa is not required.
South Africa A visa is not required.
United States A visa is not required.
United Kingdom A visa is not required.

Other Nationalities

Other nationalities should either contact Travcour UK (see below) or their nearest embassy for up-to-date information prior to departure.

Passport & Visa Service

For assistance with obtaining passports and visas UK-based ‘Travcour’ have been offering travellers a comprehensive and reliable travel document service since 1985. www.travour.com

Money in Botswana

Local Currency

Pula (BWP)

General Advice

Pula (which means water) is used for most transactions, US dollars may sometimes be accepted but only in small denominations due to the risk of forgery. If bringing dollars always ensure you have a mixture of notes. South African rand is often accepted.

Money Exchange

UK sterling and USD are easily exchanged at main banks.

ATM Availability

Banks in the main populated towns and cities (Kasane, Maun, Francistown, Gaborone) have ATM machines though queues can sometimes be long. Pula cash can be withdrawn. For more information check the Visa ATM locator, the MasterCard ATM locator or the American Express ATM locator for the addresses of ATMs around the world.

Credit Cards

Most hotels, restaurants, tour companies and major shops will accept credit cards.

Other Information

All forex entering the country must be declare on entry. There are no restrictions on the amount of forex exported as long as it is declared and obviously under the amount stated on arrival. It is a strong currency against neighbouring countries and there is no black market for changing money.

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Africa Travel Information