Travel Advice – Frequently Asked Questions about Botswana

DO I NEED A VISA FOR BOTSWANA?
Please check with your consulate for the latest visa information. As a general guide, nationals of all foreign countries, excluding the following, require visas: most Commonwealth countries, except Ghana, Mauritius, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Rep. of Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Namibia, Netherlands, Norway, Samoa (Western), San Marino, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Uruguay and USA.

Any visitor, whether visa exempted or not, wishing to stay more than 90 days should apply for prior permission to the Chief Immigration Officer in Gaborone, Botswana. Passports are required by all visitors and must be valid for at least six months beyond the intended length of stay. Please ensure that there are sufficient blank pages for any visas as well as for entry stamps upon arrival.

CAN I USE MY MOBILE PHONE OR ACCESS INTERNET ON SAFARI?
A direct international dialling service is available from the major hotels and lodges in Kasane, Maun, Francistown and Gaborone. Major hotels and businesses offer a fax service. Lodges in the more remote areas of Botswana such as the Okavango Delta do not have telephonic communication facilities and provide limited Internet coverage at best.
CAN I USE MY CREDIT CARD IN BOTSWANA?
All major credit cards are accepted at hotels, shops and restaurants, however acceptance outside of the major centres in Botswana is limited. Most lodges and restaurants accept payment by Visa and MasterCard.
IS IT SAFE TO TRAVEL IN BOTSWANA?
Botswana is one of the safest countries in Africa. Since its independence in 1966 it has been a peaceful country led by a democratically-elected government. The discovery of diamonds has led to a strong economy and powerful development programmes. Standard safety precautions apply, of course, so look after your valuables and don’t leave luggage unattended.
ARE THERE ANY SPECIAL HEALTH REQUIREMENTS?
Botswana is a malaria area and malaria prophylactics are highly recommended. Please consult your medical practitioner prior to travel. The use of additional precautionary measures, such as insect repellents and wearing long-sleeved clothing, long trousers and socks when outside at night, is recommended. Any person entering Botswana from, or via, a yellow fever infected area must be in possession of a valid International Certificate of Vaccination against yellow fever.
WHAT IS THE LUGGAGE RESTRICTION?
Please note that for safaris that include any charter flights you are restricted to 20kg in total which must be packed in soft luggage as the planes used are small charter planes that are heavily regulated. If you bring above the restricted amount you will be asked to leave items behind or to travel without your luggage so make sure you are within the guidelines. If you do wish to bring extra luggage, you can purchase an additional seat but please advise when confirming a booking.
IS LAUNDRY AVAILABLE WHILST ON SAFARI?
The luxury safari lodges gladly do your laundry but the midrange safari lodges or mobile camp crews will do laundry upon request on full days in camp but this is dependent upon weather and water availability. We do ask that guests do not include ‘smalls’ with their laundry but should you wish to wash your own, washing powder can be provided; please just speak to your guide the night before to advise for the following day.
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT BOTSWANA?
Botswana is a year-round tourism destination; there simply isn’t one “best time” to visit. Peak game viewing in Northern Botswana is July-October, when animals congregate around available water sources and grasses are low. December to March is a superb time to visit for birders, photography buffs, viewing animals with their young anywhere, game viewing in central Botswana, and for people traveling on a budget.
WHAT SHOULD I BRING?
Binoculars, camera, small flashlight, insect repellent, lip salve, sunscreen, polarized sunglasses, medications, adapters for electronics, and preferred personal grooming items. Care needs to be taken to comply with international aviation security regulations for items in carry-on luggage and checked baggage restrictions; contact your travel advisor or airline for restrictions.