Botswana Fact File
OFFICIAL NAME: Republic of Botswana
AREA: Botswana covers an area of 581,730 square km – about the size of France or Kenya
Botswana is a land-locked country situated in southern Africa. It borders South Africa, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Approximately two-thirds of the country lies within the tropics.
SAFETY: Botswana remains a relatively safe place to visit or live. Take the normal precautions you would take anywhere else;
- Always lock car doors
- Always lock hotel rooms
- Don’t leave valuables in cars or hotel rooms
- Take care with your bags in shopping centres and other crowded places, and after coming out of banks and ATM’s
- Avoid walking alone at night
POPULATION: 1.85 million
CAPITAL CITY: Gaborone
SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT: Multi-party Democracy
HEAD OF STATE: His Excellency Lt. Gen. Seretse Khama Ian Khama
INDEPENDENCE DAY: 30 September 1966
LANGUAGE: English (official), Setswana
TIME ZONE: GMT + 2 hours
INTERNATIONAL DIALLING CODE: +267
ELECTRICITY: 220/240 volts. Both square and round wall plugs are used.
Citizens of most European and Commonwealth countries do not require a visa. However you should check with Botswana embassies or consulates before departure.
The Botswana currency is the Pula (meaning ‘rain’ in Setswana). Traveller’s cheques and foreign currency may be changed at banks, bureaux de change, and authorised hotels.
The US$, Euros, British £ and the South African Rand are the most easily convertible currencies.
Automatic teller machines accept foreign visa cards, but are mostly found in larger towns and cities. Cultural sites and community art and craft outlets usually only accept cash.
Most major international airlines from Europe, the United States, Asia and Australia fly into Johannesburg – South Africa, where connecting flights can be booked to Sir Seretse Khama International Airport in Gaborone or to Maun.
Air Botswana, Botswana’s national and only airline, provides international flights to Johannesburg, and Harare and domestic flights to Francistowm, Maun and Kasane.
Air Namibia flies to Maun everyday of the week except Tuesday and Thursday. Air charter services are also available.
Both Air Botswana and South African Express have daily flights to Gaborone. Air Botswana has daily flights from Johannesburg to Maun. South African Express also flies to Maun.
FLYING TIME: 13 hours via Johannesburg.
Botswana is accessible by tarred road from Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Zambia. Vehicles are driven on the left-hand-side of the road. A valid international driver’s licence with vehicle registration documents are required to drive in Botswana and should always be carried.
Most major roads are tarred and in good condition. Four-wheel drive is required when travelling in the national parks and reserves, as well as in remote areas.
CLIMATE: The best time to travel is March – November when rainfall is minimal and the days are cooler. Early mornings and evening are cool.
Malaria, including cerebral malaria, is common in northern Botswana, in the Okavango and Chobe areas, particularly during and immediately after the rainy season from November to April. Therefore it is best to consult a medical practitioner or doctor for the appropriate precautions and medication prescribed a few weeks /at least 3 months before you travel.
Your typhoid and hepatitis A, jabs should be up to date. Check for yellow fever with your practitioner.
www.fitfortravel.scot.nhs.uk is a good source of information.
FIND OUT MORE:
Botswana Tourism Board