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Botswana Travel Tips

Climate

Summer, between October and April, is very hot and combined with the rainy season. Dry and cooler weather exists between May and September with an average temperature of 25°C (77°). Early mornings and evenings may be cold and frosty in winter. Annual rainfall decreases westwards and southwards. Loose, natural fabrics are recommended, with wet–weather gear and warmer clothes according to the season and area visiting.

Languages

English is the official language. Setswana is the national language, with minorities speaking Kalanga and Sekgalagadi.

Currency details

Pula (BWP; symbol P) = 100 thebe. Notes are in denominations of P100, 50, 20 and 10. Coins are in denominations of P5, 2 and 1, and 50, 25, 10 and 5 thebe.

Social Conventions

As most people in Botswana follow their traditional pattern of life, visitors should be sensitive to customs which will inevitably be unfamiliar to them. Outside urban areas, people may well not be used to visitors. Casual clothing is acceptable and, in urban centres, normal courtesies should be observed. Photography: Airports, official residences and defence establishments should not be photographed.

Electricity

220–240 volts AC, 50Hz. 15 and 13–amp plug sockets are in use. Plugs used are British–style with two flat blades and one flat grounding blade, and South African/Indian–style with two circular metal pins above a large circular grounding pin.

Security Tips

Most visits to Botswana are trouble–free but you should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate international terrorist attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by foreigners. Visitors should be aware of an increasing incidence of violent crime. Wildlife and livestock on Botswana´s roads make driving hazardous. This advice is based on information provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK.

Tipping customs

A tip of 10% for good service is adequate. Service charges are frequently added and it is usual to tip a tour driver or guide at least US $5 a day.

Health Precautions

It is advisable to take out emergency medical insurance prior to entering Botswana. The bilharzia parasite is found in many lakes, streams and rivers on the continent. Vaccinations for cholera, tetanus and yellow fever are advised. Malaria is virulent in Botswana. Take prophylactics two weeks before arrival and continue two weeks after leaving. Your chemist or doctor can advise you of the most suitable drug available as certain drugs lose their effectiveness. In the more remote areas always boil it first, except if you´re staying at a lodge or hotel where drinking water is perfectly safe. It is advisable to buy travel insurance covering accidents, illness or hospitalization for the period of your stay.

Tourism Attractions

Botswana, a land of diverse beauties, is ideally located in the heart of southern Africa. Its natural beauty lies in its wilderness, wildlife and cultural diversity. Unique San rock art, geological wonders, and traditional art are additional attractions located in various parts of the country. Botswana offers a truly unique African experience.

Getting around Towns and Cities

Public transport within towns consists of share–taxis or minibus services operating at controlled flat fares. Exclusive use of taxis is sometimes available at a higher charge although fares should always be agreed before setting off.

Visa Requirements

All nationals of foreign countries, except those from countries which have reached visa abolition agreements with Botswana, require a visa for entering Botswana. Nationals not requiring visas: Members of all Commonwealth countries (except the nationals of Ghana, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh), Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, German Federal Republic, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Lichtenstein, Luxembourg, Namibia, Netherlands, Norway, Republic of Ireland, Samoa (Western), San Marino, Sweden, Switzerland, Uruguay, USA and Yugoslavia