Botswana Travel Advice

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Botswana Travel Advice

Security travel advice for Botswana

How safe is Botswana?

Threat level: Low-Medium

COVID-19 Situation in Botswana

There are reported cases of the coronavirus in Botswana. As a result of this, a state of emergency has been declared until the 31st of March and a curfew has been imposed between 22:00 and 04:00. The country is divided into nine COVID-19 zones and people must apply for an interzonal travel permit to travel between zones. International travellers must present a negative PCR test result, taken no more than 72 hours prior to arrival and they must stay in correspondence with local health authorities for 14 days for self-monitoring.The use of facemasks in public places has been made compulsory. To limit contagion, self-isolate, avoid travel unless necessary, don't gather in public places and apply good hygiene precautions. For more advice, refer to our healthcare section.

Security in Botswana

The current travel advice for Botswana is to remain cautious when visiting this country. The terror threat level in Botswana is relatively low. Attacks and serious crime against tourists in Botswana are uncommon, but small crime and violence is on the increase particularly in the major cities and tourist hotspots including towns surrounding game reserves, where there are high populations of tourists.

Intelligent Protection International Limited provides its business and private clients with Security and Bodyguard services in Botswana, including for Safaris in Botswana. If you are interested in these services, please see our page: Bodyguard Servives in Botswana.

Recent Security risk events
As with many countries, please avoid displaying signs of affluence whenever possible. This includes wearing nice jewellery or using electronic devices in public, as this can make you a vulnerable target for thieves.

There have been several recent incidents in the Chobe area where tourists have had their hotel and lodge rooms broken into in the night leading to incidences of rape and other sexual offences. You should ensure that all windows and doors are securely locked all of the time. In the unlikely event of becoming a victim of sexual assault, seek immediate medical advice as HIV is present in Botswana. Females, in particular, should not walk unaccompanied after dark. Keeping valuables out of sight will reduce the chances of being broken into.

You should avoid being near or getting involved with any large demonstrations and gatherings. The Botswana police will deploy tear gas and rubber bullets on protestors to disperse protests. However, the political situation in the country is stable.

Francistown and Maun have had a particular crime rate increase in recent years. Hold-ups and robberies of restaurants during peak hours and house burglaries, often by armed gangs, are becoming more frequent.

Security risks
Zimbabwean, South African and Zambian criminal gangs have also been known to target unsuspecting tourists on isolated roads, however this is very uncommon.

Taking photographs or filming military and government installations is illegal in Botswana. Always ask permission before taking photographs of people, but it is better to avoid doing so altogether.

Since June 2019, homosexuality is no longer illegal in Botswana. However, it is recommended to avoid public displays of affection so as to avoid negative attention, as the level of tolerance towards LGBT may not be the same as in Western countries.

The British High Commission isn't always informed by local authorities when British nationals have been arrested. It is important that if you are detained by the authorities to insist on your right to contact the British consular office and have access to a lawyer.

Botswana's International Relations

Botswana has a strong political relationship with many of its neighbouring countries including Namibia. The United States considers Botswana an advocate of and a role model for stability in the African continent and has played a major part in Botswana's development since its independence.

The US also provides training for the Botswana police and military.

Travelling around Botswana

Hijackings and carjackings are on the rise throughout Botswana and as such, movement after dark should be avoided. Driving outside the major tourist areas and big cities can be dangerous due to stray wildlife and wild dog packs. This is a particular risk at night, so take extra care if you are driving after dark, especially travelling on foot. It is highly advised you do not walk places after dark.

Anthrax has been known to infect animals in the region, do not touch roadkill or other dead animals. If you believe you may have been exposed please contact the nearest medical centre for assistance.

Commercial Travel Risk Services

Intelligent Protection International Limited provides companies and organisations with Commercial Travel Risk Services designed to mitigate risks of staff when they travel for business. If you are interested in these services, please see: Commercial Travel Risk Services.

Emergency Services in Botswana

Police emergency: 999
Fire emergency: 998
Medical emergency: 997

Utilities note:
Botswana experiences regular periods of rolling electric power outages that can leave areas without power for several hours. Visitors and travellers are urged to carry flashlights/torches. Visitors and travellers should also be aware of how power outages might affect home security systems, garage doors and gates, and kitchen equipment, such as stoves and refrigerators. The power fluctuations could cause power surges that might harm computers, televisions, or other electrical appliances.

Botswana is experiencing a drought and the Water Utilities Corporation is rationing water up to three times a week for eight hours a day in Gaborone and other areas. Check the Water Utilities Commission website for schedules.

Botswana Overview

Capital: Gaborone
Official languages: Setswana and English
Religion: Christianity
Currency: Pula (BWP)
Time now in Gaborone:

Consular information for Botswana

U.S. Embassy Gaborone
Embassy Drive,
Government Enclave,
Telephone: (+267) 395 3982
Emergency Telephone: (+267) 395 7111

British High Commission Gaborone
Plot 1079 1084,
Main Mall,
off Queens Road,
Telephone: (+267) 3952841

Visa requirements for Botswana

A visa isn't required to enter Botswana for stays of up to 90 days.

Healthcare and Immunisations

It is advised that visitors to Botswana are up-to-date with primary boosters such as MMR. It is recommended for most travellers to also get a Tetanus, Hepatitis A and Typhoid vaccinations.

Due to the coronavirus outbreak that is affecting the country, it is recommended to apply good hygiene practices, maintain social distancing, avoid unnecessary contact with others. If you are coughing and have fever, it is required to quarantine yourself and only call emergency services if you have severe respiratory issues.

If you are coming from a country where there is a risk of Yellow Fever, or transiting for longer than 12 hours in an at risk country, you will have to provide a certificate of Yellow Fever vaccination. Check with your local health professional prior to travel if you are unsure.

There is risk of exposure to Anthrax through the animal population, please do not touch dead animals.

Malaria, a disease that is transmitted by mosquitoes, is present in Botswana. The risk of contracting the disease is higher in the northern half of the country including in the Okavango delta during the period from November to June. As a result, the use of antimalarial medication is advised if you are travelling to the affected area during this period.

It is recommended against swimming in fresh water as Schistosomiasis can be contracted via a parasite that penetrate human skin when the water is contaminated.

There is currently an outbreak of rabies in Ngamiland in north west Botswana; if you are travelling to this area, consider being vaccinated against the disease.

Personal hygiene must be paramount, the local water supply avoided at all costs and bottled water inspected prior to consumption. A number of cases of bottled water being refilled with tap water and re-sold have come to our attention.

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    Map of Botswana

    You are responsible for your own safety abroad and for making the decision to travel.

    The information contained in this Travel Advice for Botswana is provided for information only. Whilst care is taken to ensure that this country brief is as up-to-date and accurate as possible, it is provided on an "as is" basis without any representation or endorsement made and without warranty of any kind, express or implied. Intelligent Protection International Limited does not assume responsibility and shall not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.