Botswana

Botswana

Use Normal Level of Caution

The Republic of Botswana is located in southern Africa, surrounded by Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and a long border with South Africa. Seventy percent of the country is made up of the Kalahari Desert. The population of Botswana is about 2.1 million people. English is the official language, but Setswana is also spoken by about 78 percent of the population. The government is a parliamentary republic with a president as both chief of state and head of government.

Botswana gained independence from Britain in 1966. The country has developed into one of Africa’s most stable economies thanks to good leadership, progressive social policies and a history of multi-party democracy. Diamond mining is one of the main economic activities and has contributed substantially to the county’s growth rate.

Tourism is an expanding economic sector, and the government has instituted a policy of wildlife conservation while encouraging tourism. Tourism is tightly controlled. Safari-based tourism is popular due to the large numbers of nature reserves and abundant wildlife.

Currency BWP: Pula
Language English
Capital Gaborone
Recent Alerts 2
Latest Alert March 21, 2017 - Malaria warning in Botswana

Diseases To Be Aware Of

The diseases listed below are those which occur most often in Botswana. Other, less frequently encountered diseases might be displayed within the Travel Alerts section if they have occurred recently.

Malaria

Malaria risk exists from November to May/June in the northern parts of the country, specifically in Bobirwa, Boteti, Chobe, Ngamiland, Okavango, and Tutume districts/sub-districts.

Yellow Fever

There is no risk of acquiring yellow fever in Botswana. However, a yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers over 1 year of age arriving from or having passed through countries with risk of yellow fever transmission and for travellers having transited more than 12 hours through the airport of a country with risk of yellow fever transmission.

Hepatitis A

There is a risk of hepatitis A exposure through contaminated food or water.

Hepatitis B

There is a risk for acquiring hepatitis B in this country.

Typhoid Fever

Unvaccinated people can become infected through contaminated food and water in Botswana, especially when visiting smaller cities, villages, or rural areas and staying with friends and relatives.

Chikungunya Fever

There is a risk of exposure to chikungunya virus in this country.

Dengue Fever

There is a risk of exposure to dengue fever virus in this country.

Schistosomiasis

Schistosomiasis is found in Botswana. It is acquired through contact with fresh, unchlorinated water, such as lakes, ponds, or rivers, when swimming, bathing or rafting. Well chlorinated swimming pools or salt water in oceans or seas will not put travellers at risk for this disease.

Cholera

Cholera does occur in this country.

Rabies

Rabies occurs in Botswana. Travellers involved in outdoor activities (e.g., campers, hikers, bikers, adventure travellers, and cavers) may have direct contact with rabid dogs, bats, and other mammals. Those with occupational risks (such as veterinarians, wildlife professionals, researchers) and long-term travellers and expatriates are at higher risk.

Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis occurs in Botswana. Travellers to this country are at risk for tuberculosis if visiting sick friends or family, working in the health care field, or having close prolonged contact with the general population.

Vaccinations to Consider

The following is a list of recommended vaccinations for travelling to Botswana.

Yellow Fever Vaccine

There is no risk of acquiring yellow fever in Botswana. However, a yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers over 1 year of age arriving from or having passed through countries with risk of yellow fever transmission and for travellers having transited more than 12 hours through the airport of a country with risk of yellow fever transmission.

Hepatitis A Vaccine

There is a significant risk of infection with hepatitis A in this country, therefore, the vaccination is recommended.

Hepatitis B Vaccine

There is a significant risk of infection with hepatitis B in this country, therefore, the vaccination is recommended.

Typhoid Fever Vaccine

There is a risk of exposure to typhoid fever in this country through consumption of unsafe food and water. Since exposure to unsafe sources is variable within this country, the vaccination against typhoid fever is generally recommended, especially when visiting smaller cities, rural areas, or staying with friends and family.

Rabies Vaccine

Vaccination against rabies is recommended for travellers involved in outdoor activities (e.g., campers, hikers, bikers, adventure travellers, and cavers) who may have direct contact with rabid dogs, bats, and other mammals. Those with occupational risks (such as veterinarians, wildlife professionals, researchers) and long-term travellers and expatriates are at higher risk and should be vaccinated.

Medications to Consider

The following is a list of recommended medications for travelling to Botswana.

Anti-malarial Drugs

Recommended anti-malaria medication includes atovaquone-proguanil, doxycycline or mefloquine. Anti-malaria drug resistance for chloroquine is present.

Safety and Security in Botswana

Emergency Numbers

999
997
998

Personal Safety

Botswana is one of Africa’s most stable and safest countries. Most tourists do not experience safety problems. However, street crime exists in every country, and travellers should take precautions to be aware of their surroundings and personal safety at all times, especially in urban areas. Avoid wearing expensive clothing or jewellery or carrying large amounts of cash.

There have been some reports of burglaries and theft of cars or carjacking, especially four-wheel drive vehicles. There are some reports of violent crime, but reports of attacks on tourists are very rare.

There are severe penalties for drug use, possession or drug smuggling.

Penalties for homosexual activity can include prison sentences. Pornographic material is illegal in Botswana.

It is against the law to photograph government or military installations.

The National Trophy Law regulates all aspects of wild animals, and any animal souvenirs are subject to this law. It is against the law to kill, capture, buy or sell any protected wild animal or trade its parts. There are severe penalties for breaking this law.

Areas To Avoid

While Botswana is a safe country overall, travellers should exercise caution in the areas of Kgale Hill and Gaborone Dam in Gaborone as there have been reports of travellers being robbed in these areas.

Extreme Violence

There is a very low risk of violent crime or terrorism in Botswana.

Political Unrest

Civil unrest is not a problem in Botswana, however, travellers should always avoid public gatherings and demonstrations in foreign countries. These situations can turn violent without warning.

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