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 1
Latest Alert September 15, 2019 - Parliamentary and Local Elections in Botswana on 23 October

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.

African Tick Bite Fever

Sporadic cases of this disease are reported in this country.

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 the 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.

Cholera Vaccine

The U.K. NaTHNaC recommends the oral cholera vaccine for some travellers whose activities or medical history put them at increased risk, travelling to areas of active cholera transmission. These risk factors include: aid workers; those going to areas of cholera outbreaks who have limited access to potable water and medical care; travellers for whom the vaccination would be considered potentially beneficial, such as chronic medical conditions. The U.S. CDC recommends the cholera vaccine for travellers who are 18-64 years of age and who plan to travel to areas of active cholera transmission. CDC notes that most travellers do not travel to areas of active cholera transmission, and that safe food and water practices can prevent many cholera infections.

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. However, street crime exists in every country; 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 jewelry 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.

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

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. Keep at a safe distance when observing wildlife. When travelling in Botswana's National Parks, always do so with a reputable tour group.

Road travel outside urban areas may be dangerous due to poor road conditions, animals on roadways and reckless driving. Exercise extreme caution in rural areas where roads may be unpaved and unlit at night. Avoid travelling after dark. Driving is on the left.

Do not swim in natural bodies of water due to the risk of contracting waterborne diseases and the possibility of animal attacks.

Although homosexuality is no longer a criminal offense in Botswana, some public attitudes may not be tolerant. The LGBT community should be cautious and aware that public displays of affection may attract unwanted and negative attention.

Political Unrest

Sitata reminds travellers to minimize risk by avoiding large public gatherings and demonstrations due to the unpredictability of these situations.

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