Botswana, landlocked and situated in Southern Africa, is a country of stunning contrasts. Its world-famous Okavango Delta has the most amazing waterways teeming with fish, birds and water-bound animals. However, leave the delta and you enter the dry, sandy plains of the Kalahari Desert.
And its far-flung, isolated and sparsely populated rural areas contrast sharply with bustling, modern urban centres. This land of wide open spaces offers an untamed wilderness with some of the best wildlife viewing in Africa. Botswana, a stable democracy with a thriving economy, is surrounded by South Africa, Zambia, Namibia and Zimbabwe.
Semi-arid, subtropical, very hot and rainy summers, mild and dry winters.
Summer (November – March): 19-33°C - Winter (May to August): 5-23°C
Rainy season with sporadic showers in the summer months (November – March).
Humidity from 60 to 80% during summer mornings, dropping to 30 - 40% afternoons.
Best visiting months for both weather and game viewing from April to October.
UTC/GMT +2 hours - no daylight saving time at present.
MONEY AND CARDS
Currency: the Pula divided into 100 Thebe.
All major credit cards, including Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Diners Club.
Most hotels and lodges accept travellers' cheques & foreign currency.
Exchange bureaus at major border posts, no exchange controls.
Several major commercial banks and Automatic Teller Machines (ATM) at most shopping malls and hotels.
Good fixed-line telephone network and internet services.
Two national cellphone operators serve mostly urban areas, major routes & tourist destinations.
Roaming agreements with companies in a number of countries.
Good internet services with Internet connection in most hotels and lodges, while private networks offer Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP).
Reliable national mail service and other services such as money transfers and courier services.
220 volts AC, 50hz - outlets are of the round three-pin type.
Various international carriers fly into Botswana or neighbouring countries, especially nearby Johannesburg, South Africa, with connecting flights.
National carrier Air Botswana operates scheduled domestic flights from Gaborone to several destinations, including Francistown, Maun, Kasane.
Various other carriers operate services to the capital and private operators maintain links to a variety of tourist destinations.
Well-developed air charter industry.
Main airport is Sir Seretse Khama International (GBE) 15km (9 miles) northwest of Gaborone with smaller airports at Francistown, Ghanzi, Jwaneny, Kasane, Pont Drift and Selebi-Phikwe.
Airport facilities: Luggage storage, luggage shrink wrap, banks, bar, snack bar, restaurant, post office, duty-free shops and car hire.
No regular bus services to and from the airport, but hotels run minibuses and taxis are available.
Direct flights from Johannesburg, Harare, Cape Town and Windhoek to Maun International Airport (MUB) which serves the Okavango Delta.
Arriving persons must declare goods to Customs Officer on baggage declaration Form J.
VAT of 10% charged on most goods purchased, while customs and excise duties are charged on some goods brought in.
Botswana belongs to the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) - South Africa levies and collects most of the customs, sales and excise duties for the 5 member states.
Citizens of Commonwealth countries do not require a visa and visa abolition agreements exist with a number of countries.
All other foreigners need a visa.
Visa requirements: Complete Form D (Visa form); Letter of support from the host; two passport size photos; fee of P25.00 (around USD 4.00); return visa or residence permit from his/her country of residence; return air ticket; confirmation letter from the country if the person is coming for business purposes.
High risk of malaria, especially in rainy season – anti-malaria drugs taken 2 weeks before visit recommended.
Other risks include tick-bite fever, sun and heat-related problems, snake-bite, HIV/AIDS, Bilharzia.
Tap water is safe to drink in urban areas.
All urban centres are connected by highways and very good tarmac roads, with driving on left hand side of road.
Off main routes, the roads range from good, high-speed gravel to deep, rutted sand.
Speed limits apply and seat belts must be worn.
Various private bus and minibus passenger transport companies provide good services, as does Botswana Railways with air-conditioned luxury rail travel between various centres.
Taxis and minibus taxis operate in all towns & all major car hire services operate in Botswana.
A stable democracy since independence in 1966, mostly safe, but crime does occur – take basic precautions.
Customs & Excise
Tel: +267 364 2100, +267 392 2855
Fax: +267 392 2781
Tel: +267 395 2812
Sir Seretse Khama Airport
Tel: +267 395 8440
Tel: +267 471 1375
Tel: +267 361 1300
Tel: +267 395 3024
Wildlife and National Parks
Tel: +267 397 1405
Hotel & Tourism Association
Tel: +267 395 7144
Tel: +267 390 2111
First National Bank
Tel: +267 364 2600