Attacks on tourists are rare, but petty and violent crime is increasing particularly in the major towns of Gaborone, Francistown and Maun. House burglaries, often by armed gangs, are common. Hold-ups and robberies of restaurants during peak hours have also occurred in the past.
Theft from parked cars does occur and thieves target cars waiting at traffic lights to smash and grab handbags, phones or laptops. Keep valuables out of sight and in a safe place. If you’re attacked, do not resist. Use a hotel safe, where practical. Keep copies of important documents, including passports, in a separate place.
There have been isolated room break-ins and robbery from lodges in the Chobe area, particularly river-fronting lodges. Lock your room when you can and secure valuables.
There have been incidences of rape and other sexual offences. Seek immediate medical advice if you’re sexually assaulted or otherwise injured. Women, in particular, should not walk alone at night.
You should avoid large demonstrations and gatherings. In 2011 police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse protests.
Game reserves and other tourist areas are generally secure, but be alert to unpredictable behaviour by wild animals. Follow park regulations and wardens’ advice. Avoid bathing in rivers and lakes, because of the dangers from both wildlife and water-borne diseases.
If you travel to remote areas plan your trip carefully, make transport and accommodation arrangements in advance and seek local security advice. Take emergency supplies (including water and fuel) and be prepared for off-road driving conditions. In very remote areas travel in convoy or with a satellite phone in case of breakdown.
You can drive using an International Driving Permit for up to 90 days. If you intend to stay longer you should apply for a Botswana driving license.
Botswana has good tarmac roads covering most of the country but you should be careful when driving. The standard of driving is lower than in the UK and many drivers ignore road safety rules. Dangerous driving, including speeding (the maximum speed limit is 120kmh) and drink/drug driving, cause frequent serious and often fatal accidents.
Driving, particularly outside the major urban areas, can be dangerous due to stray wildlife and livestock. This is a particular risk at night, so take extra care if you’re driving after dark.
In major towns taxis are generally safe to take. You should agree a price before setting off.
If you have checked this Travel Advice and still need assistance from the British High Commission Gaborone, you can contact us via our Online Enquiry Form. If you need emergency assistance, you should call +267 395 2841.
Botswana authorities do not always inform the British High Commission when British nationals have been arrested. If you’re detained, you may insist on your right to contact a British consular officer and have access to lawyer. There is currently no comprehensive legal aid scheme and you would need to pay for any lawyer yourself.
Entry to Botswana
Air travel has resumed to and from Sir Seretse Khama International Airport in Gaborone, Maun International Airport, Kasane International Airport and G. Matante International Airport in Francistown.
Ground crossings have resumed at the border posts of Tlokweng, Martin’s Drift, Pioneer Gate, Ramatlabama, Kazungula Road, Kazungula Ferry, Ngoma, Ramokgwebana, Mamuno, Mohembo, Bokspits, Kasane, Maitengwe, McCarthy’s, Point Drift, Plaatjan and Two Rivers. If you’re planning to enter neighbouring countries before or after you visit Botswana, you should refer to the travel advice for that country. Also check with your travel company for the latest information.
Screening on arrival
You must present proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test performed no more than 72 hours prior to your arrival. After arrival, you will have to remain in contact with the local health authority for a period of 14 days for self-monitoring. You should not use the NHS testing service to get a test in order to facilitate your travel to another country. You should arrange to take a private test. If you’re a returning citizen or resident and do not meet these requirements you will need to undergo 14 day mandatory quarantine and testing at your own expense. If you’re not a returning citizen or resident and do not meet these requirements you will denied entry.
At Botswana border points, all travellers, including children, will be required to undergo an additional cost-free COVID-19 test to gain entry to Botswana. If the test is positive or you show COVID-19 symptoms, you may need to undergo 14 days isolation or quarantine at your own expense.
COVID-19 entry and exit requirements may be announced and altered at little notice. You should monitor the government of Botswana’s Facebook page for the latest developments or contact the government of Botswana’s 24 hour COVID-19 helpline on 16649 / 0800 600 111.
Flights in to and out of Botswana from South Africa may be affected by South Africa’s own coronavirus (COVID-19) response. Follow our travel advice for South Africa for information on South African entry and transit requirements, and consult your nearest South African High Commission.
Returning residents, including from the UK, may be subject to a 14-day mandatory quarantine period in government facilities at their own expense and compulsory COVID-19 testing.
Regular entry requirements
British nationals do not normally need a visa to enter Botswana for stays of up to 90 days.
Overstaying can cause delays on departure. If you wish to extend your stay, seek an extension from the Department of Immigration.
Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry into Botswana.
The Botswana government has stated that dual nationals using two different passports can only enter the country on the same passport they used to exit the previous country.
Yellow fever certificate requirements
Check whether you need a yellow fever certificate by visiting the National Travel Health Network and Centre’s TravelHealthPro website.
The Botswana government continues to impose measures to screen travellers arriving from Ebola affected countries. Travellers arriving from Ebola affected countries may be denied entry to Botswana or put into quarantine on arrival. Further information is available from the Botswana Ministry of Health.
UK Emergency Travel Documents
UK Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) are valid for entry into Botswana. However, unlike with a full validity UK passport, ETD holders must apply for the appropriate Botswana visa or be in possession of a residence permit before travelling to Botswana.
Travel to or from South Africa
If you’re planning to enter South Africa before or after you visit Botswana, you should refer to the travel advice for South Africa.
Travelling with children
The Botswana government has introduced new immigration rules from 1 October 2016. Children (under 18 years of age) who are travelling into or through Botswana must provide a certified copy of their full unabridged birth certificate as well as a valid passport (an abridged (short) birth certificate won’t be accepted).
If the child is travelling with one parent, with another adult or unaccompanied, the parent or parents who aren’t present will need to provide an affidavit giving their consent for the child to travel. For more information please contact the Botswana Embassy.
Travelling with children via South Africa
If you’re transiting through South Africa with children, see our South Africa travel advice page for information and advice about the documents you’ll need to carry.
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