Traveller Essentials


Useful Tips


The currency used in Botswana is Pula (P), which is made up of 100 Thebe.

Pula literally means "rain" in Setswana, because rain is very scarce in Botswana — home to much of the Kalahari Desert — and therefore valuable and a blessing.


Notes come in denominations of P10, P20, P50 and P100, and coins (thebe, or ‘shield’) are in denominations of 5t, 10t, 25t, 50t, P1, P2 and P5.



Botswana banks only accept US Dollars, Pound Sterling, Euro and South African Rand in cash. Any cash payments made, gratuities to guides or staff, need to be in one of these currencies or the local currency.

Therefore it’s best to stick to US dollars, euros, UK pounds and South African rand, which are all easy to change.


Credit card

Major credit cards, such as MasterCard and Visa, are accepted throughout the country, in most hotels, restaurants, retail outlets and safari companies. However, shops in remote areas and service stations may only accept cash. American Express and Diners Club are not accepted by the banks of Botswana neither by the camps.


Currency exchange

Foreign currency, namely US dollars, euros, UK pounds and South African rand, can be easily changed  at banks, bureaux de change, and authorised hotels.



Credit cards can be used in ATMs displaying the appropriate sign, or to obtain cash advances over the counter in many banks – Visa and MasterCard are among the most widely recognised. You’ll find ATMs at all the main bank branches throughout Botswana, including in Gaborone, Maun, Francistown and Kasane.


Banking hours

Monday to Friday 8:30-15:30
Saturday 8:30 to 10:45

Health and Vaccinations

Water, Electricity and Internet


Ensure to drink bottled water in Botswana. Avoid having ice cubes in your drinks as you are not sure if it is bottled water.


The standard voltage is 230 V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz. Primary sockets generally require the 3 square-pin or round-pin variety, similar to the ones used in South Africa and the United Kingdom respectively.

Internet & Communications

The international access code for Botswana is +267. You are unlikely to find a WiFi connection in the national parks as guests are encouraged to disconnect during their safari in order to better immerse themselves in their natural surroundings. In the cities, at large hotels and shopping malls, WiFi can be found but it might be less secure and slower than you are used to.

Safety and Security

Botswana is possibly the safest country in the entire Africa. People are very friendly and the country is slowly acquiring the reputation of a luxury tourist destination. Street crime is rarely an issue in Botswana, especially towards tourists. The main areas where you should exercise caution are the country’s capital Gaborone and the tourist capital, Maun, which serves as a gateway to one of Africa’s greatest natural regions and tourist destinations, the Okavango Delta.

Road Safety

Although vehicle traffic is light on most roads outside of the major towns and cities, the most significant concern for most travellers is road safety. Botswana has one of the highest accident rates per capita in the world, and drunk and reckless driving are common, especially at month’s end (wage day). Cattle, goats, sheep, donkeys and even elephants are deadly hazards on the road, especially at dusk and after dark when visibility is poor. Never drive at night unless you absolutely have to.

Games Drive safety

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.

Tourists traveling to Botswana via South Africa should also be aware that there is a serious baggage theft issue at OR Tambo (Johannesburg) and Cape Town International Airports, ensure you do a plastic packaging around your bag to be safe.

Travel Insurance

It is advised to always take a travel insurance whenever you go on holidays. Ideally travel insurances should cover:

  • Medical expenses and hospital benefit.
  • Personal accident and liability.
  • Cancelling and cutting short your holiday.
  • Abandoning your trip.
  • Delayed departure.
  • Accommodation cover.
  • Scheduled airline failure.
  • Loss of baggage.
  • Loss of personal belongings. 

Some tips when buying your insurance :

  • With the medical coverage, check there’s a 24-hour medical emergency number. When securing baggage cover, make sure that the limit per article, will cover your most valuable possessions, like a camera or phone or tablet.
  • If you need to make a claim, you should keep receipts for medicines and medical treatment.
  • In the event you have anything stolen, you must obtain an official statement from the police.

What to pack

Before you go

  • Check airline baggage restrictions. Most light charter flights to luxury lodges have strict restrictions on the size, weight and type of luggage passengers can travel with. This includes weight restrictions of 12 - 20 kilograms (26.7lbs - 44.1lbs) and that travelers use soft duffle bag type luggage instead of hard shell cases.
  • Arrange for appropriate travel insurance
  • Visit your doctor for vaccinations and anti-malaria tablets at least 3-4 weeks before your departure.
  • Inform your debit-/credit-card company that you are travelling

Travel documents

  • Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months past your arrival date.
  • Return ticket and tour reservations are important documents to have handy on arrival for immigration.
  • Have your International Vaccination Card (or Yellow fever vaccination certificate) ready, it might be requested depending on the countries you have visited before.
  • Vouchers: Keep your tour voucher or safari voucher or transfer voucher in an easily accessible place, as you will have to submit them to your welcome ground agent on arrival.
  • Insurance documents


Take some cash with you. You can exchange money (Euros, Dollars, Pounds Sterling, Rands are the easiest) on arrival at the airport, and this might be the most practical. You do not want to waste time during your holidays to go look for ATMs or foreign exchange bureaus.

What to wear

  • Loose-fitting, light casual wear that dry quickly are recommended.
  • Long Sleeved Tops & Comfortable Long Pants. Jeans are not recommended as it can be hot and also takes time to dry.
  • If you're self-driving and camping, dress codes don't really apply.
  • Neutral-coloured safari clothing
  • Wind and waterproof jacket
  • Warm clothes – warm sweater, a scarf
  • Good, strong hiking/walking boots and socks if you are out on a walking safari
  • Sandals or thongs for in the showers are essential.
  • Swim suit and a sarong as most lodges will have a swimming pool.
  • Lodges and camps are very casual even during the evening.
  • No need for evening wear.

Travel Aids

  • A destination travel guide.
  • A pen – this is important to have as you might be required to fill in forms upon arrival.
  • Toiletries: Sun glasses, Sun cream (high SPF factor), broad rimmed hat, lip protection against the sun and insect repellent
  • Charger, transformer, Electrical adaptor
  • Binoculars
  • Torch (flashlight)
  • First aid kit