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.
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.
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.
Monday to Friday
Saturday 8:30 to 10:45
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.
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.
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.
It is advised to always take a travel insurance whenever you go on holidays. Ideally travel insurances should cover:
Some tips when buying your insurance :
Before you go
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
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