Electricity

230 volts, 50Hz. Round three-pin plugs are used.

Language

English is the official language but Setswana is the most widely spoken language.

Money

The unit of currency is the Botswana Pula (BWP), which is divided into 100 Thebe. Major credit cards are widely accepted, and foreign currency is accepted at most large hotels and lodges. There are banks and bureaux de change in all the main towns, as well as ATM machines. Most ATMs only accept Visa.

Tipping

Tipping is expected in tourist hotels and restaurants. Many automatically add a service charge, but where not, a 10 to 15 percent tip is appreciated. Taxi drivers, porters and golf caddies should also be tipped a relative amount. Tour guides, trackers and game rangers rely largely on tips for their income and should be paid accordingly.

Health

Malaria is a particular risk in Botswana between November and June in the northern parts of the country. Visitors who are camping or walking in the bush should be cautious of tick bites. There are no compulsory vaccinations, but a yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers over the age of one coming from infected countries.

Botswana has a good public health system, but facilities are limited outside urban areas. Health insurance for visitors is vital. Tap water in towns is generally safe to drink, and all foodstuffs are safe to consume.

Safety

The majority of visits to Botswana are trouble-free, but visitors should be aware of the increasing incidence of crime, including violent crime, in the main towns. Wildlife and livestock make driving hazardous, so driving at night should be avoided.

Local customs

Visitors should not overlook greetings, which count for a lot in Botswana. A good way to make a positive impression on locals is to greet them with a friendly, 'Dumela', followed by a 'rra' (for men) and 'mma' (for women). Visitors may also want to use a two-hand handshake (with their left hand on their elbow while they shake), as locals prefer it to a Western-style handshake. Homosexuality is no longer illegal, but attitudes haven't shifted very much.

Doing business

Business is fairly relaxed in Botswana and dress is generally smart casual. Handshakes begin and end meetings, which are usually held in private. Women are often viewed with a certain amount of sexism, but will be politely treated. Office hours are usually 8am to 5pm Monday to Friday, or 7.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday between October and April.

Duty free

Travellers to Botswana over the age of 18 can enter the country with 200 cigarettes; 20 cigars or 250g of tobacco; 2 litres of wine and 1 litre of alcoholic beverages; 50ml of perfume and 250ml of eau de toilette without incurring customs duty.

Communications

The international access code for Botswana is +267. The outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0027 for South Africa). WiFi is available at large hotels and shopping malls, though the speeds are unlikely to match those that travellers from North America and Europe are accustomed to.

Passport & Visa

All visitors require return or onward tickets and sufficient funds to cover their stay in Botswana. Visas are generally not required for stays of under 90 days. It is highly recommended to have six months' validity remaining on travellers' passport, as border agents occasionally apply different guidelines to those stated.

Entry requirements

US nationals require a passport valid for at least six months from date of arrival, but do not require a visa for stays of up to 90 days.

UK nationals require a passport valid for at least six months from date of arrival, but do not require a visa for stays of up to 90 days.

Canadian nationals require a passport valid for at least six months from date of arrival, but do not require a visa for stays of up to 90 days.

Australian nationals require a passport valid for at least six months from date of arrival, but do not require a visa for stays of up to 90 days.

South African nationals require a passport valid for at least six months from date of arrival, but do not require a visa for stays of up to 90 days.

Irish nationals require a passport valid for at least six months from date of arrival, but do not require a visa for stays of up to 90 days.

New Zealanders require a passport valid for at least six months from date of arrival, but do not require a visa for a stay of up to 90 days.

Useful contacts

Department of Tourism, Gaborone: +267 395 3024 or www.botswana-tourism.gov.bw

Emergencies: 999 (Police), 997 (Ambulance), 998 (Fire).

Embassies / consulates in other countries

Botswana Embassy, Washington DC, United States: +1 202 244 4990 (also responsible for Canada).

Botswana High Commission, London, United Kingdom (also responsible for Ireland): +44 20 7499 0031.

Botswana High Commission, Canberra, Australia (also responsible for New Zealand): +61 2 6290 7500.

Botswana High Commission, Pretoria, South Africa: +27 12 430 9640.

Embassies / consulates in Botswana

United States Embassy, Gaborone: +267 395 3982.

British High Commission, Gaborone: +267 395 2841.

Consulate of Canada, Gaborone: +267 390 4411.

Australian High Commission, Pretoria, South Africa (also responsible for Botswana): +27 12 423 6000.

South African High Commission, Gaborone: +267 390 4800/1/2.

Irish Honorary Consul, Gaborone: +267 390 5807.

New Zealand High Commission, Pretoria, South Africa (also responsible for Botswana): +27 12 435 9000

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