Botswana information

Botswana general information

What is the dialling code for Botswana? What is Botswana's currency? What time is it in Botswana? These and other questions often occur when travelling to Botswana for the first time. Below we've gathered the most frequently asked questions, and tried to answer them for our travellers.

Time in Botswana

Botswana is always two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+2); it doesn't operate daylight saving time, so there's no time difference between winter and summer months in Botswana.

Currency in Botswana

The pula (BWP) is Botswana's currency, and at the time of writing (Aug 2009) £1 = P11.93; also see www.oanda.com for the latest rate. Travellers' cheques and foreign currency can be exchanged at banks, although most camps here will take VISA and Mastercard credit cards, as well as US Dollars, Pounds, Euros and SA Rands. At most camps/lodges, there are no extras to pay.

Botswana's International Dialling Code

The International Dialling Code for Botswana is +267, followed by the city area code (e.g. (0)62 for Kasane, or (0)68 for Maun) and local number. Calling from Botswana, you need to dial 00 and the relevant country code (e.g. +44 for the UK, or +1 for the USA). International prepaid calls from Botswana to UK landlines with Botswana Telecommunication Corporation currently (Aug 09) cost P2.70 per minute, or P3.40 per minute to UK mobiles.

Food in Botswana

Botswana's safari camps provide very high-quality food and drink – most serve international-style cuisine, alongside the local lager St. Louis, imported beers (Amstel or Windhoek), wines and spirits.

In Botswana's villages and towns, meats, particularly beef and goat, are very popular; millet and sorghum porridge are staples. National specialities include Morama (an underground tuber), Morogo (wild spinach), Kalahari truffle, all sorts of beans, and Mopane worms – grubs, which are served boiled, deep-fried or cooked. Drinks include the cider-like bojalwa, or homemade ginger beer.

Driving in Botswana

For most visitors, necessary travel distances are often small, and Botswana's few tarred roads are excellent. Away from these, many roads are merely unmarked tracks in the sand.

Health in Botswana

Botswana is generally a healthy country to visit. Several vaccines are sensible (typhoid, polio and tetanus), though none are required. Anti-malarial tablets are usually recommended. Always check the latest recommendations with your doctor or clinic before travelling, and perhaps see the Scottish NHS site for useful travel info on Botswana.

In Botswana, HIV infection rates are high, and AIDS is prevalent. Generally, this isn't an issue for travellers, but you should be aware of the situation – take the same sensible precautions to avoid infection which are wise in most countries. We understand that blood supplies used by the private hospitals in Botswana have been carefully screened for a long time.

Language in Botswana

English is the official language of Botswana and widely spoken, although Setswana (also called 'Tswana') is spoken by almost everybody. Mother tongues include Birwa, Herero and Kagalagadi (languages of the Bantu family), Nama, Ganadi and Shua (languages of the Khoisan family), as well as Afrikaans of the European family.

Visas for Botswana

Travellers with British passports, as well as US citizens, do not need a visa when travelling to Botswana. For more visa information, see the Botswana Tourism Board site.

Weather and climate in Botswana

Botswana's weather and climate is typical for southern Africa, although it gets less rainfall than the countries further east. For a month-by-month description, please see our separate weather and climate in Botswana page.

Wild animals in Botswana

Most of Botswana's camps and campsites are unfenced. You must take great care with wild animals; they can all be dangerous.