Fire and rescue services
Call 999 or the nearest police station.
We haven't changed our level of advice:
Exercise normal safety precautions in Botswana.
Full travel advice: Safety
Full travel advice: Health
Full travel advice: Local laws
Full travel advice: Travel
Full travel advice: Local contacts
Be alert, particularly if you're out after dark.
Attacks on tourists are rare. But there's violent crime, residential break-ins and carjackings, particularly of 4WD vehicles.
Street crime is more common in urban centres.
Criminals have robbed travellers in the areas of Gaborone Dam and Kgale Hill in the capital, Gaborone. Exercise caution in these areas.
The HIV/AIDS infection rate is very high.
Police resources are varied throughout Botswana.
Public protests and demonstrations can turn violent.
Terrorism is a threat worldwide.
Respect wildlife laws. Keep a safe and legal distance when watching wildlife.
Only use reputable guides or tour operators. Follow park regulations and wardens' advice.
Severe weather can affect your travel plans. Monitor local media for updates.
If you're visiting an area that has recently suffered severe weather:
Get comprehensive travel insurance before you leave. Your policy needs to cover all overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation. The Australian Government won't pay for these costs.
If you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. This applies to everyone, no matter how healthy and fit you are.
If you're not insured, you may have to pay many 1000s of dollars up-front for medical care.
Consider your physical and mental health before you travel, especially if you have an existing medical condition.
See your doctor or travel clinic to:
Do this at least 8 weeks before you leave.
Not all medication available over the counter or by prescription in Australia is available in other countries. Some medication may be considered illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor.
If you plan to bring medication, check if it's legal in Botswana. Take enough legal medicine for your trip.
Keep medications in their original packaging with a clear label.
Carry a copy of your prescription or a letter from your doctor stating:
If you're travelling from a country where yellow fever is widespread you’ll need a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate to enter Botswana. This does not apply to a child aged under 1 year.
If you can't show proof of vaccination, authorities may not let you enter.
You can't get vaccinated when you arrive.
Botswana's rate of HIV/AIDS infection is very high. Take precautions before you do anything that puts you at risk of infection.
Don't swim in lakes and rivers because of the possibility of:
Malaria occurs throughout Botswana. It's widespread in the north of the country, especially in the rainy season from November to March.
Other insect-borne diseases also occur. They include:
To protect yourself from insect-borne diseases:
Consider taking medicine to prevent malaria if you travel north of Gaborone.
Waterborne, foodborne and other infectious diseases are widespread. This includes:
Serious outbreaks sometimes occur. Some drug-resistant tuberculosis cases are reported in Botswana.
To protect yourself from illness:
Don't swim in fresh water to avoid exposure to certain waterborne diseases, such as bilharzia (schistosomiasis).
Get urgent medical advice if you suspect food poisoning or if you have a fever or diarrhoea.
Medical facilities outside urban areas are limited.
Public and private medical facilities ask you to confirm insurance cover or guarantee payment before treatment.
If you're seriously ill or injured, you could need treatment at a more suitable place. This is usually South Africa. Medical evacuation can be very expensive.
You're subject to all local laws and penalties, including those that may appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling.
If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular Services Charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.
If you're detained or arrested, the Botswana authorities may not automatically notify the Australian Government. Ask police or prison officials to contact the Australian High Commission in South Africa if you're arrested or detained.
Police resources are varied throughout Botswana.
Penalties for drug offences are severe and include mandatory jail sentences. This includes offences involving marijuana (cannabis).
Serious offences, including murder and treason, carry the death penalty.
Exporting elephant hair, ivory, and rhinoceros horn products is illegal.
If you want to export animal souvenirs or 'trophies' you need either:
You must not observe wildlife closer than the legal minimum distance.
Some crimes, such as serious assaults, attract physical punishment.
In Botswana it's illegal to:
Same-sex relationships were decriminalised in June 2019. However, there are local sensitivities Avoid public displays of affection.
Some Australian criminal laws still apply when you're overseas. If you break these laws, you may face prosecution in Australia.
You dont need a visa if you're a tourist visiting for up to 90 days. If you're travelling with children you'll need extra documents.
Botswana accepts Australian emergency passports. But, if you need to enter Botswana on an emergency passport, you'll need to apply for a visa before you go. You can't get one on arrival.
Apply at the nearest embassy or consulate of Botswana.
Entry and exit conditions can change at short notice. Contact the nearest embassy or consulate for details about visas, currency, customs and quarantine rules.
If you enter Botswana from Ebola-affected countries, you'll be screened for Ebola. You may be denied entry or quarantined on arrival. For more information, see Botswana Ministry of Health.
You'll need a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate to enter Botswana if you arrive from a country where yellow fever is widespread.
Immigration regulations apply to children younger than 18 years.
All children travelling must have a passport and full birth certificate. The birth certificate must identify the child and parents.
You must show these documents on request.
Any parents who aren't travelling need to provide a legal document giving their consent for the child to travel.
The legal document must be less than 3 months old and include:
If you don't comply with these rules, you might be:
The nearest embassy or consulate of Botswana can tell you what you need to have on the document.
Special rules apply if you're going to or from Botswana through South Africa, including transiting. Read the Travel section of the travel advice for South Africa.
South Africa has specific documentation rules for children and doesn't accept provisional travel documents. It also requires travellers to carry a yellow fever vaccination certificate.
Some countries won't let you enter unless your passport is valid for 6 months after you plan to leave that country. This can apply even if you're just transiting or stopping over.
Some foreign governments and airlines apply the rule inconsistently. Travellers can receive conflicting advice from different sources.
You can end up stranded if your passport is not valid for more than 6 months.
The Australian Government does not set these rules. Check your passport's expiry date before you travel. If you're not sure it'll be valid for long enough, consider getting a new passport.
Make sure your passport has 2 blank pages. If it doesn't, authorities may stop you when you try to leave.
Your passport is a valuable document. It's attractive to people who may try to use your identity to commit crimes.
Some people may try to trick you into giving them your passport. Always keep it in a safe place.
If your passport is lost or stolen, tell the Australian Government as soon as possible:
The official currency of Botswana is the Pula (BWP).
You must declare any foreign currency over Pula 10,000 when you enter and leave Botswana.
To drive in Botswana, you need both:
You must get your IDP before leaving Australia.
Be careful driving from the airport into Gaborone at night.
Driving outside major urban areas in Botswana can be hazardous. This is mainly due to:
You’re 4 times more likely to be killed in a car accident in Botswana than in Australia.
Wild animals and livestock often stray onto roads and have right of way.
Batswana, the people of Botswana, take injuries or deaths of their cattle by motorists very seriously.
If you're driving long distances, carefully plan your trip because of the harsh environment and sparse population.
If you travel to remote desert areas, use a reputable guide. Take a 4WD vehicle with emergency provisions.
The condition of urban roads is mostly good.
Only use authorised taxis. Negotiate the fare before you leave.
DFAT doesn't provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths.
Check Botswana's air safety profile with the Aviation Safety Network.
Depending on what you need, contact your:
Call 999 or the nearest police station.
Always get a police report when you report a crime.
Your insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.
Contact your provider with any complaints about tourist services or products.
Read the Consular Services Charter for what the Australian Government can and can’t do to help you overseas.
Australia has an honorary consulate in Botswana. It provides limited consular and passport assistance.
You can get full consular and passport help from the Australian High Commission in South Africa.
Plot 50637, Block 10, Airport Road
(Next to Airport Junction Shopping Centre)
Phone: (+ 267) 390 2996
Fax: (+ 267) 391 4293
Mobile: (+ 267) 7133 1550
You can get full consular help from the Australian High Commission in South Africa.
292 Orient Street
Pretoria, South Africa
Phone: +27 12 423 6000
Fax: +27 12 342 8442
Facebook: Australian High Commission in South Africa
Check the High Commission website for details about opening hours and any temporary closures.
In a consular emergency, if you can't contact an embassy, call the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on:
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