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.
The pula (BWP) is Botswana’s currency. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
English is the official language of Botswana and widely spoken, although Setswana 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.
Travellers with British passports, as well as US citizens, do not need a visa when travelling to Botswana. For more visa information.
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.
Most of Botswana’s camps and campsites are unfenced. You must take great care with wild animals; they can all be dangerous.