Photo Credit: Ross Huggett

Tourist visas are not required for nationals of Australia, Canada, the United States and all EU countries with the exception of Slovenia and the Czech Republic. A passport valid for six months, ongoing proof of travel and sufficient funds allow entry to Botswana for a period of up to 90 days. Nationals of all other countries should check with their nearest Botswana Embassy or online as to visa requirements.

Hepatitis A and B, typhoid, tetanus and the triple measles/mumps/rubella jab should all be up to date, and anti-malarial medication should be carried. For those on safari or spending time in remote areas, rabies shots are also recommended. Bats present more of a threat of infection with the deadly disease than dogs and since HIV/Aids is present in Botswana, the usual precautions should be taken.

Health and Safety

Tick-borne diseases are a risk, and care should be taken in rural and wilderness areas of Botswana. Travelers’ diarrhea provides a serious concern, and the tap water is not safe to drink. Visitors should avoid ice in drinks, ice cream, street food, uncooked vegetables and unwashed fruit. A number of fish species eaten here, including barracuda, sea bass, grouper, red snapper and reef fish, contain dangerous toxins. Swimming in lakes, ponds, river and streams should be avoided due to the risk of schistosomiasis. Threats to life and limb from the indigenous wildlife are far less than most visitors imagine, although snake and insect bites can be serious and occasionally fatal.

Attacks on tourists are very rare, although petty crime in the major cities does occur, as do theft from parked cars. Valuables and cash should be safeguarded, especially in game lodges along riverfronts. A few incidents of sexual attacks and rape have occurred in Botswana, and it’s inadvisable for women to walk alone after dark. If you are injured or assaulted, seek medical attention immediately due to the high rate of HIV/Aids infection in the country. If you’re driving, watch out for livestock and wildlife on the roads.

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