Botswana is an unspoiled land of timeless beauty - with striking salt pans, diamond-rich deserts, fertile flood plains, vast grasslands, and flatlands punctuated with dramatic rocky outcrops. Botswana's natural appeal lies in the stunning and seemingly endless wilderness, prolific wildlife, cultural diversity, and welcoming people.
Botswana is truly one of Africa's top safari destinations, teeming with game and bird-life, thanks in large part to a strong commitment to wildlife protection and management and environmental conservation. We are home to the world renowned Okavango Delta, Kalahari Desert, the Chobe National Park and Moremi Game Reserve, where animals roam freely and offer visitors superb safari experiences.
A landlocked country about the size of Texas, Botswana is located in the heart of southern Africa, and is bordered by Zambia and Zimbabwe to the northeast, Namibia to the north and west, and South Africa to the south and southeast.
Stable and prosperous, Botswana has blossomed since independence from Britain in 1966 and is Africa's longest continuous democracy and one of the world's biggest diamond producers. Today, the country enjoys a high standard of economic stability, education and health care; making Botswana truly one of Africa's lasting success stories... and a great place to visit.
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. 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).
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 ask us 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.