From the horse’s mouth
Visa & Health
Visas are not required by British, Australian, Canadian, USA or other EU nationals for stays in Botswana of up to 90 days.
Visas are also not required by transit passengers, provided they are continuing their journey by the same or first connecting aircraft, and do not leave the airport.
Nationals of countries not listed above are advised to contact the high commission/embassy to check visa requirements.
Those nationals who do require a visa for Botswana must include a copy of their travel itinerary with their application, along with a letter of support from their intended host and return visa or residence permit from his/her country of residence.
Travel to or from South Africa
If you are planning to enter South Africa before or after you visit Botswana, you should refer to the travel advice for South Africa.
Travelling with children
The Botswana government has introduced new immigration rules from 1 October 2016. Children (under 18 years of age) who are travelling into or through Botswana must provide a certified copy of their full unabridged birth certificate as well as a valid passport (an abridged (short) birth certificate won’t be accepted).
If the child is travelling with one parent, with another adult or unaccompanied, the parent or parents who aren’t present will need to provide an affidavit giving their consent for the child to travel. For more information please contact the Botswana Embassy.
Travelling with children via South Africa
If you’re transiting through South Africa with children, see our South Africa travel advice page for information and advice about the documents you’ll need to carry.
More information: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/botswana/entry-requirements
Addresses of consulates
- Botswana High Commission
6 Stratford Place
London W1C 1AY
Tél. : (020) 7499 0031
Fax : (020) 7647 1000
- Ambassade du Botswana
88 Avenue de Iéna
Tél. : 01.47.20.08.23
You should check with your doctor who has access to the most up-to-date information but the following vaccinations are usually recommended - Diphtheria, Tetanus and Polio (DTP) together with Hepatitis A and typhoid.
If you are staying longer than 3 months or have a particular risk you might consider a rabies vaccination. Vaccination against Tuberculosis as well as Hepatitis B are also sometimes recommended for stays longer than 3 months.
Malaria is prevalent in the country, but mainly during the warm and wet season and particularly in the northern half of the country. The south is generally considered lower risk. Don't underestimate this tropical disease and take precautions. Buy repellent (preferably with 50% DEET) and sleep under a net and speak to your doctor about anti-malarial medication.
Budget and money
Notes in denominations of P100, 50, 20 and 10.
Coins in denominations of P5, 2 and 1, and 50, 25, 10 and 5 thebe.
It is not necessary to change money into local currency for any of our Botswana rides - they accept GB Pounds, Euro, US Dollars and South African Rand.
Telephone and jetlag
Mobile phone roaming agreements exist with international mobile phone companies. Coverage is average in the major towns but you are unlikely to get any signal at all when in remote camps.
Time zone: GMT + 2hr
Area: 581,730 sq km (224,607 sq miles).
Population: 2.1 million (2015).
Population density: 3.6 per sq km.
People and ethnies:
Language: English is the official language. Setswana is the national language, with minorities speaking Kalanga and Sekgalagadi.
Religion: Christians (71.6%), Badimo (African Traditional Religion - 6%)
Political regime: Parliamentary republic
President: Seretse Khama Ian Khama since 2008
Prudent management and the successful development of new mineral resources have afforded Botswana consistent economic growth at a rate of around 5% in recent years. The country has been seeking to reduce its economic dependence on diamonds and agricultural products, both of which are vulnerable to price fluctuations, and to increase its focus on high-revenue investment services and upmarket safari tourism. Unemployment is officially around 40%, but many citizens support themselves through subsistence agriculture.
The HIV/AIDS epidemic, which is extremely serious in Botswana and mainly afflicts the productive, young and middle-aged population, is starting to have a negative effect on the economy
The country is predominantly flat, tending toward gently rolling tableland. Botswana is dominated by the Kalahari Desert, which covers up to 70% of its land surface. The Okavango Delta, one of the world's largest inland deltas, is in the northwest. The Makgadikgadi Pan, a large salt pan, lies in the north. The Limpopo River Basin, the major landform of all of southern Africa, lies partly in Botswana, with the basins of its tributaries, the Notwane, Bonwapitse, Mahalapswe, Lotsane, Motloutse and the Shashe, located in the eastern part of the country. The Notwane provides water to the capital through the Gaborone Dam. The Chobe River lies to the north, providing a boundary between Botswana and Namibia, in the Caprivi Region. The Chobe River meets with the Zambezi River at a place called Kazungula (meaning a small sausage tree, a point where Sebitwane and his Makololo tribe crossed the Zambezi into Zambia).
The majority of the population lives in the southeast around Gaborone, Serowe and Kanye along the South African border. The vast arid sandveld of the Kalahari occupies much of central and western Botswana. The seasonal rains bring a considerable difference to the vegetation, especially in the Makgadikgadi Pans and the Okavango Delta.
People, culture and traditions
As most people in Botswana follow their traditional pattern of life, visitors should be sensitive to customs which will inevitably be unfamiliar to them. Outside urban areas and safari destinations, people may well not be used to visitors. Casual clothing is acceptable and, in urban centres, normal courtesies should be observed.
Choosing the right riding holiday
Choosing the right riding holiday
Botswana is a wild and unspoilt country where the big five still roams. Horseback safaris in Botswana are ideal for competent riders who want to ride amongst large game such as elephant and buffalo.
The OKAVANGO DELTA is considered the jewel of the Kalahari. An inland seasonal floodplain which floods annually after the rains attracting large numbers of game into the area. All of the big five are present and so riders should be confident and capable.
For fast and challenging riding visit: Macatoo
For a semi-mobile ride on beautifully schooled horses visit: Kujwana
For a unique and semi mobile ride: Across the Okavango
To combine luxury lodges with fly camping: Moremi Big Five Adventure
The KALAHARI DESERT and Makgadikgadi salt pans are in central Botswana and have distinct seasons - the dry season (May-Sept) when there is no rain and the pans are empty and perfect for long canters; and the wet season (Nov - April) when the rain quenches the dry earth, the pans fill, the bush is lush and green, and large herds of zebra and wildebeest migrate into the area: Kalahari desert ride
The TULI BLOCK in the eastern corner of Botswana, near the border of Zimbabwe and South Africa is known as the Land of the Giants - huge baobabs, large herds of elephant and stunning big cat sightings, not forgetting some of the best horses in Africa.
For a mobile horseback safari under canvas choose: Tuli Trail
COMBINATION RIDES. If you can't decide on a riding safari then how about combining two different horse riding holidays for two different experiences? Some possibilities include:
South Africa and Botswana: African Explorer