COVID-19: travel health notice for all travellers

Botswana travel advice

Latest updates: The Health section was updated - travel health information (Public Health Agency of Canada)

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Risk level

Botswana - Take normal security precautions

Take normal security precautions in Bostwana.

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Safety and security

Crime

Petty crime

Pickpocketing, theft and “smash and grab” robberies occur.

Theft of parked cars or their contents occurs. Thieves also reach into vehicles, including taxis, stopped at red lights to steal belongings.

  • Keep car doors locked, windows up and your belongings out of sight
  • Ensure that your personal belongings, including passports and other travel documents, are secure at all times
  • Store valuables and important documents in a hotel safe
  • Avoid showing signs of affluence and carrying large sums of cash

Violent crime

Violent crime, residential break-in and carjacking do occur, but tourists are rarely targeted.

  • Be vigilant at all times
  • Avoid walking alone after dark, particularly in urban and peri-urban areas

Demonstrations

Demonstrations may occur. Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. They can also lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.

  • Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities
  • Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations

Mass gatherings (large-scale events)

National parks and wildlife

Travel to and within national parks is generally safe. Be aware of your surroundings at all times, however, and take your safety seriously in national parks. In general, there are no guides provided when you enter a park on your own.

Wildlife areas are not always fenced and there are few warning signs. Wildlife viewing poses risks, particularly on foot or at close range.

  • Closely follow park regulations and wardens’ advice
  • Don’t walk alone or unescorted after dark because of the threat from nocturnal predators, particularly lions, hyenas and leopards
  • Don’t swim in rivers or lakes, to avoid catching potential water-borne diseases and possible wildlife attacks, particularly from crocodiles and hippopotamuses
  • Share your itinerary with a family member or friend
  • If you leave the camp area, notify a family member or friend of when you expect to be back to camp
  • Only use reputable and professional guides or tour operators
  • Buy travel insurance that includes helicopter rescue and medical evacuation
  • Obtain detailed information on designated routes before departure
  • Use a GPS navigation system, if possible

Travel insurance

Road safety

Road conditions and road safety can vary greatly throughout the country.

Road conditions are generally good in urban areas, but dangerous outside major centres.

Drivers can sometimes be extremely aggressive and/or reckless. Driver fatigue also poses hazards, particularly at night.

Pedestrians and livestock can often be found walking on the sides of roads, including on major highways. This is particularly the case in Chobe district, Ghanzi, Okavango Delta, Pandamatenga and the Savuti area.

Conditions in the desert and in remote areas are harsh.

  • Don’t undertake travel to remote areas without a guide
  • If travelling to remote areas, plan in advance
  • If travelling to remote areas, ensure that you travel in a four-wheel-drive vehicle that is well-equipped with provisions, fuel and water

Reliable private roadside assistance - Medical Rescue International -Botswana

Public transportation

Hotel transportation

Some hotels operate a minibus service between Sir Seretse Khama International Airport and Gaborone. Verify whether your hotel provides this service and reserve the transfer in advance. You can rent a vehicle at the airport in Gaborone.

Taxis

In major towns, taxis are generally safe, but the fare should be determined before departure.

Buses

There are reliable buses for long-distance journeys to Harare, Zimbabwe; Johannesburg, South Africa; and Lusaka, Zambia. These buses depart from the main bus rank in Gaborone.

Mini buses to Johannesburg leave at hourly intervals from Gaborone’s main bus rank. Long-distance buses normally leave in the early hours, around 6 a.m. For reliable transportation to Johannesburg from Gaborone, you must book at least one day before the travel date.

Air travel

We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.

Information about foreign domestic airlines

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Entry and exit requirements

Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.

We have obtained the information on this page from the Botswana authorities. It can, however, change at any time.

Verify this information with the Foreign Representatives in Canada.

Passport

Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.

Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.

Regular Canadian passport

Your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond the date you expect to leave Botswana.

Passport for official travel

Different entry rules may apply.

Official travel

Passport with “X” gender identifier

While the Government of Canada issues passports with an “X” gender identifier, it cannot guarantee your entry or transit through other countries. You might face entry restrictions in countries that do not recognize the “X” gender identifier. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.

Other travel documents

Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.

Useful links

Visas

Work visa:

Tourist visa: not required for stays up to 90 days
Business visa: not required for stays up to 90 days
Student visa: not required for stays up to 90 days
 

If you stay in the country for more than 90 days, you must request an extension from local immigration authorities.

Children and travel

Travelling by air

Both parents travelling with child under 18

Parents travelling with children under the age of 18 must show the child’s unabridged birth certificate.

One parent travelling with child under 18

If only one parent is travelling with the child, you must show the child’s unabridged birth certificate, as well as a valid passport. You must also produce a sworn affidavit from the other parent (as registered on the birth certificate) authorizing you to enter or depart Botswana with the child.

Parent(s) who are widowers or travelling with adopted children under 18

You may be subject to additional requirements. Contact the High Commission for the Republic of Botswana before travelling with children to verify the latest requirements.

Foreign diplomatic missions and consulates in Canada

Travelling by road

Be aware of specific regulations for travel with children under the age of 18. Consult the South Africa Travel Advice and Advisories for more information.

Useful links

Yellow fever

Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).

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Health

Relevant Travel Health Notices

This section contains information on possible health risks and restrictions regularly found or ongoing in the destination. Follow this advice to lower your risk of becoming ill while travelling. Not all risks are listed below.

Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic preferably 6 weeks before you travel to get personalized health advice and recommendations.

Routine vaccines

Be sure that your routine vaccinations, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date before travelling, regardless of your destination.

Some of these vaccinations include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.

Pre-travel vaccines and medications

You may be at risk for preventable diseases while travelling in this destination. Talk to a travel health professional about which medications or vaccines may be right for you, based on your destination and itinerary. 

Yellow Fever - Country Entry Requirements

Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.

Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.

Risk

  • There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.

Country Entry Requirement*

  • Proof of vaccination is required if you are coming from or have transited through an airport of a country where yellow fever occurs.

Recommendation

  • Vaccination is not recommended.
  • Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care professional.
  • Contact a designated Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre well in advance of your trip to arrange for vaccination.

About Yellow Fever

Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada
* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread through contaminated food and water or contact with an infected person. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.

Rabies

Rabies is a deadly illness spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from an infected animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (e.g., are children, have an occupational risk, or in close contact with animals, including free roaming dogs in communities).

Measles

Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It can spread quickly from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air..

Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of being infected with it when travelling internationally.

Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are fully protected against measles.

COVID-19

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious viral disease. It can spread from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.

It is recommended that all eligible travellers complete a COVID-19 vaccine series along with any additional recommended doses in Canada before travelling. Evidence shows that vaccines are very effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. While vaccination provides better protection against serious illness, you may still be at risk of infection from the virus that causes COVID-19. Anyone who has not completed a vaccine series is at increased risk of being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 and is at greater risk for severe disease when travelling internationally.

For destination entry and exit requirements, including for COVID-19 vaccination requirements, please check the Entry/exit requirements section.

Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are adequately protected against COVID-19.

Influenza

Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.

Malaria
  • There is a risk of malaria in certain areas and/or during a certain time of year in this country.
  • Malaria is a serious and occasionally fatal disease that is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no vaccine against malaria.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites. This includes covering up, using insect repellent and staying in enclosed, air-conditioned accommodations. You may also consider pre-treating clothing and travel gear with insecticides and sleeping under an insecticide-treated bednet.
  • Antimalarial medication may be recommended depending on your itinerary and the time of year you are travelling. See a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic, preferably six weeks before you travel to discuss your options.
Polio - Proof of vaccination required

Polio is present in this country. Polio can be prevented by vaccination, which is part of the routine vaccines for children in Canada.

Recommendation:

  • Be sure that your vaccination against polio is up to date.
  • One booster dose of the polio vaccine is recommended for adults.  

Proof of vaccination:

If you are staying more than 4 weeks in this country, you may need to show proof of polio vaccination when you leave the country.

Make sure that the polio vaccination is documented on the International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis. This is the only document accepted as proof of vaccination. In Canada, they are provided at Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres.

Carry the certificate as proof of vaccination.

Safe food and water precautions

Many illnesses can be caused by eating food or drinking beverages contaminated by bacteria, parasites, toxins, or viruses, or by swimming or bathing in contaminated water.

  • Learn more about food and water precautions to take to avoid getting sick by visiting our eat and drink safely abroad page. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
  • Avoid getting water into your eyes, mouth or nose when swimming or participating in activities in freshwater (streams, canals, lakes), particularly after flooding or heavy rain. Water may look clean but could still be polluted or contaminated.
  • Avoid inhaling or swallowing water while bathing, showering, or swimming in pools or hot tubs. 

Travellers' diarrhea

Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.

Risk of developing travellers' diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor standards of hygiene and sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.

The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.

Typhoid

Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among children, travellers going to rural areas, travellers visiting friends and relatives or those travelling for a long period of time.

Travellers visiting regions with a risk of typhoid, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation, should speak to a health care professional about vaccination.  

Schistosomiasis

Schistosomiasis can be spread to humans through freshwater sources contaminated by blood flukes (tiny worms). The eggs of the worms can cause stomach illnesses like diarrhea and cramps or urinary problems. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Avoid swimming in freshwater sources (lakes, rivers, ponds). There is no vaccine available for schistosomiasis.

Insect bite prevention

Many diseases are spread by the bites of infected insects such as mosquitoes, ticks, fleas or flies. When travelling to areas where infected insects may be present:

  • Use insect repellent (bug spray) on exposed skin
  • Cover up with light-coloured, loose clothes made of tightly woven materials such as nylon or polyester
  • Minimize exposure to insects
  • Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or in buildings that are not fully enclosed

To learn more about how you can reduce your risk of infection and disease caused by bites, both at home and abroad, visit our insect bite prevention page.

Find out what types of insects are present where you’re travelling, when they’re most active, and the symptoms of the diseases they spread.

Chikungunya

There is a risk of chikungunya in this country.  The risk may vary between regions of a country.  Chikungunya is a virus spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. Chikungunya can cause a viral disease that typically causes fever and pain in the joints. In some cases, the joint pain can be severe and last for months or years.

Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times. There is no vaccine available for chikungunya.

Rift Valley fever

Rift Valley fever is a viral disease that can cause severe flu-like symptoms. In some cases, it can be fatal. It is spread to humans through contact with infected animal blood or tissues, from the bite of an infected mosquito, or eating or drinking unpasteurized dairy. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from insect bites and avoid animals, particularly livestock, and unpasteurized dairy. There is no vaccine available for Rift Valley fever.

Animal precautions

Some infections, such as rabies and influenza, can be shared between humans and animals. Certain types of activities may put you at higher risk of contact with animals, such as travelling in rural or forested areas, camping, hiking, and visiting wet markets (places where live animals are slaughtered and sold) or caves.

Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, livestock (pigs, cows), monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats, and to avoid eating undercooked wild game.

Closely supervise children, as they’re more likely to come in contact with animals.

Person-to-person infections

Stay home if you’re sick and practise proper cough and sneeze etiquette, which includes coughing or sneezing into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hand. Reduce your risk of colds, the flu and other illnesses by:

  •  washing your hands often
  • avoiding or limiting the amount of time spent in closed spaces, crowded places, or at large-scale events (concerts, sporting events, rallies)
  • avoiding close physical contact with people who may be showing symptoms of illness 

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV are spread through blood and bodily fluids; use condoms, practise safe sex, and limit your number of sexual partners.

Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis is an infection caused by bacteria and usually affects the lungs.

For most travellers the risk of tuberculosis is low.

Travellers who may be at high risk while travelling in regions with risk of tuberculosis should discuss pre- and post-travel options with a health care professional.

High-risk travellers include those visiting or working in prisons, refugee camps, homeless shelters, or hospitals, or travellers visiting friends and relatives.

HIV

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that attacks and impairs the immune system, resulting in a chronic, progressive illness known as AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). 

High risk activities include anything which puts you in contact with blood or body fluids, such as unprotected sex and exposure to unsterilized needles for medications or other substances (for example, steroids and drugs), tattooing, body-piercing or acupuncture.

Medical services and facilities

Medical facilities and supplies are limited outside major centres. Private facilities may request proof of insurance or advance payment before commencing treatment. Medical evacuation, which can be very expensive, may be necessary in the event of serious illness or injury.

Medical evacuation can be very expensive and you may need it in case of serious illness or injury. 

Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.

Travel health and safety

Keep in Mind...

The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.

Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.

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Laws and culture

You must abide by local laws.

Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad.

Identification

You must carry photo identification, such as a photocopy of your passport. Keep another photocopy of your passport in a safe place, in case it’s lost or confiscated.

Dual citizenship

Dual citizenship is not legally recognized in Botswana.

If local authorities consider you a citizen of Botswana, they may refuse to grant you access to Canadian consular services. This will prevent us from providing you with those services.

Travellers with dual citizenship

International Child Abduction

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is an international treaty. It can help parents with the return of children who have been removed to or retained in certain countries in violation of custody rights. It does not apply between Canada and Botswana.

If your child was wrongfully taken to, or is being held in Botswana by an abducting parent:

  • act as quickly as you can
  • consult a lawyer in Canada and in Botswana to explore all the legal options for the return of your child
  • report the situation to the nearest Canadian government office abroad or to the Vulnerable Children’s Consular Unit at Global Affairs Canada by calling the Emergency Watch and Response Centre.

If your child was removed from a country other than Canada, consult a lawyer to determine if The Hague Convention applies.

Be aware that Canadian consular officials cannot interfere in private legal matters or in another country’s judicial affairs.

Useful links

Illegal and restricted activities

Illegal drugs

Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Convicted offenders can expect harsh punishments, including mandatory minimum jail sentences.

Useful links

Firearms

Prior permission is required to import firearms and munitions.

Pornographic material

Possession of pornographic material is illegal.

Photographing military and government installations

It’s prohibited to take photographs of military and government installations. Always ask permission before photographing individuals.

Removal of any animal from Botswana

Botswana law strictly regulates the sale, possession or removal from the country of any animal (dead or alive). You must obtain a government permit or a receipt from a licensed shop.

The law also applies to animal trophies, including a horn, tooth, tusk, bone, claw, hoof, hide, skin, hair, feather, egg or any other durable portion of an animal, processed or not. It is strictly prohibited to remove elephant hair, ivory and rhinoceros horn products.

Souvenirs

Upon departure, you will need to present a receipt from a licensed store for all souvenirs.

Driving

Traffic drives on the left.

Failure to obey traffic signs, driving while intoxicated or not being in possession of a valid driver’s licence may result in arrest and heavy fines.

You should carry an international driving permit.

More about the International Driving Permit

2SLGBTQI+ travellers

Botswana law does not prohibit sexual acts between individuals of the same sex. However, homosexuality is not widely accepted in Botswana.

Travel and your sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics

Money

The currency in Botswana is the pula (BWP).

If carrying at least P10,000 or the equivalent in other currencies when crossing a Botswanan border control point, you must make a declaration to customs.

Many hotels and lodges accept major foreign currencies. They may apply a high surcharge.

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Natural disasters and climate

There are two seasons in Botswana: summer (September to April), with frequent rains and thunderstorms, and winter (May to August), with cold and dry days and nights.

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Need help?

Local services

Emergency services

In case of emergency, dial:

  • police: 999
  • medical assistance: 997
  • firefighters: 998

Consular assistance

Gaborone - Consulate of Canada
Street Address9th floor, iTowers North, Lot 54368 GaboroneTelephone+267 3160 926 / +267 3160 946Emailcanada@consul.co.bwInternethttps://www.Canada.ca/Canada-And-BotswanaFacebookEmbassy of Canada to Zimbabwe, Angola, and BotswanaTwitterCanada in Zimbabwe
Harare - Embassy of Canada
Street Address45 Baines Avenue, Harare, ZimbabwePostal AddressP.O. Box 1430, Harare, ZimbabweTelephone+263 86 7700 8600Fax+263 86 7700 8624Emailhrare-cs@international.gc.caInternethttps://www.Canada.ca/Canada-And-ZimbabweFacebookEmbassy of Canada to Zimbabwe, Malawi, and BotswanaTwitterCanada in ZimbabweConsular district

Botswana, Malawi

For emergency consular assistance, call the Embassy of Canada to Zimbabwe in Harare and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.

Disclaimer

The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.

The content on this page is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, expressed or implied. The Government of Canada does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.

If you need consular assistance while abroad, we will make every effort to help you. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.

Learn more about consular services.

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