Botswana's unit of currency is the Pula (P), which
is divided into 100 Thebe (t). The word 'Pula' means
rain and 'thebe' means shield. The shield appears on
the national coat of arms. Bank notes come in
denominations of P10, 20, 50 and 100, and coins in
denominations of 5t, 10t, 25t, 50t, P1, P2 and P5.
See exchange rates.
Major credit cards, including
Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Diners Club,
are accepted widely. Most hotels and lodges accept
foreign currency or travellers' cheques.
There are also Exchange bureaus
at major border posts. Credit card cash advances are
available in major cities through Barclays Bank or
Standard Chartered Bank. Cash transfers are easiest
through Western Union money transfer. Please note
that credit card cash is also available at First
Travellers' cheques and any other
monetary instruments need not to be declared.
There are 5 commercial banks in
the country, with branches in major towns and many
main villages: Barclays Bank of Botswana, Standard
Chartered Bank, First National Bank, Stanbic Bank
Botswana and Bank of Baroda.
Botswana abolished exchange
controls in February 1999. Foreign exchange
transactions forms must be completed, as the Bank of
Botswana requires a record of the amount of currency
While cash of any amount is no
longer restricted, any person entering or leaving
Botswana is required to declare Pula and/or foreign
currency bank notes in their possession if the
amount is equal to or exceeds an equivalent of
P10,000.00 (ten thousand Pula). A family unit must
declare any amount carried by each member if the
aggregate in the possession of the family is
P10,000.00 or more.
Valid entry visas for the countries which do require
them may be obtained from Botswana's various
embassies and high commissions abroad. In countries
where Botswana is not represented, visas may be
obtained from the British High Commission. Entry
visas obtained at border posts are valid for a
maximum of 30-90 days. Extensions may be obtained
from any immigration office in Botswana. No visitor
is allowed more than a 90-day stay in every calendar
year, unless permission has been granted in the form
of a waiver pending the outcome of a residence
What You Must Declare
All goods acquired outside
Botswana in your possession, including items you
received as gifts, such as wedding or birthday
Repairs or alterations to any
items or vehicle you took abroad and then bring
back, even if the repairs/alterations were
performed free of charge.
Items you bought in any
duty-free shop including such items bought
duty-free on aircraft or ship.
Items you are bringing home
for someone else.
Items you intend to sell or
use in your business.
The importation of, among
other things, the following goods into Botswana
is completely prohibited. It is illegal to be
found in possession of prohibited goods and may
result in seizure and prosecution. These
habit-forming drugs and related substances
in any form.
ammunition and explosives
Indecent and obscene
material such as pornographic books,
magazines, films, videos, DVDs and software
Best Time to
The months between April and November, when large
number of animals migrate towards the waterways of
the Okavango Delta, is best time to go.
November and December -
the calving months - are an excellent time to
witness nature's own timetable of regeneration. The
rainy season, from January to March, sees the
migration of large numbers of game into the summer
grazing areas, while the delta comes alive with
sounds of hundreds of bird species.
In March and April thousands of zebras and other
animals migrate towards the Savuti area of Chobe
Summers (particularly from
December through to February) can become
exceptionally hot, and rain may make some roads
muddy and impassable. During the rainy summer
season, animals in many game areas disperse, while
in the dry winter season they congregate around
water sources, making for good game viewing. This
does not mean, however, that game viewing is
impossible during the summer season.
What to Bring
In summer, lightweight, light-coloured cottons
are preferable. Avoid synthetic materials and black
clothing, as they increase perspiration and
discomfort. Dress is casual in Botswana. Shorts and
trousers are permissible for women. Most hotels have
swimming pools, so do bring a bathing suit. Bring a
lightweight jacket and/or pullover for unexpected
In winter, bring a pair of
trousers, long-sleeved shirts or blouses and
pullovers. Make sure you have a very warm jacket for
early mornings and evenings, - it does get
surprisingly cold at night but warms up during the
Comfortable walking shoes are a must; supplement
with sandals and plastic flip-flops.
Special attention should be given to protecting
yourself from the sun, particularly in the summer
when the sun can be scorching. Bring sunhat,
sunscreen, sun lotion and sunglasses.
Miscellaneous / other
Binoculars, torch (with plenty of spare
batteries and bulbs), matches, penknife, water
bottle, insect repellent (spray and coils), lip
salve, water purification tablets, sewing kit,
safety-pins, tweezers, cello tape and masking tape
are all very useful. A basic first-aid kit is a
must, as in many instances you will be traveling to
areas far from health facilities. Camera film is
available at most shops and petrol stations.
Cosmetics, medications, cigarettes and imported
liquors are all available in the major towns.
Behavior in the Bush
Botswana remains a relatively safe place to visit,
however there are a few incidents of crime. It is
advisable to take basic precautions: always lock car
doors; always lock your hotel room or house; do not
leave valuables in your hotel room or car; and take
care with your bags in crowded places, particularly
the malls and nightclubs.