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Gaborone Travel Information

The Basics

Time

GMT +2.

Electricity

230 volts, 50Hz. Round three-pin plugs are used.

Language

English is the official language but Setswana is widely spoken.

Travel Health

Malaria is a particular risk in Botswana between November and June in the northern parts of the country. Visitors who are camping or walking in the bush should be cautious of tick bites. There are no compulsory vaccinations, but a yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers over one year of age coming from infected countries. Occasional outbreaks of anthrax occur among wild animals, and visitors to affected areas should seek local advice and not touch dead animal carcasses. Botswana has a good public health system, but facilities are limited outside urban areas. Health insurance for visitors is vital. Tap water in towns is safe to drink, and all foodstuffs are safe to consume.

Tipping

Tipping is expected in tourist hotels and restaurants. Many automatically add a service charge, but where not, a 10-15% tip is appreciated. Taxi drivers, porters and golf caddies should also be tipped a relative amount. Tour guides, trackers and game rangers rely largely on tips for their income and should be rewarded accordingly.

Safety Information

The majority of visits to Botswana are trouble-free, but visitors should be aware of the increasing incidence of crime, particularly armed robbery and rape, in the main towns. Wildlife and livestock make driving hazardous, so driving at night should be avoided.

Local Customs

Homosexuality is illegal. Taking photos or videos near government or military buildings is prohibited, and permission should always be sought before taking photos of local people.

Business

Business is fairly relaxed in Botswana and dress is generally smart casual. Handshakes begin and end meetings, which are usually held in private. Women are often viewed with a certain amount of sexism, but will be politely treated. Office hours are usually 8am to 5pm Monday to Friday, or 7.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday between October and April.

Communications

The international access code for Botswana is +267. The outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0027 for South Africa). Gaborone's area code is 31, 35, 36 or 39; there is no NDD prefix for calling within Botswana. Mobile phones operate on a GSM 900 network and are limited to urban areas; most North American cell phones will not work. Internet cafes are available in Gaborone and Maun.

Duty Free

Travellers to Botswana over the age of 18 can enter the country with 400 cigarettes; 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco; 2 litres of wine and 1 litre of alcoholic beverages; 50ml of perfume and 250ml of eau de toilette without incurring customs duty. Gifts and personal goods to the value of P500 can also be imported without incurring customs duty.

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