Botswana: Visas & Health

VISAS & TRAVEL DOCUMENTS:

All visitors to Botswana must have a passport which is valid for at least 6 months beyond their intended departure date from Botswana. Visitors to southern Africa must ensure they have sufficient blank VISA pages (not endorsement pages) in their passports, with at least two consecutive/side by side blank pages. Our recommendation is 3 pages (or even 4 if you are travelling through more than one country on your journey). If there is insufficient space in the passport then entry into a country could be denied.

Visitors must also be in possession of outward travel documents and have sufficient funds for the duration of their stay.

Citizens of most European and Commonwealth countries and the USA do not require a visa for entry into Botswana.

For further information please refer to the relevant authorities:

Botswana Tourism:  www.botswanatourism.gov.bw

Botswana Embassy in Washington DC:  www.botswanaembassy.org

Any applicable visas and/or relevant documentation are the responsibility of the traveler.

HEALTH:

There are a few basic health matters that require care and attention. The following points are recommended guidelines only – all travelers should visit either their personal physician or a travel health clinic 4-8 weeks prior to departure.

Any person entering Botswana from or via a yellow fever infected area must be in possession of a valid International Certificate of Vaccination against yellow fever. 

A number of vaccinations are recommended for Botswana. For further up to date information please refer to the relevant authorities:

National Travel Health Network and Centre – Botswana: http://www.nathnac.org/ds/c_pages/country_page_BW.htm

Centers for Disease Control & Prevention – Travelers’ Health, Botswana: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/botswana.htm

Malaria is found in most of Botswana and you will almost certainly be prescribed a course of anti-malarial tablets. However please also remember that the best precaution is the preventative kind:
  • Avoid being bitten by using mosquito repellents liberally. The safari camps often provide a locally made repellent but please bring your own as there may be skin sensitivity.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and trousers/slacks in the evenings.
  • Please use the mosquito net over your bed where supplied/available.
  • Where provided, please use the insecticide supplied to kill any mosquitoes that may have flown into your room.
  • Mosquito coils are also effective.

Malaria is transmitted by a very small percentage of female Anopheles mosquitoes. They are mainly active in the early evening and throughout the night. Malaria transmission is at its highest during the warmer and wetter months of November through to April. From May through to October the risks of acquiring malaria are reduced. There is also less prevalence in remote areas where many of the camps are situated; nonetheless, you need to consider taking preventative measures.

There is a six to seven day minimum incubation period before symptoms present themselves. If you become ill on your return, while still on prophylaxis or even once you have stopped taking them, ensure that your doctor does everything to establish that your illness is not malaria. Malaria can be prevented if you are sensible and take basic precautions. It is inadvisable for pregnant woman to visit malarial areas as malaria infection during pregnancy can be detrimental to mother and child.