There are no direct flights to Botswana from Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. You can fly there directly from Europe on a regular flight of British Airways, or you can get from South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Namibia on regular flights of local airlines. The most common option: a flight to the capital of Botswana, Gaborone, via Johannesburg, from where South African Airways or Air Botswana planes fly (there are also flights to Maun and Kasane). Johannesburg, in turn, can be reached by Qatar Airways, Emirates Airlines, Lufthansa, Air France and British Airways.
Note: according to allcitypopulation, the population of Botswana is 2.397 million (2021).
Visa to Botswana
Russian citizens do not need a visa to visit Botswana for up to 90 days, but no one will need insurance to Africa.
Duty-free import of 2 liters of wine or a liter of spirits, 50 cigars or 250 cigarettes or 250 g of tobacco is allowed. The import of drugs and pornographic materials is prohibited. The export of animal skins is allowed under a special license from the customs authorities. When exported, weapons, polished diamonds and ostrich eggs are subject to mandatory customs control (a veterinary certificate is also required to transport any “ostrich souvenir”). The export of local currency is limited to 5,000 BWP. Import and export of foreign currency is not limited (the declaration is obligatory).
The time from April to October inclusive is the best time to visit the country. It is during this season that the natural migration of animals to the water expanses of the Okavango Delta takes place.
Useful phone numbers
Embassy of Russia in Gaborone: Tawana Close 4711; tel.: (39) 533-89; website.
Fire Department: 998, Police: 999, Ambulance: 997, 911.
Telephone codes of cities: Gaborone – 31 and 39, Lobatse – 33, Francistown – 21.
There are few roads in Botswana, so some places can only be reached by air. Local airlines fly regularly between the four main cities in Botswana, but the flight is quite expensive. Six major bus routes and a rail line connect Francistown, Gaborone and Lobatse. Low cost and quality service make these modes of transport very popular.
In the Okavango Delta, there is especially nowhere for planes to land, so you can travel there either by boats of the “canoe” system (mokoro) or by horses, which, unlike clumsy vehicles, have access to almost all places.
Car rental in Botswana
There are many companies offering car rentals in the main cities. Payment is taken daily, it includes mileage, insurance and a full gas tank. To rent, you must have an international driver’s license. Speed limits: 60 km/h in built-up areas, 120 km/h on highways. Seat belts must be fastened.
In general, car rental among Russian tourists is not very popular here, because trips to organized safaris are enough for them. And for those who want to go on their own to see other attractions, besides national parks, it is better to hire a qualified driver-guide on an “SUV”.
Driving in Botswana is on the left. Payment for gasoline is made in cash only.
Unlike many African countries, Botswana is a very safe place. There is an incredibly low crime rate, and the locals are very hospitable and deservedly love tourists for helping the country’s economy.
Tourists may be required to present a yellow fever vaccination certificate upon entry. It is advisable to get vaccinated 10 days before the planned entry into the country (and it is valid for 10 years). There are cases of malaria in Botswana, so it is worth drinking a course of lariam, meflachil or other drugs for prevention, after consulting with your doctor.
Photographing or filming the President, government ministers, police or military officials, as well as police buildings, military installations and airports is prohibited.
The most important safety nuances are related to the rules of conduct in national parks:
- First, you should never feed wild animals on a safari. You don’t have to keep your hands in your pockets, and even more so, don’t show food to baboons (sitting in a cozy room, you can smile at these words, but it’s better not to do this in parks: a smile can cause aggression in baboons).
- When meeting with elephants, you should always give them a place on the road and in no case should you stand between parents and cubs.
- After passing through the tall grass, you need to check if ticks have got on your clothes.
- During safari trips, you can only get out of cars in specially designated places. However, all cars have open upper parts of the cabin, which in any case will give tourists the opportunity to admire the local fauna to their heart’s content.
- In addition, you can’t make noise while walking, you can’t take plants out of the reserves and bring pets there. Bicycles, motorcycles and roller skates are not allowed in the parks. You can smoke only in the lodges – but not on walks. Do not leave food in places accessible to animals. Do not pour drinks on the ground and litter – this can adversely affect the health of animals.
- But you can and should wear long-sleeved clothes and long trousers in the lodges in the evening.