Safest Countries to Travel for Citizens of Botswana

1. What is the current safety rating for Botswana according to international travel advisories?

As of September 2021, the US Department of State rates Botswana as Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions. The UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office also rates Botswana as Level 1: Low threat of terrorism and crime. Canada’s travel advisory states that there is a “high degree of caution” when travelling to Botswana due to petty crime and road accidents. The Australian Government’s travel advice for Botswana is ‘Exercise a high degree of caution’. Overall, Botswana has a relatively low safety risk according to international travel advisories.

2. Are there any specific safety concerns for citizens of Botswana when traveling abroad?

Yes, Botswana is generally a safe country for its citizens when traveling abroad. However, it is always important to exercise caution and common sense while traveling in any country, including:

– Awareness of your surroundings: Be mindful of your surroundings and keep an eye out for any suspicious or unfamiliar activity.
– Avoid areas with high crime rates: Research the safety levels of the countries and cities you plan to visit before your trip. Avoid areas with high crime rates, particularly at night.
– Keep valuables secure: Make sure to keep your valuable belongings such as passports, cash, and electronics safely secured when in public or staying in accommodations.
– Follow local laws and customs: Familiarize yourself with the laws and customs of the countries you plan to visit. Ignorance of local laws is not an excuse for breaking them.
– Be aware of travel scams: Stay vigilant against common travel scams such as fake police officers, overcharging taxi drivers, and pickpocketing.

3. Are there any safety concerns specific to certain regions or countries that Botswana citizens should be aware of?
Yes, there are some regions or countries that Botswana citizens may want to exercise extra caution when traveling due to safety concerns:

– High-risk regions: Some regions, particularly those experiencing political instability or armed conflict, can present a higher risk for travelers. Examples include parts of Africa, the Middle East, and Central/South America.
– Natural disasters: Certain countries are more prone to natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, or wildfires. It is important to research potential risks before traveling and have a plan in case of emergency.
– Health risks: Some destinations may have higher levels of diseases such as malaria or Zika virus. Make sure to take necessary precautions (e.g., vaccines) before your trip.
– Crime rates: Countries with high crime rates can pose a safety risk for travelers. Again, it’s important to research the safety levels of your destination before your trip and take precautions such as avoiding high-risk areas and keeping belongings secure.

3. How do crime rates in Botswana compare to other popular tourist destinations?

The crime rates in Botswana are generally lower than in many other popular tourist destinations. According to the latest available data from the US State Department, Botswana’s overall crime rate is lower than that of most major cities in the United States.

The crime rate in Botswana is also relatively low compared to other African countries. In a 2020 study by Numbeo, which ranks countries based on their overall safety and security levels, Botswana was ranked as the 9th safest country out of 54 African countries.

Compared to popular tourist destinations outside of Africa, such as Mexico, Thailand, and Brazil, Botswana’s crime rate is significantly lower. For example, the homicide rate per 100,000 people in Botswana is 17.8 compared to 113.8 in Mexico and 34.7 in Brazil.

Though Botswana has a relatively low crime rate overall, like any destination there are certain areas or times that may be more prone to crime. It is always important for tourists to exercise caution and follow safety guidelines while traveling in any country.

4. Are there any known natural disasters or extreme weather events that could affect travelers in Botswana?

Botswana is generally unaffected by major natural disasters. However, there is a possibility of occasional floods and droughts, especially in the northern parts of the country during rainy season (November to April). These may result in disruptions to travel plans, road closures, and limited access to certain areas. It is advisable to prepare accordingly and stay updated on weather conditions if traveling during this time.

Additionally, dust storms known as “Makgadikgadi Pans” can occur during the dry season (May to October) and may cause poor visibility and difficult driving conditions.

Botswana also experiences occasional bushfires during the dry season, particularly in national parks and wildlife reserves. These are usually closely monitored and managed, but travelers should be aware of potential closures or disruptions due to fire danger.

Overall, it is always recommended to check with local authorities and travel advisories before planning a trip to Botswana, especially during the rainy season.

5. Is terrorism a major concern for tourists visiting Botswana?

No, terrorism is not a major concern for tourists visiting Botswana. The country has a stable political environment and a low crime rate, making it a safe destination for travelers. The Botswana government takes measures to ensure the safety and security of its citizens and visitors, including implementing strict border controls and collaborating with international partners to monitor potential threats. Additionally, the country’s remote location and limited involvement in global politics make it an unlikely target for terrorist activities.

6. Are there any regions or neighborhoods within Botswana that should be avoided by tourists due to safety concerns?

Generally, Botswana is a safe country for tourists to visit. However, as with any destination, there are some areas that may pose safety concerns to travelers. It is advisable to exercise caution and do proper research before visiting certain regions or neighborhoods.

The following are some areas that tourists should avoid or take precautions when visiting:

1. Gaborone: While it is the capital city and a popular tourist destination, Gaborone has a higher crime rate compared to other parts of the country. Tourists should be cautious and avoid walking alone at night in dimly lit areas.

2. Maun: This town serves as the gateway to the famous Okavango Delta. While it is generally considered safe, visitors should be cautious when walking around at night and avoid displaying valuable items in public.

3. Border regions: Botswana shares borders with several countries, including South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Angola. These border regions may be more prone to crime due to smuggling activities and political instability in neighboring countries.

4.Monono village in the North West district: This remote village has seen an increase in violent crime in recent years, with thefts and robberies reported against tourists.

5.Rural areas: While rural communities are generally welcoming and peaceful, tourists should exercise caution when venturing off-road or camping alone in remote areas.

In general, it is recommended for tourists to travel during daylight hours if possible, stick to well-lit and populated areas at night, use reputable tour operators for safaris or other activities outside of major cities, and guard personal belongings while out in public places. Additionally, it is advisable to check government advisories before traveling to any destination within Botswana.

7. How prevalent is street crime and pickpocketing in popular tourist areas of Botswana?

Street crime and pickpocketing are not very prevalent in popular tourist areas of Botswana compared to other African countries. However, it is still important for tourists to take precautions and be aware of their surroundings while visiting any unfamiliar place.

Botswana has a relatively low crime rate, with the majority of crimes being petty theft, such as pickpocketing or bag snatching. These incidents usually occur in crowded areas such as markets, bus stations, and public transport.

Tourist areas like Maun, Kasane, and Gaborone may also have a slightly higher risk of street crime due to the high number of visitors and the presence of valuable possessions such as cameras or jewelry. It is advisable to keep these items out of sight in busy areas and avoid wearing expensive jewelry or carrying large amounts of cash.

The Botswana government takes measures to ensure the safety of tourists, such as increased police patrols in popular tourist areas. However, it is always best to stay vigilant and follow general safety guidelines such as staying in well-lit areas at night and avoiding walking alone in secluded places.

Overall, while street crime and pickpocketing can occur in Botswana’s popular tourist areas, they are not widespread or commonly reported. By staying cautious and taking necessary precautions, tourists can have an enjoyable and safe experience while visiting this beautiful country.

8. Are tourists targeted for scams or frauds in certain parts of Botswana?

As with any country, tourists may occasionally encounter scams or frauds in certain parts of Botswana. Most commonly, these may involve inflated prices for goods or services, such as souvenir items or transportation. It is always recommended to use caution and common sense when purchasing anything from local vendors and to be aware of your surroundings. It can also be helpful to do some research on common scams in the area before traveling.

Some common types of scams that have been reported in Botswana include:

1. Overcharging: This can happen with taxi drivers, tour operators, and street vendors who quote a significantly higher price for their services than what is fair or customary.

2. False guides: In popular tourist areas, there have been reports of individuals posing as tour guides who end up providing subpar or misleading information about the destination.

3. False accommodation bookings: Unsolicited phone calls or emails offering great deals for hotel bookings can sometimes turn out to be fraudulent attempts to obtain personal and financial information.

4. Fake police officers: In some instances, travelers have reported being approached by individuals claiming to be police officers who ask to see passports and other valuable documents in order to extort bribes.

To avoid falling victim to these scams and frauds, it’s best to book tours and accommodations through reputable companies, negotiate prices beforehand, keep valuables secure while traveling, and be cautious about giving out personal information. If you do encounter suspicious behavior or feel uncomfortable in a situation, trust your instincts and remove yourself from the situation if necessary.

9. Is public transportation safe and reliable for travelers in Botswana?

Yes, public transportation in Botswana is generally safe and reliable for travelers. The main modes of public transportation in Botswana are buses, minibuses (known as combis), and taxis.

Buses are the most common form of long-distance travel in Botswana, with several bus companies operating routes between major cities and towns. These buses are generally well-maintained and drivers follow strict safety regulations.

Combis are smaller minibus vehicles that operate within cities and towns, connecting different neighborhoods. They can be crowded and may have less stringent safety standards than buses, but they are a popular and convenient mode of transport for locals.

Taxis are also available in larger cities like Gaborone, Francistown, and Maun. These taxis can be hailed on the street or booked through phone apps. They usually charge fixed rates per trip or metered fares.

Overall, while there may be occasional delays or breakdowns on public transportation in Botswana, it is a reliable and affordable option for travelers to get around the country. It is always advisable to keep valuables close when using public transportation, as with any kind of travel.

10. What emergency resources are available for tourists in case of an accident or health issue while traveling in Botswana?

1. Emergency Hotline Numbers: The general emergency hotline number in Botswana is 999. Tourists can call this number in case of any medical or non-medical emergency, and they will be connected to the relevant emergency services.

2. Medical Facilities: There are several public and private hospitals, clinics, and health centers in major cities and towns in Botswana that provide quality medical care. Some popular options include Gaborone Private Hospital, Nyangabgwe Referral Hospital, and Bokamoso Private Hospital.

3. Ambulance Services: The national ambulance service in Botswana is operated by the Ministry of Health and Wellness through its Department of Emergency Medical Services. Dialing 997 will connect you to the ambulance service which operates 24/7.

4. Travel Insurance: It is highly recommended for tourists to purchase comprehensive travel insurance before visiting Botswana. This will cover any cost related to medical emergencies, evacuation, or repatriation back to your home country if needed.

5. Tourist Assistance Centers: There are tourist assistance centers located at major airports, hotels, and tourist destinations in Botswana where tourists can seek help in case of an emergency.

6. Police Assistance: In case of theft or criminal activity, tourists can seek help from the nearest police station or dial the police hotline at 999.

7. Consular Assistance: If you are a foreign national traveling in Botswana, you can contact your consulate or embassy for assistance in case of an emergency.

8. Local Tour Operators: Many local tour operators offer support and guidance to their clients during emergencies as part of their services.

9. Knowledgeable Guides and Accommodation Staff: Tourists can also seek assistance from knowledgeable guides or staff at their accommodation if they need help with accessing medical care during an emergency.

10 . Mobile Apps for Emergencies: There are various mobile apps available that provide information on emergency services and contacts for tourists in Botswana, such as TravelSmart Botswana and mClient. These can be downloaded before your trip for easy access during an emergency.

11. Have there been any recent political tensions or civil unrest that could potentially impact the safety of travelers in Botswana?

There have been no recent political tensions or civil unrest in Botswana that could impact the safety of travelers. The country has a stable democracy and is generally considered safe for tourists. However, it is always advisable to stay informed of current events and follow any applicable travel advisories from one’s own government.

12. Does the government of Botswana provide support and assistance for its citizens traveling abroad?

Yes, the government of Botswana provides support and assistance for its citizens traveling abroad through the Ministry of International Affairs and Cooperation. This ministry is responsible for providing services and support to Batswana living or traveling outside the country, including consular assistance in cases of emergencies such as natural disasters, accidents, or medical emergencies. The ministry also offers travel advisories, information on visa requirements for different countries, and assistance with lost or stolen passports. In severe cases, the government may also provide financial support to its citizens who face difficulties while abroad.

13. Are LGBTQ+ travelers generally safe and accepted in Botswana, or are there potential risks to consider?

LGBTQ+ travelers may face potential risks in Botswana due to the country’s colonial-era laws criminalizing homosexuality. In recent years, there have been reports of harassment and violence towards LGBTQ+ individuals in the country.

However, there is a growing acceptance and awareness of LGBTQ+ rights in Botswana, and several organizations are working towards promoting equality and tolerance. It is generally advised for LGBTQ+ travelers to be cautious and discreet while traveling in Botswana, especially outside of major cities.

It is also important for LGBTQ+ travelers to research local laws and customs before traveling to ensure their safety. Avoid public displays of affection and consider staying in LGBTQ+ friendly accommodations. It is also recommended to travel with a trusted group or guide when venturing into rural areas.

14. Are vaccinations recommended or required for visitors to enter Botswana?

Yes, visitors to Botswana are recommended to have certain vaccinations before entering the country. The government of Botswana requires proof of yellow fever vaccination if you are traveling from a country with risk of yellow fever transmission. It is also strongly recommended to be vaccinated against hepatitis A and typhoid, as well as being up-to-date on routine vaccinations such as measles, mumps, rubella, and chickenpox. Other recommended vaccinations depend on the length of stay, purpose of travel, and activities planned. Travelers should consult with a healthcare provider at least 4-6 weeks before their trip to get the most up-to-date recommendations for their individual needs.

15. How do laws and regulations regarding drugs and alcohol differ from those of the visitor’s home country while in Botswana?

The laws and regulations regarding drugs and alcohol in Botswana may differ from those in a visitor’s home country. Visitors should familiarize themselves with the local laws to avoid any legal issues. Here are some examples of how laws and regulations regarding drugs and alcohol may differ:

1. Legal drinking age: In Botswana, the legal drinking age is 18 years old, while it may be different in the visitor’s home country.

2. Possession and use of drugs: The possession and use of drugs, including recreational marijuana, is strictly prohibited in Botswana. Visitors caught with illegal substances could face severe penalties, including fines and imprisonment.

3. Drunk driving: Driving under the influence of alcohol is a serious offense in Botswana. The legal blood alcohol concentration limit for drivers is 0.08%. Those caught driving above this limit could face heavy fines, license revocation, or even imprisonment.

4. Public intoxication: It is illegal to be visibly drunk or intoxicated in public places in Botswana. Visitors should be mindful of their behavior when consuming alcohol to avoid any unwanted attention from law enforcement officials.

5. Importing and exporting medication: Visitors should declare all prescription medication or medical supplies they are carrying with them upon entry into Botswana. Failure to do so could result in confiscation or arrest if the medication is considered illegal.

It is always best to research the specific laws and regulations on drugs and alcohol for both your home country and Botswana before travelling to ensure you are aware of any potential differences or restrictions.

16. Is it common for visitors to encounter discrimination based on race, religion, or nationality while in Botswana?

Discrimination based on race, religion, or nationality is not common in Botswana. The country prides itself on its long history of peaceful coexistence among people of different races, religions, and backgrounds. However, like any other country, there may still be isolated incidents of discrimination that visitors could potentially encounter. It is always important to be respectful and mindful of local customs and traditions to ensure a positive experience while traveling in Botswana.

17. Are there certain cultural norms or customs that visitors should be aware of to ensure their safety while traveling through Botswana?

Yes, visitors should be aware of the following cultural norms and customs to ensure their safety while traveling through Botswana:

1. Greetings: It is customary to greet people when entering a room or meeting someone for the first time. Handshakes are common, but men may also perform a traditional greeting called “dumela” by touching right hands and placing the left hand on the forearm.

2. Dress Code: Botswana is a relatively conservative country, and it is important to dress modestly, especially when visiting rural areas or traditional villages. Avoid wearing revealing or skimpy clothing.

3. Respect for Elders: In many African cultures, including Botswana, elders hold a lot of influence and respect. It is important to show respect towards them by speaking politely and avoiding rude gestures or attitudes.

4. Personal Space: Personal space is highly valued in Botswana, and it is important to avoid invading someone’s personal space without permission.

5. Public Displays of Affection: While holding hands between married couples is acceptable, public displays of affection such as kissing or hugging are not commonly seen in Botswana and may be considered offensive.

6. Photography: Always ask for permission before taking photos of people or their belongings.

7. Taboos: Batswana have some cultural taboos that are believed to bring bad luck if violated. These include pointing at someone with your index finger, whistling at night, or calling someone by their first name without using a title like “Sir” or “Madam.”

8. Alcohol consumption: Drinking alcohol in public places is prohibited in Botswana except in licensed restaurants and bars.

9. Wildlife encounters: If going on a safari or wildlife tour, follow the instructions given by trained guides at all times for your safety.

10. Potentially dangerous animals: Be cautious around certain animals that you may encounter in parks and reserves like elephants, hippos, and crocodiles. Keep a safe distance and do not provoke them.

11. Traveling in remote areas: If traveling to remote areas of Botswana, it is advisable to hire a registered guide or travel with a reputable tour company.

12. Road safety: Be cautious when driving on roads in Botswana, as they can be poorly maintained and have hazards such as potholes and wandering livestock.

13. Health risks: It is important to take precautions against malaria, which is prevalent in some parts of Botswana. Consult your doctor before traveling for appropriate vaccinations and medications.

14. Respect for local customs: When visiting traditional villages or participating in cultural activities, be respectful of local customs and traditions.

15. Bribery and corruption: Avoid offering bribes or engaging in corrupt activities, as these are serious offenses that can result in legal consequences.

16. LGBTQ+ travelers: Homosexuality is illegal in Botswana, and discrimination against LGBTQ+ individuals is widespread. LGBTQ+ travelers should exercise caution when traveling through the country.

17. Emergency services: The emergency number for police, ambulance, and fire services is 999 in Botswana. However, response times may be slow in rural areas.

18. What precautions should solo female travelers take when visiting Botswana, if any?

1. Dress modestly: It is recommended for solo female travelers to dress conservatively in Botswana, especially in rural areas or when visiting traditional villages. This shows respect for the local culture and can help to avoid unwanted attention.

2. Avoid isolated areas at night: It is best to stick to well-lit and populated areas when traveling alone at night. Avoid walking alone in isolated places, especially after dark.

3. Research your accommodation: When booking your accommodation, make sure it is in a safe and secure location. Read reviews from other solo female travelers to get an idea of their experiences.

4. Use reputable tour operators: If planning on taking a safari or any other tours, make sure to use reputable tour operators that have good reviews and recommendations from other solo female travelers.

5. Keep copies of important documents: Make copies of your passport, travel insurance, and other important documents and keep them separate from the originals while traveling.

6. Know the emergency numbers: Before leaving for your trip, familiarize yourself with the local emergency contact numbers in case of any emergencies.

7. Be aware of scams: Just like any other destination, be mindful of potential scams targeting tourists. Do not give personal information or money to strangers and be cautious when approached by street vendors or beggars.

8. Get vaccinated: Make sure to consult with your doctor about necessary vaccinations for Botswana before your trip.

9. Stay vigilant: It is always advisable to stay alert and aware of your surroundings while traveling alone. Avoid walking alone at night if possible and trust your instincts if you feel uncomfortable in a certain situation.

10. Connect with other travelers: Consider joining group tours or connecting with other solo travelers through online forums before visiting Botswana. This can provide support and companionship during your trip.

11. Respect cultural norms: When visiting a new country, it’s important to show respect for local customs and culture. Be aware of any dress codes or other cultural considerations, especially when visiting religious sites.

12. Secure your belongings: Keep your valuables locked in a safe or carry them with you at all times to avoid theft.

13. Learn some local phrases: Learning a few basic words and phrases in the local language can help you communicate with locals and can also show respect for their culture.

14. Be cautious with alcohol consumption: Excessive alcohol consumption can make you more vulnerable and less aware of your surroundings. Drink responsibly and know your limit.

15. Have a plan for emergencies: It’s always best to have a contingency plan in case of any emergencies. Know where the nearest embassy is located and have a way to contact them if needed.

16. Inform someone of your whereabouts: It’s important to let someone back home or in your accommodation know where you are going, especially if you are heading off alone for an adventure or trekking into remote areas.

17. Use public transportation wisely: If using public transportation, be sure to use reputable companies and avoid traveling alone at night.

18. Trust your instincts: If you feel uncomfortable or unsafe in a situation, trust your gut instinct and remove yourself from the situation as quickly as possible.

19. Do local authorities recommend any specific measures or precautions to take to ensure personal safety while visiting Botswana?

Yes, local authorities may recommend the following measures or precautions to ensure personal safety while visiting Botswana:

1. Be aware of your surroundings at all times and avoid walking alone in isolated areas, especially at night.

2. Keep your valuables secure and avoid displaying them in public.

3. Always lock your car doors and keep windows closed when driving, and park in well-lit and secure areas.

4. Avoid carrying large amounts of cash with you and use credit/debit cards instead when possible.

5. Stay informed about any current events or security concerns in the country by checking the news before you travel and while you are there.

6. Educate yourself on local customs and cultural sensitivities to avoid offending anyone or inadvertently getting into trouble.

7. If possible, travel with a reputable tour guide to ensure safe transportation and help navigate any potential dangers.

8. When participating in outdoor activities, such as safaris or game drives, follow the instructions of your guide and be aware of wildlife safety precautions.

9. Avoid political gatherings or demonstrations, as they can sometimes turn violent.

10. If you encounter any suspicious behavior or feel unsafe in a situation, trust your instincts and remove yourself from harm’s way quickly.

It is always recommended to consult with the local embassy or consulate for further safety information before traveling to Botswana.

20. Are there any ongoing conflicts or tensions between Botswana and its neighboring countries that potential visitors should be aware of before traveling?

Botswana has generally good relationships with its neighboring countries. However, there have been some occasional border disputes with Namibia and Zimbabwe over delimitation of boundaries. In recent years, there have also been tensions between Botswana and Zimbabwe due to political differences between the two governments. Visitors traveling to Botswana should be aware of potential landmines along the border areas with Angola and Zambia.

Additionally, there are currently ongoing tensions between Botswana and South Africa over trade policies and hunting regulations. These conflicts may not directly affect visitors, but it is important for travelers to familiarize themselves with any changes in policies or regulations that may impact their trip. It is always advisable to check for any updates or travel advisories from your home country’s government before planning a trip to Botswana.