Important facts about the region |
Time : GMT +2.
Electricity : 230 volts, 50Hz. Round three-pin plugs are used.
Language : English and Setswana are the official languages
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.
The majority of visits to Botswana are trouble-free, but visitors should be aware of the increasing incidence of crime, particularly robbery, in the main towns. The infrastructure and road network is fairly accessible with dense traffic during peak hours.
Taking photos or videos near government or military buildings is prohibited, and permission should always be sought before taking photos of local people.
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.
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.
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.
Gaborone, the capital city of Botswana, may not be big on tourist attractions but it is a vibrant, if small, sprawling modern city that provides several international hotels (two with casinos) and all the souvenir shops, restaurants and services that visitors, drawn to the country for the abundant wildlife, will need. There are also a few sights to see and excursions to enjoy for those who only have a day or two in which to experience the country.
Pride and joy of Gaborone is its University and National Museum, which features some outstanding exhibits. The old part of the city, known as the 'Village', is where one finds remnants of Botswana's colonial history, such as the remains of the old Government Rest House, where the infamous Jameson Raid was believed to have been planned and where Cecil John Rhodes sometimes stayed.
Why? Choose to travel to Gaborone in Botswana if you have limited time in Southern Africa but wish to get a taste of wildlife viewing. This sprawling city, not too far from Johannesburg, is on the doorstep of the Mokolodi Nature Reserve offering game drives and walks, and the city itself boasts some good souvenir shops where you can find bargain mementoes of your Gaborone holiday and a lively night-life.
When? Gaborone is hot and dry throughout the year, the only rainfall that can mar your holiday, falling in summer as sudden, heavy showers that quickly dry up. Summers can be blisteringly hot, and during winter it is chilly at night. The best time to travel to Gaborone is during spring or autumn (September/October or March/April/May).
Who for? Wildlife enthusiasts intent on enjoying a safari in one of Botswana's famed game parks travel to Gaborone as the gateway to their adventures.
More Info: Everything you need to know for a holiday in Gaborone, from airport facilities to currency exchange and health information, is contained in our comprehensive Gaborone travel guide.
Flights to Gaborone from the UK
There are connecting flights to Sir Seretse Khama International Airport in Gaborone from the UK. The flight duration from London to Gaborone is 9 to 10 hours and the airport is approximately nine miles (15km) north of the city.
Which airlines fly to Gaborone?
There are cheap connecting flights to Gaborone's Sir Seretse Khama International Airport from Heathrow and London City on Lufthansa, and South African Airways also fly there indirect from Heathrow. Low-cost flights on British Airways and Virgin Atlantic arrive in Johannesburg, and Air Botswana departs from there to Gaborone.