A place many consider the jewel in the African crown to be safe and secure. Botswana has been considered a luxury tourist destination out of the reach of a lot of travelers, but this southern African nation is on the rise with tourism numbers increasing annually.
For the serious African traveler, this country is a definite must-see. But while it's a holiday spot many will find easy traveling, it does have crime - luckily not too much.
Botswana is considered one of the safest countries in Africa and violent attacks towards travelers are rare but petty crime does exist.
Most tourism in Botswana is around Gaborone, Francistown and the tourist capital, Maun. The good news is Maun, the gateway to the Okavango Delta, doesn't really experience high levels of crime.
Foreigners have been robbed, but it isn't a common thing. As you would in any country, keep your valuables secure and only take what you need out with you for the day.
Visitors should use care when talking on a cell phone while walking. Pickpockets can frequent crowded spots and transport hubs so secure your valuables.
Occasionally, travelers have been robbed in the areas of Gaborone Dam and Kgale Hill in the capital, Gaborone. It's advised to exercise caution in these areas particular between dusk and dawn.
Always be aware of your surroundings and who is around you. Avoid walking around alone at night or in poorly lit areas. Instead take a taxi to get around at night.
Theft of property from vehicles has been reported in Botswana. Never leave any valuables in youe vehicle if parked somewhere or overnight.
Drive-by snatch and grab style theft from vehicles whether in traffic or parked does occur so always make sure your windows are up, doors are locked and valuables are out of sight.
Travelers arriving in Botswana via South Africa should also be aware that there is a continuing baggage theft problem at OR Tambo (Johannesburg) and Cape Town International Airports.
Avoid placing any valuables such as electronics, jewelry, cameras, laptops etc. in checked luggage. If you don't want it lost, then carry it on you.
If you plan to catch a taxi, always negotiate the fare before hopping in to avoid any nasty surprises at the end of the ride.
Women travelers are pretty safe in Botswana with most locals tending to be polite and respectful. The only time a woman traveler may be hassled is if they are in a bar alone and receive some unwanted attention from a guy (local or non local) whose had that one too many drinks.
Use your common sense as you would where ever you travel. Avoid walking alone at night or in poorly lit streets.
It's also a good idea to dress modestly particuarly in the rural locations. In the more touristy spots, it's more acceptable to wear shorter sleeves and shorts.
Drug use and trafficking are illegal in Botswana so don't do it. Botswana's prisons aren't known to be pleasant.
Homosexuality was decriminalized in Botswana in June 2019 after ~130 years of colonial law, which was overturned in a landmark court case.
Don't forget to always carry your personal ID with you when traveling around.
As in many countries, photographing military or government buildings is forbidden. Always ask someone before taking their photo.
Botswanan law makes it illegal to possess or remove from the country any living or dead animal or animal trophy without a government permit.
A trophy is considered to be any of the following: horn, ivory, tooth, tusk, bone, claw, hoof, hide, skin, hair, feather, egg, or other durable part of an animal, whether the item has been treated or not.
With many animals in Africa struggling to survive against poachers, it's best to avoid purchasing these items.
You can buy at home or while traveling, and claim online from anywhere in the world. With 150+ adventure activities covered and 24/7 emergency assistance.
Listen to the World Nomads Podcast on Botswana and learn about the San Bushmen, the adventurous photographer who camped her way across Africa, and jaw-dropping city names from around the world.
Known for its eye-wateringly expensive lodges, Sarah Gilbert sticks to her budget as she explores Botswana on a mobile camping safari.