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A Comprehensive Guide on Moving to Botswana

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  • Jonathan Brown

    As an expat in Gaborone & beyond, I learned to love Botsuana's treasures and would like to share my love for my second home with you.

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The Land and Its People

Botswana is a land-locked country in southern Africa with an estimated population of just over two million. The country is a similar size to France, shares borders with South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Zambia, and the capital city is Gaborone. Since 2000, there has been an increase in the number of Zimbabwean refugees crossing the border into Botswana both legally and illegally, with the number living in the country now estimated as being in the tens of thousands.

Broadly speaking, Botswana is flat, with the Kalahari Desert making up roughly 70% of its territory. The Okavango Delta in the northwest of the country draws a wide variety of wildlife when it floods during the months from June to August, making Botswana one of the most popular safari destinations in the whole of Africa. Expats have more of a chance of seeing an African elephant here than anywhere else in the world, plus free-roaming big cats, rhinos, antelopes, wild dogs and various exotic birds.

Tswana is the dominant ethnic group making up 79% of the population, and there are a number of native tribes. The official language is English, with Setswana being widely spoken. Expats moving to Botswana should be able to get by with English alone.

Visas for Botswana

Citizens of Commonwealth countries, with some exceptions, do not require a visa to enter Botswana for short visits (up to 3 months). Expatriates from countries who have signed a Visa Abolition Agreement with Botswana are also exempt from requiring a tourist visa. A list of these countries can be found on the Botswana Government website. This list includes Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Denmark, France, Italy, Japan, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States of America.

Expats who are planning to work in Botswana and/or want to stay for more than three months, on the other hand, do require a visa to enter Botswana. They can apply at diplomatic missions in 20 countries around the world and will require documentation including bank statements, an application form, any work or residency permit, birth certificate, and any relevant business documents. Visa application forms are downloadable from the website.

Getting to Botswana

Being landlocked, overland travel to Botswana is relatively easy. From Namibia, expats traveling by car can use the Trans-Kalahari Highway, which crosses the border at Mamuno-Buitepos, the Ngoma Bridge, or the crossing at Mohembo and Mahango. Travelers coming from South Africa usually pass through the Ramatlabama, Tlokweng or Pioneer border crossings.

Foreigners entering from Zambia have to use the Kazungula ferry to cross the border in the middle of the Zambezi River, which happens to be the shortest international border in the world. Expats entering from Zimbabwe typically use border crossings at Ramokgwebana-Plumtree and Kazungula. The Intercape coach company is the largest of its kind in southern Africa and also has routes into Gaborone. Anyone traveling overland into Botswana may be asked to walk through a disinfectant solution to prevent the spread of foot and mouth disease.

The main airport in Botswana is the Sir Sereste Khama International Airport, which is just outside of Gaborone, and most arrivals are from Johannesburg, Cape Town, Harare, and Nairobi. The national flag carrier, Air Botswana, operates domestic flights from here. There is a smaller international airport in Maun, which attracts a more touristic clientele.

InterNations now back, bigger and better! Please come and mingle with international people found in vicinity of Gaborone or beyond and meet the New Ambassador to take you on board. Covid 19 disrupte
Come, join and network with us as we share and discuss various tips and ways to keep ourselves mentally FIT during these pandemic days and how to maintain all round mental wellbeing. We will also disc
May 1, 2021, 5:00 PM
130 attendees
Join us for an enlightening event for networking and getting to know each other. Furthermore we will discuss how to look after our eyes and share tips on having great eyesight. We will be joined by Dr
Apr 2, 2021, 6:00 PM
38 attendees
Dear members, lets have an online event! Join our networking event for InterNations members. Lets engage online, network & get some updates on what has been happening around the country from different

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Our Global Partners

  • Jonathan Brown

    As an expat in Gaborone & beyond, I learned to love Botsuana's treasures and would like to share my love for my second home with you.

  • Melanie Rasbery

    Gaborone's a comparatively small African metropolis, but I still needed help from expats and locals to relocate and settle in.

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