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Living in Botswana
A practical guide to the way of life in Botswana
Since its independence, Botswana is considered one of the most stable democracies in Africa. With one of the fastest growing economies in the world, Botswana holds plenty of opportunities for expatriates hoping to start a new life in Botswana. Learn more about local education, transportation, and more in our guide.
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Life in Botswana
Education in Botswana
Since becoming independent in 1966, and with an injection of government capital from diamond revenue, education has seen a dramatic improvement in Botswana. While secondary education is not free, nor compulsory, approximately half of children of school age complete twelve years of schooling, culminating in a Botswana General Certificate of Education, or BGCSE.
There are some good further education institutions, including the University of Botswana and the Botswana International University of Science and Technology. Expats moving to Botswana with children will find a good selection of international schools offering both primary and high school education, some with boarding options. The majority of international schools are in the capital, Gaborone, and there are some good job opportunities for expats within the education sector, too.
Transportation in Botswana
Another success story following independence in 1966 is the road network in Botswana. There are over 6,000 kilometers of paved roads; most of which were built between 1966 and 1996. Most people get around by car, and usefully for expats living in Botswana, there is a fully paved ‘inner circle’ road that connects all of the district capitals. The Trans-Kalahari Highway also connects Botswana with Walvis in Namibia and is an all-weather road.
Roads outside of major towns can have fewer fuel stations, so expats driving in Botswana would be advised to pay keen attention to the fuel gauge. Another thing to note on longer journeys is the tire pressure to avoid blowouts on heated tarmac. A more unusual potential hazard is the wildlife of Botswana. Goats, cows, dogs and even some more exotic animals have been known to wander in the roads, particularly at night, so the best advice is to drive slowly and with caution. The speed limit is variable: 120km/h outside the city limits, 100km/h on the approach to towns or villages, 60km/h passing towns and villages, and 30km/h in built up areas. There are clear signs and police are vigilant.
Safety and Security in Botswana
Expatriates living in Botswana enjoy a low crime rate in comparison to other African and even some Western countries. There is some theft and petty crime, however, and expats should exercise a normal amount of caution when going about their daily lives. The number to call in an emergency is 999 for police, 998 for fire services and 997 for medical emergencies.
In fact, the main dangers in Botswana are natural, for example mosquitoes and contaminated water sources, so it is important for anyone coming from overseas to be fully vaccinated for the following diseases before they move to Botswana: Hepatitis A, typhoid, hepatitis B, malaria, rabies and yellow fever.
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