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Communications

Botswana phone numbers begin with the 267 country code, which you don't dial within the country. (There are no internal area codes in Botswana.)

Health and Safety

There are high standards of hygiene in all the private lodges, and most hotels are usually up to international health standards. But malaria is rife, so don't forget to take those antimalarials. Botswana has one of the highest AIDS rates in Africa, but it also has one of Africa's most progressive and comprehensive programs for dealing with the disease. All the private lodges and camps have excellent staff medical programs; you're in no danger of contracting the disease unless you have sex with a stranger. As in most cities, crime is prevalent in Gaborone, but simple safety precautions such as locking up your documents and valuables and not walking alone at night will keep you safe. On safari, there’s always potential danger from wild animals, but your ranger will brief you thoroughly on the dos and don'ts of encountering big game.

The American embassy is in Gaborone, the country's capital city.

Most safari companies include emergency medical evacuation insurance for public liability to the nearest hospital, but you must have your own travel and medical insurance as well. There are two 24-hour emergency rescue companies: Medical Rescue International, which will require confirmation with your insurance company before evacuation, and Okavango Air Rescue, which will liaise with your insurance after your safe evacuation.

Embassies

U.S. Embassy (Embassy Dr., Government Enclave, Gaborone. 395–3982; 373–2222 After hours. 395–6947. botswana.usembassy.gov. Mon.–Thurs. 7:30 am–5:00pm, Fri. 7:30 am–1:30 pm.)

Emergencies

Ambulance (997.)

Medical Rescue (992.)

Police (999.)

Emergency Services

Medical Rescue International (390–1601.)

Okavango Air Rescue (686–1616.)

Money Matters

The pula and the thebe constitute the country's currency; one pula equals 100 thebe. You’ll need to change your money into pula, as this is the only legally accepted currency. However, most camp prices are quoted in U.S. dollars.

There are no restrictions on foreign currency notes brought into the country as long as they’re declared. Travelers can carry up to P10,000 (about US$1,600), or the equivalent in foreign currency, out of the country without declaring it. Banking hours are weekdays 9–3:30, Saturday 8:30–12:30. Hours at Barclays Bank at Sir Seretse Khama International Airport are Monday–Saturday 6 am–10 pm.

Though the national currency is the pula, you can use U.S. dollars or euros as tips. Your information folder at each lodge will give helpful suggestions on whom and what to tip.

Passports and Visas

All visitors, including infants, need a valid passport to enter Botswana for visits of up to 90 days.