Depending on an expat's lifestyle, Botswana can be a very affordable place to live. In the capital, Gaborone, costs are generally more expensive, as this is where most of the good jobs and better housing options are found.

Still, according to Mercer's 2020 Cost of Living report, Gaborone was ranked 199th out of 209 cities. So, expats who choose to 'live like a local' will find that it is easy to live inexpensively in Botswana.

Cost of accommodation and food in Botswana

Accommodation in Botswana varies, especially if living in the capital. For expats who choose to settle in Gaborone, being close to local transport and schools pushes up the price of housing. Expats can expect monthly rental costs to be one of their biggest expenses in Botswana, but don't overlook the price of groceries. Prices of imported products, including food, can be quite high.

Cost of healthcare

Public healthcare in Botswana is affordable, thanks to government investment, but the standards and waiting times are variable. Most expats prefer private healthcare.

We advise expats to invest in comprehensive medical insurance when relocating to Botswana. While this could be a high monthly cost, having to pay out of pocket without cover at a private hospital could be exorbitant.

Cost of education in Botswana

Expats who intend to send their children to an international school in Botswana will pay more than they would to use the public schooling system. These schools offer a high standard of education and highly qualified teachers, while their curriculum will be internationally recognised when families move back home or relocate elsewhere. Fortunately, while they charge high tuition fees, the cost of international schools in the country is likely to be significantly lower than that of similar schools in other expat destinations.

Cost of living in Botswana chart 

Prices may vary depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for Gaborone in November 2020.

Accommodation (monthly rent)

Three-bedroom apartment in the city centre

BWP 7,000 - 9,000

Three-bedroom apartment outside of the city centre

BWP 4,000 - 5,500

One-bedroom apartment in the city centre

BWP 2,000 - 4,000

One-bedroom apartment outside the city centre

BWP 2,000 - 3,000


Eggs (dozen)

BWP 27

Milk (1 litre)

BWP 14

Rice (1kg)

BWP 25

Loaf of white bread


Chicken breasts (1kg)

BWP 54

Pack of cigarettes 

BWP 47

Eating out

Big Mac Meal

BWP 60

Coca-Cola (330ml)

BWP 12


BWP 30

Bottle of local beer

BWP 20

Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant

BWP 500


Mobile-to-mobile call rate (per minute)

BWP 1.70

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)

BWP 600

Basic utilities (per month for small apartment)

BWP 640


Taxi rate (per kilometre)

BWP 28

Bus fare in the city centre


Petrol/gasoline (per litre)

BWP 9.50