Transport and Driving in Botswana
Public transport in Botswana isn’t particularly reliable or widespread, especially outside of Gaborone or other big cities. For this reason, most expats living in Botswana opt to drive themselves around, while some others hire a driver and a vehicle to get transport them.
Public transport in Botswana
Expats will find that their options are rather limited when it comes to public transport in Botswana. Within Gaborone, public transport mostly consists of combis, or minivans that seat about 16 passengers. These minibus taxis travel along fixed routes and are easily hailed on the street.
Buses are one of the most popular transport options in Botswana when it comes to travelling between cities or further afield to neighbouring countries. Various companies operate along the busiest bus routes, the biggest of which is Seabalo.
Driving in Botswana
Most expats moving to Botswana opt to buy or rent a car and drive themselves around.
New arrivals may drive on an international driver’s permit and their valid home country licence for up to three months. Thereafter, they have to get a local driver’s licence. In most cases, expats will not need to complete a driving test and will merely have to present their valid licences and residency permit to their nearest branch of the Department of Road Transport and Safety.
Road conditions in Botswana are better than in many other African countries, with roads in urban areas being particularly well maintained. The speed limit is 74mph (120kmh) on highways, and 37mph (60kmh) in cities and towns; expats caught exceeding these limits may be subject to hefty fines.
Despite many roads being in good condition, driving in Botswana still has its challenges. Particular difficulties include limited signage, erratic driving and the presence of animals on the road. Directions are commonly given using landmarks, rather than street names and numbers.
Dirt roads in remote areas can be hazardous, particularly during the rainy season, and driving after dark on these routes is discouraged.
Expats should also take note that Botswana is crisscrossed by various veterinary fences, the purpose of which is to prevent the spread of cattle diseases like foot and mouth. Any travellers will have to hand over all meat products at the control points along these boundaries, and will have to clean tyres and shoes on disinfectant mats. The thoroughness of the checks depends on whether there has been a recent outbreak of one of these diseases.
Air travel in Botswana
Botswana's main airport is Sir Seretse Khama in Gaborone. Smaller airports can be found in Maun and Kasane. The national carrier is Air Botswana, which operates daily flights between South Africa and Botswana. Most expats moving to Botswana travel via Johannesburg in South Africa.