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Please be aware that information on this page is correct at the time of writing. However, regulations do change and it is important to consult your local embassy for updated information about travel and visa requirements for Botswana.

New Rules for Traveling with Children into and out of South Africa

The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) in South Africa has announced new, strict procedures for parents traveling with children under the age of 18 years in and out of South Africa.

With effect from 1 June 2015, all adults traveling with children will need to produce a copy of an unabridged birth certificate for each child they are traveling with, among other documents. This new regulation is line with the DHA efforts to limit the incidents of child trafficking.

Applying for an unabridged birth certificate
The application process for an unabridged certificate is simple, but clients need to know that although there has previously been a six to eight week waiting period, this process could take anything from three to six months.

One parent traveling with a child
In instances where one parent is travelling with a child for any reason, whether as a single parent, or merely in the absence of the other parent, the following documents must be produced for immigration officials:

• A copy of an unabridged birth certificate
• An affidavit from the other parent or legal guardian of the child, confirming their consent for the accompanying adult to travel with the child
• Single parents are required to produce a court order (and not just an affidavit) granting full parental responsibilities and rights or legal guardianship in respect of the child, if he or she is the parent or legal guardian of the child, and
• If applicable, a death certificate of a deceased parent must be produced

Adult traveling with a child who is not his or her biological child
We live in a society of extended family and there are many instances where adults may need to travel with children who are not their biological children. This could be for family, school or religious reasons. In instances where an adult is traveling with a child who is not his or her biological child, the following documents must be produced for immigration officials:

• A copy of an unabridged birth certificate
• An affidavit from the parents or legal guardians of the child, confirming their consent for the accompanying adult to travel with the child
• Copies of the identity documents or passports of the parents or legal guardians of the child
• Contact details of the parents or legal guardians of the child.

Where one or two adults are traveling with a large group of children, the adults must have these documents for each child traveling. Although not required, it may be a good idea for the adults to have a letter from the trip organisers, giving authority to these adults to attend to these children.

An unaccompanied minor
Even though a child of 16 or 17 can travel comfortably on their own from one country to another, the DHA requires that an unaccompanied minor produce the following documents to the immigration officials:

• Proof of consent from one or both his or her parents or legal guardian, in the form of a letter or affidavit for the child to travel into or depart from South Africa;
• In the case where one parent provides proof of consent, that parent must also provide a copy of a court order issued to him or her in terms of which he or she has been granted full parental responsibilities and rights in respect of the child;
• A letter from the person who is to receive the child in the destination country, containing his or her residential address and contact details where the child will be residing;
• A copy of the identity document or valid passport and visa or permanent residence permit of the person who is to receive the child in the destination country; and
• The contact details of the parents or legal guardian of the child in the country of origin.

These regulations should be considered when children want to apply for exchange programmes, or even when visiting family within southern Africa or neighbouring countries.

Given that the legal age in South Africa is 18, all children below this age fit into the new regulations.

They are also applicable to all parents, regardless of whether both parents are accompanying the children at the time of traveling or not, and to non-South African passport holders traveling in and out of the country.

Clients preparing to travel out of the country with their children should make urgent plans to apply for the relevant documents to ensure that they are prepared to travel under these new regulations.

The Department urges citizens and foreign nationals to heed the call to apply for unabridged birth certificates for children. An unabridged birth certificate of the child reflecting the particulars of the parents is required in terms of the Immigration Regulation 6 (12) (a) for children traveling with parents.

Customers can also visit the DHA website for further clarity on the new regulations, and to locate their closest DHA office.

Enquiries: David Hlabane +27 (0)71 527 9463 Thabo Mokgola +27 (0) 71 712 9710

Accommodation in Botswana
Botswana is a popular destination and to avoid disappointment, accommodation bookings should be made well in advance. The busiest times are during the South African, Botswana and European school holidays.

Botswana Visa and Passport Requirements
Every visitor to Botswana must be in possession of a passport that is valid until six months after the initial date of arrival and have sufficient pages for entry and exit stamps.
No visas are required by citizens of EU countries, most Commonwealth countries, the USA, South Africa, Switzerland, Israel and Norway.
It is vital for visitors to carry a valid passport and sufficient funds to facilitate their stay.
Visas are not required by SA passport holders.
Citizens of most European and Common-wealth countries do not require a visa for entry into Botswana.
Upon arrival you will receive a 30-day entrance stamp and, for those who plan on travelling onwards to Botswana's neighbouring countries, visas for Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe can be obtained in Gaborone.

Botswana Border Posts and Charges
P50 – Road Transport Permit
P50 – National Road Safety per vehicle
P20 – National Road Safety per trailer
P50 – 3rd Party Insurance (mini buses and buses will pay a higher fee)

Botswana/South Africa Borders
Pont Drift (Tuli) – Open from 07h30 – 16h30
Martin's Drift – Open from 06h00 – 22h00
Zanzibar – Open from 07h00 – 18h30
Platjan – Open from 08h00 to 16h00
Sikwane – Open from 07h30 – 16h30
Tlokweng – Open from 06h00 – 00h00
Ramotswa (Bridge) – Open from 07h00 – 18h00
Pioneer Gate – Open from 06h00 – 00h00
Ramatlabama – Open from 06h00 – 22h00
Phitshane Molopo – Open from 07h30 – 18h00
Hereford/Bray – Open from 07h00 – 16h30
Makopong – Open from 07h30 – 16h30
Bokspits – Open from 08h00 – 16h00
McCarthy Rust/Tshabong – Open from 08h00 – 18h00
Two Rivers – Open from 07h30 – 16h00
Parr's Holt – Open from 08h00 – 16h00
Botswana/Namibia Borders
Mamuno – Open from 07h00 – 00h00
Ngoma – Open from 07h00 – 18h00
Mohembo – Open from 06h00 – 18h00

Vehicle Documents Required
Drivers Licence (Valid International Driver's Licences' are accepted). If not written in English, a certified written translation is required.
Valid Passport
Third party insurance is required and is valid for 90 days (Cost is P50)
If the vehicle is not registered in your name, rented or still being financed, you will require a letter of authority from the financial institution or owner of the vehicle, giving you permission to take the vehicle across a Botswana border. The letter to state dates of travel and to be attached together with the vehicle licence papers. Both the letter and the registration documents need to be signed by a Commissioner of Oaths.
You will require a temporary import permit (TIP) to bring a vehicle into Botswana. You can purchase this at the Botswana border post.
You will also require a country of origin sticker for your vehicle, indicating the country it's registered in. You may purchase these decals from AA agencies.

Customs/Import Restrictions
Visitors may qualify for the following duty free allowances:
• 200 Cigarettes
• 20 Cigars
• 250g Tobacco
• 2 litres Wine• 1 litre Spirits or other alcoholic beverage
• 50ml Perfume
• 250ml Eau de Toilette
• Other goods to the value of ZAR500.00

Remember, no pork whatsoever is allowed across Botswana's border.
The regulations on importing meat and meat products change frequently because they are based on disease outbreaks in different countries. Ask your nearest customs office before importing meat and meat products.

Restricted Goods
These are goods that can only be imported with a license or permit.
• Narcotic, habit forming drugs and related substances in any form
• Firearms, ammunition and explosives.
• Indecent and obscene material such as pornographic books, magazines, films, videos, DVDs and software.

Botswana is one of the healthiest countries in sub-Saharan Africa, with good medical health care facilities available throughout the country. However, the following health precautions are advised:
If you are travelling to Botswana from areas infected with Yellow Fever, you must have a valid Yellow Fever vaccination certificate. Otherwise, no other immunisations are required. However, it would be wise to have an updated TPD (tetanus, polio, diphtheria) vaccine, and a Hepatitis A vaccine.

The northern part of Botswana, including Chobe National Park and the Okavango Delta is in a malaria zone, so it is advisable to take the relevant precautions.
Visitors are advised to wear long sleeves, socks, closed shoes, and generally keep the body covered, to sleep with a mosquito net and to use mosquito coils and mosquito repellent.
Pregnant or very young children are not advised to travel to malarial areas.
Symptoms include fever, shaking, backache, headaches, diahorrea, vomiting and drowsiness.
Malaria prophylactics prevent malaria. Consult your physician for appropriate medical advice and malaria prophylactics.

Sun and Heat-Related Problems
Always take preventive measures that include wearing a wide-brimmed sunhat and sunglasses, liberally applying sunscreen every three or four hours, regularly taking rehydration mixes, drinking plenty of water and fruit juices (at least three litres of liquid daily) and avoiding prolonged exposure to the sun.

Travel Insurance
It is essential for visitors to remote areas of Botswana to have a comprehensive medical insurance policy, to provide coverage for the treatment of serious illnesses/accidents, and if required, medical evacuation. Personal effects insurance is also advisable.

The Botswana currency is the Pula (meaning 'rain' in Setswana). It is divided into 100 thebe (meaning 'shield' in Setswana). Travellers' cheques and foreign currency may be changed at banks, bureaux de change, and authorised hotels.
The South African Rand, US dollar, Euros and the British Pound are the most easily convertible currencies.
Automatic teller machines accept foreign visa cards and are mostly found in larger towns and cities. Cultural sites and community art and craft outlets usually only accept cash.

Credit Cards
Major credit cards, such as MasterCard and Visa, are accepted throughout the country, in most hotels, restaurants, retail outlets and safari companies. However, shops in remote areas and service stations may only accept cash and some establishments do not accept payment by Diners or American Express.

Seven main commercial banks, as well as a number of foreign exchange bureaux, operate in Botswana.
Banking hours: 8:30am to 3:30pm Monday to Friday and 8:30am to 11am on Saturday.

In city restaurants and bars, a 10% tip is the norm when the service charge is not included.
Provided the service is good, it is customary to tip lodge staff and guides.

Average summer temperatures: 18°C to 38°C
Average winter temperatures: 6°C to 27°C
Rainy season: October/November to March/April
Botswana's climate is semi-arid. Though it is hot and dry for much of the year, there is a rainy season, which runs through the summer months. Rainfall tends to be erratic, unpredictable and regional.

During the summer months, shorts and T-Shirt are recommended with a long sleeve cotton shirty for protections against the sun if you have a fair complexion. Choose cotton clothing in neutral, cool colours that blend with the bush for daytime and wear lightweight long-sleeved clothing at night to protect against mosquitoes.
During the cooler months it is best to layer up as the days are still warm and sunny but the night time temperatures can drop close to freezing point. Be sure to pack a thick fleece or jacket for early morning and evening game drives, which can be very cold.
Comfortable walking shoes or hiking boots are a must.
Include Binoculars, torch, insect repellent, lip salve, sunscreen, sunglasses and hat/caps when packing.

Time Zone
Botswana Standard Time is 2 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+2).

Travelling through Botswana

Botswana is accessible by tarred road from South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Namibia.
Most major roads in Botswana are tarred and driving conditions are generally good. Four-wheel drive is required when travelling in the national parks and reserves, as well as in remote areas.
Vehicle rental services are widely available in major tourist centres, airports and hotels.

Road Rules
Drivers are required to carry their licenses at all times. Licenses from neighbouring countries are accepted in Botswana.
If not written in English, a certified written translation is required.
Valid International drivers' licenses are accepted in Botswana.
Carry all your vehicle documents in a safe place in the vehicle.
Vehicles are driven on the left hand side of the road.
Stick to the speed limits
Seat belts when driving a car in Botswana are mandatory.
The use of a mobile phone while driving is prohibited, with the exception of a hands-free system.
The national speed limit on tarred roads is 120 km/h and 60 km/h in towns and villages

Travel Safe Tips
Always carry at least 1 spare tyre.
Always carry enough fuel and drinking water
Always comply with safety rules in game parks
Always carry a map
Watch out for wildlife and domestic animals on the roads. In the National parks always stay on the established tracks. Stay below the 40km/h speed limit for the safety of wildlife and yourselves.
Driving at night is very dangerous because there is a lot of wildlife on the roads. Avoid driving at night or drive slowly as wild animals are dazed by headlights
In the Okavango, don't swim in lagoons or streams; there is the danger of crocodiles and/or hippos.
Children must be constantly supervised in wildlife areas.
Cigarette butts should be well extinguished and placed in a rubbish bag, not thrown on the ground.

Leaded and unleaded petrol and diesel are readily available at petrol stations in Botswana.
Petrol stations in Botswana open from 8am to 8pm. In the more remote areas it is common for petrol stations to run out of gas. When leaving any main town do ensure you have a full tank of fuel.

Gaborone: you can fly to Sir Seretse Khama - Botswana's main international airport - from Johannesburg but most safari-bound travellers skip it and fly directly to one of the two airports below.
Maun: Regular flights from Johannesburg and Windhoek mean easy access to the Okavango Delta's gateway airport. You'll transfer to light charter aircraft for your flight into the Delta.
Kasane: Fly to Chobe's gateway from Johannesburg, Gaborone or Maun.

Mobile Phone/Internet Communications
The international access code in Botswana is 00. When calling international to Botswana, dial + 267.
Most major towns in Botswana have coverage as well as portions of the national highway. In more remote areas there may be no coverage.

Visitors are advised to purchase a sim card starter pack on arrival in Botswana – this will allow you to make calls at the local rate. Starter packs are available at most petrol stations and supermarkets.

Tap water throughout the country is safe to drink. Bottled mineral water is readily available in most shops and supermarkets, and at camps and lodges.
Tourists travelling by road are advised to carry sufficient water at all times.
Water in urban areas is chlorinated, and is drunk from the tap by the local population. Visitors with sensitive stomachs and advised to drink bottled water.

Don't bathe or drink from still pools of water; there is the danger of bilharzia.

Electricity is supplied at 220/240v. Both square and round wall plugs are used.

Safety and Security
Botswana is one of the safer countries in Africa and the people are very friendly. Nevertheless, visitors are advised to always be aware of their surroundings.
• Don't leave your vehicle unlocked
• Don't leave valuables places visible in your vehicle, rather lock them in the boot
• Conceal your valuables such as jewellery or large amounts of cash
• Place valuables in a safe at your accommodation

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