If you’re heading over the border to Botswana this school holiday – like many self driven safari-loving South Africans are – there are a few things you’ll need to get together before you go.
Everything needs to be planned beforehand; from where you will be crossing over from SA’s side, to what you can pack in the freezer of your 4x4 trailer.
Before we give you the low down, take note:
- You WILL a need 4x4 vehicle if you’re heading there to sight-see. Don’t expect to have a flawless, breakdown-free adventure in Kubu Island when you’re driving in an Opel Astra.
- If you’re travelling to or through the north of Botswana in the high summer seasons, you should take Malaria medication well in advance and after your trip – in accordance with your doctor’s prescriptions. The risk is low – and even lower in winter – but authorities do warn of the possibility of Malaria especially in the north. Chobe National Park is included in the risk area.
Now that you know the very basics at least, you can start planning your adventure…
Currency: Pula (P) at about R1.24/P
National Language: Setswana or Tswana (take note there are an abundance of languages spoken in Botswana, with Setswana being the most prominent).
Traveller24 tip: Greet locals with the friendly phrase, "Dumela Rra" (for a gentleman) and "Dumela Mma" (for a lady). For a more laid-back greeting to someone of your own age, say "Go jwang ?" which means, 'Howzit?'.
WHERE TO CROSS
Traveller24 tip: Pontdrift is the most exciting of the Botswana border posts to cross over from. During the dry season (anywhere between June and November), when the Limpopo River is dry, you can drive across the sandy riverbed – nothing 4x4 tyres (and adjusting the pressure accordingly) can't handle.
COST OF CROSSING BOTSWANA BORDER POSTS
P50 for a single entry and P90 for a return trip
P20 for road fund tax (disc must be displayed, valid for one year)
P20 per trailer and P50 for third-party insurance
Budget for about P180 for a return trip across one of Botswana's border posts. TRAVEL DOCUMENTS
Citizens of SA won’t need a visa for crossing a Botswana border post.
TAKE NOTE: If you’re travelling with an emergency passport or any other kind of travelling document that’s NOT your passport, you will require a visa. Driver's license:
South African and international driver’s licenses are accepted. Vehicle insurance:
Third-party insurance is required and is valid for 90 days. Vehicle registration documents:
If the vehicle is your own, a certified copy of vehicle registration/vehicle lisence papers is acceptable at the border posts. This must be accompanied with a letter from the bank giving you authorisation to take the vehicle across the border, and must indicate dates. Both the bank letter and copies of license papers should be signed by a Commissioner of Oaths.
If the vehicle is rented or not registered in your name, you will need an affidavit from the South African police giving you permission from the rental company or owner to take the vehicle across a Botswanan border post. Both this letter and the registration documents need to be signed by a Commissioner of Oaths. Clearance certificate:
You need a temporary import permit (TIP) to bring a vehicle into Botswana. You can buy this at the Botswana border post. Indication of origin:
Your vehicle must have a ZA sticker, which designates that they are foreign vehicles which were registered in South Africa. AA Accredited Sales Agent stores and outdoor retailers like Safari Centre will have them available for purchase.CUSTOMS
You may have goods to the value of R500 within the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) area, and outside the SACU area you may have goods to the value of R3 000.
NOTE: You may not take any pornography across the border... (warn your teenage son beforehand...)
This is what you may take over:
TAKING YOUR PETS ALONG
The importation of animals is closely regulated for public health reasons and also for the well-being of the animals.
Domestic pets may be imported subject to animal health restrictions.
NOTE: A valid certificate of identity, rabies vaccination and movement permit issued in Lesotho, Malawi, South Africa, Swaziland, Namibia or Zimbabwe will be accepted at the time of importation into Botswana.
Final Traveller24 tips:
The must-packs: Binoculars, torch, insect repellent, lip salve, sunscreen, sunglasses.
Remember: From May to August night temperatures can fall below zero, so warm jerseys and jackets are vital. ALSO: Special attention should be given to protection from the sun. Bring a sunhat, good quality sunscreen, sun lotion and polarized sunglasses.
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