Botswana is two hours ahead of GMT. It does not, however, observe any daylight savings so in the summer it is just one hour ahead.
The currency is the Pula, divided into 100 thebes. Notes are in one, two, five, ten, 20 and 50 pula denominations. Coins are in one, two, five, ten, 25 and 50 thebes.
Any import of foreign currency must be declared. Import and export of pula is limited to 1,000 pula. Pula is a closed currency so cannot be obtained outside of Botswana.
When you go on safari, typically everything will have been paid for already so you just need money for tipping and a few incidentals. It’s generally best to take USD for this. If you’re combining with South Africa, taking ZAR is also a good idea.
Banks are open from 09:00 to 15:30 on weekdays. Some are open on Saturday from 08:00 to 11:00. Do not exchange cash from an unauthorised source, it is illegal.
Electricity and Plugs
The mains voltage is 220 volts. Plugs are type D, G (as used in the UK) and M. In the lodges, electricity is sometimes provided by a generator that works only during certain hours of the day. Power cuts are frequent.
Shops and stores are usually open Monday to Friday from 08:30 to 13:00 and 14:00 to 17:00, and on Saturday morning.
There are post offices in all towns and in larger villages. They usually open Monday to Friday from 08:15 to 12:45, 14:00 to 16:00 and on Saturday morning.
To phone Botswana from the UK, add 00 267 to the front of the number you’re dialling (removing the first zero from the number you’re dialling). To call the UK from Botswana, use 00 44 before dialling the number (again, without the first zero)
Internet and Mobile Coverage
Due to the remoteness of many of the lodges in Botswana, many will not have access to the internet, which is part of the charm. Check with individual lodges on their internet access. Similarly with mobile signal, many lodges will not have good signal due to their remoteness – we will be able to advise you of whether the lodge you’re staying in will have internet and phone signal.