Check the vaccines and medicines list and visit your doctor at least a month before your trip to get vaccines or medicines you may need. If you or your doctor need help to find a location that provides certain vaccines or medicines, visit the Find a Clinic page.
Botswana is often considered one of the best places in the world to experience and be close to the wild of Africa. With many options for different safari locations and game reserves, nature lovers flock to Botswana to experience wildlife.
The capital city of Botswana, Gaborone, is the largest city in the country and is considered one of the fastest-growing cities in Africa. It holds four American-style malls, cinemas, hotels, golf courses, and nightclubs.
Botswana’s other major cities include Francistown, Molepolole, and Selebi-Phikwe.
Read the information on the COVID-19: Health Considerations for Travel page for advice on traveling during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Vaccinations and malaria risk
Review both the Vaccination and Malaria sections on this page to find out if you may need vaccines and/or a malaria risk assessment before you travel to this country.
If you think you require vaccines and/or malaria risk assessment, you should make an appointment with a travel health professional:
- How to make an appointment with a travel health professional
A travel health risk assessment is also advisable for some people, even when vaccines or malaria tablets are not required.
- Do I need a travel health risk assessment?
Risk prevention advice
Many of the health risks experienced by travelers cannot be prevented by vaccines and other measures need to be taken.
Always make sure you understand the wider risks at your destination and take precautions, including:
- food and water safety
- accident prevention
- sun safety
- avoiding insect bites
- preventing and treating animal bites
- respiratory hygiene
- hand hygiene
Our advice section gives detailed information on minimizing specific health risks abroad:
Other health considerations
Make sure you have travel insurance before travel to cover healthcare abroad.
Find out if there are any restrictions you need to consider if you are traveling with medicines.
Know how to access healthcare at your destination: see the GOV.UK English speaking doctors and medical facilities: worldwide list
If you feel unwell on your return home from traveling abroad, always seek advice from a healthcare professional and let them know your travel history.
- Confirm primary courses and boosters are up to date as recommended for life in Britain – including, for example, seasonal flu vaccine (if indicated), MMR, vaccines required for occupational risk of exposure, lifestyle risks, and underlying medical conditions.
- Courses or boosters usually advised: Hepatitis A; Tetanus.
- Other vaccines to consider are Hepatitis B; Rabies; Typhoid.
- Selectively advised vaccines – only for those individuals at highest risk: none.
- A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for travelers aged 1 year or over arriving from or having transited through a country with a risk of yellow fever transmission.
Notes on the diseases mentioned above
- Hepatitis A: spread through consuming contaminated food and water or person to person through the fecal-oral route. Risk is higher where personal hygiene and sanitation are poor. Risk is highest for those with underlying medical conditions where there is an increased risk of severe disease e.g. chronic liver/kidney disease; haemophiliacs; men who have sex with men; people who inject drugs.
- Hepatitis B: spread through infected blood and blood products, contaminated needles and medical instruments, and sexual intercourse. Risk is higher for long stays, frequent travel, and for children (exposed through cuts and scratches), those who may require medical treatment during travel. Risk is highest for those with underlying medical conditions where there is an increased risk of severe disease e.g. chronic liver/kidney disease; hemophiliacs; men who have sex with men; people who change partners frequently; people who inject drugs.
- Rabies: spread through the saliva of infected animals (especially dogs, cats, bats, and monkeys), usually through a bite, scratch, or lick of broken skin. Risk is higher for those working or living in remote or rural areas (with no easy access to medical facilities), longer stay travelers, those planning on undertaking activities such as trekking, cycling, or running in a ‘high risk’ country, those working with, or regularly handling animals or bats, as part of their job, and children. Even after receiving a pre-travel rabies vaccine, urgent medical advice should be sought after any animal or bat bite.
- Tetanus: spread through contamination of cuts, burns, and wounds with tetanus spores. Spores are found in soil worldwide. A total of 5 doses of tetanus vaccine are recommended for life in the UK. Boosters are usually recommended in a country or situation where the correct treatment of an injury may not be readily available.
- Typhoid: spread mainly through the consumption of contaminated food and drink. Risk is higher where access to adequate sanitation and safe water is limited.
Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease transmitted by mosquitoes. You cannot be vaccinated against malaria.
- Malaria risk is present throughout the year (but highest from November to June). Risk is highest in the northern districts of Chobe and Ngamiland. In the Northeast district and the northern half of Ghanzi and Central districts, the risk is not high enough to warrant antimalarial tablets for most travelers, however, it may be considered for certain groups who may be at higher risk (see below under Low risk with additional advice). There is low to no risk in all other areas.
- Malaria precautions are essential Avoid mosquito bites by covering them up with clothing such as long sleeves and long trousers especially after sunset, using insect repellents on exposed skin, and, when necessary, sleeping under a mosquito net.
- Check with your doctor or nurse about suitable antimalarial tablets.
- See malaria map – additional information can be found by clicking on the Regional Information icon below the map.
- High-risk areas: atovaquone/proguanil OR doxycycline OR mefloquine is usually advised for those visiting risk areas during the transmission season.
- Low risk with additional advice: antimalarial tablets are not usually recommended, however, they can be considered for certain travelers who may be at higher risk e.g. longer stay in rural areas, visiting friends or relatives, those with medical conditions, immunosuppression, or those without a spleen. Atovaquone/proguanil OR doxycycline OR mefloquine is advised for those at risk.
- Low to no risk areas: antimalarial tablets are not usually advised.
- If you have been traveling in a malarious area and develop a fever seek medical attention promptly. Remember malaria can develop even up to one year after exposure.
- If traveling to an area remote from medical facilities, carrying standby emergency treatment for malaria may be considered.
What shots are necessary for Botswana?
The CDC and WHO recommend the following vaccinations for Botswana: hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid, yellow fever, rabies, meningitis, polio, measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis), chickenpox, shingles, pneumonia, and influenza. Recommended for travelers to most regions.
Does Botswana require yellow fever vaccination?
Botswana and other countries require the International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis as proof of vaccination against yellow fever before entry, particularly travelers from or those who have visited or have transited yellow fever endemic areas.
Do I need malaria tablets for Botswana?
CDC recommends that travelers going to certain areas of Botswana take prescription medicine to prevent malaria. Depending on the medicine you take, you will need to start taking this medicine multiple days before your trip, as well as during and after your trip.
Do you need a typhoid shot for Botswana?
Your regular shots should be up to date if you plan to visit Botswana. Hepatitis A and typhoid shots are recommended, as they can be contracted through food or water. Reduce the risk of “travelers’ diarrhea” by using only commercially bottled water for drinking and ice cubes.
Can I travel to Africa without a yellow fever vaccine?
YELLOW FEVER VACCINE REQUIREMENTS
South Africa considers a one-time dose of yellow fever vaccine (properly documented with an ICVP) to be good for the life of the traveler. Any traveler not meeting this requirement can be refused entry to South Africa or quarantined for up to 6 days.