How Long Does Customs Clearance Take in Botswana

Between filing the paperwork, perfecting the packaging, cross-border delivery, Customs clearance, and local delivery within Botswana it may take anywhere between 3 weeks to 4 months (or more!) to get a parcel delivered to your recipient.

Our customers often ask us questions about the laws for shipping a parcel or gift to Botswana. Some other customers have told us horror stories about their experiences with shipping gifts from overseas into Botswana. While many people blame Customs in Botswana for the delivery failures, problems and delays with International shipments into Botswana are often associated with other issues.

This article describes these problems in detail and suggests alternative gift delivery options for Botswana such as the Botswana gift basket delivery service.

No time to search for information online about delivering a package to Botswana? Do you have some questions you need to be answered about sending a gift internationally? Just type your question in a simple form to get your answers from our International Customs & Gift Shipping Specialists.

Package Delivery Issues

First, it is unfortunate but true that there are thieves who work for the local postal service. Some customers reported that the contents of their gift packages were opened and partially removed, so the recipient only received half of the contents. In other cases, the gift was missing altogether and only the wrapping paper or carton was delivered, or the box has gone completely missing. This normally happens for packages that have no tracking at all. So if you do decide to ship yourself: please make sure to purchase at least a basic postal tracking option.

Second, the postal service in Botswana can lose small packages. Once again, having the parcel tracked and insured will help to prevent the complete disappearance of the package. The best way to save your cargo is to send a big box weighing 1 kg (2 lbs) or more. In many countries, such parcels are processed separately under the official postal stamp.

Third, concerning Customs in Botswana, their primary goal is to prevent drugs, weapons, explosive materials, and illegal products from entering Botswana. The list of products that are considered illegal would be pointless to include here considering that it’s subject to change anytime, which would make this list outdated. In order to expedite the Customs process as much as possible, the paperwork must be properly completed and filed at the time of shipping. Customs has a right to open parcels and inspect them in detail. As you can imagine, this may compromise the appearance of the gift and damage the gift wrap.

Customs does not normally open every parcel; these checks are rather random; however, their frequency increases when the declared gift value is over $100 USD. It is also more likely that your parcel will be opened when it has an unusual appearance: a “secret”-looking package (with a thick layer of poly-foam or multiple, visible layers of tape); a big box with noticeably small contents; gift contents that are shaking or knocking; or parcels with contents which can be interpreted as a powder are likely to catch the eye of a curious Customs agent.

Finally, when sending a gift containing gourmet items you are limited to sending non-perishable items. So items such as cheeses and fruits are out of the question. Additionally, items such as cakes or chocolates are also tough to send as they are likely to melt in hot weather or shipping depots in Botswana that are not always air-conditioned. Also, fragile items containing glass or another delicate packaging must be wrapped inconspicuously, but then again, one takes the risk, when wrapping heavily, that the gift will be unwrapped by Customs and damaged further.

Is there a better way? Depending on the gift type you are looking to send, you can use a gift delivery company such as check our online catalog for gift delivery to Botswana or use the Gift Recommendation Tool that will help you find the gift that matches your taste and budget. You are also welcome to contact our team to receive a custom quote for the gift desired.

Customs Duties

In most countries, if the gift is over a certain value it is taxable, and Botswana is no exception.

The non-taxable amount varies greatly from country to country and is subject to change at any time (ironic but true, this can happen even after you ship the gift to the recipient). It’s quite disappointing to hear stories of gift recipients having to file comprehensive paperwork and being inconvenienced filing it with the Customs Office in Botswana. It’s even more embarrassing to the sender to learn about the VIP recipient having to pay taxes to Customs. Some recipients are forced to do so since they are afraid to disappoint the sender and feel obliged to collect the gift regardless of the time, hassle, and money it takes.

Consider using a gift delivery service with a local presence in Botswana to avoid such disappointment.

Shipping Time Considerations

Between filing the paperwork, perfecting the packaging, cross-border delivery, Customs clearance, and local delivery within Botswana it may take anywhere between 3 weeks to 4 months (or more!) to get a parcel delivered to your recipient. So if you are flexible and the gift does not have to arrive on an exact date: this may not be of concern.

Cost Considerations

There is a common expectation about imported items in Botswana being overpriced on the local market. This is true about imported alcohol, some brands of chocolates, and electronics; these items may cost two times as much or more than in your country. However, the gift sender must also consider the costs of International shipping, packaging, insurance, and Customs taxes/duties in some cases coupled with the risks described above.

Let’s look at cost comparisons between Do-it-yourself versus using a Botswana gift delivery service:

Do it yourself

  • Item cost in your country: $100
  • Packaging: $10 (box, tape, gift wrap etc).
  • Delivery costs: $60 (average estimated based on a parcel of 1 kg, no delivery confirmation at this rate)
  • Insurance: $10 (average estimated)
  • Custom duties: $20 (20-25% in average)

Total estimated gift cost: $200 USD (delivered in ~ 3-12 weeks)

Use a gift delivery service

  • Item cost in a gift catalog: $210
    (for item cost in a country of delivery: $160)
  • Delivery fee: $15-20 (average)

Total estimated gift cost: $230 USD (delivered in 1-3 days with delivery confirmation by email)

In summary, it may cost 15-25% more to use a gift delivery service however the gift is guaranteed to be delivered to your recipient in 1-3 business days; there will be real humans handling your specific gift as opposed to faceless Customs agents and International Postal Services on both sides of the border.

Are you confused with the rules for International shipping to Botswana?

Do you have some burning questions you would like answered?

We are here to help – just fill out the form below with questions about countries you would like to ship to and our International Shipping Specialist will provide a response by email.

This is a complimentary service, with no obligation to purchase anything.

Online Resources for shipping to Botswana

Do you need some help shipping a gift yourself?

Below is a list of useful links to various shipping services that may help you get started: