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The Host Country

Area, Geography, and Climate Last Updated: 12/14/2005 3:07 PM

The Republic of Botswana, one of Africa’s truly prosperous nations and arguably its most stable democracy, occupies 225,000 square miles (about the size of Texas) in the center of the southern Africa plateau. Most of its area is an inhospitable semi-desert known as the Kalahari. Even the most arable sections of eastern Botswana are subject to periodic drought and unpredictable rains. Botswana straddles the Tropic of Capricorn and has an average elevation of 3,300 feet. Daily high temperatures during the hottest month, January, average in the upper 90’s to over 100 °F. Winter daytime temperatures generally reach 70°, but with little cloud cover and no humidity to hold warmth in the air, they plummet to 30 or 40°F at night.

The region has been settled by a succession of hunter-gatherers, agriculturist, and pastoralist groups for nearly two millennia, although most of the currently dominant Tswana people arrived during the last 300 years. The British desire to forestall German expansion from South West Africa (now Namibia) and Afrikaner expansion from the Transvaal, led to the proclamation of a British “Protectorate” over the territory, then known as Bechuanaland, in 1885. Many Tswana chiefs, who saw British domination as the decidedly lesser evil, actively encouraged this move. Bechuanaland remained a British protectorate until independence was granted in 1896.

Population Last Updated: 12/14/2005 3:08 PM

Botswana’s population is estimated at 1.7 million, and is growing at 2.3%per annum according to government figures in the 2000 Annual Economic Report. This number is subject to significant revision, however, given the dramatic change in population growth rates due to HIV/AIDS. Approximately 35.4% of Batswana adults are HIV positive and life expectancy has dropped from 67 to 39 years of age. A 2001 population projection indicated that although Botswana’s population would continue to grow, it would be up to 29% smaller than it would be without AIDS.

An overwhelming majority of Botswana’s people are descendants of the migrants who settled Southern Africa after leaving West Central Africa centuries ago. The other occupants of Botswana are the aboriginal Basarwa and the descendants of Asian and European settlers.

Some 80% of the population are ethnic Batswana, defined as people for whom Setswana is the native language. The Constitution recognizes eight principal ethnic groups of the Batswana nation — the Bangwato, Bangwaketse, Bakwena, Barolong, Balete, Bakgatla, Batawana, and Batlokwa. These eight ethnic groups are represented in the House of Chiefs.

The largest non-Tswana ethnic group is the Kalanga, who are concentrated along the Zimbabwe border, north and south of Francistown. The Kalanga are related to the Ndebele people of Zimbabwe and South Africa, and to the Zulu nation. The Kalanga (whose language is known as “iKalanga”) comprise some 11%of the population.

The Basarwa, also known as the Khoi, N’Que, or San, were the original inhabitants of southern Africa. Today, most live in government settlements or on commercial farms. A small population remained in the National Parks system, where they practiced traditional hunting and gathering, until the mid-1990s, when the Government relocated them to settlements outside the Parks.

The northern part of Botswana, between the Okavango Delta and the Namibian border, is the home of the Humbukush people, whose traditional handicrafts/baskets are Botswana’s best-recognized product (after diamonds). To the south of the Humbukush area, there is a population of Hereros, living in both Botswana and Namibia, whose women are known for their colorful and distinctive dress. Smaller groups in Botswana include the Lozi, Baloi, Basubia, Bayei, and Bakgalagadi.

Botswana’s four major incorporated towns, all located along the eastern edge of the country are Gaborone (224,000); Francistown (106,500); Selebi-Phikwe (50,500); Lobatse (33,000); and Mochudi (31,000). Other towns with more than 20,000 residents are Serowe in the Central District, Kanye in the Southern District, Molepolole in the Kwenange District, and Maun in the Ngamiland District.

Public Institutions Last Updated: 12/14/2005 3:09 PM

Botswana is governed by a British style parliamentary democracy. Under the 1966 Constitution, elections must be held at least every 5 years, although they can occur as a result of a no-confidence vote or a Presidential dissolution of the National Assembly.

Botswana has a bicameral legislature consisting of a 44-seat National Assembly (also referred to as Parliament) and an advisory House of Chiefs. The country is divided into 40 parliamentary constituencies, which are modified in accordance with census data. The President is elected by the 40 directly elected Members of Parliament as the first order of business after a parliamentary election. After the selection of the President, the Parliament elects four additional “Specially Elected” members. As a result of the 2001 Census, the number of elected members of the National Assembly was increased by 17 to a total of 57. The House of Chiefs has limited powers under Botswana’s 1966 Constitution and full membership is limited to the eight principal ethnic groups of the Tswana nation.

Political power in Botswana remains highly centralized. Although there are municipal and district governments, they have limited authority and no ability to independently raise revenue. The central government retains all hiring, fundraising, and police responsibilities. Almost all social services, including junior and secondary schools, are provided via the national Government in Gaborone. Municipal governments are run by elected city councils, which in turn elect a mayor; villages remain under the authority of a District Commissioner appointed by the Ministry of Local Government.

A separate and independent branch of government encompassing modern legal systems as well as traditional practices handles the administration of justice. Lobatse is the modern judicial capital of the country. Traditional courts are administered by local traditional leaders, and their decisions are equally binding. Decisions of the traditional courts may be appealed to civil courts.

The Botswana Defense Force (BDF) and the National Police are firmly under civilian control. The portfolio of the Minister of Presidential Affairs includes jurisdiction over the military and the police.

Arts, Science, and Education Last Updated: 12/14/2005 3:09 PM

Although Gaborone is not a mecca for world-class cultural events, it is possible to enjoy Botswana culture, and also to attend or even to participate in Western culture fine arts performances.

The indigenous handicrafts industry is best known for its basketry. Each September, a local handicraft marketing cooperative, Botswanacraft, stages an exhibition and auction of the best of Botswana’s baskets. Some of the best go for hundreds of dollars. Around Gaborone are villages that specialize in weaving and in pottery and visiting their workshops makes for a pleasant weekend excursion. A number of handicraft stores in Gaborone carry the unique ostrich shell jewelry and other crafts of the Basarwa, as well as crafted hide products, carvings, and dolls produced by various ethnic groups.

Gaborone offers a museum/art gallery complex that features an excellent permanent exhibit on Botswana’s history, environment, and culture. The National Art Gallery occasionally sponsors art exhibits from Botswana and other countries.

The Botswana Society was formed in 1968 to study the cultural, historical, developmental, and other aspects of Botswana. The Society sponsors lectures and readings, and publishes Botswana Notes and Records, a scholarly journal on Botswana.

The weeklong Maitisong Festival, held each year in March, is the best opportunity to see performances by internationally renowned artists and by local artistic societies as well. The Capital Players put on a play during the festival and also produce several other plays throughout the year. The Gaborone Singers, a multicultural choral group, holds three performances a year, usually featuring Western classical music with orchestral accompaniment.

The University of Botswana, founded in 1972, offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in a number of fields. The university library, with 200,000 volumes, is available to the public. Other libraries in Gaborone include the National Library, the National Archives, and the Embassy's Information Resource Center.

Commerce and Industry Last Updated: 12/14/2005 3:10 PM

Botswana’s economic success has been striking, thanks mainly to diamonds and over three decades of sound economic management. The country at independence in 1966 was one of the poorest in the world, with a per capita income of roughly $80 in 1966. Today, Botswana is a middle-income country with a per capita GDP of about $3,486 in 2000. The government’s immediate and consistent embrace of free markets, its prudent fiscal management, and, of course, diamonds, have helped Botswana’s economy maintain one of the highest growth rates in the world over the last three decades — averaging 9.2 percent annually from 1966–97, ranking it No. 1 for that period over Korea (7.3 percent) and China (6.7 percent). The country’s more recent growth figures have remained impressive.

The Government of Botswana continues to diversify its economy to lessen the dependence on diamonds. Whereas the diamond industry accounted for one-half of GDP in the early 1990s, by 2000 this figure had been reduced to one-third. Various government agencies, including the Botswana Development Corporation (BDC), the government’s semiautonomous investment agency, the National Development Bank (NDB), the government’s semi-autonomous lending arm, and the Botswana Export Development and Investment Authority (BEDIA), the government’s autonomous trade and foreign investment promotion arm, are working to transform diamond wealth into economically productive, job generating ventures.

Recognizing that the private sector must be the key to sustaining the country’s robust growth, Botswana has created an attractive investment environment. The World Economic Forum rates Botswana as the third most economically competitive nation in Africa. Botswana also enjoys the best credit rating in Africa, and ranks higher than many countries in central Europe, Latin America, and Asia. The country’s currency, the Pula, is stable due in large part to the nation’s large foreign exchange reserves. Botswana has eliminated all controls on foreign exchange, which has made the repatriation of profits for foreign direct investors a routine process. The corporate and manufacturing tax rates were lowered to 15% in 1997, and Botswana continues to aggressively market itself to foreign investors.

Despite Botswana’s overall economic success, it nonetheless faces some key structural economic challenges. More than half the nation’s people — largely rural dwellers are outside the formal economy. Subsistence agriculture, particularly livestock, forms the basis of family income in the countryside, augmented by Government subsidies during and after periods of drought. Unemployment is estimated at about 20%, with an additional 44% of the working-age population classified as “not economically active” (such as subsistence farmers). Youth unemployment, higher than that of the general unemployment rate, poses additional challenges.

Botswana’s most significant social and economic challenge is its spiraling HIV infection rate and the consequent high mortality. The overall infection rate of adults aged 16 to 49 stands at 35.4%, but the rate among those in their 20s or early 30s exceeds 50%. Some economists have projected that, due to the epidemic, GDP will still rise but will be 17% smaller in 2021 than it would be without AIDS. The Government of Botswana, and especially President Mogae, has shown strong leadership in the fight against AIDS. With the help of various donors, including the U.S., the Government has set up prevention programs. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control has implemented a $9 million (FY 2002) program to set up HIV counseling and testing centers and develop other prevention campaigns, such as a radio drama. A small country in terms of population and economic activity, Botswana faces capacity constraints to its efforts to care for and treat AIDS sufferers. For example, the Government has begun widespread distribution of antiretroviral medications, but lacks sufficient health care workers and laboratory facilities to administer the program. The soaring number of AIDS orphans demands the creation of a social services network that was never before needed. Nevertheless, Botswana’s relative wealth and strong commitment to fighting HIV/AIDS provide hope that the effects of the epidemic can be mitigated.


Automobiles Last Updated: 12/14/2005 3:11 PM

A personal vehicle is a necessity. Recent Mission staff have found ordering a used car from Japan via the internet to be better value for money than a local or South African purchase, though this method has not been without problems. If employees choose to import a second-hand Japanese vehicle, the Embassy strongly recommends that transit insurance be bought and that the vehicle be consigned exactly as per the guidance in the TMTWO telegram. Botswana still allows the import of a used vehicle older than ten years old, unlike neighboring South Africa. Two factors that need to be taken into account in making the decision are that cars made or assembled in South Africa do not qualify for duty-free purchase and it is difficult to find used automatic vehicles locally. Since traffic moves on the left, right-hand-drive cars are recommended, though not required. If you import a left-hand-drive vehicle, please ensure that it has side view mirrors on both sides to allow for better viewing when passing other vehicles. Maintenance is available locally, but is not always satisfactory. The price for replacement parts is high and the parts themselves are not always immediately available. Right-hand-drive Chevrolet Blazers, Daimler Chrysler minivans, Toyotas, Nissans, Isuzus, Mazdas, Landrovers, Mercedes, South African Fords, and Opels are the most common vehicles. To take advantage of the region’s many game parks, a four-wheel-drive vehicle is preferable and, in some cases, the only viable choice.

Gasoline and diesel fuel are available in all major towns and villages. Unleaded gasoline is available, but can be difficult to find outside of the largest cities. In June 2003, the price of gasoline was about $1.78 per gallon. Embassy personnel can claim reimbursement for tax payments.

A Botswana drivers’ license can be obtained upon presentation of a valid U.S. license. All Mission employees must carry third-party-liability insurance, which can be obtained locally. Comprehensive and collision insurance is also available on the local market.

The accident rate in Botswana is high for several reasons. Rising incomes and the proliferation of low-cost automobile purchase programs have put many inexperienced drivers on the road. Also, all major highways in the country are paved, but consist of only two lanes, making it necessary to pull into the oncoming traffic lane in order to pass. Speed limits are high and many roads do not have adequate shoulders, thus head-on collisions and rollovers are common. The situation is compounded by the ubiquitous presence of livestock on the road and the high incidence of drunk driving. Night driving is extremely dangerous and not recommended. The Government has initiated a project to expand the heavily traveled Gaborone-Francistown corridor to four lanes, which will be a welcome improvement.

Local Transportation Last Updated: 12/14/2005 3:11 PM

Taxis are available in the major towns and are inexpensive. There is a fairly well developed minibus service throughout Gaborone, but is little used by Mission personnel because of overcrowding. The Embassy does not recommend the use of public transportation. There is also an intercity bus system that utilizes clean, modern vehicles, but again this is little used by Mission personnel because of unsafe roads and questionable driving practices.

Regional Transportation Last Updated: 12/14/2005 3:11 PM

Air Botswana is the country’s national airline and handling agent for ground traffic at the three main airports in Gaborone, Francistown and Maun. Service on Air Botswana and South African Airlines to Johannesburg is excellent, with 10 flights a day. Air Botswana also operates flights to Francistown, Maun and Kasane, and internationally to Harare. Several companies provide charter service; the Okavango tourist camps can only be reached by charter aircraft, either from Gaborone or Maun.

The main rail line from Cape Town to Bulawayo runs through Botswana for about 400 miles, serving the main towns in the eastern part of the country. Trains are slow but comfortable and rates are moderate compared to the U.S.


Telephones and Telecommunications Last Updated: 12/14/2005 3:12 PM

Telephone service in Botswana is adequate, but the equipment is overloaded and aging. Direct international dialing is available and the country code is 267. A call to the U.S. costs approximately $l per minute. Much cheaper rates can be obtained from U.S.-based callback services. Cellular telephone service is available in many locations in Botswana and is continually expanding. The service is easily affordable and very popular.

Embassy Address: 2170 Gaborone Place Dulles, Virginia 20189–2170 after hours: 357–111; fax: 356–947

Embassy telephone: (267) 395–3982; after hours: 395–711 l; fax: 395–6947

Internet Last Updated: 12/14/2005 3:12 PM

There are several Internet service providers in Gaborone, and the cost of subscription is reasonable. However, connectivity speed is slow by U.S. standards and frequent outages on the international telephone lines through South Africa cause frustrating service lapses.

Mail and Pouch Last Updated: 12/14/2005 3:13 PM

International airmail is generally reliable and takes about 7 days to reach the U.S. It costs $0.49 for a regular business envelope. Mail sent directly to post via international mail should be addressed:

Full Name American Embassy PO. Box 90 Gaborone

International courier services are also available to and from Gaborone. The street address for the Embassy is:

American Embassy Embassy Drive Government Enclave Gaborone

Diplomatic pouch mail takes 5–10 days to arrive. Gaborone is authorized full pouch privileges. Authorized individuals may receive letter mail and packages through the pouch up to a maximum size of 62 inches, girth and length combined. Maximum weight for incoming parcels is 40 pounds. Outgoing mail is limited to 2 pounds, except for any returned merchandise. Employees should bring a supply of US postage stamps and plan to order more.

Radio and TV Last Updated: 12/14/2005 3:13 PM

The Government of Botswana recently opened a television station, but viewing options are limited. Many employees purchase satellite dishes ($300) and subscribe to a satellite service at about $50 a month. This service provides a good selection of channels, including CNN, BBC, Discovery, National Geographic, and even U.S. programs (though usually a season or two behind the U.S.).

Local television is broadcast in PAL-1 system and sets manufactured in the U.S. for use on the NTSC system will not work. One of the two AFN channels received by the Embassy, however, broadcasts in NTSC. Bring a multi-system television and VCR or plan to purchase PAL-1 equipment at post or in South Africa (prices are higher than for comparable U.S. sets). Gaborone has a number of video rental outlets.

Radio Botswana and several private radio stations broadcast in FM, mainly in Setswana, but also in English. The Voice of America operates a medium-wave retransmitting facility in Selebi-Phikwe, 250 miles north of Gaborone. Bring a good short-wave receiver to pick up VOA and BBC broadcasts.

Newspapers, Magazines, and Technical Journals Last Updated: 12/14/2005 3:13 PM

A wide range of publications from South Africa, the United Kingdom and other European countries are available at local bookstores. American news magazines are also stocked, but are usually a week late. The International Herald Tribune is available but is up to 2 weeks late in arriving. Several bookstores in Gaborone stock the latest bestsellers and tourist books. Prices are higher than in the U.S. The Embassy Public Affairs Information Resource Center subscribes to some 60 U.S. periodicals. The Botswana newspapers, mainly weekly, are available at low cost.

Health and Medicine

Medical Facilities Last Updated: 12/14/2005 3:14 PM

Health conditions in Gaborone and other major cities are generally favorable. Public sanitation measures are operational and the cleanliness of the water supply is equal to or even exceeds U.S. standards.

Medical services in Gaborone are considered adequate. Most physicians have been trained in South Africa, Europe or the U.S. The Gaborone Private Hospital offers consultant care for most specialty areas and those specialists who are not resident visit on a regular basis. Because of the heavy demand for specialists, it is occasionally necessary to travel to Pretoria or Johannesburg for consultations. Routine dental care, including cleaning, root canals, and orthodontics, can be done in Gaborone.

The Private Hospital also has an emergency room that is open 24 hours. Employees with severe injuries or serious medical conditions are generally medevaced to South Africa. Ambulance service is available in Gaborone. There are several medical evacuation services that can provide air or land ambulance transfers in the unusual event that someone must be evacuated urgently to South Africa.

The Embassy operates a Health Unit in Gaborone that is staffed by two registered nurses. It provides first responder care (a nurse is on call 24/7), immunizations, health education and occupational health. Employees are strongly encouraged to develop a relationship with a doctor upon arrival for Primary Health Care. The Health Unit is supported by the regional medical officer, and the regional psychiatrist, both based at Embassy Pretoria, and by a regional nurse practitioner resident in Harare. The regional medical officer makes quarterly visits.

Pharmacies are well supplied with prescription medications, however, persons on long-term medication may wish to bring a sufficient supply or plan to order through their health care provider pharmacy service. A variety of over-the-counter medications is available, including American, South African, and European brands.

Selebi-Phikwe has two hospitals, a government hospital and a private one. The latter is operated by the BCL Mining Company and arrangements have been made for post families to be accepted on an emergency basis only. There are several private medical practitioners and a dentist available in Selebi-Phikwe. The IBB/VOA station also maintains a small health unit with a part-time expatriate nurse. Although health conditions are generally good, smelter operations in the town may cause problems for people with respiratory ailments.

Community Health Last Updated: 12/14/2005 3:14 PM

Malaria prophylaxis is not necessary in Gaborone. Travelers going north of the Tropic of Capricorn and personnel stationed in Selebi-Phikwe are, however, advised to take preventive measures against the disease. The prevalent strain of malaria is choloroquine-resistant, making mefloquine or doxycycline the prophylaxis of choice. These medications are available at the Embassy Health Unit.

Bilharzias and tick bite fevers are seasonal and prevail throughout the country. It is imperative not to swim in fresh water. Tick bite fever, a tick-borne disease seen in those who spend time in the bush, is uncomfortable but not dangerous and is treatable with antibiotics. Sleeping sickness carried by the tsetse fly can be a possible health hazard in the northern game parks. Wearing protective clothing can help you avoid these bites. It is advisable to machine dry or iron all laundry to prevent tumbo fly infestations.

Allergies can be a problem as flowers and grasses bloom all year. Respiratory infections and sore throats are aggravated by the aridity and dust during the dry season. Contact lens wearers can experience irritation during the dry weather and may wish to also bring eyeglasses.

HIV/AIDS is a problem of critical proportions in Botswana with some 35.4% of adults infected. Hospital blood supplies are screened. As they would in the U.S., personnel should avoid contact with the blood or other bodily fluids of unknown persons.

Preventive Measures Last Updated: 12/14/2005 3:14 PM

No vaccinations are required for Botswana; however, travelers to other countries in Africa are advised to maintain up-to-date shots for yellow fever, typhoid, measles, polio, tetanus, hepatitis A, and hepatitis B. All children should have their vaccination program kept current — there are occasional outbreaks of chicken pox and other childhood diseases.

Employment for Spouses and Dependents Last Updated: 12/14/2005 3:14 PM

The employment situation is good for family members of direct-hire employees in Gaborone. State maintains seven EFM positions for eligible family members, and there are some personal service contract opportunities available with other agencies at post. EFM positions currently include the Community Liaison Officer, the Deputy Chief of Mission secretary, political/economic section secretary, GSO housing assistant, facility maintenance assistant, consular assistant, and the self-help program coordinator. The Embassy newsletter editor is paid under a purchase order, and family members are occasionally hired to complete special projects, such as the cost of living survey or the annual inventory.

Job opportunities for family members at the Voice of American Relay Station in Selebi-Phikwe are limited.

The Embassy has a bilateral work agreement with the Government of Botswana that allows family members to work locally. Those with specialized skills such as nursing or teaching would find it relatively easy to obtain work, but salaries are low by U.S. standards. Those who choose to work on the local economy waive diplomatic immunity for infractions occurring at the workplace and are responsible for paying local taxes.

American Embassy - Gaborone

Post City Last Updated: 12/14/2005 3:16 PM

Gaborone is a rapidly expanding city of 234,000, located in southeastern Botswana, near the South African border and on the main rail line from Mafikeng, South Africa, to Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. A new city built since independence, Gaborone was selected as the site of the new capital of Botswana prior to independence in 1966. One key factor influencing the choice was a suitable dam site on the nearby Notwane River, which offered a potential water supply capable of supporting a city. The first government buildings and houses were ready for occupation in February 1965, and the shift from Mafikeng, the administrative capital for Bechuanaland, was completed by 1969. The city is named for a 19th century Boklokwa chief from the nearby village of Gaborone-a-Matiapeng.

Gaborone has expanded under the guidance of an existing town plan between two already established areas—the railroad station and Gaborone village. The city originally centered on a pedestrian mall that features shops and a hotel. Government buildings are located nearby. Other newer shopping areas have been built in various locations throughout the city, shifting much commercial and development activity away from the mall and leaving the city without a strong downtown center.

The Government Enclave, with the National Assembly and office blocks for the government ministries, is located at the western edge of the mall.

The Embassy is located on Embassy Drive within the Government Enclave and near major banks and the Debswana diamond sorting facility. The Chancery was built in 1989. State, Defense Attaché Office (DAO), and the Office of Defense Cooperation (ODC) occupy space in the Chancery. The Centers for Disease Control has its offices in a Ministry of Health complex on the south side of the city. USAID’s Regional Center for Southern Africa (RCSA) is located in Gaborone West, a newer and expanding residential area, about 10 minutes from the Chancery.

The Peace Corps office is located near the scenic Kgale Hills and the International Law Enforcement academy is located in the suburbs of Otse.

Most Mission housing is located a short drive away from the Embassy or in Gaborone West near RCSA, though due to a housing shortage, the Mission is having to locate some housing in further residential areas in Gaborone West. Housing near the Embassy is also convenient to the two frequently used primary and secondary schools, Northside and Maru a Pula, and also to the University of Botswana, the Gaborone Golf Club, the Tennis Club, the Gaborone Sun Hotel and Casino, the Cresta Lodge, and the Broadhurst shopping centers. Westwood International School, which is supported by the Embassy, and the Grand Palm Hotel and Casino are located on the western side of the city.

The Post and Its Administration Last Updated: 12/14/2005 3:17 PM

In addition to State Department personnel, the U.S. Mission comprises the USAID Regional Center for Southern Africa, Peace Corps, the Centers for Disease Control, the Defense Attaché Office, and the Office of Defense Cooperation. The International Board of Broadcasters (IBB) is located in Selebi-Phikwe. A new initiative, the International Law Enforcement Academy is staffed by two direct-hire Americans (one Department of Homeland Security and one State) and is located in Otse, some 40 miles from Gaborone.

The Embassy staff includes the Ambassador, DCM, Ambassador’s office management specialist, two political/economic officers, a regional health and environment officer, a public affairs officer, a consular/commercial officer, two regional security officers, a security office management specialist, and management officer, a general services officer, a facilities maintenance manager, a regional human resources officer, a financial management officer, and two information management specialists. The Marine Security Guard Detachment provides 24-hour security guard operations at the Chancery. The management section provides a full range of support to agencies participating in the ICASS agreement. USAID relies minimally on the State administrative function since that agency maintains its own support service operation.

The Mission business hours are Monday through Thursday, from 7:30 am to 5:00 pm, and Friday from 7:30 am to 1:30 pm. Contact the Chancery at (267) 395-3982; after hours at 395-7111. The fax number is 395-6947 or 392-2782.

Personnel at the AID Regional Center for Southern Africa consists of a director, deputy director, and some 14 development assistance and administrative officers, as well as a substantial contingent of third-country national development specialists. The telephone number is (267) 392-4449 and the fax number is 392-4486.

The Centers for Disease Control implements bilateral assistance in HIV/AIDS prevention and testing and in tuberculosis research. The staff consists of six direct-hire American positions, all health professionals, and 150 FSN staff. The telephone number is (267) 390-1696 and fax 397-3117.

The Defense Attaché Office is staffed by an officer and two noncommissioned officers and serves as the primary bilateral military to military contact. The Office may be reached through the main Chancery number.

The Office of Defense Cooperation is staffed by one officer, an NCO, and an FSN assistant. The Office works closely with the Botswana Defense Force on military sales, training, and humanitarian assistance. In addition, one Army Foreign Area Officer is based in Gaborone, though no office space is provided in the Chancery.

The IBB operates a Voice of America relay station in Selebi-Phikwe, about 250 miles northeast of Gaborone. It is staffed by 2 direct-hire Americans and 22 FSNs. The telephone number is (267) 261-0932 and fax 261-0185.


Temporary Quarters Last Updated: 12/14/2005 3:17 PM

Most new personnel arriving at post can move directly into their permanent quarters. For those who cannot, however, the Mission makes every effort to provide temporary housing in a guesthouse or vacant housing unit. Hotels, though clean and comfortable, are used only as a last resort due to high costs and the lack of kitchen facilities in the rooms

Permanent Housing Last Updated: 12/14/2005 3:18 PM

Housing is under the management of the post single real property manager and assignments are made by the inter-agency housing board. Housing is provided to all direct-hire Mission staff and to many contractors as well. All houses have yards, some of which are extensive, and most have swimming pools.

The Ambassador’s house is an excellent representational house conveniently located about 5 minutes from the Chancery. The house features an attractive large patio leading to a swimming pool and a large garden complete with a thatched pavilion and barbecue facilities.

Other housing in the mission consists of both leased and government owned units. These houses range in size from two to four bedrooms and are assigned according to rank and family size

Furnishings Last Updated: 12/14/2005 3:18 PM

All houses are government furnished and have a full complement of appliances, including hot water heaters (usually solar), range, refrigerator, washer, dryer, and the appropriate number of reverse-cycle air-conditioners. All residences have telephones. Most houses have fireplaces and firewood is widely available. Swimming pool maintenance is the resident’s responsibility.

Utilities and Equipment Last Updated: 12/14/2005 3:18 PM

Electricity in Botswana is 220 volts, 50-cycle, AC. American appliances require transformers, which are provided in limited numbers by the sponsoring agency. The electrical supply is relatively stable, but bring surge protectors for sensitive electronic equipment

Food Last Updated: 12/14/2005 3:18 PM

Several of the large South African grocery chains have set up shop in Botswana. Most of the typical American products, including some American brands are available, though some staff use Net Grocer for favorite items not available. Liquor, wine, and beer are sold primarily at “bottle stores.” Most food items are imported from South Africa, which has a large manufacturing base and a climate more suitable for cultivation. Overall food quality is high, though vegetables are not always very fresh. Botswana beef is lean, tender, and flavorful, and inexpensive compared to the U.S. Poultry, lamb, pork, and fresh eggs are locally produced. Lunchmeats and a wide variety of sausages are widely available. Supermarkets sell a variety of frozen fish. A local specialty is “biltong,” air-dried beef jerky in a variety of flavors. Local loaf bread is fairly tasteless and does not last long. If quality bread is important, bring a bread maker and bread mixes.

Dairy products, including butter, fresh cream, sour cream, a wide selection of cheeses, and fresh milk, are available.

Basically, anything that is widely available in the U.S. can be found in Gaborone with some tenacious searching—baby food, cake mixes, even Mexican food products are available. Some items, like mayonnaise, may not have the same taste as in the U.S. Prices for prepared foods can be noticeably higher than in the U.S., especially American-made products with their high transportation costs. Some items that are not available are canned chicken broth, lime juice, pepperoni and vegetable shortening (though margarine is common).

Clothing Last Updated: 12/14/2005 3:19 PM

Bring clothes for all four seasons. Summers are hot, and lightweight cotton dresses, shirts, shorts, skirts, and trousers are most appropriate. Most male government officials and business executives wear suits and ties at the office, even in summer, and employees who will call on them should dress accordingly. Batswana take interest in being well dressed. Tropical weight suits are appropriate year round. Women of course have more leeway in their interpretation of professional attire. Casual clothing, including shorts, is acceptable for informal invitations and shopping excursions. Many invitations will read “smart casual” meaning men should wear shirts with a collar and trousers (not jeans) and women can wear any sort of sportswear except shorts. A dark suit for men and a nice dress for women will usually suffice for any invitations for which “formal” attire is requested. For some events, such as charity fundraisers or the Marine Ball, a tuxedo for men and fancy cocktail or long dress for women is appropriate.

Gaborone’s winter should not be underestimated. Houses are uninsulated concrete without central heating. Temperatures can drop to freezing at night. Bring moderately heavy clothing such as sweaters and medium weight jackets or parkas. Layered clothing is useful for winter as the temperature rises from the 30s in the morning to the 70s at midday and back into the 40s by early evening. Washable clothing is preferable, but good quality dry cleaning is available in Gaborone at prices comparable to the U.S.

School-aged children will not need as extensive a wardrobe as they do in the U.S., because all children wear uniforms to school daily. School uniforms include an outfit for classroom wear (which may vary by season), a hat, a sweater or jacket, and a physical education outfit that includes shorts, polo shirt, bathing suit, and cap. These items are available at moderate prices, either at the individual school uniform shops or on the local market. Make sure to put your child’s name on each item. Bring white athletic shoes and black dress shoes to complete your child’s uniform, as the quality of shoes is lower and the expense higher than in the U.S.

Clothing is available in Gaborone but quality and style may not meet American expectations. Variety is also somewhat limited. Many staff order from U.S. catalogs or on line.

Supplies and Services

Supplies Last Updated: 12/14/2005 3:19 PM

Pharmacies and supermarkets stock a good variety of shampoos, soap and other toiletries. If you have a strong brand preference for a U.S. product, plan to bring a supply with you. Cosmetics are also available, but are quite expensive. Pharmacies stock most medications, with prices for over-the-counter items being more expensive than in the U.S. and prices for prescription medications being less. Tobacco products are widely available and cheaper than in the U.S. Paper products such as wrapping paper, ribbons, greeting cards, napkins, school supplies, etc., are stocked. Sewing notions and fabrics are available.

You can find almost anything in Botswana, including stereos, microwaves, sports gear, etc., but prices may be slightly higher than in the U.S. These items cost much less in South Africa, and many Mission members make shopping excursions to Johannesburg and Pretoria, or even closer-by Mafeking or Rustenburg.

Basic Services Last Updated: 12/14/2005 3:19 PM

Dressmakers and tailors are available, but price and quality vary. Simple shoe repairs can be done. Dry-cleaning is available and safe. Several excellent hairdressing salons are spread around the city. Haircuts are generally under $15 and prices for manicures and other salon services are considerably cheaper than in the U.S.

Adequacy and availability of appliance repair varies from fair to poor. Household repairs are acceptable. Hardware stores have a good assortment of home repair items and power tools for the do-it-yourselfer.

The quality of auto repair varies. Common consumable spares such as spark plugs, belts, tires, and filters for Japanese, European and some America cars are available. You may wish to bring your own supply, however, as prices are higher and some items are not always in stock.

Domestic Help Last Updated: 12/14/2005 3:20 PM

Female domestic help is readily available and inexpensive. Most speak English and have worked for expatriates for several years. Salaries vary according to duties and experience. Check with the CLO upon arrival for the current salary range. Cooks are very difficult to find. Gardeners are available and many work part-time at several homes. Gardeners will generally only mow, weed, prune, and take care of the pool. If you would like yours to do planning and landscaping, you will need to issue specific instructions. Many domestic employees in Botswana are Zimbabwean illegal aliens and may be subject to arrest and deportation. Take care to establish the nationality of potential servants. It is very difficult to obtain a work permit for third-country nationals and employees contemplating bringing a long-time servant from another country to post should contact the management officer before arrival. Do not arrive with a third-country national domestic and expect to obtain legal immigration status and a work permit.

Religious Activities Last Updated: 12/14/2005 3:20 PM

Gaborone’s churches are filled Sunday mornings as worshipers attend Sunday School and religious services. Numerous Christian denominations are represented, including Anglican, Catholic, Methodist, Baptist, Seventh day Adventist and Latter-day Saints. There are a great many independent or regional churches, many of them evangelical in nature. The Jewish community is small. There is an active Moslem community. Other faiths such as Baha’i are also represented. Most congregations are composed of both expatriates and Batswana and services are held in English and Setswana.


Dependent Education

At Post Last Updated: 12/14/2005 3:22 PM GENERAL

Gaborone has excellent primary and secondary schooling options. Selebi Phikwe offers some acceptable primary schooling but it becomes inadequate at higher grades and at the secondary level. All schools in Botswana begin the school year in late January and end in early December. Thirty-day breaks occur in April/May and August/September and a 6-week break from early December to mid-January. Schools require uniforms that may be purchased locally.

The school day begins at 7 a.m. or 7:30 a.m. for primary schools and ends at 12:30 p.m. or 1 p.m. Secondary school students attend classes from 7:10 a.m. or 7:15 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. or 1 p.m. depending on the individual schools. Extracurricular programs draw students for supervised activity in the afternoons. Swimming pools offer recreation and swimming lessons. Children also have their pick of soccer, softball, cricket, choir and glee club, working on the school yearbook, arts and crafts, or tennis. Students may also participate in gymnastics, cooking classes, stamp club, marimba club, or chess club.

Since public transportation is not available, parents deliver and pick up their children if they live beyond walking distance from school. Carpooling is common. Few students ride their bicycles due to the high incidence of traffic accidents. Students attending the three most-used mission schools are transported by a parent-sponsored van to and from school. This school transportation service is arranged by the Community Liaison Office, and the cost of transportation is covered by the post educational allowance.



Gaborone has four private English primary schools; these schools are Westwood International School, Northside Primary School, Broadhurst Primary School, and Thornhill Primary School. Mission children primarily attend Westwood and Northside and are extremely satisfied with them. These schools are designed to accommodate expatriate students, and about one-third of the students are Batswana. Tuition costs are covered by the post educational allowance. Primary school consists of classes ranging from kindergarten (called Reception) through grade 7 (called Standard 7). Children are accepted from ages 5 to 12 in primary schools. Westwood International, founded by the British and American Embassies, is a fully authorized official IB preparatory program (IB PYP) so parents can rest assured children will receive a quality primary education. Northside Primary School operates under the Botswana teaching curriculum, closely modeled on the British system and modified to meet the needs of the school’s international enrollments. Teaching staffs at Westwood and Northside are recruited from Britain, the U.S., and southern African nations.

Westwood grants unlimited admission to U.S. Embassy children with one semester advance notification. School records indicating previous study should be included in the correspondence. A placement test is administered to the new students upon enrollment in order to determine their level. Those who have returned to the U.S. after having children enrolled in these local schools indicate that the level of work here is at least equal to that in most U.S. schools.

Northside gives some preferential enrollment to Mission children. Children applying here also take a placement test. Contact the CLO soon after receiving notification of your assignment to schedule assessments at either or both schools.


Most Mission secondary school students attend Westwood International School, an excellent institution fully accredited in both the U.S .and Europe, also authorized specifically to teach the International Baccalaureate (IB) program, an internationally-recognized course of study. Founded by the American Embassy, the British High Commission, and several local business firms, the school opened in May 1988. Westwood is a combined primary-secondary school. A private coeducational English-medium school, it is located in the southwestern part of the city. Its modern campus includes 27 air-conditioned classrooms, a school resource center that houses the library and a computer center, a sports field and swimming pool, and a creative and performing arts hall. Westwood provides an international standard of education. Westwood currently has over 500 pupils from ages 5 to 18 in an instructional offering that includes: 1 year of preschool (Reception), 6 years of primary education (Standard 1 through 6), and 6 years of secondary. Students will graduate with an IB degree after study in grades 11 and 12 or grades 12 and 13, depending on their individual programs. IB degrees are accepted as high school graduation by all U.S. universities and widely recognized as a superior education level.

Another alternative is Maru-a-Pula Secondary School, a private coeducational boarding and day school, with an excellent scholastic reputation and good record of U.S. college and university admittance. The school has approximately 550 students coming from nearly 20 countries, but a majority of Batswana students. This school is located close to Embassy housing and the Embassy. The teaching staff is varied and in recent years has included several Americans. Maru-a-Pula offers an educational program from grades 8 to 13 (known as Form 1 and Form 6). The school basically follows a British curriculum. Coursework concentrates on preparation for the O-Level examination followed 2 years later by A-Levels. It is a heavily exam-oriented curriculum. Students study a blend of subjects, including English language and literature, French, history, geography, mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, and art. A number of students have been admitted to U.S. universities after completing O-Levels and producing satisfactory SAT scores. Maru-a-Pula also offers a 2-year program beyond O-Level, leading to the A-Level examination. Here, students study the equivalent of a 12th and 13th year, concentrating on three subjects from among advanced mathematics, English, history, biology, chemistry, or physics. The A-Level examination is given in June and sent to the U.K. for grading, for results available in August. Some American universities give students advanced placement on the basis of their performance at A-Level. Educational Test Service exams, such as the PSAT and SAT may be taken in southern Africa, but you should come with full particulars about which exam you need.

The O level/A level curriculum does not mesh well with U.S. or international curriculums so Maru-a-Pula is best suited for students who will be able to enter at the beginning of the O level program and stay until completion of that program. However, if a student's interest and schedule were applicable, Maru-a-Pula is a great school. Maru-a-Pula policy discourages admitting academically gifted or learning disabled children. An admission committee makes decisions on admission to Form 1 (grade 8) in Maru-a-Pula based on an entrance exam that includes a personal interview. All those who have applied by May of the year preceding their proposed entry to the school are tested. Maru-a-Pula does not reserve places for special organizations; however, the Superintendent is currently American and seeking Embassy enrollment. Admission to Form 1 is based solely on merit. Admission to other years prior to O-Level is made by selection from the waiting list of applicants as and when vacancies arise. Entry to A-Level is decided upon the applicant's performance at O-Level or upon other comparable exams.


Several private preschools used by Embassy families, including one Montessori, provide half-day care for ages 2½ (or toilet-trained) and up. The curriculum focuses on play rather than academics. These facilities are acceptable but not quite up to U.S. standards. Embassy families generally use a mix of home care and commercial care, employing English-speaking maids/nannies for childcare as part of their duties. Casual playgroups are occasionally formed within the Embassy community.


Selibe-Phikwe has nine government primary schools, three private English-medium primary schools, four junior secondary schools, and one senior secondary school. Though the primary schools are adequate at lower grades, the higher grades are not. The secondary school is not able to provide a quality education. For dependent children, the English-medium Morula Primary School accepts children ages 5 to 13 years. Three school terms are held yearly and tuition is 1,590 Pula per term plus levy fees of about 1,000 Pula for first entry into school. The school at-post allowance will cover the tuition. Private secondary schools are not available in Selebi-Phikwe.

Away From Post Last Updated: 12/14/2005 3:23 PM Parents may also choose to send their secondary school-aged children to boarding schools in the U.S. or elsewhere. This region has several English-medium secondary and boarding schools, including American International School of Johannesburg, Machabeng in Maseru, Lesotho, and Waterford in Mbabane, Swaziland. (See Post Reports for these countries for further details.)

The cultural environment in Gaborone for teenagers is extremely limited. With virtually no part-time work opportunities, many find they have a lot of free time. Avid readers, self-starters who take an interest in Botswana and the Setswana language, or enthusiastic tennis players or golfers intent on developing their game can be happy. Movies and private parties on weekends are popular.

Higher Education Opportunities Last Updated: 12/14/2005 3:23 PM

The University of Botswana is a degree-granting university offering a variety of courses in the arts and sciences. A limited number of foreign nationals are accepted for coursework. With sufficient advance notice, it is possible that some arrangement can be worked out with the university. Syllabuses of individual courses should be checked with the U.S. institution where credits would be transferred before enrolling in a specific course. Many U.S. institutions, however, do accept work completed at the University of Botswana.

Recreation and Social Life

Sports Last Updated: 12/14/2005 3:23 PM

Gaborone is an excellent location for outdoor sports. The sunny weather allows tennis enthusiasts to get plenty of practice at the Embassy court or one of the tennis clubs in town. Membership fees at the clubs are reasonable, and lessons are available.

An excellent 18-hole golf course with grass fairways and greens (not to be discounted in Botswana’s desert climate) is centrally located near the Gaborone Sun Hotel. Membership is about $400 per year. The Golf Club is well organized and has competitions for both men and women regularly.

The Phakalane Golf Resort has a PGA style 18-hole golf course, located 15 minutes from Gaborone.

Squash is another popular game in Gaborone. There is a squash club next to the Notwane Tennis Club. The Grand Palm Hotel and Gaborone Sun both have tennis and squash courts. Club membership also offers use of the weight room, sauna, and pool at the hotels. Several fitness centers operate in Gaborone and offer weight training equipment and exercise classes.

A small yacht club is located at the Gaborone Dam, where sailing and windsurfing are available. Bilharzias and crocodiles make the reservoir unsafe for swimming, however. Horseback riding and instruction are available at stables located outside of town and at very reasonable prices. The Kalahari Hash House Harriers meet every week and serious marathoners can compete in a full season of events. For those who prefer spectator sports, soccer games are held regularly at the National Stadium and on other fields.

Touring and Outdoor Activities Last Updated: 12/14/2005 3:23 PM

Photographers, hunters, birdwatchers, and fishing enthusiasts will enjoy Botswana’s rich game and wildlife areas. Much of the country is set aside for national parks and game reserves, such as Chobe National Park, Moremi Game Reserve, Gemsbok National Park, and the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, just to name a few. To the northwest, the huge Okavango Delta Region is home to exotic birds, many types of antelope, lion, elephant, hyena, leopard, wild dog, and many other animals. Accommodations range from high-priced water and land based camps to do-it-yourself camping. Other parks and reserves, such as Kutse adjacent to the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, and Mabuasehube within Gemsbok National Park, offer excellent camping. Camping equipment is available locally. A four-wheel-drive vehicle is a must for traveling in Botswana’s game parks.

Entertainment Last Updated: 12/14/2005 3:24 PM

Gaborone has 12 movie theaters, which run recent films, usually 3 months behind the U.S. release date. Video outlets provide overnight checkout services, but you must have a PAL system TV and VCR to use them.

Gaborone also boasts an active amateur arts community. The Gaborone Music Society provides opportunities for local musicians to perform several times a year. Its principal component is the Gaborone Singers. A theater group, the Capital Players, puts on several productions a year. The Maitisong Center, opened in 1987 on the campus of Maru-a-Pula Secondary School, has become the center for cultural activities in Gaborone. Each year it sponsors the Maitisong Festival, a week of performing arts presentations that include choral concerts, plays, internationally renown jazz artists, etc.

The Botswana Society and the Kalahari Conservation Society present regular lectures and exhibits at Gaborone’s National Museum. Botswana holds monthly meetings/lectures and bird watching outings, as well as frequent trips to various important bird areas.

Gaborone supports Chinese, Italian, Indian, German, and continental restaurants and several steak houses. Dining out here is much cheaper than in Washington, D.C., at less than $10 for a large steak dinner.

The Gaborone Sun and the Grand Palm Hotel occasionally offer professional entertainment and both hotels have casinos.

Much of the entertainment in Gaborone consists of informal outdoor braais (barbecues) at people’s homes. Daytime patio entertaining is possible year round, however during the winter months (June–August) it is too cold to sit outside in the evenings.

Recreational facilities in Selebi-Phikwe include an 18-hole golf course and two sports and social clubs, which provide facilities for tennis, squash, swimming, field sports and other activities.

Social Activities Last Updated: 12/14/2005 3:24 PM

The diplomatic community is relatively small, with 14 resident diplomatic missions plus resident offices of international organizations. Several thousand expatriates from South Africa, the United Kingdom, Zambia, Zimbabwe, India, and some Scandinavian countries live and work in Botswana and it is easy to become acquainted with them through church, sporting clubs or social organizations. Getting to know average Batswana requires more effort as the focus of Botswana society is on village life, the family cattle ranch, and church activities.

The American population in Gaborone is fairly limited.

Official Functions Last Updated: 12/14/2005 3:24 PM

The Ambassador and other Embassy officials host representational events throughout the year, to which a number of Mission employees and spouses are invited. The Ambassador hosts an Independence Day reception at the residence. The dress for these occasions is business suit for men, suit or business dress for women. At a few functions, such as the Botswana Independence Day Ball, the U.S. Marine Birthday Ball, and one or two other fundraising balls sponsored by charitable organizations, formal dress is appropriate. High government officials host a number of informal cocktail and garden parties throughout the year and an occasional formal dinner party, which the Chief of Mission will be expected to attend. Also, national day celebrations are held by resident diplomatic missions. When the President of Botswana departs from or returns to the country on official visits, Chiefs of Mission are expected to greet him at the airport.

Business cards are widely used. They can be printed locally, but the cost is relatively high. Some Mission members, particularly spouses, have calling cards printed and find them useful when meeting new people on social occasions.

Notes For Travelers

Getting to the Post Last Updated: 12/6/2005 4:55 AM

Gaborone has no direct airline service from either Europe or the United States. Most travelers from the U.S. take the code-share Delta-South African Airlines flights from either Atlanta or New York to Johannesburg, though as of January 2006, there will be a new code share from Washington, DC. There are also code-share arrangements through Europe to Johannesburg, but the inbound layovers are long. Both Air Botswana and South African Airlines have numerous flights daily between Johannesburg and Gaborone, so the connection from Johannesburg is relatively easy, and the flight is only an hour long.

Unaccompanied air baggage should be routed through Johannesburg and takes 2–3 weeks to arrive from the U.S. Surface freight household effects are routed through Durban. Please consult post for current consignment instructions. UAB and HHE cannot be cleared prior to the employee's arrival at post.

Clothing for cold weather should be included in your luggage if arriving between May and September. If arriving at any other time, warm weather clothing and a sweater for emergencies are needed.

Customs, Duties, and Passage

Customs and Duties Last Updated: 12/14/2005 3:25 PM

The Botswana customs and immigration officials are highly professional, and entry into Botswana is generally a problem-free experience. Americans are required to present a valid passport, but do not need a visa. Within the first week at post you will complete immigration and customs forms and be given an exemption certificate that attests to your diplomatic status. This document should be kept with your passport and used for subsequent departures and reentry into Botswana. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs issues diplomatic personnel an ID card.

South Africa does not require visas of Americans traveling on tourist passports or those traveling on diplomatic passports for tourism purposes. Most Mission employees obtain South African visas as they are required of diplomatic passport holders traveling to South Africa for official reasons. It may also be prudent to obtain South African visas for the entire household in case of medical evacuation, though technically they are not required.

Mission personnel may bring in goods, except firearms, during the first 6 months of assignment. Persons on the diplomatic list may import goods duty free during the entire time of their assignments in the country.

Importation of currency is not restricted, and diplomatic personnel may export currency freely. Non-diplomatic personnel must apply to the exchange control authorities through a commercial bank when exporting amounts in excess of Pula 500. There are no currency restrictions for those personnel, diplomatic and staff, who are departing permanently.

Passage Last Updated: 12/14/2005 3:25 PM

Motor vehicle drivers in South Africa or Botswana must have third-party-liability insurance, current vehicle registration and valid license plates. The registration sticker must be affixed to the windshield of the vehicle where it can be inspected by the authorities. Motor vehicles imported into Botswana are required to undergo a safety inspection and any deficiencies must be corrected before registration plates can be issued.

Pets Last Updated: 12/14/2005 3:25 PM

To enter Botswana, all animals need a certificate issued by the Botswana Director of Veterinary Services. The Embassy will obtain a permit for official travelers, provided they inform the Embassy at least 2 months in advance. Once obtained, the Embassy will forward the permit to the traveler for attachment to the cage. A valid rabies vaccination certificate and a statement from a veterinarian stating that the animal is in good health should also accompany the pet.

If the pet is to transit South Africa, a transit permit is required. Check with the airline you are using to see if they will obtain the permit for you. Otherwise, contact the Embassy GSO who can provide names of animal transport expediters based in Johannesburg, who can provide this assistance for a reasonable fee. These expediters will also meet, feed, and exercise the pet or keep it overnight and place it on the connecting flight.

Firearms and Ammunition Last Updated: 12/14/2005 3:26 PM

The Government of Botswana strictly controls the importation and local acquisition of firearms. Personally owned handguns are prohibited by law. The current post firearms policy prohibits those Americans under Chief of Mission authority from owning firearms while in Botswana. For further information, please contact the regional security officer.

Currency, Banking, and Weights and Measures Last Updated: 12/14/2005 3:26 PM

The local currency is called the Pula, which means “rain.” The pula is divided into 100 thebe (“drops”). There are 5, 10, 25, and 50 thebe coins and 1, 2, and 5 pula coins, plus 10, 20, 50, and 100 Pula notes. In June 2003, the exchange rate was Pula 5.0 to one U.S. dollar. The Pula is freely convertible and its rate of exchange fluctuates on the open market.

Barclays, Standard Chartered, First National, and Stanbic banks offer modern and dependable banking services, including international transfers and travelers’ checks. Bank fees are higher than in the U.S. Both the Embassy and RCSA cashiers provide accommodation exchange for permanent Mission members and visitors. Relatively few Mission personnel maintain local bank accounts.

The metric system is used for standard official weights and measures. Foods are sold by the kilogram, signposts display kilometers, and gasoline and other liquids are sold by the liter.

Taxes, Exchange, and Sale of Property Last Updated: 12/14/2005 3:26 PM

Official Americans do not pay local taxes unless they are employed on the local economy. A bilateral work agreement is in force and spouses may work outside the Mission but are subject to Botswana taxes if they do so.

Automobiles may be sold duty free after they have been within the area of the Southern African Customs Union for 2 years. Cars that have not been in country for 2 years are subject to duties, unless they are sold to individuals with diplomatic status.

Recommended Reading Last Updated: 12/14/2005 3:29 PM

These titles are provided as a general indication of the material published on this country. The Department of State does not endorse unofficial publications.

Campbell, Alec. Botswana Handbook. Gaborone.

Colclough, Christopher and Steven McCarthy. The Political Economy of Botswana: A Study of Growth and Distribution. Oxford University Press: Oxford, 1980.

Duggan. William. The Great Thirst. Delacorte, 1986.

Head, Bessie. When the Rain Clouds Gather. Heinnemann Educational Books: London, 1981.

Holm, John, and Patrick Molutsi, eds., Democracy in Botswana. Macmillan Botswana: Gaborone, 1989.

Kuper, Adam. Kalahari Tillage Politics. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 1970.

Lye, William F., and C. Murray. Transformations on the Highveld: The Tswana and Southern Sotho. Barnes & Noble Books: Totowa, NJ, 1980.

Main, Mike, John Fowkes, and Sandra Fowkes. Visitors’ Guide to Botswana. Southern Book Publishers: Johannesburg, 1987.

Merriweather, A.M. Desert Doctor. Luterworth Press: 1975.

Parsons, Neil. History of Southern Africa. Macmillan: 1982.

Pauw, B.A. Religion in a Tswana Chiefdom. Oxford: London, 1960.

Picard, Louis A. The Evolution of Modern Botswana. University of Nebraska Press: Lincoln, NE, 1985.

Rush, Norman. Whites: Stories. Alfred A. Knopf. New York, 1986.

Schapera, I. A Handbook of Tswana Law and Custom. Oxford: International African Institute.

—. Married Life in an African Tribe. Northwestern Press:Evanston, 1966.

—. Sixth National Development Plan, 1986–1991. Botswana Government Printer.

Thomas, Elizabeth Marshall. The Harmless People. Knopf: New York, 1959.

—. Warrior Herdsmen. Knopf. New York, 1965 (for young adults).

van der Post, Laurens. The Heart of the Hunter. Morrow: New York, 1971.

In addition to the above volumes, many articles and feature stories have been written recently. These articles may be found by consulting a recent edition of The Readers Guide to Periodical Literature in any library.

The National Museum of Botswana has a small but excellent collection of films about the San, wildlife, etc. Particularly worth seeing are John Marshall’s films on the San, one of which was filmed as a National Geographic Special for American television. The National Museum has agreed to make those films available to Embassy personnel. The National Archives has a copy of every research paper and report for which the Government of Botswana has issued a permit. This material may be studied at the Archives located in the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Local Holidays Last Updated: 12/14/2005 3:29 PM

On the following days, most local facilities are closed. Normal air services, however, are not affected, and personnel may plan to arrive on local holidays.

New Year’s Day January 1 Good Friday Variable Holy Saturday Variable Easter Monday Variable Ascension Thursday Variable President’s Day Third Monday in July Bank Holiday Third Tuesday in July Botswana Day September 30 Public Holiday October 1 Christmas Day December 25 Boxing Day December 26

* Holidays falling on a Sunday are normally observed on Monday

Adapted from material published by the U.S. Department of State. While some of the information is specific to U.S. missions abroad, the post report provides a good overview of general living conditions in the host country for diplomats from all nations.
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