Botswana: Car Rental
A Safari Paradise
Local Travel Info in Botswana
Internal flights and major international airports
The Sir Seretse Khama International Airport is 9 miles outside Gabarone, the capital of Botswana. It’s well served with flights from Johannesburg and Harare, but it is Maun Airport, which serves a huge tourist market, which is one of the busiest in southern Africa.The national airline of Botswana is Air Botswana, which operates scheduled domestic flights from Gaborone, the capital of Botswana to several destinations, including Francistown, Maun, Kasane, while numerous other carriers operate services to the capital and private operators maintain links to a variety of tourist destinations. The air charter industry is well developed in Botswana, offering flights to the national airport network as well as private destinations. Avoid checking in any valuable items such as cameras when flying, as the apparently have a tendency to disappear.
Getting to and from the airport
The transport between Gaborone, Francistown and Selebi-Phikwe and their respective airports is serviced by mini buses, operated by AVIS or other rent-a-car agencies, as well as, mini-buses from big hotels for their guests. It takes 15 minutes to drive to Gabarone from the airport. A taxi service is also available by phone call.
Getting around Botswana
To get the most out of a visit to Botswana, a car is the best mode of transport. To hire a car in Botswana you must be over 21 – sometimes over 25, depending on the company. You must show a driving licence that is valid for 6 months or more when you hire a car in Botswana. If you’re hiring a 4WD vehicle for your holiday in Botswana (a good idea for the tracks of Botswana wildlife reserves) check you know how to use it, and make sure the vehicle is in good order – you don’t want to break down in the middle of the desert in Botswana. Hire car costs in Botswana start around £35 a day for a small car without air conditioning, but expect to pay twice that for a vehicle that is more worthy of the rigours of driving in Botswana. If possible, you can cut costs by hiring a car in South Africa and drive it over the border.
Drivers licenses requirements?
To drive a car in Botswana, you need to have a full British licence that is valid for at least six months.
Cars are driven on the left in Botswana. Botswana’s national speed limit is 120km/h on sealed roads, while through towns and villages in Botswana the speed limit usually drops to 60 or 80km/h. Front-seat passengers in Botswana must wear seatbelts and bear in mind that insurance becomes invalid if you drive a car in Botswana under the influence of alcohol.
Buses are not the ideal mode of transport for a holiday in Botswana, but they are very cheap. Buses travel along the major highways of Botswana, but elsewhere in Botswana they are few and far between. While buses in Botswana tend to run to a timetable, minibuses in Botswana tend to head of when full, so timetables become an irrelevance. Tickets are bought on board buses and minibuses in Botswana. A single bus journey costs around 23p.
Taxis in Botswana are recognisable by their blue number plates. Taxis in Botswana come in the form of cars of minibuses. Private taxis in Botswana can be found at taxi stands or are dispatched by radio. Expect to pay around £6 for a 10km journey.
Botswana is a mostly flat country, so one would think that riding a bicycle would be easy. However, throw in rough tracks and wild animals and Botswana is not such a great place for cyclists! The hot sun, vast distances and lack of water make Botswana an inhospitable place for cycling. Bicycles are also not allowed in wildlife reserves in Botswana – unless you want to become meals on wheels for the local wildlife!
Botswana is a place with little water. It’s so precious that the currency of Botswana (pula) is named after ‘rain’. The only water transport you will find are canoes or ‘mokoro’ that are taken out of the waterways of Okavango as part of guided safaris to spot birds and hippos.
Thanks to the inconsistent public transport in Botswana, hitching is quite common and relatively safe in Botswana, though you should obviously use your common sense. But bear in mind that most drivers in Botswana will expect a hitch hiker to pay them. The price will be about the same as a bus fare, so shouldn’t be expensive. On main roads in Botswana, hitch hiking is reasonably easy, but on the back roads it may be days before any vehicle passes you.