Vaccines

An important step in the preparation for a safari southern Africa is to be aware of the various vaccines for Botswana and accompanying guidelines and regulations as well as precautions that should be taken. 

Any compulsory vaccines in Botswana?

There are no mandatory vaccinations required for entering Botswana. However, it is important to consider the surrounding countries that might require vaccinations if travellers will be crossing borders during their stay to Victoria Falls in Zambia. 

Zambia requires a vaccination against Yellow Fever. Regarding hepatitis and tetanus; vaccinations are not required, but travellers are encouraged to seek medical doctors for advice in these areas.

Recommended vaccines for Botswana

Some vaccines are recommended 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.

Malaria risk

The risk of contracting malaria is considered low.

But, it is prevalent in some areas of Botswana, the northern regions including the Okavango Delta where malaria has a high or higher risk of contracting medical conditions.

Check with a travel vaccinations medicine specialist to see if antimalarials should be considered to help prevent malaria contraction. 

Typhoid vaccination is recommended for most travelers to Botswana. Traveler’s diarrhea is also a serious risk to individuals visiting Botswana. 

Private medical facilities, emergency rooms and trained doctors are available in Gaborone. Services elsewhere can be hard to find and patients must pay for health care upfront.

Botswana health recommendations

Recommended visitor precautions

To help protect against mosquitoes, visitors should ensure to:

  • Apply insect repellents on clothes 
  • Wear covered light clothing
  • Use mosquito nets on the windows of your accommodation and in vehicles, use the air conditioning

Depending on the areas visited, preventive antimalarial treatment should be considered. 

Food and water precautions that should be observed:  

  • Eat cooked food
  • Wash and peel fruits and vegetables
  • Avoid fresh fruit juices, ice creams, ice cubes, raw vegetables, reheated dishes
  • Consume pasteurized or boiled milk
  • Drink bottled or boiled water

Hygiene rules that should be followed:

  • Wash hands regularly, before and after each meal and after using the toilet
  • Don’t touch wild and stray animals
  • Don’t swim in lakes and non-running water

Vaccinations for Zambia, South Africa and Botswana

In addition to the above vaccine info in Botswana, some routine vaccines are also recommended or required for Zambia for visitors with international travel plans beyond Botswana and into rural areas. 

The CDC and WHO recommend the following vaccinations for Zambia and South Africa: Route vaccines for hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid, cholera, yellow fever, rabies, meningitis, polio, measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis), chickenpox, shingles, pneumonia and influenza.

The most common vaccinations for Zambia are against measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), tetanus, diphtheria, polio, typhoid and hepatitis A. A vaccination against rabies is also recommended, and the course lasts at least three weeks so can’t be left to the last minute. 

By far the biggest health risk areas in Zambia are malaria cases from mosquito bites. There are various preventive prophylaxis treatments available and some should be taken a few weeks and others a few days before arrival.

Useful links

Botswana Covid 19 information

All persons entering Botswana are required to have a negative PCR test within 72 hours of their departure to ensure compliance with Botswana coronavirus rules.

If they do not meet this requirement upon entry, they will be tested at the Port of Entry. 

US citizens Covid-19 information

With a negative Covid-19 test, they are not required to quarantine. Further information available via the U.S. embassy in Botswana here

Persons who are symptomatic upon entry or who develop COVID-19 infection after entry must self-isolate for 10 days with a test in the second half of the isolation period. 

Close contacts of those who are confirmed cases and have tested positive are deemed to be a high risk and will be asked to isolate for 10-14 days to avoid infection from person to person. 

UK citizens Covid-19 information

Visitors must present proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test not older than 72 hours from your time of departure from your country of origin. 

After arrival, you will have to remain in contact with the Ministry of health and public health authorities for a period of 14 days for self-monitoring regardless if visitors have already taken a Covid-19 vaccine. 

Visitors should not use the NHS testing service to get a test in order to facilitate travel to another country. Further information from the UK government here

COVID-19 entry and exit requirements to Botswana may be announced and altered at little notice. 

It is recommended to monitor the government of Botswana’s Facebook page for the latest developments or contact the government of Botswana’s 24 hour COVID-19 helpline on 16649 / 0800 600 111. 

Passports should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry into Botswana.

FAQs

What are the compulsory vaccines for Botswana?

No vaccine is compulsory for Botswana. However, it is strongly recommended to be up to date with the various recommended vaccine and consider antimalarial prophylaxis. 

What health precautions should I take to travel to Victoria Falls in Zambia?

Zambia requires a vaccination against the risk of yellow fever. Regarding hepatitis and tetanus; vaccinations are not required, but travellers are encouraged to consult their doctor.