Threat level: Low-Medium
The current travel safety advice for Botswana is to remain cautious when visiting this country. The terror threat level in Botswana is relatively low. Attacks and serious crime against tourists in Botswana are uncommon, but small crime and violence is on the increase particularly in the major cities and tourist hotspots including towns surrounding game reserves, where there are high populations of tourists.
Recent Security risk events
There have been several recent incidents in the Chobe area where tourists have had their hotel and lodge rooms broken into in the night leading to incidences of rape and other sexual offences. You should ensure that all windows and doors are securely locked all of the time. In the unlikely event of becoming a victim of sexual assault seek immediate medical advice as HIV is present in Botswana. Females, in particular, should not walk unaccompanied after dark. Keeping valuables out of sight will reduce the chances of being broken into.
You should avoid being near any developing large demonstrations and gatherings. In cases in 2011, the Botswana police used tear gas and rubber bullets on protestors to disperse protests. However the political consensus of the country is one which is stable.
Francistown and Maun have had a particular crime rate increase in recent years. Hold-ups and robberies of restaurants during peak hours and house burglaries, often by armed gangs, are becoming more frequent.
Botswana is in the forefront of international criminal activity, such organisations as the Russian Mafia and the Chinese Triads are attracted to Botswana due to its natural resources, wildlife and drugs. Zimbabwean, South African and Zambian criminal gangs have also been known to target unsuspecting tourists on isolated roads, however this is very uncommon.
Taking photographs or filming military and government installations is illegal in Botswana. Always ask permission before taking photographs of people, but it is better to avoid doing so altogether.
Homosexuality is illegal in Botswana; lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals living in the country face serious legal issues due to their sexuality (even the death sentence). Both female and male same-sex sexual acts are illegal which has made it an ongoing issue in the international community for some time now.
A small majority of Botswana police have turned to corruption and often do not inform the British High Commission when British nationals have been arrested. It is important that if you are detained by the authorities to insist on your right to contact the British consular office and have access to British lawyer.
Avoid displaying signs of affluence whenever possible. This includes wearing nice jewellery or using electronic devices in public, as this can make you a vulnerable target for thieves.
Botswana has a strong political relationship with many of its neighbouring countries including Namibia. The United States considers Botswana an advocate of and a role model for stability in the African continent and has played a major part in Botswana’s development since its independence.
The US also provides training for the Botswana police and military.
Hijackings and carjackings are on the rise throughout the country and as such, movement after dark should be avoided. Driving outside the major tourist areas and big cities can be dangerous due to stray wildlife and wild dog packs. This is a particular risk at night, so take extra care if you are driving after dark, especially travelling on foot. It is highly advised you do not walk places after dark.
Anthrax has been known to infect animals in the region, do not touch roadkill or other dead animals. If you believe you may have been exposed please contact the nearest medical centre for assistance.