From the vast Kalahari desert which occupies 70 % of the country, to the semi-forested wetlands of the Okavango delta, to the abundant wildlife of Chobe national park – Botswana offers a great diversity of experiences.

The following information provides some broad and general guidelines about health risks and recommendations for travel to Botswana. This should not be taken as a substitute for a personal consultation with one of our travel health doctors, whose advice will be specific for you and your trip and may include some things not mentioned here.

  • Plan Head - Calendar/Itinerary?

    Six to eight weeks out from departure is a good time to have a travel health consultation. You may need blood tests to check immunity to diseases or need a course of vaccines like rabies for example, and this gives you plenty of time to get everything completed. If you are travelling sooner however it's not too late for an appointment, simply make one as soon as you can.

  • Mosquito's and Bugs

    Mosquito avoidance is essential for travel to Botswana, with insects transmitting everything from African Tick Bite Fever to malaria. Medication options for malaria will be discussed during your consultation.

  • Eating/Drinking

    Travellers diarrhoea, giardia and dysentery are just some of the illnesses caused by contaminated food and water. Tap water in Botswana is generally not safe to drink.

  • Vaccine Recommendations

    Everyone should be up to date for routine childhood immunisations and may need adult boosters for such diseases as tetanus, measles and hepatitis B.
    Additional vaccines may also be recommended depending on your individual medical history, current itinerary and the likelihood of future travel.

List of Common Health Issues

  • Hepatitis A

    Hepatitis A is usually recommended for travel to Botswana.

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  • Typhoid

    A food and water borne disease, typhoid vaccination is often recommended.

  • Rabies

    Avoid being bitten or scratched by any mammal. Consider pre-travel rabies vaccination (well before travel), especially for prolonged or remote travel through Africa. Thoroughly rinse and disinfect any animal wound and seek prompt medical care for post exposure vaccination and wound care.

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  • Cholera

    An oral vaccine available for the prevention of cholera which also reduces the risk of travellers diarrhoea, is often taken by those wishing to significantly reduce their risk of gastro.

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  • Influenza

    Influenza is one of the most common vaccine preventable illnesses in travellers.

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  • Malaria

    Africa has the greatest number of malaria cases of any continent. Most cases are falciparum malaria, the most serious form. Mosquito avoidance is essential. Transmission is highest from November through to June. Preventative medication should be discussed with one of our doctors. Different options are available. We have access to the most up to date malaria maps and the experience to help guide this decision making process. Any fever after travel to malaria areas requires assessment and an urgent blood test to exclude malaria, whether or not preventive medication has been taken.

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  • Schistosomiasis (otherwise known as Bilharzia)

    Caused by a microscopic parasite in lakes and rivers, which penetrate the skin. Its life cycle leads to migration in different stages through various organs over weeks to months, leading to chronic infection. Avoid skin contact with fresh water. If exposed, a test and if required treatment are available on return to Australia.

  • Travellers’ diarrhoea, giardia and dysentery

    Observe strict food and water safety precautions and hand hygiene. Consider taking a water filter and well stocked kit with guidelines for self-treatment. Seek medical advice if persistent or severe illness, particularly for infants, the elderly or those with underlying medical conditions.

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  • Accidents, alcohol, illicit drugs and tattoos

    Examples include motorbike accidents on poorly lit/maintained roads (wear a helmet), surfing injuries, near drowning, fights and assaults, twisted/broken ankles from potholes in footpaths, and exhaust pipe burns. Alcohol may be tainted/spiked. Be sensible. Make sure you and your friends look after each other and pack a first aid kit. Tattoos carry the risk of HIV/ hepatitis B and C. Drugs carry the risk of jail time or worse.

  • Sexually transmitted illness

    Southern African countries have the highest rates of HIV in the world. Avoid the risk. STD checks are available on return.

  • African Tick Bite Fever

    Mainly a risk for those going on Safari in the east of the country especially from November to April. Mozzie repellents are only partially effective, so keeping covered up and checking skin regularly for ticks is essential.

Latest Health Alerts

  • COVID 19 (Coronavirus)

    March 29, 2020

    As there is no non-essential overseas travel at this time this article will simply remain as an information resource for COVID-19. See our main COVID-19 page for more detailed information. We hope to be able to inform our travelers once again after this crisis passes. The links below remain trustworthy

  • Sri Lanka – Dengue Fever

    January 9, 2020

    Over 48,000 cases of dengue fever have been reported in Sri Lanka since 1st October 2019, a significant increase in incidence. Travellers should observe strict mosquito avoidance measures, particularly during daylight hours.

  • Solomon Islands – proof of measles vaccination required

    December 19, 2019

    As a result of recent outbreaks of measles in various countries, the Solomon Islands' will be requiring arriving travellers from/via American Samoa, Australia, Fiji, New Zealand, Philippines, Samoa, or Tonga to show proof of measles vaccination, effective December 28th 2019. Vaccination needs to have been at least 15 days prior and