Travelling and staying healthy while in Botswana is not much of a challenge. There are public and private hospitals, but proof of insurance cover or a guarantee of payment is usually required before you can get treated. There are some sensible, practical precautions you can take while staying in Botswana to ensure you don’t end up getting sick, however, and if you are properly vaccinated as well, you should be able to travel worry free and really enjoy your time in Botswana.
There are some simple things to do before and during your time in Botswana to make sure you stay safe and healthy.
- Let the doctor know of your travel plans, activities and itinerary (including other countries)
- Practice good food hygiene. Do not drink water that hasn’t been boiled or bottled, wash hands, avoid produce or food that looks not fresh and eat food that has been properly cooked
- Avoid mosquito bites. Take long, loose clothing, wear repellant if necessary, use mosquito nets when you sleep and run air conditioning from time to time if possible
- Practice safe sex and do not share needles. This goes without saying anywhere, but particularly in Botswana where instances of Aids related cases are higher than normal. If you do need to seek medical treatment in Botswana, or get a tattoo or piercing, ensure the environment and equipment are sterile
Vaccines recommended for travel to Botswana
The following list of vaccines may be recommended before your stay in Botswana – however your individual case may vary. Make an appointment today to speak with the doctor and find out what you need to do to be protected.
The following information is general advice only, and does not substitute medical advice from your doctor or the Travel Vaccination Clinic doctor. Please ensure you ask about any vaccines or situations you are unsure about, to get the best possible advice and treatment.
You should not travel to Botswana if you are not up to date with routine vaccinations from childhood. This includes polio, measles, mumps and rubella, chicken pox and whooping cough. If you may not be up to date, a booster shot can be given when you receive other vaccinations for travel, so let the doctor know. You should also mention any adverse reactions to previous vaccinations or allergies to medication.
You may come into contact with the Hepatitis A virus through contaminated food or water in Botswana – and this can occur anywhere you decide to stay and eat. It is highly likely you will be given the Hepatitis A vaccination before leaving home, unless you have recently had it. Many travellers do not know that they carry the Hepatitis A virus for some time. For more information before you discus this with the doctor, read the Hepatitis A information page.
Typhoid is a virus with flu-like symptoms that exists in Botswana (and many parts of the world). You should consider being vaccinated against the virus before travelling to Botswana. The typhoid virus can be passed on to travellers through contaminated food or water. To learn more, read the general information on this vaccine on the Typhoid information page. Rural areas usually pose an increased risk for typhoid infection, and much of Botswana is undeveloped rural land.
Both Hepatitis A and Typhoid vaccinations can be given to you in one shot, and this lasts for a number of years. Ask the Travel Vaccination Clinic about getting vaccinated against Hepatitis A and Typhoid, as well as taking food safety precautions to keep your risk of exposure minimal.
Hepatitis B is a disease affecting the liver. There are a number of ways the virus can be passed from person to person, but it does not travel through the air. Risk of contracting Hepatitis B can be increased in a few ways, including through sexual contact, exposure to needles or bodily fluids. The vaccine is highly recommended for anyone who might do anything that puts him or her at risk of contracting Hepatitis B. To read more about the virus, symptoms, and prevention visit the Hepatitis B information page.
Botswana is a warm climate, and mosquitos live in abundance in many areas of Botswana. This means that malaria may also be present wherever there is a high risk of being bitten by a mosquito. You may need to take preventative medication before travelling to be protected against malaria. For further information on malaria in general, visit the Malaria information page before speaking to the doctor.
It is important to note that yellow fever is not present in Botswana, but you may need to produce proof you have been vaccinated against it if coming from particular countries. View the Yellow Fever information page and discuss any concerns with the doctor during your appointment. If you have merely transited through another country with a risk of Yellow Fever infection via the airport, you may not need to produce proof of vaccination.
If you are staying longer periods of time in Botswana, or fall into a higher risk category (such as people working with animals, children and adventure travellers) you may need to discuss the risk of Rabies with the doctor. Botswana is not free of Rabies, so it is important to keep this in mind and not touch stray dogs or other mammals that may carry the virus (this can include bats, rats and other mammals). There is also a preventive vaccine, or a course of injections you can take if you believe you may have been infected with the rabies virus. Please read the Rabies information page to find out more.