Currency & Money Matters
All questions relating to currency!
What currency to bring varies slightly dependent on your mode of travel and will require pre-planning. You can't expect to exchange money at the airport on arrival and if required will need to visit one of the local banks or currency exchange offices.
Money Matter checklist before departure:
- Exchange relevant currency obtainable to you before your arrival in Botswana, if possible (see what currency below)
- If you need to exchange currency on arrival think about opening hours as you will not be able to exchange funds on Weekends. As a rule of thumb bank opening times are Monday to Friday from 08h30 - 15h30. Some banks are open on Saturdays between 08h30-12h00, all banks are closed on Sundays and public holidays.
- Check with your bank if you can withdraw funds internationally. Visa and Visa Electron are the most widely accepted cards in Botswana and cause fewest problems when purchasing something in a shop. At the lodges and accommodations, credit cards are widely accepted with the exception of American Express and Diner's Club.
- Inform your bank which countries you will be travelling to, in order to avoid your credit card gettting blocked due to "suspicious activity".
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
What currency to bring to Botswana?
If your safari is fully inclusive, the only cash you might need is for tips, as the majority of lodges accept credit cards. Do bring smaller denominations in BWP1, BWP5, BWP10 and maximum BWP20. The larger notes are sometimes refused (BWP50 and BWP100). British pounds and Euro are also accepted at some of the accommodations, but less preferred. For advice on tipping in Botswana see our General Info page.
If you are travelling via self-drive you will need Pula for refuelling and park entrance fees (if applicable). Unless you have paid your park entrance fees in advance these are mostly only accepted in cash at the entrance gate to the parks. It is said they now also accept USD, GBP and EUR but I would not depend on this.
Where can I exchange money in Botswana?
It is best to exchange the currency before you arrive to avoid hassle. U$ is widely available in the world and should be manageable to arrange in your home country. Your local exchange office may or may not stock Botswana Pula and is not widely available in the world. If you are unable to exchange to Pula in advance, it would be easiest to draw money from an ATM on arrival. If that is not an option, you would have to exchange funds on arrival at either a bank or currency exchange office. Maun, Kasane, Francistown and Gaborone are the most reliable when it comes to exchanging money, as they have both a bank and currency exchange office.
What credit cards are accepted in Botswana?
The majority of accommodation accepts credit card payments via Visa or Mastercard. American Express and Diners Club are refused by banks in Botswana and therefore not accepted throughout Botswana (subject to change).
Can I pay via credit card everywhere I go in Botswana?
Unfortunately, this is not the case. Most accommodations and shops in the major cities accept credit or debit card payments. If you head to more remote locations it's less likely cards are excepted, as this requires an internet connection. Park entrance fees for example would need to be paid in cash. Re: fuel please see the next question.
Can I pay fuel by card in Botswana?
Yes and no. Although most facilities accept card payments, one can't rely on it 100% that cards are accepted for fuel in Botswana, as it depends on the internet connection. It may be that a fuel station offers card payments, but they are not online at the time you are there. We therefore suggest to always keep a reserve of Pula with you for refuelling whilst travelling in Botswana.
How much cash should I bring for my Botswana holiday?
This is unfortunately not a question that can be answered that easily, and depends on the type, length and route of your holiday.
If you are on a fully inclusive safari, you can calculate an approximate amount for tips according to the number of nights you are spending here. You can find a guideline for tipping on the General Info page.
If you are travelling via self-drive, calculate an estimated amount for fuel and park entrance fees. I would check with my car rental company roughly how many kilometres the vehicle drives per tank, the size of the tank and current fuel price and then calculate the numbers. Park entrance fees should be advised to you at the time of booking if these apply. Although not ideal, some longer self-drive journeys do sometimes require you to carry a bit more cash than you would like. There are quite a few ATM's across the different towns of Botswana, but it does unfortunately still happen that they run out of money occasionally (especially at the end of the month after payday).
Where can I draw money in Botswana?
Botswana works with banks such as Barclay's and First National bank. As mentioned above, one can't always rely on the ATM's to have money and can't guarantee that they will have funds available.
Please find below, a current list of towns with a Barclay's bank ATM in alphabetical order. For the most up to date information on ATM's in Botswana, please visit the "find-us" section on their website. Other banks are First National Bank and Bank of Botswana.
Are travellers cheques accepted in Botswana?
Travellers Cheques are going out of fashion and are not readily accepted everywhere in Botswana. It can also be a lenghty process to have them exchanged and to be honest, I would avoid using them.