Will I need to drive my own vehicle to conduct my everyday life (work/school/shopping) at my destination?
The public transport system in Gaborone is very limited and can be, in some instances, risky, so you will probably prefer to drive your own vehicle.
Licensed taxis are identified by their number plates. They are usually shared and carry up to five passengers. Minibuses are also available and usually travel a specific route, usually circular, and pass through the station or mall. These are easily hailed and passengers usually tell the driver where they want to get off. There are also train services between Gaborone and Francistown, and Gaborone and Lobatse.
Gaborone has several car rental agencies. Its roads are tarred and usually in good condition, but drivers have to be on the lookout for stray animals.
How can I legally drive a vehicle in this city?
A driver's license issued by any country other than Botswana is valid within Botswana if:
- The holder was not resident in Botswana on the date the foreign driver’s license was issued.
- The license is in English or a translation of the license in English is attached to the license.
- The license contains or has attached to it a photograph and signature of the license holder. (In the event that the license does not have a photograph or signature on it, then some other document such as a passport, which contains the licensee's photograph and signature, should accompany it).
- The license is valid in the country or territory of issue.
You may only apply for a Botswana license after obtaining a Permanent Residence Permit. (The permit can only be applied for if you are already in possession of an international driver's license.)
Importing a vehicle into the country is quite a lengthy and strenuous process, so it's advisable that you seek professional help with it. Please contact Crown Gaborone for assistance.
To register a motor vehicle you will need the following:
- A completed application form (the auto dealer will be able to supply this).
- An identity document issued by your country of origin; a passport is acceptable.
- The relevant fees as prescribed by the registering authority in the province in which you are living. The motor dealer normally adds this fee to his license and registration invoice.
- For pre-owned vehicles, a road-worthy certificate (the auto dealer will generally arrange this document).
- A Traffic Registration Number. As a foreigner, you have to personally present yourself with your passport and a valid work permit to the local municipal licensing department to obtain this.
- Payment for an annual license fee (the cost varies depending on the make and model of the vehicle).
What side of the road do people drive on?
Vehicles are right-hand drive and drive on the left side of the road. The national speed limit is 120kph on highways, although sections of national roads may indicate lower speed limits.
Urban areas have a 60kph speed limit unless otherwise indicated. It is customary to yield to traffic approaching from the right or when filtering into traffic of a highway.
Describe typical public transportation an expat might use to get around the city.
It would be rare, but in the instance that an expat opts to use public transportation, it would be a taxi, a minibus or the train service to get to and from relatively short distances. Expats might also take a sight-seeing coach tour to become familiar with the surrounding area.
Could an expat also use public transportation to get out of the city—to surrounding towns, recreation areas or suburbs? If so, list options.
Several bus networks service Botswana, but mostly on the eastern side. Gaborone is connected to other towns—Maun, Kasane, Serowe, Selebi-Phikwe, Francistown and Nata—along the main highways. There are also daily buses between the various towns and cities although they have changeable timetables. Gaborone and Johannesburg are also connected by Greyhound service and it helps that the bus network is expanding. Although bus stations experience petty theft, any more serious crime is rare.
In Botswana, especially away from big cities and major axes, hitchhiking is very popular, safe and easy. It can be a better option than buses at times.
Three established intercity bus companies are Greyhound, Translux and Intercape.
In regards to transportation, are there any safety issues I should be aware of?
Traffic congestion coupled with the locals' lax attitudes toward the rules of the road conspire to make driving a challenging experience. Mini-bus and taxi drivers have developed a notoriety all of their own and flout regulations and speed limits on a continuous basis. It is advisable to give them and their occupants a wide berth.
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is one of the main causes of motor vehicle accidents in Botswana and severe penalties are imposed on those caught driving in this condition, including a possible prison term.
Traffic police regularly set up speed traps on national and urban roads, and fines are heavy. It is illegal to use mobile phones while driving, unless a recognized hands-free kit is fitted in the vehicle. A spot fine will be imposed.
The wearing of seat belts is compulsory for all occupants.
Where do I buy tickets/tokens/etc. for the major public transportation?
Computicket sells inter-city coach tickets. If you search online, you may be able to purchase in advance.
Crown Relocations has made every effort to present accurate information. However, regulations, rates and other variables are subject to change and Crown Relocations cannot accept responsibility for the errors that might result. Should you have any questions or need additional information, please contact your local Crown representative.