Botswana experiences regular periods of rolling electric power outages that can leave areas without power for several hours. Visitors are urged to carry flashlights. U.S. citizens are also urged to be aware of how power outages might affect home security systems, garage doors and gates, and kitchen equipment, such as stoves and refrigerators. The power fluctuations could cause power surges that might harm computers, televisions, or other electrical appliances.
Botswana strictly enforces its laws controlling the trade in animal products. In November 2012 Botswana announced a suspension of commercial hunting in public or private controlled hunting areas which will go into effect on January 1, 2014. It will still be possible to possess or have shipped hunting trophies obtained before the ban takes effect, as per regulations described below. Previously, the hunting of any animal in Botswana generally required a license or a permit. The hunting of lions as well as protected game animals was explicitly prohibited before the ban. Protected game animals include cheetah, wild dog, otter, rhinoceros, all pelicans, and all flamingos. Leopards and elephants as well as certain other partially protected game animals are covered under a strict licensing and quota regime. Botswana's Wildlife Conservation and National Parks Act makes it illegal to possess or remove from Botswana any living or dead animal or animal trophy without a government permit. A trophy is any horn, ivory, tooth, tusk, bone, claw, hoof, hide, skin, hair, feather, egg, or other durable portion of an animal, whether the item has been processed or not. Curio shops and vendors throughout the country sell items such as animal skins, plain and decorated ostrich eggs and eggshells, and carved bones or teeth of animals protected by this law. All of the souvenirs, although widely sold, are subject to this act. Travelers departing the country with a trophy must have a receipt from a store licensed to sell such items. Ivory and endangered rhinoceros horn products obtained in Botswana may not be removed from the country under any circumstances; elephant hair jewelry may be removed only with the appropriate license from the Department of Wildlife and National Parks. Trophies may not be taken from the wild without a permit. Violators are subject to arrest and may face a penalty of up to five years imprisonment and a substantial fine. For more information, please see our customs information page.
Wild animals may pose a danger to tourists. Tourists should bear in mind that, even in the most serene settings, the animals are wild and can pose a threat to life and safety. Tourists should use common sense when approaching wildlife, observe all local or park regulations, and heed all instructions given by tour guides. In addition, tourists are advised that potentially dangerous areas sometimes lack fences and warning signs. Exercise appropriate caution in all unfamiliar surroundings.