Currency in Botswana
CASH is generally King in Botswana – the Botswana Pula being the local currency accepted. It is recommended to have with you a supply of Pula for tipping and the purchasing of daily refreshments and sundry items. Carrying large amounts of cash on your person is, however, not advisable. Most major currencies are, however, accepted throughout the country.
Lodges are usually sold on a full board basis, so cash is required for shopping, hotel extras, optional excursions, laundry and drinks. Most hotels and lodges will, however, accept credit cards for settlement of bills as well as U.S. dollars.
The unit of currency is the Pula (BWP). The Pula has note denominations of 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200.
Major currencies (like the US Dollar, the English Pound, and the Euro) may be exchanged in large towns. (NOTE: U.S. dollar notes should be issued after the year 2000)
Foreign Exchange Bureau offer faster service than banks and although the exchange rates are only nominally different, the bureau usually offer a better rate on travelers’ checks. Banks around the country have ATM machines that allow you to withdraw cash on both VISA and MasterCard accounts. Credit cards are accepted only at major lodges, hotels, and travel operators.
It is advisable to exchange some US Dollars into Pula upon arrival for tips and small purchases where credit cards are not normally used.
Traveler’s checks are accepted if they’re in US Dollars, British Pounds or Euros. High commission charges are common, and bureaus that charge no commission will often give a rate substantially below the cash rate for checks. Charges vary widely, from 1% to 3% per transaction, to flat fees of up to US$15.
Exchanging large denominations of US Dollars or large denomination notes at game lodges can be challenging so come prepared.