Work and Travel in Botswana
VOLUNTEER AND PAID WORK OPPORTUNITIES IN BOTSWANA FOR TRAVELLERS
Botswana is one of the most popular countries in Africa for visitors. However, most people who travel in Botswana have typically booked an expensive safari and a guided tour. Backpackers can feel like they’re in a minority when they arrive in the country.
Despite being a developing country, Botswana is expensive. So if you want to extend your trip here you need to figure out how you can work and travel in Botswana.
Our travel guide to Botswana (https://www.lonelyplanet.com/botswana) is going to show you some of the big opportunities available right now.
1. Protect the Endangered Rhinos of Botswana
Botswana is famous for the animals that roam its national parks. One of the animals that people flock from all over the world to see are its rhinos. Now extinct in many parts of Africa, this is one of the few places where visitors are able to see rhinos in the wild.
But they’re under threat and one of the most exciting volunteer opportunities in Botswana is to help protect these endangered creatures.
You will be helping to track them, catalogue them, and assisting scientists with their research. It’s a big job. Do you have what it takes?
2. Help Disabled Children in Botswana
Otse is a city that sees little support for disabled children. Their families often have a scant amount of money to help them, so they rely on charities from outside.
You don’t need to be qualified to volunteer with disabled children as you work and travel in Botswana. You’ll be helping them with their education, playing with them, and just keeping them company.
If you want to get into the care profession, this work in Botswana is a great addition to your portfolio.
3. Construction Projects in Botswana
Botswana is like many African countries in that thousands don’t have suitable places to live. These projects take you to the smaller villages and rural areas of Botswana, where you will be able to interact with locals and make a real difference to their lives.
Just remember that if you want to work in Botswana through these projects, you should never have to pay for them. There are lots of scam volunteering projects in this part of the world. Volunteer opportunities in Botswana should always be free.
VOLUNTEER WORK VISA / PERMIT REQUIREMENTS FOR BOTSWANA
Thankfully, work and travel in Botswana is easy from the point of view of acquiring visas. It operates a Western, liberal visa policy, so if you’re from Europe (minus Ukraine and much of the Balkans), North America, Russia, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, or Japan you can enter the country without a visa for up to 90 days (https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/Botswana.html).
You don’t even have to worry about filing any information online in advance. Just land at the airport and you’re in.
Be aware that the 90-day period only applies to 90 days within a single year. To visit more often, you will need to apply for a Botswanan visa (http://www.botswanaembassy.org/page/guidelines-for-completing-a-visa-application).
Bear in mind that Chinese citizens have no visa-free provision and must apply for a visa from the embassy (http://www.gov.bw/en/Ministries--Authorities/Ministries/Ministry-of-Labour--Home-Affairs-MLHA/Tools--Services/Services--Forms/APPLICATION-FOR-VISA---/).
SEASONAL BACKPACKER SKILLS NEEDED IN BOTSWANA
The spring season is one of the shoulder seasons. Days are cooler than during the summer yet the nights aren’t too cold. You have practically every volunteer opportunity in Botswana open to you at this time of year.
Popular options for work and travel in Botswana at this time of year include: teaching disabled children, helping the elderly, and certain types of conservation work.
The summer season is the winter season, which is when the nights tend to get cold. Despite being the winter season, you’re unlikely to experience any real rainfall. This is also why it’s the most popular time of year to find backpacking jobs in Botswana.
You should apply well in advance of summer for all positions as they fill up quickly with the usual array of backpackers and gap year students.
Conservation work, construction projects, and dealing with the underprivileged are all on the cards. There’s no type of job you won’t find available throughout peak season.
The autumn season is much like the spring season, so refer back to the previous section for more information regarding what you can do during autumn.
However, we do have a note of caution. The winter season is also the rainy season. Technically, since Botswana is so far south, the winter is actually the summer.
Try not to work in isolated areas during autumn because the rainy season may start early. Rains can be fierce in Botswana and it’s not uncommon for unsuspecting backpackers to find themselves trapped in a rural area for days and weeks because the roads have been washed away.
As we mentioned, the winter time is Botswana’s rainy season, which will last from November until March. It’s the worst time to travel in Botswana because of the associated difficulties. Make an effort to avoid construction projects or anything in the rural areas.
We do recommend conservation work, however. The rainy season is an interesting one for Botswana’s animals because many animals migrate into and out of the country. It’s a time of great interest for scientists and extra volunteers are always needed.
It’s a chance to see the great animals of Africa in a completely different environment.
ATTITUDE TO FOREIGNERS WORKING OR VOLUNTEERING IN BOTSWANA
Botswana isn’t as isolated a country as you think. For many young Westerners, it has become something of a rite of passage to spend some time in Africa. Botswana happens to be one of the most popular destinations for this. You’re not going to stand out as much as you think.
The only things you need to be aware of are scammers who run some of these volunteer projects. As we mentioned before, make sure you never pay for volunteer work. Volunteering should be free and a bed and some food are the least you can expect for your time and effort.
Are you ready to see what work and travel in Botswana has to offer?
- Edited on Oct 9 2018 by Marichka