Plan on a medical emergency. That way, you can be pleasantly surprised when everything goes okay.


CDC recommends the following vaccines (as appropriate for age). See your doctor at least 4–6 weeks before your trip to allow time for shots to take effect. These are all the possible shots you would need ... but you need to check the CDC Traveler's Health website for actual details

Recommended Medical Kit for Travelers

This list was given to us by a doctor who specializes in international travel, and it is oriented towards sub-Saharan Africa. This medical kit is more applicable to people who will be going outside of Gaborone, Botswana.

Sterile Dressing:

Insect repellent:

Insecticide spray for clothes and mosquito nets:



Traveler's Diarrhea

Principal Precautions:

Early control of dehydration:

Treatment of invasive diarrhea (fever, blood, mucus):

Insect Repellents

In general, travelers should avoid perfumes, soaps, lotions and hair products containing floral fragrances, which can act as mosquito attractants.

The most effective topical insect repellent known is N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide, commonly called “deet.” Deet repels a variety or mosquitoes, ticks, fleas and biting flies. Although concentrations of deet have ranged form less than 10% to 100% in different products, those with 10-35% are considered effective for adults. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that repellents for children should contain no more than 10% deet. Higher concentrations prolong duration of action but do not improve efficacy. Deet may decrease the effectiveness of sunscreens; when they are used together, a sunscreen with a higher SPF factor should be used. Deet-containing repellents can damage plastics such as eyeglass fames and watch crystals, as well as rayon fabrics, spandex and leather. They are safe on cotton, nylon or wool.

Permethrin, actually a pesticide rather than a repellent, is marketed as a clothing spray for protection against both mosquitoes and ticks.

Wearing protective clothing treated with permethrin in addition to using deet on exposed skin provides the greatest degree of protection for both adults and children against mosquito and tick bites..

Tropical corticosteroids can decrease the erythema, pruritus and induration of mosquito bites. Oral antihistamines have been shown to reduce the symptoms cause by mosquito bites. Travelers who are highly sensitized to mosquito bites may benefit form taking and oral non-sedating antihistamine prophylactically.

Recommended Products:

Food & Water

In most restaurants in Gaborone, the food is safe to eat and water (incl. tap water) is safe to drink.

Tea (Five Roses Brand) and coffee (instant) are the most common beverages served. There are at least 2 places to get brewed coffee (and supplies) in Gaborone.

Note: most of Botswana is not yet familar with vegetarian menus.

Grocery Shopping Available:

There are many grocery stores within taxi-cab/walking distances in Gaborone. Grocery stores in rural areas are also available.

Medical Resources in Gaborone

There are two main hospitals in Gaborone: Princess Marina (the government-run hospital) and the Gaborone Private Hospital. Note: Princess Marina has small fees for non-citizens for medical care. In addition, the Gaborone Private Hospital has a policy of pre-payment for fees.

July 4, 2003 Copyright © 2004 Ann M. Mathison. About this Site. Page last updated July 4, 2004