Diplomat Clarifies Travelling to Botswana

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By Petronella Sibeene WINDHOEK The Botswana High Commissioner to Namibia Norman Moleboge has urged all people intending to visit Botswana to carry all relevant documents with them to avoid delays at entry points to his country or during their stay there. Moleboge, who held a mini information forum yesterday, stated that though there have been few complaints forwarded to his office in relation to ill treatment of people at Botswana entry points, it was important that people seek information on what they would need when going to Botswana. He told New Era that the aim of the session was to clarify issues that might lead to some unnecessary inconveniences. “Issues raised are just precautionary measures. During the time I have been here (since 2004 July), I have received one complaint from a person who said she was badly treated at the border. Also, there were some two men who complained of high border charges.” Some members of the public who have traveled to Botswana have complained about poor customer care especially at border posts where immigration officers are reportedly unfriendly. Second Secretary for Political Affairs Lebapotswe Mokgautsi explained that all people visiting his country just like anywhere else would need a valid passport that must not expire within six months, a visa endorsed on the passport for countries that need visas, registration certificate of the vehicle whether rented or loaned accompanied by a letter of authority from the owner or rental company, and a declaration of any goods in possession at the customs and excise desk. The high commissioner stressed that public relations as a subject is one issue they are trying to inculcate among immigration officers. He however advised all travelers to check the name of the immigration officer displayed on the ID tag they wear to enable the relevant offices to take the necessary measures in incidents where one might feel wrongly treated. “Whenever you sense that the situation is going sour, pick up the name from the name tag or ask for the officer in charge and register your complaint,” he advised. Enquiries on whether people travelling to Botswana need a police clearance have also been received at the high commissioner’s office. Mokgautsi explained that traffic officers in his country are strict on cars that go through Botswana. As such, it was advisable for visitors to get a letter of authorization from the owner of the car. Road users are also expected to pay road charges. “Road user charges are required for road maintenance.” However, these charges would depend on where the car is registered. Despite complaints of high vehicle charges, Moleboge advises haulage truck drivers whom he says are regular users of the Trans-Kalahari Highway to rather get a yearly permit to avoid inconveniences of paying each time they pass through Botswana. Travellers are also reminded to abide by the road laws, something the high commissioner says the authorities in his country would not compromise on. In the past, some tourists have expressed concern about the purchase and taking of trophies to their countries of origin. It is prudent that people who buy such goods find out from the seller if they will need a permit of some sort or inquire from the wildlife offices about permits. Most importantly, the high commissioner warns people intending to visit Botswana never to attempt to bribe officers in charge as these people are under strict instructions not to accept any form of bribery in whatever situation. Namibia shares five border crossings with Botswana, namely: Mamuno, Mohembo, Ngoma, Dobe and Kwando.

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