In my ongoing world borders series, I give you the best and easiest ways to cross borders all over the world, all from my personal travel experiences. The border crossing from Botswana to South Africa is a fairly straight forward one, so here’s an overview of my journey.
You might have read how I went from South Africa to Botswana using this route to get into the country, where I headed to the capital city of Gaborone to catch up with some old friends. After that I decided to head straight back into Johannesberg where I was due to meet a backpacking friend, Grace in order to get a night train or bus down to Durban.
Booking Your Bus Ticket from Botswana to South Africa
These days you can book your bus ticket online, on the phone or at your hostel/tourist information centre. As well as at the actual bus depot. I had booked a return for my trip, and I booked it at the bus depot in Pretoria. I went into Botswana on the Pretoria to Gaborone route on an Intercape Bus and I used Intercape obviously to leave Botswana as well. Bus prices vary depending on time of year, how busy it is and the route. The cheapest saver option is currently around 270 Rand, it was cheaper when I was there over 3 years ago.
You can print the ticket and just turn up on the day. They might even let you away with just having taken a photo of your booking on a screen as it goes by a reference number.
Leaving Gaborone, Botswana
The bus station in Gaborone is very central, it’s at the Shell Garage on Queen’s Road. This is very close to the Mall and the Brackendene Lodge where I stayed, but it is far away from the Mokolodi Backpackers which isn’t in downtown Gaborone. Get to the bus station about 20 minutes before the bus leaves.
I was on an early morning bus (8am) and we left on time. I was the only backpacker on the bus, and obviously the only white person. It’s less than an hour from Gaborone to Tlkoweng, the border point of departure from Botswana.
My route that morning was Gaborone – Tlokweng – (exit Botswana) – Kopfontein – (Arrive in South Africa) – Groot Marico (short stop) – Johannesburg.
(the entire journey took around 6 hours, the border crossing element took about 30 minutes maximum)
Leaving Botswana at Tlokweng
The bus pulls over at the border, and you get out and walk. You’re supposed to take your big backpack with you as they sometimes check them. You could get away with leaving it on the bus – but it’s up to you if you trust that or not. You go inside the room and you get your exit stamp after filling in a very short and easy departure form. There is no departure tax, there wasn’t a queue and things were very simple. I travel on an Irish and British passport and both are hassle free here.
Arrival into South Africa at Kopfontein
You walk across the border. You have the option to change your Botswanese Pula into South African Rand here. Arrival in South Africa you have a small form to fill in and you get your passport stamped. I travelled on an Irish and British passport and both are fine to use here with no charge and no actual visa – just an easy stamp.
After that the bus will be waiting for you and you get back on. We had a quick stop off in Groot Marico on the way back to Johannesberg but that was it. This is a really easy world border to cross believe me!
Me Crossing from Botswana to South Africa:
Backpacking in Gaborone, Botswana: