Expats moving to Botswana should consider renting accommodation close to their workplace and their children’s school. Most expats live in the capital city, Gaborone, to be close to amenities and avoid long journeys on local buses.
Botswana boasts an affordable cost of living and Gaborone is frequently ranked among the cheapest cities to live in. Nevertheless, property prices can be high if expats opt for a modern home in a popular area. And, of course, holiday accommodation in a luxury lodge while on safari in one of Botswana's national parks won't come cheap either.
Types of accommodation in Botswana
Depending on the length of time an expat will be staying in Botswana, they may want to rent accommodation. Some expats may be interested in investing in and buying property in Botswana, from houses to farms. Typical expat accommodation includes houses, townhouses and apartments.
Houses are one of the most popular types of property in Botswana. Both single- and multi-family homes can be found across the country. Standalone houses generally offer a garden, which is great for expat families with children or for hosting friends for a barbecue. Some houses have swimming pools, and these are much appreciated by residents during the hot and humid summer months.
In addition to freestanding buildings, semi-detached townhouses and cluster homes are also available in Botswana. These are often located within gated complexes, which offer greater security than a typical house. Many of these are relatively modern and offer contemporary designs.
Expats living in a large city, such as Gaborone, can also find apartments or flats. As with other types of accommodation, expats can rent unfurnished, semi-furnished or fully-furnished apartments in Botswana. Furnished flats usually come at a higher price. Expats who decide to rent an unfurnished apartment can rent furniture by the month or buy new furniture, easily sourced within the country.
Finding accommodation in Botswana
A property search can be done from abroad as well as after arriving. Some expats may stay in a hotel or temporary accommodation before moving to a more suitable home. Online portals and listings, such as Property24 and TswanaHome.com, as well as social media platforms, are great ways to start the search.
We highly recommend enlisting the services of a real estate agent when looking to buy or rent accommodation in Botswana. These professionals offer intimate knowledge of the available housing market and can match this to a house hunter’s preferences.
Popular expat areas in Botswana
When looking for accommodation in Botswana, expats should focus their search on particular areas. It’s wise to choose housing away from busy areas with lots of pedestrians and heavy traffic, but to also consider proximity to work, schools and amenities.
Many expats move to the towns or cities of Maun, Francistown and Gaborone, the capital city.
Popular suburbs of Gaborone include Broadhurst and Phakalane. Phakalane is built around a golf estate and is the preferred residential area for many expats. As it is over 7.5 miles (12 km) north of Gaborone, some people prefer to live closer to town, nearer to schools and workplaces. Many areas are numbered and named as 'Extensions', radiating out from the Government Enclave. Extensions 9 and 11 are among the most expensive parts of the capital city.
Renting accommodation in Botswana
Before signing a lease, prospective expats should make sure to read and understand all the terms and conditions, including deposits, fees, utilities and notice periods.
Fixed-period leases are available which establish a set end date to the rental agreement. This is popular among expats working in Botswana who know how long they plan to stay in the country.
Indefinite leases and those terminated at will are also available. If tenants sign a rental agreement allowing either the landlord or themselves to terminate the contract, they should agree to and confirm a reasonable notice period.
If expats hope to continue renting for several years, we advise them to ask the landlord about annual rent increases.
A deposit of at least one month’s rent is required to lease accommodation in Botswana.
Utilities, including water, electricity, gas (if in an area where piped gas is used) and refuse removal, must normally be paid for by the tenant. Costs are usually calculated according to the size of the property and level of usage.