Depending on an expat's lifestyle, the cost of living in Botswana can be very affordable. In the capital, Gaborone, costs are generally more expensive, as this is where most of the good jobs and better housing options are found.

Still, according to Mercer's 2023 Cost of Living report, Gaborone is ranked 216th out of 227 cities. Expats who choose to 'live like a local' will find that it is easy to get on without spending too much in Botswana.

Cost of accommodation in Botswana

Accommodation in Botswana varies, especially if living in the capital. For expats who choose to settle in Gaborone, being close to local transport and schools pushes up the price of housing. Expats can expect monthly rental costs to be one of their biggest expenses in Botswana.

Nevertheless, when compared to many Western cities, the rental market in Botswana provides more space for your Pula, allowing expats to enjoy larger living spaces for less. Security and amenities contribute to the cost, but in general, the housing market is accommodating for those seeking comfort without the hefty price tag common in major expat destinations.

Cost of transport in Botswana

The cost of transport in Botswana is notably lower than in many Western European and North American countries. Expats relying on public transport will find taxis and combis (minibus taxis) to be economical options. A journey on a combi, which services a variety of routes within cities, is particularly cost-effective.

For those who prefer to drive, the cost of purchasing a car may be steep due to import duties, but the ongoing expenses such as fuel are quite reasonable. Many expats find that balancing the convenience of personal transport with the initial outlay can still result in a cost-effective solution over time.

Cost of groceries in Botswana

Shopping for groceries in Botswana can be much less taxing on the wallet compared to many countries in Western Europe or North America. While prices may vary by region and city, everyday food items are generally affordable, allowing for a full pantry without the high expense.

Local markets and supermarkets offer a range of products that cater to both local and international tastes, providing a cost-effective way for expats to enjoy both familiar and new cuisines.

Cost of entertainment and eating out in Botswana

Entertainment and dining out in Botswana can be surprisingly affordable, especially when indulging in local eateries and entertainment venues. From a casual meal at a neighbourhood pub to a night out at the cinema, the prices are modest, allowing for a vibrant social life.

Expats will find that their money goes further here, permitting them to enjoy the diverse cultural experiences and leisure activities that Botswana has to offer without the financial strain experienced in pricier expat hubs.

Cost of education in Botswana

Expats who intend to send their children to an international school in Botswana will pay considerably more than they would at a local public school, but these schools offer an excellent standard of education and highly qualified teachers, while their curricula are internationally recognised.

While the cost of private education may be a significant part of an expat's budget, it remains competitive when compared to the fees of equivalent schools in Western countries. With various options available, parents can select a school that best fits their budgets without compromising on quality education.

Cost of healthcare in Botswana

Public healthcare in Botswana is affordable, thanks to government investment, but the standards and waiting times are variable. Most expats prefer private healthcare.

We advise that expats invest in comprehensive medical insurance when relocating to Botswana. While this could be a high monthly cost, having to pay out of pocket without cover at a private hospital could be exorbitant. Securing a robust health insurance plan is essential for peace of mind and financial predictability in healthcare matters.

Cost of living in Botswana chart

Prices may vary depending on the product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for Gaborone in November 2023.

Accommodation (monthly rent)
Three-bedroom apartment in the city centreBWP 7,300
Three-bedroom apartment outside the city centreBWP 5,600
One-bedroom apartment in the city centreBWP 3,200
One-bedroom apartment outside the city centreBWP 2,200
Food and drink
Dozen eggsBWP 51
Milk (1 litre)BWP 22
Rice (1kg)BWP 21
Loaf of white breadBWP 10.86
Chicken breasts (1kg)BWP 42
Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)BWP 47
Eating out
Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurantBWP 400
Big Mac MealBWP 71
Coca-Cola (330ml)BWP 11.79
CappuccinoBWP 31
Bottle of beer (local)BWP 26
Mobile call rate (per minute – mobile to mobile)BWP 1.68
Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)BWP 700
Basic utilities (average per month for a standard household)BWP 810
Taxi rate/kmBWP 30
City-centre public transport fareBWP 7
Gasoline (per litre)BWP 15

Expat Health Insurance

Cigna Health Insurance

Cigna Global Health Insurance.

Moving your family abroad can be intimidating, but learning about medical options such as family health insurance early on can help you settle successfully.

  • Comprehensive Family coverage, wherever you go
  • Paediatric coverage for well-child visits & immunizations
  • Access to dental and orthodontic care
  • 24/7 multilingual Customer Service

Get a quote from Cigna Global (10% off family health plans in June)

Moving Internationally?

Sirelo logo

International Movers. Get Quotes. Compare Prices.

Sirelo has a network of more than 500 international removal companies that can move your furniture and possessions to your new home. By filling in a form, you’ll get up to 5 quotes from recommended movers. This service is free of charge and will help you select an international moving company that suits your needs and budget.

Get your free no-obligation quotes from select removal companies now!