Health Alert – U.S. Embassy Gaborone, Botswana

Location:  Botswana

Event:  Commercial Flights Ending

The Embassy has learned that as of March 29, there will be no flights out of Botswana on any commercial airline until further notice.  Ethiopian Airlines will operate its final flight on Saturday, March 28, flight ET 829 departing at 15:20 local time.  U.S. citizens who are considering returning to the United States are urged to make travel arrangements while flights are still available.  Please contact Ethiopian Airlines directly to book seats on this flight.

For those in northern Botswana, Ethiopian Airlines is still operating daily flights out of Lusaka, Zambia through Addis Ababa to the United States until further notice.   U.S. citizens may exit Botswana using the Kazungula ferry crossing of the River Zambezi, and can apply for a visa upon entry into Zambia.  Questions about visas and crossing can be directed to Zambian immigration authorities at and or by phone at +260 211 428 800 Monday through Friday from 8:00 to 17:00.  There are flight options from Livingstone to Lusaka, or a private car may be arranged to avoid contact with more individuals on buses or public transport in Zambia.  Speak to your hotel or lodge in Botswana about arranging transportation to Lusaka.  They may or may not be able to assist.

Please note that the situation in Ethiopia is fluid and subject to change without notice.

Ethiopian Airlines is continuing flights through Saturday, March 28.  As a result, Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa is the de facto repatriation hub for U.S. travelers.  As of Monday, March 23, 2020, the Government of Ethiopia (GoE) has instituted a mandatory 14-day quarantine procedure for all individuals entering Ethiopia.  There are two different types of passengers and at this time, they are being treated as follows:

Ethiopia as a final destination:  Individuals must quarantine at their own expense at one of these designated hotels:

Skylight Hotel – or +251 116 818 181

Ghion Hotel – or +251 115 513 222

The Skylight Hotel should be the first choice since it is in close proximity to the airport. Please note that the Ghion Hotel is the less expensive hotel, but the Embassy has received numerous complaints about the condition of the hotel (no hot water, unclean, limited food) so travelers should be aware that the hotel may not meet their expectations based on U.S. standards.

Transit Passengers: At this time, transiting commercial passengers are quarantined at one of the above hotels until it is time to return to Bole International Airport for their flight to the United States.  If a passenger arrived on a regularly-scheduled commercial flight they can remain in temporary quarantine until their next flight.  If the layover will exceed one overnight stay in Ethiopia, there is a risk in the traveler will be subject to a mandatory quarantine situation.  We strongly recommend transiting passengers make every attempt to avoid layovers requiring an overnight stay.

Symptomatic Passengers:  If any transiting passengers appear symptomatic for COVID-19 (likely manifested through the presence of a fever), they will be taken to Bole Chefa Health clinic to be further tested.  These individuals must remain under the supervision of medical professionals within Ethiopia until cleared. Bole Chefa Health Clinic does not approximate U.S. standards for care or comfort.

As of March 25, Batswana and Botswana residents returning from high-risk countries will be subjected to 14-day mandatory quarantine in a government-approved facility.

Effective March 23, U.S. Embassy Gaborone has suspended routine consular services. For emergency American Citizens Services, including emergency passports, please visit our website for additional information at

Issuance of Botswana visas at ports of entry for any person from a high-risk area has been suspended.  Those traveling to, but who have not entered, Botswana no longer have valid visas, nor will they receive visas on arrival.  Those without residency or citizenship in Botswana will be denied entry.  Those visa holders from high-risk countries already in Botswana should consider their visas valid.

Travelers should be prepared for additional travel restrictions to be put into effect with little or no advance notice.

Individuals who demonstrate specific symptoms related to COVID-19 should call their health care provider or the MoHW Emergency Operations line at 363-2273/2756/2757 for further instructions.

Actions to Take: