Trans Kalahari Highway from Walvis Bay, Namibia to Lobatse or Ramatlabama, Botswana

Although the Trans Kalahari Highway is only partially in Namibia, it is used mainly by travellers to and from Namibia. It brings about a saving of some 400km between Windhoek and Pretoria.
It is useful to consider the following when using the highway from either South Africa or Namibia


Border posts -

  • Namibia = Buitepos / Botswana = Mamuno - 07:00 -> 24:00
  • South Africa =
    • Skilpadshek / Botswana = [Lobatse] Pioneer Gate - 07:00 -> 24:00
    • Ramatlabama / Botswana = Ramatlabama - 07:00 -> 24:00

      • No hunting rifles are permitted through Botswana
      • No fresh meat, fish or dairy products may cross the Botswana border without a permit
      • No firewood may be taken across the border in either direction


Vehicle requirements -

  • You will be required to purchase third party insurance for every vehicle at the Botswana border post. The cost of this insurance is 20 Pula per vehicle, and the disk is valid for the year of issue. This applies to trailers and caravans as well.
  • A 'wheel tax' is payable on all vehicles passing through Botswana. It is possible to pay for your return journey at the point of first entry, thereby saving time on the return.
  • It is advisable to carry proof of ownership and registration of the vehicle/s with you. [I have personally never had to produce these, but it is little enough trouble]
  • Should you be driving a rented vehicle, a police clearance certificate may be advisable. [Be guided by the rental company]
  • Towing a boat through Botswana requires a permit. This permit cannot be obtained at the border post but must already be in your posession.
  • The wearing of seat belts by all occupants is compulsory in Botswana.

Money matters -

  • The Namibia Dollar (NAD) is not legal tender in Botswana. (It is now accepted by selected service stations and border posts, but not necessarily at an advantageous exchange rate. — January 2007)
  • The South African Rand (ZAR) is accepted most everywhere in Botswana, but not always at an advantageous exchange rate.
  • Visa and Master Card are widely accepted in Botswana. Be aware that Service stations and shops are at times unable to process Credit Cards. You are strongly advised to have either Pula or Rand available to cover this eventuality.
  • Cards are not accepted at the Ramatlabama BP service station. (June 2007)
  • Garage/Petro/Motor cards are not accepted at fuel stations, but mostly fuel can be purchased using either Visa or Mastercard.
  • Both petrol and diesel are, as a rule, cheaper in Botswana than in Namibia and South Africa.
  • See the Trans Kalahari Map for fuel stops - we update this regularly.

General -

  • The Batswana are a friendly people and proud of their country. They don't take kindly to littering, and have laws in place to combat this.
  • Cellphone coverage along the route is provided by Orange or MASCOM from Pioneer Gate through Lobatse, Kanye and Jwaneng up to Sekoma. Coverage in the immediate vicinity of Kang, Tsootsha and Charles Hill is also provided. On the Namibian side, cellphone coverage starts from Buitepos.
  • A stop-over just outside Kang (Midway between the border posts) offers chalets, camping/caravan sites, rooms, shop and a restaurant in addition to the normal Service station facilities. They accept Namibian- and South African currency.
  • B&B facilities are available in the village of Kang, a little way off the highway.
  • Jwaneng has a casino with accommodation as well as the Cezar's Hotel on the highway.
  • The standard of the Trans Kalahari Highway is good, albeit boring due to lack of sights.
  • The long straight stretches entice you to speed - DON'T ! - The traffic police have been known to place their electronic traps at unexpected places (like at the speed-limit sign) and speeding could prove an expensive and time-consuming exercise. Traffic fines need to be paid in cash on the spot, and then in Pula.
  • Much of the highway is not fenced. Be on the lookout for stray animals at all times. (The standard, and frequency of fencing improves everytime I travel the route — November 2011)
  • Pedestrians may be expected close to settlements. [Which is why most settlement areas call for at most 80kph]
  • When using the Ramatlabama border post we find the route to Kanye via Lobatse to be the easier and quicker one. There are fewer speed restrictions on it, and it bypasses Kanye. The signage at the new Lobatse traffic circle proves to be somewhat confusing, requiring careful consideration.


  • Official motorcades can be expected anywhere in Namibia, and are normally easily identified by the outriders on motorcycles, flashing blue lights and sirens. These motorcades mostly travel at excessive speed
  • Take note that by law you are prohibited from overtaking an official motorcade, regardless of the speed at which it may be travelling.
  • It is further required of all vehicular traffic (both directions) to stop off the road surface when a motorcade approaches from the front or rear.
  • Roadblocks should be considered part of the Namibian scenery and, as a rule, do not cause too much of a delay.
  • Do yourself a favour and approach these little hassles with a sense of humour — it is no fun to fall foul of the law in Namibia.

Updated 6 July, 2013