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What To Pack for a Safari in Botswana

Written by  Paige

What To Pack for a Safari in Botswana

Stuck on what to pack for your Botswana safari experience? Here are some recommendations to help you plan and pack everything you need for your Botswana adventure.

1. Bags & Suitcases

Depending on whether you take the six or nine night Mobile Safari, you will have one or two light aircraft flights.

On these flights, you are restricted to 20kg in total (for both carry-on and checked luggage) which must be packed in soft luggage as the planes used are small charter planes that are heavily regulated. The maximum dimensions for the luggage is 70x35x30cm. We strongly recommend taking duffel/soft bags as they are more malleable and easier to fit into the belly of the aircraft above and vehicles in general.

If you bring above the restricted amount you will be asked to leave items behind or to travel without your luggage so make sure you are within the guidelines.

2. Clothes

Depending on the time of year, you may need to pack warmer or cooler clothing when travelling to Botswana.

During the summer months, between November and April, it is very hot in the middle of the day, becoming cooler but still warm at night. The average daytime temperatures are around 35°C, dropping to low 20s during the night. Botswana is a summer rainfall region and late afternoon showers are common from December to April.  If you are travelling in summer, a good jumper is recommended, as it can get rather cool, especially if you are doing any boat trips as well as a light raincoat.

During the winter months, between May and October, it can go below freezing at night in drier areas but during the day it warms up substantially to about 25°C. Early morning or late evening game drives on an open vehicle can be chilly, so it is recommended to take a good jacket, scarf, gloves and a warm hat. Dressing in layers is the best way to deal with the varying temperatures during the winter months, and a windproof jacket is also a good idea.

It is generally recommended that you bring neutral coloured clothing (khaki, brown, olive, stone, beige or grey etc.) but when travelling in the vehicle, most colours are fine but light colours are generally cooler. Dark blue and black clothing are not recommended. Bring clothing that can be hand washed easily and dried quickly.

It is recommended that you take some good walking boots or trainers and some study sandals (to protect your feet from thorns on the ground). You may want to take flip flops for boating excursions.

Most time on safari is spent outdoors in the open safari vehicle, where you may have a sunny seat for periods of the day. High-factor sun cream, a wide brimmed hat and sunglasses are recommended for sun protection, as well as a cool, light long-sleeved shirt.

While staying in Maun or Kasane, you may want to take a dip in the lodge’s pools, so feel free to bring swimwear. 

3. Medicines

There will be a comprehensive First Aid kit on board the safari vehicles, but if you take daily medication, ensure you pack enough to last for your entire trip and a few days extra too.

Malaria risk is present throughout the year in Botswana, so malaria precautions are essential. Avoid mosquito bites by covering up with clothing such as long sleeves and long trousers especially after sunset and by using insect repellent on exposed skin. There will be insect repellent provided on board the safari vehicles, but you can bring your own.

For antimalarial medication and malaria advice, please consult your local GP or local travel clinic.

For travel vaccinations, please consult your local GP or travel clinic.

The NHS Fit For Travel website offers good advice for travelling to Botswana.

4. Toiletries

While on safari and in the lodges, towels, shampoo and soap/shower gel are provided. This means you need to pack any personal toiletries e.g. toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, sun cream, lip balm, conditioner, moisturiser etc.

5. Gadgets

Photo opportunities on safari are endless. As well as a digital camera, don’t forget to pack the accessories that go with it: spare batteries, battery charger and plenty of memory cards.

Binoculars, even if you are not a birder, are a must for safari. It’s a good idea to bring a pair for each person you are travelling with, to avoid disappointment when spotting small and large game.

Although lighting around the campsites is provided, a torch and/or a head torch are essential before sunrise and at night. There will be an LED powered lamp inside your tent, but a handheld or head torch may be useful for bed-time reading or midnight trips to the loo! 

All safari vehicles are fitted with 220 volt inverters which are linked to Botswana plug sockets for easy charging. Charging facilities can be used for recharging mobile phones, camera or torch batteries only. Please do not bring hairdryers, electric razors or electric toothbrushes for use whilst on safari.

There is no phone signal, Internet access or Wi-Fi when on a mobile safari, so prepare to be disconnected from the outside world. In case of emergencies, a radio is used.

6. Refillable Water Bottle

Filtered water is supplied on safari, so a reusable water bottle is strongly recommended. There will be a fridge either on the vehicle or the trailer so cold drinks are available to guests at all times on game drives.

7. Books

Your guide will have books on the fauna and flora of Botswana to hand in the safari vehicle. On a typical mobile safari day, after lunch, the rest of the afternoon is free to relax. You may want to bring a book, a pack of cards or other entertainment for the siesta between morning and afternoon game drives.

8. Money

The currency in Botswana is the Botswana Pula (approximate exchange rate: 14BWP = 1GBP), and US Dollars are widely accepted throughout the country. Credit and debit cards can be used in many shops and restaurants, and can also be used to withdraw money from cash machines. You can exchange Euros, GBP and US Dollars in both Maun and Kasane.

Mobile safaris are fully inclusive and the only cash required is for tipping your guide and crew. Tipping is optional and the amount is entirely up to you, but we recommend using the following guidelines:

  • Guide: USD 10.00 per person per day
  • Safari Chef: USD 5.00 per person per day
  • General Staff: USD 5.00 per person per day

We offer two Botswana travel packages, with extensions to Namibia and South Africa available. If you’d like to experience mobile camping on a Botswana safari trip for yourself, browse our Botswana holidays here or call 020 7263 3000 to speak to an expert.