What to Pack for Your Safari in Botswana

Equipment not to be forgotten on a safari.Equipment not to be forgotten on a safari.

While there are a number of items such as your passport, visa (should you require one) and other travel related documents that one usually assumes will be required when travelling to Botswana on safari, there are a few items that may be slightly less obvious.

What to Wear

Botswana is known to reach temperatures of 35C - 40C (96F - 104F) during the hot summer months between October and April and it is advised that travellers pack high SPF factor sunscreen and lip protection as well as a water bottle, wide brimmed hats, bandannas and sunglasses.

If you wear prescription glasses and/or sunglasses it is recommended that you pack an extra pair in case these get damaged during your travels. A handy tip for travellers wearing contact lenses is to pack a pair of glasses to wear while on game drives to protect your eyes from dust and small insects.Safari clothing during the day usually consists of neutral coloured shorts and t-shirts or shirts. Bright colours and white clothing are not advisable on safari as you want to blend in with your surroundings as best as possible, dark coloured or black clothing is also not advisable as this can be very hot. Visitors with particularly sun-sensitive skin may want to consider purchasing a few lightweight long-sleeved cotton or linen shirts to wear as these will protect your arms as well.

Closed and comfortable, worn-in walking shoes and socks are a necessary addition to all luggage, especially if you will be embarking on a walking safari tour during your tour package. Holiday makers may also wish to pack sandals or thongs for in the showers and during any boating excursions and their swimming costumes.At night some safari lodges require semi-formal clothing for dinner; which in the African bush refers to long-sleeved shirts and long pants or summer dresses. Covering your legs and arms at night is advised as the mosquitos can become a nuisance. Evening game drives can be quite cool especially if you are sitting at the very back of the vehicle and it is always advisable to pack an extra warm layer, such as a fleece jacket and jeans or corduroys for the cooler nights and multiple layers of clothing is generally advisable over thick heavy items.

Personal Toiletries and Medical Requirements

Insect repellents such as Mylol, Peaceful Sleep and Tabard or any citronella based product are also a good thing to pack and can be very useful. Southern Botswana is considered to be a low-risk malaria area, while northern Botswana is a high-risk location and visitors entering the country are advised to consult their travel clinic or local doctor prior to travelling to the country and to take the precautionary prophylaxis.

Many lodges and camps provide basic toiletries and amenities but you may wish to bring your own personal toiletries along as well. A small medical kit with basic supplies is also recommended especially for travellers that suffer from hay fever and other allergies. Eye-drops are also a good addition to your medical aid kit.

Books, Binoculars, Digital Equipment & Gadgets

Binoculars and longer lenses for cameras are THE prerequisite to ensuring the optimal sighting and photographs of both birds and animals. If you do not have binoculars your safari guide will be able to lend you a pair if a particular sighting requires them.

But, as always, it's just nicer to have your own.

Avid bird watchers ought to pack their bird watching books in order to note of the different species that they encounter. All the lodges have small, interesting libraries. And since you will have so much to see and do, the only time you will only really need to have something to read is while you are on your international commercial flight home.Pack your own universal adaptors, battery chargers and camera chargers. Really avid photographers should pack extra flash cards, memory sticks or cards. You may want to pack a water-proof seal-able bag for your equipment storage whilst you are on a boat or makoro. You never know...

A flashlight is always a useful addition to any safari adventurer's bag, as is a Swiss Army knife. However if you are carrying any knives - remember to remove them from your hand luggage when travelling through airports otherwise they will be confiscated.

Luggage Restrictions

Light Aircraft companies place restrictions on the size, weight and type of luggage passengers can travel with. This includes weight restrictions of 12 - 20 kilograms (26.7lbs - 44.1lbs) and that travellers use soft duffle bag type luggage instead of hard shell cases.

If you are going to need to carry more than this, arrangements have to be made at the time you are making your reservations with us

Luggage that cannot be stowed in the cargo bay of the plane, will either be left in storage at the airport (Maun or Kasane) until your return, OR if space allows, transported in your plane at an extra charge.

If your plane is already full with other passengers, your luggage will be transported on the next available flight at an extra charge.

A Starting List

  • Light cotton pants, tops, shirts and sweaters
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Sandals
  • Fleece jackets, jerseys, rain jacket and a windbreaker
  • Insect repellent
  • Bathing costume
  • Sunglasses, sunscreen and a hat
  • Camera and binoculars
  • For winter, pack an extra warm jacket, woolen hat and scarf and gloves
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Enough Prescription medicines - you will NOT get any in the bush
African Safaris Guide to South and East Africa
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