Packing before a trip is a tricky business. The situation gets much more complicated when it comes to preparing for a trip to a foreign country like Botswana, where you anticipate spending a lot of time in the African wilderness.
The thought of what to wear on a Safari in Botswana can be a bit overwhelming, that is why we made this timely Safari packing list for Botswana safari guide for you.
For that ultimate safari experience that has been on your bucket list for a while, you need the right gear, and the right clothes worn in Botswana. Here is your detailed Botswana packing list to guide you.
Safari Packing List Botswana: Weather In Botswana
Botswana’s climate is a transition between semi-arid and subtropical depending on where in Botswana you are visiting. Like many African countries, Botswana experiences a dry and a wet season as opposed to four seasons (summer, fall, winter, and spring) as seen in colder climates.
The dry season between April and November experiences minimal rainfall, pleasant daytime temperatures, and cold nights. The rainy season is known for high levels of humidity, temperatures above 30 degrees, and afternoon showers.
The Central Kalahari and Southern Botswana regions are drier compared to the northern region. The climate in the north is closer to subtropical.
What to Wear on Safari in Botswana
One of the most important things to consider is having the appropriate attire on your Botswana safari. So, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to ease your burden with this detailed safari packing list for Botswana.
The clothing to pack depends on the time of the year you are visiting, but there are essential pieces you should always bring for a safari trip. Neutral colored shorts and t-shirts are great options for a safari as they blend well with nature and can be a good mix/match piece with other items.
As far as packing for Botswana camping is concerned, it is not advisable to wear bright-colored clothes that will draw unnecessary attention from the animals.
Dark colors absorb sunlight, which will make you feel more uncomfortable in the heat. For protection from sunlight, dust, and insects, it is advisable to cover your legs and arms with long-sleeved shirts preferably cotton shirts.
If you are going on evening game drives, you should remember to pack warm jackets and clothes because the weather will get cold at night, especially during the dry season. Pieces that can easily be layered will help you get the most out of your packed clothes. The goal of this guide is to help you pack the best lightweight safari clothing for your time in Botswana.
For early morning safaris, the best option is to wear multiple layers of clothes so that you can easily take off layers as the temperature goes up after the sunrise. Don’t forget about packing sunglasses and wide-brimmed hats as these are essential for protection from sunlight and dust.
Finally, pack some smart-casual clothes for wearing at bush dinners and other slightly formal events.
For protection from insects and rocks, your best option is to pack closed-toe and comfortable hiking/walking shoes. Appropriate shoes are a must especially if you plan on joining walking safaris in Botswana. On the other hand, wearing sandals or flip flops is more advisable for boat excursions.
Tech & Gear
Spotting animals can be hard; capturing them is even harder! There are cameras made specifically for seeing and capturing wildlife and these have zoom-able wide-angle lenses. To avoid unpleasant surprises, you should also bring a charger and extra memory cards.
When moving through the wild on safari vehicles and trucks, you might need binoculars to spot creatures that are afar of. Although tour guides provide binoculars for guests, you can also bring yours for extra flexibility and convenience.
Some campsites do not have sufficient lighting, having your own torch is a nice perk to have when you need to leave your room at night for some reason. So remember to pack a flashlight.
Water-proof sealable bag
Waterproof sealable bags are a nice perk to have when going on a boat excursion. There’s nothing better than protecting your valuables such as phone, camera, and passport from getting wet. A sealable waterproof bag is a life-saver.
Bird watching books
An introductory book will help you identify the birds you spot on your safari. And there’s an app for birds and plant identification too.
Documents & Details: Safari Packing List Botswana
If you are not a Botswana citizen, a peace corps or a tourist you are required to carry your passport with you at all times, which should come at no surprise. Also, citizens from Canada, the US, or European countries do not need a visa to visit Botswana.
However, it is advisable to bring documents regarding your return ticket and travel insurance. Also, make sure to have some Botswana Pula, the local currency, as some places may not accept foreign currency like US dollars or even credit cards.
If you wish to buy a sim card, you may do so at the airports or from the street vendors.
There are some additional documents you need to provide when crossing the border into Botswana with your car. You need to show a valid international driver’s license, as well as vehicle insurance that is valid for 90 days, vehicle registration documents, and a sticker of the country of the origin of the car. For more detailed information, click here.
Safari Packing List Botswana: Luggage
Luggage restriction is something you need to consider if you are taking small air charters to safari parks. These airline companies will have restrictions on luggage, with many of them allowing between 12-20 kg (26.5 – 44 lbs) per person. It is also helpful to carry recycled/reinforced plastic bags or soft duffle bag type luggage and not hardshell cases.
If your bags weigh more than the designated amount, you might have to arrange the transportation of the extra luggage at an additional cost.
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Hygiene, Toiletries, Medication: Safari Packing List Botswana
The most important type of medication to pack for your Botswana trip is anti-malarial pills. Botswana is in a malaria zone, with the risk drastically increasing as you go north into the Okavango Delta.
For repelling mosquitoes, you can also use DEET-containing insect repellents, and products containing citronella.
We highly recommend bringing a medical kit including essential medications for nasal congestion, pain, upset stomach, nausea, and hay fever. A small first aid kit is always a plus. You might find eye-drops helpful due to the frequent sun and dust exposure you might experience during safari excursions.
The majority of the year is sunny and warm in Botswana. We cannot emphasize enough the importance of sunscreen with a high SPF factor, as well as cream for treating sunburns.
Many lodges provide basic toiletries like soap and shampoo, but you might wish to bring your own, especially if you are going to camp.
Safari Packing List Botswana: What Not to Pack
- Inorganic products that will leave a trace when littered.
- Bright-colored clothing.
- Big bottles of cosmetic products.
Botswana Packing List Packing Tips
- Unlike her East Africa counterparts, Botswana uses two types of plugs – the South African type M with three round pins, and the British type G with three rectangular pins. If you don’t have either, you can also buy an adapter at the airport.
- A journey with an air charter can be shaky depending on the weather. If you don’t want to risk getting motion-sick, have your motion sickness medications within reach.
- Dry shampoo can be beneficial for early mornings when you feel dirty but don’t have enough time to shower before your morning activities.
FAQs for What to Wear on Safari in Botswana
Yes, you can. However, that leaves you vulnerable to insect bites and sunburns, so we strongly advise against it.
Southern Africa countries like Botswana and South Africa which are located in the Southern Hemisphere close to the poles do experience relatively cold weather. It surely does get cold at night and early in the morning, especially during the dry season. The temperatures can drop below 50ºF (10ºC) in the Kalahari area.
You need a passport, but Botswana doesn’t require a visa for citizens from certain countries. Check the official website to see what the current requirement for your country is.
Maun is generally a safe place, and violent crime is rare. However, you still need to be vigilant and protect yourself from petty theft and avoid walking alone in the dark.
Conclusion: Safari Packing List Botswana
Botswana is without a doubt a beautiful, nature-blessed country perfect for your first or next safari tour. You’ll surely leave with experiences you can savor for a lifetime.
Use this comprehensive Botswana packing list complete with clothing, hiking gear, electronics, and more to help you prepare for your trip to see the best things this southern African country has to offer.