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What to Pack for Your Botswana Safari

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Antoinette Booyse

Safari Travel Planner

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Antoinette Booyse

Author: Antoinette Booyse - 9 June 2021

Last Update: 10 May 2024

The long wait is finally over for your Botswana safari!  You have been counting down the days for months, and now your African adventure is only a few weeks away.

When going on a safari, it’s usually a good idea to start packing as soon as possible. Even if you’re a last-minute packer, start compiling a list of everything you’ll need for your Botswana Safari trip as soon as possible.

Safari vehicle observing lions, Botswana.
Safari vehicle observing lions, Botswana.

If you are staying in the bush for a few days, you will not be able to go to the shop fast if you forget something. Below is an excellent starting point for what to bring.

Luggage restrictions and size

Travelling throughout Botswana on your safari holiday, you would most likely be flying between the camps. These light aircraft companies all have restrictions on the size and type of luggage they would allow you to board the aircraft with.

As these aircraft are small, the luggage has to be stored in small compartments in the belly of the plane. Therefore when packing for Botswana, soft duffle bag type luggage is recommended.  There are also weight restrictions for luggage which would normally be around 20 kg (44lbs) which would include your luggage and hand luggage.

Transfer flight over the Okavango Delta, Botswana.
Transfer flight over the Okavango Delta, Botswana.

If you have extra luggage that you will not need on your safari, you may either arrange for storage at Maun Airport or request an additional seat to be booked with your safari at an extra fee to carry your belongings.

Before you start packing for your Botswana safari, it would be best to check with your consultant regarding any luggage restrictions. There is nothing worse than arriving at the airport and needing to repack your luggage.

Clothing

No matter the season you would be packing for on your Botswana safari, it is best to pack light, natural coloured clothing for your safari.

As most wildlife does not define shapes like we do, but rather define objects, it would be best to try and blend in with nature as much as possible.

Woman on a mokoro safari, Botswana.
Woman on a mokoro safari, Botswana.

Soft shades of khaki, brown and grey are good choices.  Whites and bright colours tend to stand out in the bush and dark colours can be very hot.  Also, remember some comfortable items including your swimming costume, to wear around camp.

Walking safari in Botswana.
Walking safari in Botswana.

Comfortable closed walking shoes or hiking boots would protect your feet from any thorns or harsh terrain.  Especially if you are departing on a walking safari. Just make sure you walk them in before arriving in the bush. Packing a pair of flip flops are great for relaxing around camp or when spending time at the pool.

The African sun can be harsh.  Always pack a good SPF sunblock and lip balm together with your sunhat and sunglasses.

Walking safari in Botswana.
Walking safari in Botswana.

During game drives it can become chilly, so best to pack a light rain jacket.  During the winter months remember to add a beanie, scarf and gloves as well.  Also, look at bringing a thicker jacket.

Keep in mind that layering tends to be warmer than one thick item.  Also, packing more lighter items would save space than thick items. In the evening semi-formal clothing would be fine and it would be best to keep your arms and legs covered to not be bothered by mosquitoes too much.

Personal toiletries and Medicines

Most lodges on a Botswana safari would provide some toiletries like shampoo, soap and lotion, but it is always better to pack your own. If you are able to bring smaller quantities, do so as to not add too much to your luggage restriction.

Botswana is in a malaria area and it is recommended to check with your doctor or travel clinic for any precautionary prophylaxis.  Add Insect repellent to your list to also keep any bugs at bay.

Game drive in Botswana.
Game drive in Botswana.

Packing together a small medical kit would be a good idea with some headache tablets and any allergy medication.  Eye drops would also be handy as it can be dusty in the bush. Should you be on any prescription medications, make sure you would have enough for the duration of the trip as there are no chemists in the bush.

Gadgets and Digital Equipment

When travelling to Botswana for your safari, you would not want to be carrying a lot of equipment, but there are definitely a couple of items you should consider;

  • A good camera, in addition to the one on your phone.  Pictures do speak 1000 words and a good camera can really make a difference in capturing your experience.  Maybe add an additional memory card just in case.  You would not want to have to delete some pictures to make space for more.
  • Binoculars are also a must-have item while on safari.  Most camps would have spares, but it is even better to have your own.  While at a sighting, you would not want to have to wait your turn to see a little better or miss out on the action.

To learn more about the wildlife you spot on your Botswana safari, packing a bird or mammal book would help a lot.  However to save on space, maybe have a look at downloading an app on your phone beforehand.

African fish eagle in Botswana.
African fish eagle in Botswana.

Keeping all this in mind, you should be well prepared for your Botswana safari.  But most important on your packing list is to bring yourself, someone to share the experience with and a sense of adventure.  Looking forward to welcoming you to the African bush!


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