It is good to know that Botswana’s wildlife reserves and national parks are not fenced, so it is possible that wandering wildlife as well as domestic animals will wander onto the main roads and in and around towns. Public bathrooms are mostly basic and might lack items such as toilet paper and hand soap, so if one if travelling through the country by road and exploring the parks on a self-drive basis, it is advisable to pack bathroom essentials. Having said that, it is not permitted to disembark one’s vehicle inside the parks unless at a designated stretch point or picnic spot; and it is important to note that even those areas are not protected from roaming wildlife, so travellers must remain vigilant when walking around campsites, stretch points, and ablution blocks.
When entering a national park as an independent traveller (i.e. without a guide), one must have the adequate cash to pay for park fees, which include entrance fees per person and vehicle fees per day, in addition to a printed voucher indicating that accommodation/campsite has been booked in your name. If planning a self-driven holiday in Botswana, it is essential to book accommodation in the parks beforehand.
Part of the beauty of Botswana’s wild areas is that they remain that way and have not been tampered with. Lodges and camps are environmentally friendly and have a low impact on the surroundings; some of them are so lightweight that they can pack up and close during seasonal floods in the Delta, and then reopen in April until October. It is important to note that electricity and water are often solar-powered and gas heated, and the plumbing systems are ecologically sensitive, so travellers should treat the systems and facilities with care.
Campsites in the parks are remote, and can be the best part of a day’s drive away from a town, so packing camping essentials such as fuel, water, food, ice, and firewood must be considered before embarking on the journey.