What to bring
What you bring on a trip to Botswana depends on your personal preferences, the length of your trip, where you travel, and the time of year. We can give you some tips based mostly on personal experiences, and you can then improvise accordingly.
Dress on safari is functional and casual, yet neat and presentable in the lodges. Your choice of colour is important. As a general rule, khaki is your best bet. We suggest you dress in subdued colours during game drives to avoid alerting animals. The best for safaris and game walks are khaki, brown, olive and beige. White is not a suitable colour for these activities because, firstly, it increases your visibility to the animals that you want to get a closer look at, and secondly, it will get dirty very quickly. Wearing neutral-coloured clothing will also reflect the sun, keeping you cooler. On safari, most people wear shorts and a T-shirt during the day and change to a long-sleeved shirt and long pants in the evening for warmth as well as protection from mosquitoes. A loose cotton shirt is essential during the day if you are particularly sensitive to the sun. A fleece or sweater and a windbreaker are necessary for game drives, as well as hats and gloves when going on an early morning game drive. It is highly possible that you may go out on a hot day but be faced with a chill evening on your return. Some areas have a steep temperature gradient with very hot days and very cool nights. Remember that layering your clothing will keep you warmer than relying on one thick item.
As you will experience a wide range of temperatures and weather conditions, we suggest packing several layers of clothing. Bring clothing made of cotton or cotton-synthetic blends. If you like to hand-wash your clothes, bring socks and underwear, and even shirts and pants made of silk, synthetics, or a cotton-synthetic blend that will dry out overnight.
When travelling with a companion, we recommend 'cross-packing', packing two outfits of your clothing in your companion's luggage and vice-versa, in case one bag is delayed.
Include comfortable but protective clothing for your safari. Long-sleeved shirts help protect your arms from the sun, and long pants will help protect you from mosquitoes, especially in the evenings. You may also want to bring along a warm jacket for cool nights. In addition, you'll want to bring some 'dressier clothes' if you plan to be in one of the larger African cities where more formal attire is appropriate.
A hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, moisturiser, lip salve, strong insect repellent, anti-histamine cream and tablets should always be carried. All camps have shampoo and body lotion. Pack a medical kit with painkillers, bug repellents, anti-diarrhoea pills, bandages, and antiseptics.
- Clothes - all camps have a daily laundry service, so do not bring too many outfits
- Binoculars - one pair per person is a must
- Torch - one per person is a must (with spare batteries)
- Glasses - if you wear prescription glasses bring a spare pair
- If you wear contact lenses bring a pair of glasses as well since dust can be a problem
- Camera equipment
- an adapter for recharging
- Telephoto lens (minimum 200/300mm)
- Flash for night photography
- Camera cleaning equipment and a good dust proof bag
- Spare batteries, camera battery and storage cards
It is very hot in the summer months, between October and April, with temperatures regularly reaching 40 Celsius (104 Fahrenheit). The recommended clothing items during the day are shorts and a T-shirt. If you sunburn easily, consider taking long-sleeved T-shirts for day wear. Choose clothes in neutral colours. In the evenings, when mosquitoes are active, wear a long-sleeved shirt and long pants.
- 2 pairs of khaki cotton pants
- 2 pairs of sturdy shorts
- 1 skirt or dress slacks for hotel evenings (optional)
- 3-5 short-sleeved t-shirts
- 2 long sleeved shirts (for sun protection as well as warmth)
- 1 light sweater or sweatshirt
- 1 lightweight raincoat/windbreaker or a waterproof poncho
- 1 pair of worn-in walking shoes or trainers/sneakers
- 1 pair of sandals or rubber thongs (for showers and boating)
- underwear (Ladies we highly recommend a sports bra for the bumpy roads)
- swimming costume
- 2-4 bandannas or handkerchiefs (many uses!)
- 1 hat with a broad brim
Between May and September, the weather is dry and relatively cool. The daytime temperatures range from 23-28 degrees Celsius (73-83 Fahrenheit). While you will be comfortable wearing t-shirts and short sleeves for most of the day, early mornings and evenings can be very cold. Afternoon game drives and boat trips usually return to camp after sunset, so it is important to dress suitably. Layers are the most practical for Botswana's fluctuating day/night temperatures.
In addition to the list of clothing above, in the cooler months, you should also carry the following:
- track suit
- extra sweater or fleece
- warm jacket
- scarf and Gloves
Be sure to include good walking shoes that are comfortable and already broken in; do not make the mistake of bringing brand new shoes. We also recommend you bring a pair of rubberised sandals for mokoro rides, showering, wearing around the lodge, and general warm weather use.
All the camps offer a laundry service that is included in your total safari cost. However, the camp staff does not wash underwear owing to local traditions.
The African sun is very harsh, so high SPF sunscreen and lip balm are a must, as well as a sunhat, sun lotion and sunglasses. Covering up in the sun is the best approach to ultraviolet ray protection.
VERY IMPORTANT NOTICE
There is a very strict weight restriction on all light aircraft. The limit is 20kgs per person, which MUST be packed into soft bags. This is to make it easy for the luggage to be stowed on the aircraft. Rigid suitcases will be rejected and left behind with our representative.