What to pack for Botswana

  • The mekoros leak. Yay waterproof boots!
    The mekoros leak. Yay waterproof boots!
    by John195123
  • Do you really want sandals/bare feet in this?
    Do you really want sandals/bare feet in...
    by John195123
  • Camping in the Okavango River Delta
    Camping in the Okavango River Delta
    by John195123

Most Viewed What to Pack in Botswana

  • John195123's Profile Photo

    Go ahead... pack the sink.

    by John195123 Written Feb 17, 2014

    Luggage and bags: Let's face it, Africa is an amazing place, but it's not always as refined as the US or Europe. A rolling bag just isn't practical in many places in Africa, and Botswana is no different. Especially if part of your trip involves the bush, pack in durable containers- hiking backpacks and duffel bags work well.

    Ideally your luggage, or containers inside your luggage, would be water-proof. While Africa isn't often as soggy as a rainforest, it can rain, and out in the wilds, there may not be protection.

    If you plan on time in the bush, such as on a mekoro trip, waterproof luggage and bags are essential, especially for camera gear.

    For sleeping bags and clothes, Outdoor Research (and other companies) make water-proof stuff sacks that protect your stuff while reducing space.

    For cameras, it depends on what you're planning. The backpacks made by LowePro are great, but they may not be waterproof. Consider a hard-sided case, such as a Pelican case, that will protect your camera gear from bumps as well as water.

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Africa is hot. Long, loose clothing, such as products made by Ex Officio, Columbia, and so on, offer great protection from the sun, insects, and weather.

    I always recommend traveling in boots. They protect your feet from many threats- dirty water, fecal matter, animal bites, dangerous plants- and are durable. Sandals are common and, in some places, even high heels are common (which just strikes me as the worst possible shoe choice for certain locations). Anyway, a good pair of boots for the Okavango Delta is probably your best bet. That said, if you need to get out of the mekoro to push, a pair of sandals or deck shoes might come in handy.

    A good sun-hat is useful-to-essential, depending on skin-type. Sunglasses are good to have.

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: There may be no access to medical supplies in the Delta. Bring your own and store them in a water-tight container. Products like Phenergan suppositories may not last long in the hot weather and sun, but are good to have when in the bush.

    I would create a small first-aid kit with a few of all the basics you have at home.

    Pain meds
    Wound cleaning
    Anti-infectives
    Bandaging
    Anything needed for allergic reactions

    Photo Equipment: Bring a good camera. If you've read my profile/homepage posts on photo lessons, you'll hopefully see what a good camera can do. If nothing else, don't settle for the little 18-55mm lens that came free with your camera body. Get a good lens.

    Botswana's bush is dusty and dirty. A cheap camera without environmental protections will get dirty inside- and that's hard to clean. I recommend against push-pull lenses, or lenses from which anything moves in and out of the lens barrel- it will just such dirt into the lens.

    Use a UV/Daylight filter to protect your lens glass.

    Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Many safari/mekoro outfitters provide tents, but you'll need sleeping bags and maybe sleeping mats. Hiking poles could come in handy for many things in the bush. Bring CamelBaks, Nalgenes, Kleen Kanteens or other containers for water, a good filter or Iodine tablets

    Miscellaneous: Sunscreen and bug spray, maybe a mosquito net for your head. A good flashlight/headlamp is important! Bring a lighter.

    The mekoros leak. Yay waterproof boots! Loaded down Do you really want sandals/bare feet in this? Camping in the Okavango River Delta Hot Sun! Bring sunscreen!
    Related to:
    • Jungle and Rain Forest
    • Adventure Travel
    • Safari

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  • DAO's Profile Photo

    BANDAGES

    by DAO Updated Jan 2, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies:

    Botswana seems to have the most sharp pointy thorn trees in the world. One way or another you are going to pick up scratches, possibly some bad ones. Foraging for firewood or just walking around at night usually ends in minor injury. They don’t sell bandages in the bush, so bring your own!

    OUCH !!!! SOME REAL KILLERS OUT THERE !
    Related to:
    • Road Trip
    • Desert
    • Family Travel

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  • smirnofforiginal's Profile Photo

    Wind-up (battery-less) torch

    by smirnofforiginal Written Jan 2, 2010

    2 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Luggage and bags: Frequent power cuts in Botswana and not to mention helping you make your way back to accommodation in the dark, find your shoes in the dark etc... I cannot recommend taking one of these bad boys highly enough. We had 3 between the 4 of us - wish we had had 4. They were the most used items, after the camera and were surprisingly bright.

    Photo Equipment: don't rely purely on recharging batteries - we suffered frequent power cuts and I was most greatful I had bluk standard batteries in supply too.

    Miscellaneous: a book on Southern African animals & birds

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  • JohanIsWeg's Profile Photo

    Binoculars for close encounters

    by JohanIsWeg Updated Jul 8, 2009

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Miscellaneous: Binoculars are a very important accessory for a Botswana safari. It is very frustrating missing out on a cheetah hunt or lion kill just because you forgot to bring binoculars!

    Ensure the one you choose has a high power of magnification; a large outer diameter and a decent exit pupil size to collect a lot of light early morning and at dusk; and a wide field of view to scan undergrowth, bushes and trees.

    The binoculars should be light and comfortable to use when wearing sunglasses. For clarity, use the best quality prisms and optical coatings to cut down on light reflection.

    The binoculars should be fairly robust to survive bumps and drops while on safari.

    Related to:
    • Safari
    • National/State Park
    • Birdwatching

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  • Acirfa's Profile Photo

    General

    by Acirfa Written Sep 27, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Luggage and bags: Make them the soft type, always best for safari holidays

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Good walking shoes, flip flops to wear in the ablution blocks
    In winter a jacket will be required for evenings and early mornings.
    Safari clothes should be made up of natural colours, avoid blues, whites and bright colours.

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: A great investment I found was some wet whipes, anti bacterial ones I took with me and we used them for everything.
    Usual medical supplies and malaria tablets.

    Photo Equipment: Plenty of camera cards. Know your camera or you will miss that split second opportunity.
    Lens cleaner and be aware of keeping your camera out of the dusty atmosphere as much as possible when not in use.

    Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Bags to put rubbish and uneaten or unused food in.

    Miscellaneous: Comfortable, used clothes are the best for this sort of holiday. You will get very dirty and dusty, so be prepared.

    Related to:
    • Desert
    • Photography
    • Safari

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  • Julestoo's Profile Photo

    Things for Botswana

    by Julestoo Written Jan 5, 2008

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Luggage and bags: Pack concisely. Bags most have durable and flexible sides.

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Don't pack to much white for game viewing, this includes this white socks.

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Get the small approximately 4 ounces container of cutter with the orange top. It works best for mosquito repellent, however if you forget it most places have repellent for you to use.

    Photo Equipment: Take your camera and lots of battery and memory cards. The bag will be in the jeep so minimal carrying is required.

    Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Bring long sleeves it gets cool at night.

    Related to:
    • Safari

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  • WildDogs's Profile Photo

    Packing for self-drive camping trip in Botswana

    by WildDogs Written Aug 20, 2007

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Luggage and bags: If you are doing fly-in trips on the little Sesna planes from lodge to lodge the expectation is that the lodges provide you with everything you need from toiletries to doing your laundry, so you really don’t need to take much – and you can’t because your luggage limit is restricted to something the size of a knat’s hanky anyway. Even if you are allowed to take more, follow the principal that less is definitely more, because everything you take has to go in the back of that Landrover, and adds to the general chaos that can ensue once everything has had a good bounce over the roads and has been tossed around the cab like a mixed salad. This is where lots of little bags come in very handy indeed. Another great packing tip is to put your full itinerary with addresses in an open pocket in your luggage, so if it has gone missing, people know where to send it on to.

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Snow & Rock are a great source to help stock up for your expedition. Craghopper trousers are enormously useful with all their pockets. A good web site for stuff is http://www.safariquip.co.uk/ and a list of useful stuff includes:
    • A fleece – you will need layers to strip off/ add on
    • Woolly hat, gloves
    • Hat
    • Sunglasses
    • Binoculars

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: • Sunblock and Lipblock
    • Mozzie repellant
    • First aid kit esp plasters and bandages and headache tablets

    Photo Equipment: Spare charged camera batteries
    A LOT of batteries for: torches, lamp headsets, cameras, GPS (we went through 4 sets for this alone), video camera, etc.
    • Car cigarette-lighter charger

    Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: • Blankets – to cover bear legs on early morning chilly game drives
    • Earplugs – lots of them so you’re not scrabbling around trying to find strays
    • Leatherman tool
    • Small pocket torch
    • Long life candles
    • Veronica Roodt Maps
    • Star maps
    • Plastic wallets for maps
    • Tin opener
    • funnel for water – so you can get water out of larger containers without waste,
    • Bottle opener
    • Corkscrew
    • Knife/ scissors
    • Head-torches
    • Plastic ‘baggies’ for putting food into
    • Plastic bags for putting clothes into
    • Plastic bags to seal things up in from animals and dust and sand
    • Plastic bags to put medicines into so you wouldn’t have bulky bottles
    • Plastic bags to put coffee powder, sugar etc into, so you wouldn’t have bulky packaging
    • Did I mention plastic bags
    • Antiseptic wet wipes – these were incredibly useful to try and keep the bush at bay
    • small plastic water drinking bottles

    Miscellaneous: Food packing - Bush Tucker doesn’t have to be a trial; it can be the real highlight of a trip like this, especially if you bring packets of casserole mixes

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  • TracyG's Profile Photo

    Antimalarials a must!

    by TracyG Updated Jun 14, 2005

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Luggage and bags: A backpack is by far the best option, unless you are planning to do an organized trip and then either will do - as long as it is light....

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: It can get very very hot, at any time of the year, so light breathable clothes, but also take a jumper just in case, because the nights - particularly in the Kalahari can get quite cold at any time of year.

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Your own needles and also anti-malarials and insect repellant.

    Photo Equipment: Away from the tourist centres, it is very difficult to get the film or special camera batteries that you need, so it is probably best to buy in the cities or bring it from elsewhere.

    Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: A waterproof jacket will come in handy for keeping you both warm and dry, should you need either.

    Miscellaneous: A torch is invaluable, particularly in rural areas.

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  • peasofmin's Profile Photo

    Mosquito Repellent a must

    by peasofmin Written Feb 12, 2005

    Luggage and bags: Light weight. No suit cases.

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Layers people. Its hot in noon but very cold in the mornings. Remember u r in a desert. A beanie cap is a must.

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Wet wipes you know why ;-) You wil be in a jungle and facilities are real basic.

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  • pmarshuk's Profile Photo

    Packing List

    by pmarshuk Updated Jul 12, 2004

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    Luggage and bags: As most of the moving around between camps is done by light aircraft you have to be able to put all you stuff into a small soft bag as it has to be sqeezed in wherever possible in the plane - either the hold or on a seat.

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Adventure Travel

    Photo Equipment: To do the wildlife justice take a good camera with you, preferably with a reasonable zoom lens. Although most of the time a digital camera will be ok - there will be occasions when they are just not quick enough to capture the moment. For instance just when that lion is poised to leap!!
    Also a good pair of binoculars are essential.

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  • Flyboy9MR's Profile Photo

    Safari Gear

    by Flyboy9MR Written Aug 2, 2003

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Luggage and bags: Pack Light!

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Good hiking boots. Comfortable socks. Bring warm cloths. I lost my luggage and didn't have it with me, and best investment was a thick sweatshirt. Also bought a knit skull cap there - to cover my ears at night.

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Malaria medication is a must during certain times of the year and especially in certain parts of country. Lodge supplied insect repellents, but if yours doesn't, have some with you.

    Photo Equipment: Get the BEST camera you can afford - digital or analog. Get a good zoom/telephoto.

    Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Wear layers. Add/remove as necessary. I especially like those pants that unzip into shorts.

    Miscellaneous: Don't BRING YOUR CELL!!! There are spots in high ground with a signal, but WHY? The beauty is you're away from normal life. Don't bring it with you.

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  • janiac's Profile Photo

    Packing List

    by janiac Updated Mar 29, 2003

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: If you go to Chobe in June, July, August, be prepared for some very chilly mornings and cool evenings. The days were nice. For morning safaris we actually wore fleece and winter jackets and gloves. Here we are enjoying a breakfast packed by the lodge at a camping ground overlooking the river. Pictured with us is our GREAT guide, Sam

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Don't forget bug spray and sunscreen if you're on Doxy

    Related to:
    • Safari

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  • IslandPixie's Profile Photo

    Packing List

    by IslandPixie Written Aug 25, 2002

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    Luggage and bags: The Batswana are generally a very honest people, so your bags should be fairly safe from petty theft. Most crime, but not all,is committed by Zimbabwean or South African illegal immigrants. Most bags should be safe as long as you keep an eye on them. Waterproof bags would be useful if you are planning on hitching during the summer months (October to March)

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: An umbrella is useful for the summer storms or alternatively for keeping the baking sun from frying your brains. In winter (April to September) it can get nippy at night, so take a sweater and some pants.

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Anti malarial drugs are a must.
    Anti bacterial cream is also handy as any small cut can easily develop an infection.
    A good mosquito repellant is very useful, and a very high protection sun cream is necessary if you plan to be out in the sun for more than 15 minutes at a time (factor 30 is what I used, with zinc block for lips and nose)

    Photo Equipment: If going out into the bush forget recharging anything - just take extra batteries along with you. If your camera takes anything other than a really standard battery you will have difficulty finding replacements, even in the major centres sometimes. There are some beautiful photo's to be taken, so don't miss out.

    Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Mosquito coils and mosquito repellant are useful to have along. Available at any supermarket in Botswana.

    A tented camp can be fairly well equipped, but don't expect all the comforts of home unless you have taken a very expensive tour. Sometimes your toilet may consist of a spade, toilet paper, and matches to burn the paper! But remember that when you are on THIS kind of trip you are seeing Africa the way Africans do!

    Always take plenty of water if you are out on your own -so many people underestmaite how much they will need, and that sun is hot.

    Don't take citrus fruit when you go camping - some elephants have developed a taste for these things and will trash your camp if they smell oranges! This happened to two groups that I know of - it's not a rural legend!

    Miscellaneous: Sometime those little neccessities like tampons can be hard to find even in the major centres. Take your own, just to be sure. Same applies to dental floss.

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  • c_mesteller's Profile Photo

    Packing List

    by c_mesteller Written Aug 24, 2002

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    Luggage and bags: I recommend taking as little as possible. If you are travelling into the remote areas, you don't want to have to carry around a lot of heavy bags. Small, sturdy, easy to carry.

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: No need for any dress up stuff here, that's for sure. Bring a hat for sun protection, comfortable walking shoes, a rain slicker or poncho, and a variety of shorts, shirts and pants. Something warm at night is helpful too. Bring easy to wash cotton or cotton blends. Loose items will be most comfortable in the scorching heat.

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: I never had any problems with either the water, or with eating any raw fruits or vegetables since I was in rural areas. Everything was very clean, but its probably a good idea to have some pepto bismol or imodium. Bring plenty of sun screen and insect repellent. Tsetse flies hurt a lot when they bite! It was useful to have some sting relief lotion as well as aloe vera lotion. Also, carry something for blisters.

    Photo Equipment: If you are going camping, there won't be any stores. So bring lots of extra batteries.

    Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: One of the most useful items I took with me was a little flashlight that could also double as a lamp.

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  • Packing List

    by DaKoyote Written Aug 24, 2002

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    Luggage and bags: Very light backpack...don't pack heavy...!!

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Bring a small variety of clothes for hot and cold weather. I was there during August 2000 and it was very hot during the day and very cold at night.

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Travel toilet paper!!!

    Photo Equipment: Bring a light weight camera with a great zoom. Also bring fast film to catch animals on the run and in the dark.

    Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Bring a sleeping bag and a small travel pillow. Don't forget a small flashlight, mosquito repellent ( i would recommend 'jungle juice'...it works great...didn't get bit once!!) Bring a light weight pair of binoculars...they don't have to be the BEST out there, you can get fairly close to the animals...but not too close!!!

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