When packing for a Botswana safari, it can be tough deciding what is of vital importance and what is just going to take up valuable space in your luggage. But fear not, fellow adventurers! We at Timbuktu have devised the ultimate guide for what to pack for Botswana. Keep it by your side, and you’ll have everything you need and nothing you don’t…
Bags and suitcases
Before we even get started on our what to pack for Botswana list, it’s important to know how you’ll be travelling around. Many charter flights do not allow hard-edged suitcases, as all space needs to be utilised effectively on the teeny-tiny planes. As a rule of thumb, try to keep all belongings under 20kg of weight, as this will ensure that there is no confusion when boarding and that your bag will definitely travel with you. There’s not much chance of storing excess luggage when roaming the wetland waterways of the Okavango Delta!
The aim for any wilderness journey is an authentic experience, admiring all that nature has to offer. Whether on foot, in a vehicle or even a boat, blending into one’s surroundings is of critical importance. Many of the animals you’ll encounter on safari do not rely on sight in the same capacity as humans and instead make out shapes rather than defined objects. This is why neutral-coloured clothing (soft shades of khaki, brown or grey, with broken patterns), not whites and brights, should make up the bulk of what to pack for Botswana.
Whilst most camps have good medical boxes, it might be wise to take some of your own supplies with you too. This is especially important if you take daily medication – pack enough to last for your entire trip, and a few days extra too. Also remember any malaria tablets or medication that you have been advised to take by a medical professional, specifically for your trip. In your personal medicine pack, you may like to include rehydration salts, plasters, antiseptic cream and antihistamine tablets or cream – nothing scares off animals like a sneeze. True story.
Ah, those bulky bottles that always make your bag so much heavier than you think… Well, we’ve got some tips and tricks on what you can cut down and what is absolutely essential when it comes to what to pack for Botswana. Pretty much all camps and lodges will provide shampoo, shower gel (or soap) and a body lotion, whilst some even go as far to have conditioner. Leave them all behind and simply pack the essentials – we’re talking a toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, sunscreen and lip balm. Done.
We’re not talking necklaces and handbags (although if you’d like to bring some colourful jewellery for the evenings, please do!), but instead the safari accessories that are pretty much essential in any what to pack for Botswana guide. If any of the team are travelling, you can usually find us with all of the following: a soft broad-brimmed hat or a beanie (depending on the season), a lightweight jacket, sunnies, gloves for the early morning chill, a kikoy or sarong, and last but not least, some flip flops – even if you’re not going to the beach, throw a pair in and wear them around the lodge and by the campfire.
We certainly don’t advocate bringing a host of expensive gadgets and electrical accessories that require endless charging, but there are definitely a couple of things worth considering here. A pair of binoculars is a must and whilst most camps will have a spare, having your own is even better. A good camera (aside from the one on your phone) can really make a difference to your experiences, as can a bird or mammal book. And if you don’t want to bring the whole book, there are great apps out there that can be downloaded to phones and iPads.