What to Pack on a Safari to Botswana

Don't forget to pack your sense of wonder
by Ross The Ranger
3 min read

Packing for a big five safari can be daunting. It’s tough deciding what is of vital importance and what is just going to take up valuable space in your luggage. Fear not fellow adventurers! The Timbuktu team have devised the ultimate what to pack for Botswana list.

Due to the remote nature of most Botswana safari regions, it is not easy to find overlooked necessities or places to store excess belongings as you roam from the Linyanti woodlands to the wetland water ways of the Delta. Before attempting to pack for such an expedition (or any expedition for that matter), becoming au fait with one’s itinerary is a must. Without knowing the details of your trip it is impossible to pack strategically for it.

Find all our top safaris in Botswana here.

what to pack for Botswana

It is important to take note of light aircraft charters on your itinerary, as this will alter the type of luggage applicable to your adventure.

Many charter planes do not allow any hard-edged suitcases, as all space needs to be utilised effectively on flights. As a rule of thumb try to keep all belongings packed under 20kg of weight, as this will ensure that there is no confusion when boarding your aerial transfer. As much as you will love the locals, we’re pretty sure you don’t want to give them half your wardrobe in an attempt to lighten your load. So think twice of what to pack for Botswana.

Now that you know your packing limitations, lets focus on the practicality of items selected for this safari packing list. The aim for any wilderness journey is an authentic wild experience, admiring all
that nature has to offer. Whether through a lens, on foot, or by boat, blending into one’s surroundings is of critical importance. Many of the species encountered on safari do not rely on sight in the same capacity humans do and, as such, make out shapes rather than defined objects. This is why neutral-coloured clothing (soft shades of khaki, brown, grey or blue, with broken patterns), not whites and brights, should make up the bulk of your safari gear.

Find our favourite Botswana trip here.


What to pack for Botswana ultimate list

what to pack for Botswana

• 1 x Soft broad-brimmed hat – The African sun is harsh from every angle.
• 1  x Fleece beanie (can be traded for a buff) – The breeze generated by a safari vehicle can be chilly, particular on the ears.
• 1 x Warm jacket – Particularly useful for early mornings and winter travel.
• 1 x Lightweight, windproof top – year round essential.
• 1 or 2 x Buffs (multi-functional tubular bandanna) – This is a versatile accessory with a range of uses, from keeping your hair off your face, the sun or cold wind off your neck, the dust off your camera or even folded double as a beanie.
• 1 x warm top (fleece): good for around the fire in the evenings.
• 1 x gloves (fingerless for photographers).
• 3 x lightweight fast-dry (hiking styled) shirts – long sleeves are great for keeping the sun off your arms but can be uncomfortable in the heat.
• 2  x trousers (for winter) or shorts (zip-off longs are best).
• 4 pairs x socks.
• 4 pairs x underwear. This one should need no explanation.
• 1 pair x sturdy closed shoes (ankle support recommended for walking safari).
• Sunglasses

Personal Hygiene/ Accessories:

• 1 x tooth brush.
• 1 x tooth paste.
• 1 x deodorant/ Antiperspirant.
• 1 x sunblock (minimum of SPF 30).
• 1 x after-sun (just in case) .
• 1 x lip Balm (with sun protection if possible).
• 1 x insect repellent.
• 1 x hand sanitizer.

Medical: (mostly precautionary)

• malaria medication (consult your local physician for specifics).
• head ache tablets.
• diarrhoea tablets.
• rehydrate.
• plasters.
• antiseptic cream.
• epipen for possible allergic reactions
• antihistamine (tablets and cream). Nothing scares off animals like a sneeze. True story.

what to pack for Botswana

Safari Accessories/ Aids:

• 1 x binoculars (for a first time safari experience Nikon Pro Staff 7 10 x 42).
• 1 x camera (for first time photographers a good bridging camera is best like the Canon Powershot SX60 HD).
• 1 x birding App (Robert’s 7 Multimedia Birds of Southern Africa but if not available Sasol eBirds).
• 1 x mammals App ( eGuide to Mammals of Southern Africa by Chris and Mathilde Stuart).

Optional extras:

• 1 x sandals/ flip-flops (for around the camp or to air feet).
• 1 x sarong/ shawl (addition protection from the elements).
• 1 x toiletries/amenities (soap, shampoo, conditioner and body lotion are provided by most accommodations).

Now where you know what to pack for Botswana, last, but not least, remember to pack your sense of wonder. And that’s it. You are out the door with everything you need for your big five safari, ready to unwind as the beauty of Africa sweeps you along on a journey of discovery.


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