- Suitcase (not large) with a lock. This suitcase can be left at luggage storage facilities while visiting wilderness/safari areas.
- Small carry-on bag (10 kg /22 lbs) luggage for light plane transfers into safari areas.
- Small soft khaki or (camouflage) bag for binoculars, cameras, lip balm and sunscreen whilst on safari vehicles.
Avoid dark blue, black, or white colors which are easily visible to animals. Most safari lodges will offer laundry facilities at minimal charge and often it is complimentary.
Basic list for safari areas to fit into a 10kg soft bag:
- 2 pairs jeans (or 1 pair jeans and 1 khaki cotton slacks)
- 1 khaki cotton slacks
- 3 long sleeve cotton shirts khaki or green/beige
- 1 or 2 cotton shorts khaki or green/beige color
- 2 cotton short-sleeve shirts khaki or green/beige
- 3 T-shirts
- 4 pairs of socks
- 4 underpants/panties
- 1 sun hat – wide brimmed with under chin strap that will fold into your luggage
- 1 peak cap (khaki preferable)
- 1 beanie for night drives and early morning drives
- 1 swimsuit
- 1 leather comfortable walking shoes
- 1 flat easy-to-pack canvas shoes. Alternatively, sneakers.
- 1 thongs/flip-flops
- 1 light sweater
- 1 long warm windbreaker/jacket
- 1 belt
Equipment / Toiletries
- Flashlight with batteries
- A bird book for enthusiastic birders
- Sunscreen and lip balm
- Insect Repellant
- Eye pads, earplugs, neck supporter, sleeping tablets, support socks for aircraft.
- Travel alarm clock
- Battery operated or disposable razor.
- Electrical adapters and a converter/transformer for small electrical appliances are needed. Most African countries use 220-volt systems. Obtain from your local travel.
- Take along your camera and lots of spare memory card or film and camera batteries
- Anti-malaria. Obtain current recommendations from your family doctor or CDC (Center for Diseases Control).
- Hepatitis A and B and Tetanus shots prior to trip recommended.
- It is strongly recommended at the time of booking that you should purchase a comprehensive travel insurance policy of your choice. Your insurance should cover medical evacuation in the case of an emergency.
- Air tickets
- Driver’s License
- Credit Cards (preferably Visa or MasterCard)
- We recommend that you take small denominations of cash:
$1.00 notes x 50 ($50.00)
$5.00 notes x 50 ($250.00)
$10.00 notes x 20 ($200.00)
$20.00 notes x 10 ($200.00)
Tipping is normally from 10-15% depending on the service level received. Tipping as you would in North America would be well received.
The guidelines that are provided below are based on normal gratuities expected from American travelers. If you receive exceptional service and care, you may want to increase your gratuities just as you would decrease the gratuities if your service was inadequate.
All African countries included on this site accept US dollars for gratuities. Travelers are advised to take an adequate supply of US money in small denominations ($20-$1 bills). You may take some larger bills which can be useful for large purchases. However, remote game lodges will often not have enough US dollars to make change for $100 or even $50 bills.
This applies to city transfers to and from airport and hotels, transfers to restaurants, rail or ship stations. Transfer gratuities should be given at the time service is provided.
- Meet & greet representative: $3 per person
- Transfer driver: $2 per person one way
- Separate transfer guide (if applicable): $3 per person one way
Game Lodge or Camp Stay
Generally, you tip all game lodge and personnel on the last day of your stay. Some lodges will provide a tipping box in the lobby or an envelope in your room for gratuities to general staff. If not, you can hand this tip to the lodge manager.
- Game Ranger: $15-$20 per person per day
- Game Tracker (if applicable): $10-$15 per person per day
- Butler (if applicable): $5-$10 per person per day
- General staff: $8-$10 per person per day (includes waiters, cooks, bar attendants, evening entertainers)
- Private game ranger: Minimum $50 to maximum $100 for a party of 1-6 people (not per person)
You can find many great purchases as you travel. A Value Added Tax (VAT) will be added to purchases in certain African countries. Save your receipts and present them at the airport prior to departure to claim back this tax
Pack for a Purpose
Make a difference in the lives of children around the world by using available space in your luggage to provide supplies to the communities you visit. If just 500 individuals pack 5 lbs (2.27 kgs) each, we can provide 1.25 tons of supplies! You Can Have A Big Impact!
For just 5 lbs (2.27 kgs), you can bring:
400 pencils or
5 deflated soccer balls with an inflation device or
A stethoscope, a blood pressure cuff, & 500 band-aids
Community & Social Responsibility
As part of its founding principles we believed that one must recognise the dominant realities of the community in which we do business and that the sustained development of our communities is as paramount as the cause of good business principles, and not merely one of those principles.
We, therefore, encourage our guests to pack for purpose that is to take with them some supplies if they have to donate to communities they visit, every bit make an enormous impact in most homes in Africa.
Situated in the southern reaches of Africa, Botswana is renowned for its pristine wilderness areas characterised by deep lagoons, wetlands, lush palms, rugged hills and desert plains scattered with scrubland. The country’s primary tourist drawcard is undoubtedly the vast red expanse of the Kalahari Desert and its remarkably beautiful Okavango Delta, the largest inland delta in the world. These natural wonders provide a tranquil haven for an abundance of African wildlife to thrive. Other highlights include the impressive Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, where visitors are privy to massive zebra migrations during the flood season; the Savuti plains, which host large prides of lions; and the Tsodilo Hills, where 4500 rock paintings form a unique record of human settlement over many millennia.
Banking and Currency
Botswana's currency is Pula (which means 'rain' in Setswana). It is divided into 100 thebe (which means 'shield' in Setswana). Travellers' cheques and foreign currency may be changed at banks, bureaux de change and authorised hotels.
The US dollar, Euros, British Pound and the South African Rand are the most easily convertible currencies (and accepted by some estabishments - but, generally, then an inflated rate of exchange will be applied).
Seven main commercial banks, as well as a number of foregin exchange bureaux, operate in Botswana. Operating hours are Monday to Friday 08h30 to 15h30 and Saturday 08h30 to 10h45.
Full banking services are available in major towns, although ATMs are sprouting up all over the country. Most credit cards are accepted at hotels and restaurants. Cultural sites and community art and craft outlets usually only accept cash.
Travel, Transport and Getting Around
Public transport in Botswana is geared towards the needs of the local populace and is confined to main roads between major population centres. Although cheap and reliable, it is of little use to the traveller as most of Botswana’s tourist attractions lie off the beaten track.
Driving off the main roads in Botswana is only recommended to expects in 4x4 vehicles, that are equipped correctly. Most lodges offer transfers or they can be arranged. If, however, you will be driving in Botswana: your home driving licence will be accepted (with an official English translation if necessary; driving is on the left side of the road; and the national speed limit is on tarred roads is 120km/h and 60km/h in towns and villages.
Be sure to watch out for wild animals on the roads!
There are major airports in Maun, Kasane and Gaborone, while smaller charter flights are used to get to the other top attractions and camps.
Food, Drink and Cuisine Advice
Safari lodges and camps serve international-style cuisine, generally of an extremely high standard, along with local beer and imported wine and spirits. Good restaurants and bars can be found in main towns, often within hotels. Beef and goat are very popular meats. Elsewhere, food is more basic: millet and sorghum porridge are the local staples.
Tap water is considered safe to drink, although outside main cities and towns, visitors are advised to check first and sterilise water if in any doubt. Bottled water is available in most tourist centres. Filtered water is available at most camps and shops offer bottled water - it is advised to be well stocked of bottled water if you are travelling off the beaten track. Milk is pasteurised, and dairy products, local meat, poultry, seafood, fruit and vegetables are generally safe.
A discretionary five-to-ten-percent tip is typical for restaurant bills. In many places, a service charge is automatically added. It is customary to tip the game guide and lodge staff while on safari.
Climate and Weather
Botswana's climatic pattern is typical of southern Africa, although its rainfall is less than countries further east. The rains in Botswana come mostly between December and March, when average minimum temperatures are in the low 20°s. Some days will be bright and sunny, some will have afternoon thunderstorms, and some will just be grey.
As with Namibia, April and May in Botswana are generally lovely, with the sky clear and the landscape green. Night temperatures start to drop during these months, especially in the Kalahari. Note that places in and around the Okavango tend to have less extreme, more moderate temperatures than the drier areas of the Kalahari.
From June to August the night-time temperatures in drier areas can be close to freezing, but it warms up rapidly during the day, when the sky is usually clear and blue. It's now very much 'peak season' for most safari areas: the land is dry in most areas so the animals congregate around the few available water sources.
This continues into September and October, when temperatures climb again, drying the landscapes and concentrating the game even more. This is the best time for big game safaris – although October can feel very hot, with maximum temperatures sometimes approaching 40°C.
November is difficult to predict, as it can sometimes be a continuation of October's heat, whilst sometimes it's cooled by the first rains; it's always an interesting month.
Clothing and Dress Recommendations
In summer, lightweight, lightcoloured cottons are preferable. Avoid synthetic materials and black clothing, as they increase perspiration and discomfort. In winter, wear trousers, longsleeved shirts / blouses and jerseys. From May – August, night temperatures can fall below zero degrees celsius, so warm jerseys and jackets are vital, especially on morning and evening game drives. Garments of neutral colours that blend with the bush and forest are advisable for safaris and game viewing. Bring a lightweight jacket and/or jersey for unexpected temperature changes or rain. Closed, comfortable walking shoesor gym shoes are a must in all seasons. Special attention should be given to protection from the sun. Bring a sunhat, good quality sunscreen, sun lotion and polarised sunglasses. Wide brimmed sun hats are essential.
Some hotels, lodges and guest houses offer internet access or WiFi (free or paid), and there are internet cafe's in Gaborone and Maun. Internet access in more remote rural areas is often hard to come by.
Electricity and Plug Standards
Electrical sockets (outlets) in Botswana are the 'Type M' South African SABS1661 ('Large' 15 amp BS-546) sockets. This is actually an old British standard. The 'Type M' South African plug and socket is not to be confused with the 'Type D' Indian plug and socket. In pictures, they look very similar, but the South African type is much larger than the Indian type, and they are physically incompatible. If your appliance's plug doesn't match the shape of these sockets, you will need a travel plug adapter in order to plug in. Travel plug adapters simply change the shape of your appliance's plug to match whatever type of socket you need to plug into.
Electrical sockets (outlets) in Botswana usually supply electricity at between 220 and 240 volts AC. If you're plugging in an appliance that was built for 220-240 volt electrical input, or an appliance that is compatible with multiple voltages, then an adapter is all you need.
But travel plug adapters do not change the voltage, so the electricity coming through the adapter will still be the same 220-240 volts the socket is supplying. If you need to use appliances that are not compatible with 220-240 volt electrical input, you will need a voltage converter.