Botswana Travel Tips
1. What to Bring
Binoculars, torch, insect repellent, lip salve, sunscreen, sunglasses. Cosmetics, medications, and cigarettes are all available in the major towns, but if specific brand names are needed, it is best to bring enough to last your stay.
However, care needs to be taken to comply with international aviation security regulations for items in carry on luggage. Contact your airline for details.
2. Clothing and Personal Care
In summer, lightweight, lightcoloured cottons are preferable.
Garments of neutral colours that blend with the bush and forest are advisable for safaris and game viewing.
Avoid synthetic materials and black clothing, as they increase perspiration and discomfort.
Bring a lightweight jacket and/or jersey for unexpected temperature changes or rain.
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.
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 hats are preferable to baseball caps.
3. Fire Arms
The issue of firearms licenses in Botswana is strictly controlled, and all firearms imported under the authority of an import permit must be licensed immediately upon arrival in Botswana. The importation of firearms that do not have the manufacturer’s serial number or other number by which they can be identified, stamped or engraved on a metal part of the weapon is totally prohibited.
It should also be noted that police permits for firearms are issued on a limited quota basis, and there can be a considerable delay in obtaining a permit, particularly on first importation. It is advisable for intending importers to make applications well in advance of dispatch, so that unnecessary inconvenience and expenses can be avoided.
Botswana is one of the healthiest countries in sub-Saharan Africa, with good primary health care facilities available throughout the country. However, the following health precautions are advised.
If you are travelling to Botswana from areas infected with Yellow Fever, you must have a valid Yellow Fever vaccination certificate. Otherwise, no other immunisations are required. However, it would be wise to have an updated TPD (tetanus, polio, diphtheria) vaccine, and a Hepatitis A vaccine.
Malaria, including cerebral malaria, is common in northern Botswana, in the Okavango and Chobe areas, particularly during and immediately following the rainy season, from November to April.
As the strains of malaria, and the drugs used to combat them, frequently change, and as certain strains can become drug resistant, it is best to seek medical advice before your departure and take any medication prescribed. Pregnant or very young children are not advised to travel to malarial areas.
Other precautions are: to wear long sleeves, socks, closed shoes, and generally keep the body covered, to sleep with a mosquito net and to use mosquito coils and repellent.
Sun And Heat-Related Problems
Always take preventive measures that include wearing a wide-brimmed sunhat and sunglasses, liberally applying sunscreen every three or four hours, regularly taking rehydration mixes, drinking plenty of water and fruit juices (at least three litres of liquid daily), avoiding prolonged exposure to the sun, and avoiding excessive amounts of alcohol, which causes dehydration.
5. Photographer Tips
Keep film in a cool box especially while traveling.
It is advisable to have all lenses fitted with UV or have filters due to harsh light.
6. Driving in Botswana
Wherever you are driving please respect wildlife, the environment and other drivers
The roads shown on the map above are all tar roads passable all year in a 2wd vehicle, generally they are kept in good condition throughout the country with only a few potholes, traffic is light and distances between fuel stations and toilet stops can be long so careful planning is required. Also bear in mind these areas are hot all year round so pay attention to tyre pressures – especially on well laden vehicles, if you’re vehicle is full of people and baggage tyre pressure and condition becomes much more important, then travelling long distances on hot roads can lead to tyre blowouts, so check your tyre pressure is correct, and take regularly stops along the journey for the tyres, passengers and driver !
Driving at night
Not recommended at all in Botswana (any part of the country) due to animals !
Wild animals, cows, goats, chickens, dogs and even people are attracted to the road as night falls and often sleep on the road, many collisions occur with vehicles causing serious injury, so if at all possible arrive at your destination before sunset and if you set out before dawn, keep your speed down and keep a sharp eye out for objects on the road.
Police are very vigilant about speeding the speed limit is:
120km/h out side city limits
100km/h on approach to towns village
60km/h passing towns and villages
30km/h in built up areas
Fines for speeding are instantly payable and in Pula cash only (police will escort you to nearest cash exchange if required)
Corruption and bribery is severely frowned upon as is drink driving in Botswana.
In Botswana, drivers must carry their driving permits licenses at all times while driving. Driving permits from neighboring countries and international driving permits are accepted in Botswana
8. Water Use
Tap water throughout the country is safe to drink. Bottled mineral water is readily available in most shops and supermarkets, and at camps and lodges.
Tourists travelling by road are advised to carry sufficient water at all times.