Botswana safari tips: what to pack for a successful trip

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Botswana safari tips: what to pack for a successful trip

Heading off an a safari trip to Botswana is an exciting adventure. Knowing what to pack can be confusing, as it often depends on where you will be staying, what time of year you will be going and who you will be going with. Follow these simple tips and tricks to pack the perfect suitcase for your African safari.

Pack essential paperwork

This should be the very first thing in your carry-on luggage. Your paperwork should include all passports, flight information, lodge confirmation and travel insurance information. It may seem unnecessary to take paperwork with you on a safari holiday, but if you are left stranded or injured, having your travel insurance information with you can help immensely.

If you are staying in one of the local lodges, such as the stunning Selinda Camp, it is best to arrive with all necessary documents printed and ready, to save the hassle of having to locate emails and so forth. Keeping your passport or identity documents on you is also handy for booking game drives or if you will be moving across country borders.

Dress for the weather

Botswana is known to reach high temperatures of up to 35°C - 40°C which means that you will need to pack light, airy clothing that covers your arms and legs to protect your skin from the sun. You should also pack a high SPF sunscreen, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses. If you are going on a walking safari, be sure to pack long trousers to protect your legs from ticks found in the high grass.

Comfortable, closed in walking shoes or hiking boots are the ideal footwear to pack, whether you are going on a game drive or a walk around the area. The ground can be uneven and bumpy, so you will need the proper support. Sandals can be used too, but these are better suited for day trips to the city centre or for walks around your resort.

Toiletries and medications

A safari almost always takes place in a foreign country, which comes with its own risks. If you are travelling to Botswana, you will need to pack insect repellents such as Mylol, Peaceful Sleep and Tabard. You may also want to look into medications that will help to prevent malaria while you are in the country, as it is a risk you have to consider.

While many lodges do offer some basic toiletries, you may want to pack your own extras if you need them. This list should include toothbrushes, toothpaste, dry shampoo (if you are staying at a bush lodge with little amenities), a small medical kit and, most importantly, sunscreen with a high SPF. Wet wipes and deodorant are important for feeling fresh and staying hygienic.

Have accepted currency on hand

If you are travelling from abroad, be sure that you have an ample amount of money in the accepted currencies. In Botswana, many tourist stores and kiosks accept American dollars, the Euro, Pound Sterling and South African Rands. However, be sure you have some of the local currency with you, the Botswana Pula, as some of the smaller stores only accept this.

If you find the perfect curio to take back with you as a souvenir, not having the correct currency with you will mean that you are unable to purchase it. You will also need money to buy food and drink on your travels, and to pay border and game drive fees. Many lodges will accept foreign currency but those that are off the beaten track will most likely prefer the local currency.

Pack your favourite past-times

Going on an African safari is exciting in itself, but if you know there will be downtime between game drives and hikes, it is important to have something with you to do. Pack a book or two, or bring along your camera and binoculars if you enjoy birdwatching. Binoculars are a vital item to pack for game viewing.

If you enjoy playing games with the family, bring some small, travel versions along with you for those evenings when you are staying in the lodge. For those who are packing electronic gadgets, be sure to bring an adaptor for the mix of the British-type plug and the South African type plug used in Botswana.

Remember to have fun

Packing for a safari to Botswana can be daunting, but remember that it is a fun experience, and so your preparation should be too. Let your children help you pack games and clothes, and show them videos and photographs of where you will be going to drum up even more excitement. Exploring the world can be easy and safe if you follow some basic packing tips.

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