EXPLORING BOTSWANA ON A SELF-DRIVE SAFARI ITINERARY
If you dream about or are planning a Botswana camping safari adventure, you are in the right place. This is the ultimate Botswana Self-Drive Safari Itinerary that will take you to the Remote…Isolated…Wild parts of the country. The best way to experience the country’s landscape and wildlife is by driving and wild camping in the remote safaris of Botswana.
If you are planning a trip to Botswana, you are in the right place. The best way to discover the country is to go on a self-drive safari in Botswana.
I combined my Namibia trip itinerary and Botswana self-drive safari itinerary, and I am here to share all I have learned and discovered along the way.
In this very detailed Botswana Self-Drive Safari 10-day itinerary, I covered the most important regions and safaris in Botswana, from Chobe National Park to the Okavango Delta.
During my 10-days in Botswana, I self-drove my 4×4 rental truck to the most amazing safaris in Botswana, I slept in the tent on top of the truck, cooked all my meals, took thousands of photos, and learned it all about how to explore Botswana independently (not an easy task!).
Don’t travel to Botswana before you read these very important articles:
- 28 Things You Must know about Self-Drive and Camping in Botswana – it is a very detailed guide I have prepared to help anyone planning to jump into this adventure trip and
- Ultimate Guide about the Best Safaris in Botswana to help you to plan and prepare for your trip to Botswana!
- Botswana Camping Safari – with all the best camping accommodation from Chobe to Okvavango Delta
Enjoy this Botswana Self-Drive Safari Itinerary and Safe Travels!
!! EXCLUSIVE BONUS RESOURCES !!
In this Botswana Self-Drive Camping Safari itinerary, you can find all the best tips and practical information you need. In the end, you can find a bonus section for all the BOTSWANA TRIP PLANNING you need to plan and book your self-drive safari adventure in Botswana, and to make your experience as easy, safe, and fun as possible.
- EXPLORING BOTSWANA ON A SELF-DRIVE SAFARI ITINERARY
- BOTSWANA SELF-DRIVE SAFARI ITINERARY OVERVIEW
- BOTSWANA SELF-DRIVE SAFARI ITINERARY MAP
- RENTING A CAR FOR YOUR BOTSWANA SELF-DRIVE SAFARI
- MUST-READ: THE UNIQUE TOURISM IN BOTSWANA
- DETAILED 10-DAY BOTSWANA SELF-DRIVE SAFARI ITINERARY
- DAY 1 BOTSWANA ITINERARY: ARRIVING IN BOTSWANA
- DAY 2 BOTSWANA ITINERARY : SELF-DRIVE CHOBE NATIONAL PARK
- DAY 3 BOTSWANA ITINERARY : SELF-DRIVE CHOBE NATIONAL PARK & DRIVE TO SAVUTI
- DAY 4 BOTSWANA ITINERARY : SAFARI AT SAVUTI
- DAY 5 BOTSWANA ITINERARY : SELF-DRIVING SAFARI IN SAVUTI & DRIVING TO OKAVANGO DELTA
- DAY 6 BOTSWANA ITINERARY : OKAVANGO DELTA SAFARI
- DAY 7 BOTSWANA ITINERARY : OKAVANGO DELTA SAFARI
- DAY 8 BOTSWANA ITINERARY : OKAVANGO DELTA SAFARI
- DAY 9 BOTSWANA ITINERARY : OKAVANGO DELTA SAFARI
- DAY 10 BOTSWANA ITINERARY : RETURN BACK TO NAMIBIA
- FINAL THOUGHTS ON BOTSWANA SELF-DRIVE SAFARI ITINERARY
- BOTSWANA SELF-DRIVE SAFARI TRIP PLANNING RESOURCES
- WHAT IS NEXT?
- Follow + Share
- Plan your Trip
- READ MORE
BOTSWANA SELF-DRIVE SAFARI ITINERARY OVERVIEW
10 days doing a self-drive safari in Botswana is an ideal amount of time to discover the best safaris in Botswana and to visit the most incredible areas in the country.
However, it is not easy to self-drive in Botswana because of the poor road conditions. Also, if you are short on time, you can spend less time and concentrate on the Chobe River Front safari, as it is very well located in the country. You can fly into Kasane Airport (BBK) and you can pick up your 4×4 rental car at the airport.
Check Expedia or Skyscanner to see which airlines can take you to Botswana and compare prices to get better deals. If you are looking for domestic flights to Kasane you can book them through Air Botswana.
Here is an overview of how to spend a perfect 10-day self-drive safari in Botswana:
|DAY ACTIVITY||OVERNIGHT LOCATION|
|DAY 1: Road trip from Caprivi Strip to Chobe National Park||Mwandi View Campsite|
|DAY 2: Safari at Chobe National Park||Mwandi View Campsite|
|DAY 3: Safari in Chobe National Park road trip to Savuti||Savuti Campsite|
|DAY 4: Safari in Savuti||Savuti Campsite|
|DAY 5: Safari in Savuti and road trip to Moremi Game Reserve||Khwai Campsite|
|DAY 6: Safari in Moremi Game Reserve & Okavango Delta||Xakanaka Campsite|
|DAY 7: Safari in Moremi Game Reserve & Okavango Delta||Xakanaka Campsite|
|DAY 8: Safari in Okavango Delta||Third Bridge Campsite|
|DAY 9: Safari in Okavango Delta||Third Bridge Campsite|
|DAY 10: On the road to Namibia||Namibia|
BOTSWANA SELF-DRIVE SAFARI ITINERARY MAP
RENTING A CAR FOR YOUR BOTSWANA SELF-DRIVE SAFARI
You will need to have a 4×4 vehicle to go on a self-drive safari in Botswana. It can be confusing renting a car in Botswana since there are different providers, offering different options.
First of all, you will need to decide if you will rent a 4X4 truck or a 4×4 truck with a tent on top (if you are planning to camp around the country).
I recommend booking your car way in advance, and you can quote below, to have access to cars from many major companies which you can compare the best prices and find the best deal for you.
RENTAL CAR DISCOUNT ALLERT!!!
If you start your trip in Namibia as I did, my preferred partner, and who I used for my Namibia & Botswana road trip itinerary was Zambezi Car Rental. They are a local company that offers 4×4 trucks or 4X4 with tents on top if you are planning to go camp in Botswana.
Readers of this blog can get an AWESOME DISCOUNT – just sign in below to receive a discount code directly to your email.
MUST-READ: THE UNIQUE TOURISM IN BOTSWANA
Botswana has a very unique tourism industry, based on a sustainable tourism model. Botswana relies on a low volume high revenue tourism strategy, and it serves as an example all over Africa and the Planet. In other words, it is not cheap to visit Botswana!
The business model in Botswana helps the local economy and assists with keeping balance in the fragile ecosystem controlling the number of tourists. Higher prices help to support this sustainable system of tourism in Botswana.
TRAVEL BOTSWANA INDEPENDENTLY: If you choose to travel independently to Botswana, keep in mind that the planning will take time and (a lot of) patience. It took me about 3 months of hard work to plan my itinerary in Botswana, especially, to be able to book all the campsites. Communication with Botswana is challenging and it may take days, or even weeks to answer back to you. Plus, consider that you will be driving in very remote and isolated areas. You will need to have some basic mechanical skills (changing tires), and expertise driving off-road (mud, deep sand, crossing water, etc.).
TAILOR-MADE TRIP IN BOTSWANA: A popular alternative to visit Botswana is to hire an expert local company. They can incorporate any destination into your travels or even any animal species that you hope to see. You can create a bespoke itinerary, and design your ultimate safari to match your interest, budget, and travel dates. I highly recommend Wild Wonderful World, as they put together incredible itineraries, and part of the profits are used on amazing conservation efforts in Africa
** BOTSWANA TOUR DISCOUNT ALERT **
I have great news for my readers, I used and I recommend Wild Wonderful World – I partnered with them to offer a discount to you! Just sign in below to receive a discount code directly in your email.
DETAILED 10-DAY BOTSWANA SELF-DRIVE SAFARI ITINERARY
DAY 1 BOTSWANA ITINERARY: ARRIVING IN BOTSWANA
Let’s start day 1 of my 10-day Botswana self-drive safari itinerary. I had spent the previous 10 days self-driving Namibia and it is a great itinerary to combine Namibia and Botswana. I crossed the border to Botswana on the ground at the Ngoma border crossing in the Caprivi Strip.
I got my Botswana Visa at the border checkpoint. There was a line, and it took about 1-hour to get my visa and pass the inspection of my car and food. The procedure was easy and uncomplicated!
Even better, I had the chance to make new friends while I was in line. I met this very nice couple from Zambia that were traveling home. They asked if I could give them a ride to the Zambia border which was on my way to Botswana.
DRIVING THE CAPRIVI STIP
The driving from Namibia to Botswana on Caprivi is one straight line all the way to the border. You will pass many villages, plenty of cows and people walking on the side of the road.
I stopped along the road to donate all my food (meat, fruits, and vegetables) as we cannot enter Botswana with food. It is a great opportunity to get to know some local people, and also, they will appreciate you sharing the food with them.
STOP AT KASANE FOR SUPPLIES
Next, I stopped in Kasane to refill my gas tanks (the truck had 2 gas tanks), got some money from the ATM, bought food and water – This is the last opportunity to refill before you head to the National Parks.
BEST ACCOMMODATION OPTIONS
Mwandi View is the place i stayed and recomend. They have areas for camping in your own tent, or you can rent one of their large tents, with private bathroom and a small kitchen. The views are incredible and you can see animals from the infinity pool. Restaurant with incredible food is avaialbe.
The Residence Kazungula is a marvelous guest house located in Kasane, with free Wi-Fi, parking on-site, a complete kitchen, and a pool. They can also arrange a variety of activities including game drives, boat cruises, and day trips to Victoria Falls.
If you are looking for a great accommodation option, with all-inclusive, the Jacklberry Chobe is the best option. With drinks, meals, and 2 wildlife activities per day included, plus terrace and gorgeous views of the river
DAY 2 BOTSWANA ITINERARY : SELF-DRIVE CHOBE NATIONAL PARK
On day 2 of my Botswana self-drive itinerary, I spent 10-hours driving safari at Chobe National Park.
SELF-DRIVE SAFARI AT CHOBE RIVER FRONT
Chobe is one of the best places for a safari on the Planet, and I really recommend spending at least 2 days here.
Even if I had done other safaris before, this is the most I have seen animals in one single day: hundreds of zebras, waterbok, giraffes, springboks, and of course elephants.
The best spot to see the big cats, including lions is at the Ihaha Camp. I drove in the morning and afternoon but didn’t get lucky enough to see any.
SEE THE LARGEST HERD OF ELEPANTS IN THE WORLD
At around 1:30 p.m. I stopped to see a herd of elephants at a waterhole close to the Elephant Grave when more elephants arrived from everywhere and I was surrounded by hundreds of elephants. This was the highlight moment of my trip to Chobe.
Back to the Mwandi Camp to enjoy the sunset from the infinity pool, while watching some elephants at the waterhole, cook dinner, and crashed from this tiring day.
DAY 3 BOTSWANA ITINERARY : SELF-DRIVE CHOBE NATIONAL PARK & DRIVE TO SAVUTI
On my second and last day of self-drive safari at Chobe National Park, I started my day very early (5 a.m.) and enjoyed 5 hours of safari.
GO ON A RIVER CRUISE SAFARI AT CHOBE
Another specialty and a must-do are to go on a river-cruise safari. This is a must-do activity at Chobe National park as you can see the wildlife from a boat is totally different experience than from a car. During the water safari, you have the chance to see hippos, crocodiles, and f you are lucky you can also see elephants swimming.
DRIVING OFF-ROAD TO SAVUTI
After lunch, I began my journey south through Chobe to my next destination: Savuti. There are no gas stations or stores until you exit Okavango Delta. Make sure you are full-on fuel, water, and food before leaving Chobe (Kasane town).
The driving to Savuti was very challenging (and scary) and it is not for the faint-hearted! I only recommend self-drive here if you are a very experienced driver and have some basic mechanical knowledge because things can, and will happen to the car.
The “road” is very isolated, and only a 4WD can drive here. The “roads” you will follow are nothing more than dirt roads and trails. At times you will follow some old tire tracks through grass fields, and other times you will be driving through deeply rutted sandy “roads”. You cannot drive on a rainy day (or wet season). I drove for 7-hours without seeing another car. I had 1 flat tire and had to change it on a very deep sandy road and got stuck on the sand a couple of times. The speed limit is around 15km/h and you will be driving very slowly on very bumpy roads.
TOP TIP: If you are going on a self-drive in Botswana, most of the driving will be off-road. I recommend carrying a backpack as it will protect your belongings on bumpy roads. Check here the Review on Top Backpacks on the market today.
ARRIVAL AT SAVUTI
Arriving at the remote Savuti Gate and I had to pay for my entry permit – it costs US$85 for 3 days of the game reserve. The only way to enter the Savuti Gate (and all other gates) is to have proof of camping reservations.
I finally arrived at the Savuti Camp near dark, found my reserved camping spot, and cooked dinner. The camping staff came to warn me that it was life-threatening to be out of my tent at night because it is very common for hyenas and lions to visit the campsites at night.
BEST ACCOMMODATION OPTIONS
I spent 2 nights at the Savuti Camp. All 14 campsites lie under shady trees while some have a view of the Savuti Channel. There is a large elephant-proof ablution with shared bathrooms and showers. The campsite is operated by SKL Camps.
If you are looking for a lodge at Savuti, Ghoha Hills Savuti has accommodations with free WiFi and free private parking for guests who drive. There’s a fully equipped private bathroom with a shower and free toiletries. The lodge offers a continental or buffet breakfast.
DAY 4 BOTSWANA ITINERARY : SAFARI AT SAVUTI
The Savuti is a region within the heart of the Chobe National Park that is secretly located. Savuti covers almost 5,000 square kilometers and includes the Savute Marsh and Channel, the Mababe Depression, and Magwikhwe Sand Ridge – each feature fashioned by the tectonic instability of the region.
It is the best place to spot big cats, including lions and leopards. It is also renowned for the masses of game, and it has its own unique scenery such as the Baobab Gallery trees and rock paintings. I recommend spending at least 2 days in Savuti.
EXPLORE THE VAST WILDLIFE IN SAVUTI
Start your first day at Savuti doing what is the best thing to do, with a self-drive safari.
Start your day very early (before 7:00 a.m) as the chances to see active animals are higher. I started my first day seeing a lion eating his kill and it was a pretty amazing experience to just park my car very close, behind the bushes, and just observe, smell, and hear while he was enjoying his breakfast.
During my day of safari at Savuti, I saw many giraffes, springbok, and elephants. In the afternoon I visited the Baobab Trees and the rock painting.
I saw many bones of animals and mostly close to the campsite – which makes me think that predators hang out around campsites. At night I was visited by a very large hyena and I also could hear the lions roaring all night from a distance. Exciting!
VISIT THE ROCK PAINT AND BAOBAB TREES
Expend the afternoon exploring more of the Savuti beauty!
Savuti is not only about wildlife, here you can also find ancient art – search the rocks of the Gubatsa Hills for delicate, stylized paintings of buffalo, giraffes, the magical eland, and other animals. They were painted in natural ochres, blood, and possibly snake venom up to 1,500 years ago by the San people. They still shine despite being fully exposed to the elements.
Then, visit the incredible Baobab Trees. The baobab trees boast a circumference of around 7 meters (23 feet) and a height of around 5 meters (17 feet). Take some time out to reflect in the shade of the centuries-old trees, humbled by their large presence and the secrets that flow deep within their roots. Savuti is incredible!
DAY 5 BOTSWANA ITINERARY : SELF-DRIVING SAFARI IN SAVUTI & DRIVING TO OKAVANGO DELTA
MORNING SAFARI AT SAVUTI
Early in the morning, I saw 2 lionesses with 9 cubs – 7 older and 2 younger. I heard from the locals that they live under the bush, and they were just enjoying the early morning sun. I parked my car, and took amazing pictures, and observed them for over 1-hour from a very close distance. They didn’t seem to be bothered by my presence. This was certainly one of the highlight moments of my trip to Botswana.
I saw many other animals during my second day of safari in Savuti, and even if I really wanted to see leopards, I had no luck seeing any.
DRIVE TO OKAVANGO DELTA
After lunch, I started driving to the Okavango Delta and I drove all the way to the next camping site destination in Kawai. It was 3.5 hours of very bumpy and sandy road, and again, driving at a very low speed.
Upon arrival at Khwai Gate you need to pay for the permit again; remember to have cash with you as they don’t accept credit cards.
The camping site is situated in an area called Dombo Hippo Pools, and guess what you can see a lot? You are right, hippos.
BEST ACCOMMODATION OPTIONS
The Khwai Camping Site is very basic. The camping site has a tree, running water, and a fire pit area, and a small ablution is available. The game views and bird watching in this area are superb. The campsite is operated by SKL Camps.
If you are looking for amazing luxury glamping in Botswana, O Bona Moremi Safari Lodge offers it all. All means, drinks, and laundry service are included plus all the game drivers and night drives.
If you are looking for a great option, Khwai Villa provides accommodations with free private parking. All units come with a balcony with river views, a kitchenette with a fridge and an oven, and a private bathroom with a shower.
DAY 6 BOTSWANA ITINERARY : OKAVANGO DELTA SAFARI
EXPLORE THE KHWAI REGION
The day of my self-drive safari in Botswana was exploring the Khwai region, part of the Okavango Delta.
The Okavango Delta is like the crown jewel of safaris in Botswana, as this area is usually known for the abundance of water, stemming from the Okavango river – which starts in Angola – and is also dubbed “the river that never finds the sea”. Instead of ending in the ocean, the water seeps away into the Kalahari desert.
I was up early and went on a long game drive to explore this region. There are large tracts of Mopane forest with pools and floodplains interspersed. I saw a lot of different animals including hippos, crocodiles, water buffalos, red lechwe, waterbucks, and blue wildebeest.
This area is challenging to drive, as there are deep mud pools on many of the trails and some wet areas that make it impossible to pass.
BEST ACCOMMODATION OPTIONS
I spent 2 nights at the Xakanaka Campsite. This area offers many options for day trips, such as Khwai and Third Bridge. There are two boat stations close to the camping site. The camping area is very simple and is located by the water, that is the reason there are so many hippos on this campsite. An ablution (communal bathroom) is available.
If you are looking for an all-inclusive lodge accommodation, the Khwai Experidtions Camp offers all meals, drinks, and game reserves. Located on a gorgeous facility with a patio with incredible views, including wild animals come to visit.
DAY 7 BOTSWANA ITINERARY : OKAVANGO DELTA SAFARI
I didn’t sleep very well, as the animals are very active at night around this area. I could hear lions and hippos, and I saw a couple of hyenas searching my campsite for food at night. The only thing the hyena found and decided to take with her was my sneakers…ha!
EXPLORE THE XAKANAKA REGION
After spending 2 nights at the Khwai Campsite, I moved on to another camping in the Okavango Delta, Xakanaka – so I could explore different areas.
The drive to Xakanaka took around 2-hours and it was also very challenging. The roads are rutted and winding. During the rains, it is almost impossible to drive, with some very deep waterholes in the road and the journey can take up to 4-hours.
The game reserve in this area is phenomenal – but a day doing a self-driving safari is exhausting – the vegetation is very dense and there are a lot of dead trees on the ground. Also, there are so many holes with water and mud, which makes the driving very challenging if you are trying to spot animals, take pictures, and drive.
After a whole day of self-drive safari – with a 1-hour break for a nap under a tree in the middle of the day – time to go back to the camp, cook dinner, and get some rest.
While I was cooking, a hippo crossed right in front of me which left me speechless for a few minutes – “What was it? a hippo!?” Yes, it was a hippo!
DAY 8 BOTSWANA ITINERARY : OKAVANGO DELTA SAFARI
SPEND THE MORNING DRIVING AT XAKANAKA
\My day 8 of my self-drive safari in Botswana was spent driving around the Xakanaka area.
Xakanaxa occupies a narrow strip of land surrounded by marshes and lagoons. At night you can easily hear the animals, especially elephants, or be serenaded by hippo grunts.
This area is one of few offering a year-round land and water game-viewing experience, possible to explore by car or powerboats.
On a day of safari in this area, it is easy to spot a large variety of animals such as elephants, buffalo, hyena, giraffe, hippo, wildebeest, kudu, lechwe, and if you are lucky, lion and leopard, among many others.
DRIVE TO THIRD BRIDGE
After lunch, I head to my next camping destination, Third Bridge Campsite.
In a dry season, it is an easy drive but there was very deep sand after the 2nd bridge. Got to the camping, and this was my favorite campsite in Botswana because the location is absolutely gorgeous, just by the river and the wildlife is very abundant here.
TOP TIP: Make sure you pack lots of water, as you will be very isolated in this part of Botswana. I thought I had enough water, but with the hit and humidity, I ran out of water 2 days earlier than I had planned and I had to boil water from the Okavango Delta to drink. It is smart to also pack some portable water filters.
BEST ACCOMMODATION OPTIONS
I spent 2 nights at the Third Bridge Campsite. This campsite was my favorite during my self-drive in Botswana. It is an excellent choice as there are so many options for game drives and there is always animal activity in camp. There is a boat station at the camping site, making water activities extra options. Booking is through Xomae
If you are looking for an all-inclusive lodge accommodation, the Khwai Experidtions Camp offers all meals, drinks, and game reserves. Located on a gorgeous facility with a patio with incredible views, including wild animals come to visit.
DAY 9 BOTSWANA ITINERARY : OKAVANGO DELTA SAFARI
MORNING SAFARI AT THIRD BRIDGE
I spent the last day of my self-drive safari in Botswana doing the best thing you can do in Botswana: safari.
The wildlife in this section of Okavango Delta is incredible for safari, and you feel all the time that you are truly amongst the wildlife.
At lunchtime, I was back at the campsite to skip the mid-day sun and cool down in the shade of the trees, while cooking lunch. When a herd of elephants had the same idea and I had to share my shade with them. It was a magical moment, and one of the highlights of my trip to Botswana.
I took the afternoon to do a water safari and it was just incredible, I strongly recommend if you are visiting the Okavango Delta to go on water safari, as you will have a different view and will see so many different animals. I had the chance to visit the Hippo Pool, which is a lagoon with hundreds of hippos.
While on a water safari at Okavango Delta, it is the best option for bird-watching too. The tour took longer than planned – around 4 hours – because our boat broke and we had to ask for help.
In the evening, my campsite got visited by many hyenas and I spent my last night camping in Botswana and hearing the lions roaming. Absolutely fascinating!
DAY 10 BOTSWANA ITINERARY : RETURN BACK TO NAMIBIA
I woke up very early (as usual) and spent a few hours driving around on a self-drive safari before heading back to Namibia.
I saw a large variety of animals just around the campsite, and I started to feel sad to leave Botswana. I certainly had one of the best trips of my life. Just being in the wild, surrounded by majestic animals, and enjoying the solitude of incredible nature. I truly recommend doing a self-drive safari in Botswana as once in a lifetime adventure.
The drive back to Namibia was long but safe. The road conditions are mostly well-paved the whole way.
I stopped for an overnight in Ghazni, as it was dark and it is not recommended to drive in the dark because of the wildlife on the roads. If you don’t have an extra day, I would recommend skipping the morning safari in Botswana and start to head back to your departure destination.
I spent another day and night in Namibia before I headed back home, as this was a great farewell from my amazing Africa trip!
You can read here my full Namibia Itinerary if you are looking to combine your trip or to continue your Africa Trip.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON BOTSWANA SELF-DRIVE SAFARI ITINERARY
This is my very detailed 10-day itinerary for a self-drive safari in Botswana, and I hope this can help you to plan your Botswana Trip!
I have done other safaris in Africa before, but Botswana surpassed my high expectations. Nature, the diversity of wildlife, and the hospitality in Botswana made it an incredible trip.
Botswana is not a cheap destination to visit, therefore if you want to visit on a budget just like me, be prepared to have to start planning your trip well in advance in order to book your accommodation (good luck with that!), book your car and start to study the maps, since you will be driving on very remote and isolated areas. You need at least to feel somehow familiar with the region you will be driving.
I truly recommend anyone to go on a trip to Botswana, and if you are convinced, continue reading as I prepared the whole BOTSWANA TRIP PLANNING section here for you!
TRAVEL INSURANCE: SIMPLE & FLEXIBLE
I never leave my home without travel insurance which is designed to help cover your expenses if something goes wrong on your trip. Things can go wrong, and you don’t want to get stuck paying tons of money if you get sick or have an accident without travel insurance.
World Nomads Travel Insurance has been designed by travelers for travelers, to cover their trip essentials. Especially if you are like me, travel insurance is ideal for adventurous travelers.
Travel smarter and safer – You can do your quick quote below and find out how little you can pay for the essential benefit of Travel Insurance for your next trip!
BOTSWANA SELF-DRIVE SAFARI TRIP PLANNING RESOURCES
PLANNING A TRIP TO BOTSWANA
If you are going to travel to Botswana, pre-planning, research, and understanding what you are looking for in a destination will help make your travels far more successful and safe. Here is some further information I think you might need to plan your Botswana self-drive safari itinerary.
For planning my trip to Botswana I used the Lonely Planet guidebook, which contains helpful information.
BEST TIME TO VISIT BOTSWANA
The best time to visit Botswana is during the dry season between May and October when you can expect warm, sunny days (22°C-35°C) and chilly nights. This is also when the water levels in the Okavango Delta are at their highest, creating the waterways and channels Botswana is famed for.
The green season – from November to April – is a great time to travel if you don’t mind the odd shower. Visitor numbers and prices are lower, the scenery pops with verdant foliage, and animals give birth to their young.
WHAT TO PACK FOR A SELF-DRIVE IN BOTSWANA
You want to pack light….but at the same time, you will be so remote for many days that you will want to pack heavy. So, let me help you PACK SMART!
- GPS and a good Botswana map.
- Extra flash lights and batteries
- A well-equipped First Aid kit (including a snake bite kit)
- Rehydration solution
- A daypack
- Satellite phone
- Inflatable LED Solar Lantern.
- Bring a warm blanket for cold nights.
- Camera and safari lens
- Toilet paper
- light hiking pants
- long sleeves shirts
- good face cover
- polarized sunglasses
- Hand sanitizer
- LifeStraw Filtered Water Bottle and Emergency water supply
- External battery charger
PACK SMART ALERT!
AIRPORTS IN BOTSWANA
Botswana’s main airport is Sir Seretse Khama International Airport (GBE), located 11km/7miles north of Gaborone, the capital.
If you are flying from South Africa, you can take a direct flight from OR Tambo International Airport (JNB), Johannesburg, or Cape Town International Airport (CPT).
It is also common to fly into Maun Airport (MUB) and Kasana Airport (BBK). When combining a safari in Botswana with a visit to Victoria Falls, it is common to fly into Maun and depart from Victoria Falls Airport (VFA) in Zimbabwe or Livingstone Airport (LVI) in Zambia.
BORDERS OF BOTSWANA
Botswana is bounded by Namibia to the west and north (the Caprivi Strip), Zambia and Zimbabwe to the northeast, and South Africa to the southeast and south. The Zambezi River border with Zambia is only several hundred yards long. The point at which the borders of Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe meet in the middle of the river has never been precisely determined.
PRICE TO TRAVEL TO BOTSWANA
When you travel to Botswana you can easily spend 1,000 to 2,000 Dollars per day/ person. This kind of money will bring you to some of the most exclusive lodges, and to areas that aren’t accessible any other way, including private flights to the lodges. Of course, you can plan your self-drive safari in Botswana and save tons of money – which will force you to do a lot of planning yourself.
Prices below are the average for 10-day for 2 people (it doesn’t include international flights):
|ADDITIONAL COST WITH RENTAL CAR (mechanical, etc.)||US$800|
|FOOD AND DRINK||US$480|
|MISCELLANEOUS (entrees fee for parks, etc.)||US$420|
ACCOMMODATION IN BOTSWANA
Keep in mind that booking wild campsites in Botswana is extremely challenging and requires lots of patience and persistence.
I have done all the work and wrote this very detailed guide for Camping in Botswana – with all the best options for accommodations.
The campsites in Botswana are run by different private operators, The gates and reception have booking agents, but I strongly advise you to reserve your accommodation before your trip to Botswana, as the number of campsites is limited. You will be turned away if no space is available, and you will have a long trip back to the nearest town.
Things in Botswana move much more slowly than I am used to. The booking in Botswana is a very manual process, still, carbon copy receipt based rather than Internet bookings. Please read everything you should know before you go camping in Botswana before you make any reservations.
If you are planning to stay at lodges, Booking.com is the best option as it is a reliable source and they have a 24-hour cancellation policy that I have used several times.
RENTING A CAR IN BOTSWANA
You will need to have a 4×4 vehicle to go on a self-drive safari in Botswana, either if you decide to go with a tour operator, or if you decide to go on an independent adventure.
If you are arriving in Botswana and starting your drive, I recommend renting a car with Rental Car, as they have access to cars from all the major companies which are compared on a grid format that clearly displays the prices from each provider. Click on the bottom below to get the best deals on rental cars in Botswana.
!! BOTSWANA RENTAL CAR DISCOUNT ALERT !!
If you are driving from Namibia, readers of this blog have a great discount with Zambezi Car Rental. – I partnered with them to offer a discount to you! Just sign in below to receive a discount code directly in your email.
SELF-DRIVING IN BOTSWANA
Self-driving in Botswana can be a challenge depending on your level of experience but also depending on the season.
I recommend you rent a fully equipped 4×4 car, preferably with a GPS with camping sites and other important GPS coordinates pre-programmed. This will help guide you to stay on track and be able to orientate yourself, ensuring your drive will be a safe one for you and your close ones.
You can always ask one of our staff members for advice on what routes are recommended at the moment since this might change from one part of the year to another. Remember; in the African bush anything is possible so coming prepared and aware are factors that can help your drive be a successful one that will give you, your friends, and family memories for life.
ADDITIONAL TIPS FOR YOUR TRIP TO BOTSWANA
- Currency: The local currency in Botswana is Pula. They widely accepted South African Rand. You can use an ATM in one of the main towns. Always carry money with you, as most places do not accept credit cards.
- Fuel: on long drives pick up fuel regularly in the major towns as there can be long distances between stations.
- Supplies: snack and drinks are available at most of the fuel stops and the bigger towns had a well-stocked Spar Supermarket.
- Maps/GPS: Download maps onto your phone which can be accessed offline. Also, keep a paper map in the glove box just in case!
- SIM cards: it’s easy to pick up a pay as you go SIM in the airports as well as local mobile network stores.
- Internet: If you are planning to go on a mobile camp safari, note that you won’t have access to the internet. I spent 10 days in Botswana without internet access.
WHAT IS NEXT?
Here is some further information I think you might need to plan your trip:
- If you are combining your Botswana trip with Namibia, check my Namibia self-drive road trip Itinerary.
- Start planning your trip to Botswanal with these 10 Easy Steps to Plan your Trip
- Make sure you are prepared before you travel to Botswana with this Botswana Travel Guide
- Check this Ultimate Guide for Botswana Safari
- On this guide for Everything you neeed to know about Camping in Botswana, this is a must-read guide
- To travel safely in Botswana, I recommend to buy a Botswana Travel Guide Book
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