Botswana travel advice

Tips from our friends in Botswana

Getting around tips

Award-winning travel writer Emma Gregg shares her Botswana travel advice:
“Botswana is a great place to ditch the Land Rover in favour of a vehicle-free wildlife-watching experience. Guided bushwalks, horse riding and boat trips offer a refreshingly different perspective to conventional game drives. The experience can be exciting, serene or both, depending on what you encounter.
Don’t be disappointed if you book a trip in a mokoro – the Okavango Delta’s answer to the Oxbridge punt – and your craft turns out to be made of fibreglass instead of the more traditional hollowed out sausage tree wood. Tourism has created an unprecedented demand for mokoros, and as wooden ones only last five years, mature sausage trees are now rare. Fibreglass provides a viable alternative.”

Season tips

Richard's tips travelling in Botswana's off-season
Richard Madden, author of the Telegraph’s Bush Telegraph column, shares his advice for traveling in Botswana off-season:
"Consider picking up a bargain and traveling outside the peak (dry/winter) season between May and Sept/Oct. If you travel during the wet season, the bush is actually greener, lusher and more beautiful and the summer storms can be an intoxicating experience leaving the bush feeling fresh and revitalised. While the wildlife is more dispersed and not so focused around the waterholes, you will still often see huge herds of antelope and all the large predators."

Photography advice

Dereck and Beverly Joubert are
internationally renowned filmmakers,
conservationists and National Geographic
Explorers-in-Residence. Here is their advice
for taking better photographs in Botswana:
"The problem is that when people arrive with short lenses,
they push to get closer to the animals. But with digital cameras
today, you don’t have to be as close as you think. You can always crop later on. The key is really to get natural behaviour by standing back a little bit and letting these things pan out. If you push too hard you will destroy the animals’ natural behaviour and your opportunities as a photographer."

Health & safety in Botswana

Travel safely in Botswana


  • Malaria exists in Botswana, particularly in the north. Consult your doctor about medication, and cover up and use repellent to avoid mosquito bites.
  • Several vaccinations are recommended for Botswana. Visit your travel clinic at least 6-8 weeks before traveling to ensure you have time to complete your course of vaccinations.
  • In the winter months (May-August) parts of Botswana can be surprisingly cold, especially in the early morning. Pack warm layers, along with hats and gloves.
  • Extreme heat and dryness can affect children badly – use sunblock and hats, keep them well hydrated and carry a cool box in your vehicle for drinks if possible.
  • Water-borne diseases exist in some of Botswana’s lakes and rivers, so avoid swimming in these.
  • Almost a quarter of Botswana’s population is HIV positive. Exercise precautions in situations involving blood or open wounds, such as helping accident victims.


Botswana is generally very safe for travelers, especially outside the main towns. Exercise the same precautions as you would back home, and don’t have valuables on show.
Avoid driving outside of towns at night - roads are not lit and vehicles are in danger of colliding with roaming wildlife.
Check boots and shoes for critters before putting them on – especially if camping.
Homosexuality, while not illegal in Botswana, is still stigmatized. Same-sex couples are therefore advised to act discretely in public.

Botswana advice from our travelers

Travel advice from those who have been there

At Responsible Travel, we think the best people to advise our travelers are often... other travelers. They always return from our tours with packing tips, weather reports, ideas about what to do - and opinions about what not to.

We have selected some of the most useful Botswana travel tips that our guests have provided over the years to help you make the very most of your vacation - and the space inside your suitcase.
It gets dark early, you always seem to be packing up in the dark and finding things in the tent is a bit of a challenge. Make sure you take really good torches/lights for your tent, with spare batteries. Water is limited when wild camping so you cannot have a shower every day. Ladies, you cannot get out of your tent at night for the loo when wild camping! - Linda Sykes

Get a Visa credit/debit card: had problems with MasterCard in Botswana. - Johann Trojer

You can't expect the wildlife to come that close, so if you want a close-up picture make sure you have a big zoom. Although we had a 10x optical zoom camera, one of our group had an 18x optical zoom. The benefit was certainly apparent when taking close up shots of the birdlife. - Barry Woodfin

Pack your things in plastic bags or liners to protect them from sand and rain! - Tania Zwicky

Take warm clothes: it was absolutely freezing some nights. I'm not sure what the freezing point of washing up liquid is, but that's how cold it was. - Julia Ward

Take a cushion or neck cushion for sleeping in the truck. - Janet Aston

We went to Nata and the salt lakes expecting to see vast numbers of birds but there were none! This was because it is the dry season and therefore there was no water to lure the birds – we were all disappointed in this, although the salt lake was very tranquil. If we had known this we would have spent more time elsewhere and scrapped the visit to Nata. - John/Cathy Baldock
Photo credits: [Dereck Joubert with leopard: Copyright Wildlife Films]
Written by Vicki Brown
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