Botswana is the perfect picture of the African wilderness. Covered with dry plains and water, and variety of wildlife and unspoiled nature, it’s such a beautiful place to visit. Almost three quarters of the country is Kalahari Desert, which is in itself a tourist attraction. Other famous attractions include the Okavango Delta which is known for the magnificent sitatunga and Lechwe antelopes, Chobe National Park known for having Africa’s largest single concentration of elephants, Moremi Game reserve which has some very amazing birdlife, and the unpredictable Savute channel and so much more. Filled with wildlife, Botswana beckons you for an African safari in its wilderness, and many have answered the call.
As with all holidays, planning, shopping and packing are part of the package. And just like all holidays what you wear is important. For a safari in Botswana, your wardrobe might deviate a little bit from the norm. Wildlife life safaris are a little different from a holiday in Paris or Tokyo, so you need to dress accordingly.
Like most of Africa, expect scorching hot sun during the day. But Botswana and most of southern Africa have temperate climates which are quite different from the tropics of east and central Africa. Botswana experiences dry cold winters where the temperature can drop to freezing point and below. So as you pack clothes for your safari think warmth and comfort. And the best way to achieve that is layering. If you are dressing for a game drive, or nature walk, layer with thin fabric, medium fabric, and a thicker outer layer. Shirts, either long or short sleeved can make for comfortable inner layers. You can use a fleece as a mid layer and super light premium jacket as an outer layer. A Patagonia’s exceptionally lightweight Nano Puff jacket is one option for an outer layer. You can peel off or add these on as and when the weather changes, and because they are easy to compress, they do not make your backpack heavy.
Shorts and trousers are comfortable wear for whatever safari activity you might want to take on. Botswana is a bit less conservative than most African states, and given the desert climate, light easy clothing is absolutely understandable. So wear safari shorts and trousers, in light fabrics, and neutral colors especially on game drive. As mention before on this website, bright colors might startle the wild animals away, and make you stick out. The goal is to blend with your environment.
Leisure: please remember to carry your swimsuits. You might want to take a dip in the swimming at the hotel or lodge every now and then.
Do not forget, sweaters and jackets.
On a Botswana safari you will need comfortable shoes. Hiking boots are not really necessary unless you plan on taking long intensive nature walk, in which case please pack a pair. For the most part however, what you really need are sturdy comfortable walking shoes, and a pair or two of sandals. Game drives are mostly spent in the 4WD safari vehicles, you will not be tracking or hiking much. Walking shoes are comfortable. If you must get boots get an easy comfortable pair that is high, at least covering the ankles to protect your legs from insects.
Sandals are good for simple activities like sightseeing and visiting surrounding towns and villages.
Hats: pack a wide brim hat. It will be very useful on very hot days when the sun is up high and shining with all its might. Protect your neck, face and cover your hair with a nice wide brim hat. Stay away from bright colored hats.
Sunglasses: eyes are delicate. You need to protect them and shield them especially since you need tour eyes fine on a safari. Pack at least two pairs of sunglasses to shield your eyes from the direct rays of the sun.
Scarves: a scarf is stylish and useful. Hold down your hat against the wind, covering your neck, dusting yourself off, there is so much you can use a scarf for.
Sweater or jacket: because it gets really cold, no matter what time of the year you make your trip, you will need these.
Eye glasses, and contacts; if you wear spectacles, please carry an extra pair just in case one gets damaged.
If you wear contacts carry an extra set, and extra cleaning solutions, because they will get really dusty in the African desert.
Socks: you feet need warmth too.
As you plan for your safari, do some research about the places you plan to visit , where they are located, what to expected, and attitudes and behavior of people there and their dress code. This makes it easier for you to fit in. So, as you plan your safari to Botswana, keep these pointers in mind.