How to plan the ULTIMATE Botswana self-drive safari

Botswana has increasingly become a favourite destination for self-drive fanatics, eager to explore the untouched wilderness, prime camping spots and incredible game viewing that the country has to offer.

But, where do you start? How do you choose your route? Which are the places not to be missed?

As an on the ground tour operator based in Maun we can assist with campsite bookings, DWNP permits and route recommendations, as well as up to date road and weather conditions.

WHEN TO GO:

  • November – March: if you are brave enough to travel during rainy season you should prepare for water crossings, some wet tents and mud. However, you can also prepare yourself for Botswana’s best kept secret…our spectacular GREEN SEASON! Watch the environment come to life with the much needed rainfall and the influx of migratory birds. You should be confident with 4×4 driving and expect challenging conditions.
  • April – June: a lovely time of year to see the Central Kalahari, as many migratory animals are still present. The rains have usually stopped and the temperatures pleasant, by June the nights will be very cold. Road conditions generally normal.
  • July – August: an incredibly popular time to travel so advance bookings are vital. Wildlife are much more easily visible and game viewing impressive. It is still Winter, so temperatures are cold at night and early in the morning.
  • September – October: the end of the dry season and arguably the best time for game viewing in Northern Botswana. The Kalahari is extremely hot during this time so we recommend avoiding this area unless highly desired. Due to the heat, expect thick sandy roads which can make for slow drives.

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WHERE TO GO:

  • Moremi Game Reserve: this vibrant reserve lies on the Eastern tongue of the Okavango Delta and generally offers great game viewing all year round. South Gate is the campsite located at the entrance to the park – ideal for those only spending a couple of nights in the reserve. 3rd Bridge and Xakanaxa are located deep inside the reserve and offer thrilling game viewing in a beautiful area. If you’re looking for a bit more comfort, 3rd Bridge also hosts a tented camp where you can enjoy self-catering in en suite meru tents.
  • Khwai Concession: Khwai is located on the border of Moremi. It’s location outside the park does not hinder the game viewing and allows for more flexibility for activities – there are no restrictions in place regarding driving at night or walking.
  • Savuti: an incredibly popular campsite during dry season due to it’s position close to the channel. Savuti is widely known for it’s famous predator sightings and high concentration of wildlife in the area.
  • Linyanti: a beautiful area home to abundant elephant populations. It can offer extremely challenging road conditions during the rainy season and it slightly off the beaten track, so recommended for confident 4×4’ers.
  • Chobe Riverfront: whether you stay at Ihaha Campsite or within Kasane itself, this area is a beautiful inclusion. The riverfront boasts beautiful views and great game sightings.
  • Central Kalahari: best viewed just after the rainy season in April/May – it offers much wilder camping experiences. The Kalahari experiences extremes in temperatures and can get incredibly hot in October, and incredibly cold in July.
  • Makgadikgadi National Park: for a Salt Pans experience, visit during dry season when activities are fully operating. For travel between May – October, also witness the incredible Zebra/Wildebeest migration.

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WHAT TO PACK:

  • A 4×4 vehicle equipped with spare tyres, long range fuel tank, camping equipment if required and breakdown items.
  • Map of Botswana or Satellite Navigation system with “Tracks For Africa” loaded
  • Satellite Phone (no cell signal in the parks!)
  • All food, drinks and supplies for your time in the reserves.

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WHEN TO BOOK:

  • Well in advance! It’s no exaggeration to say that National Park campsite bookings get booked up early, often as much as 1 year in advance for travel during peak season. We recommend at least 8 – 12 months to pre-book to avoid disappointment.

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