Are you wondering what to wear on Safari in Botswana? In this guide we will tell you the best colors to wear on safari in Botswana, how to pack a capsule wardrobe for a Botswana safari and everything else you should consider packing for a safari in this amazing and beautiful country.
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Considerations for your Botswana Safari Wardrobe
Botswana is a stunning country but can be tricky to pack for especially when you are going out on safari. In this section of our what to wear guide we will tell you the main things that you need to consider when putting together your safari wardrobe.
Things you should consider when packing for Botswana are:
Weather in Botswana
As with any packing list the weather is one of the biggest considerations.
Unlike Northern Hemisphere countries, Botswana really only has two seasons. Rather than summer, winter, fall and spring Botswana weather is classified as either wet season or dry season.
The dry season in Botswana from April through to November and the wet season in Botswana runs from November to March / April time. Depending on if you are visiting during rainy season you will need to amend your Botswana packing list to include waterproof wear.
Often activities you do in Botswana will be timed to avoid the midday sun when the animal movements are limited and to get you out of the heat of the sun. Therefore it is important to pack layers to account for this activity.
Where in Botswana you travel
There are som many amazing places in Botswana to go on safari including but not limited to:
- Central Kalahari
- Chobe National Park
- Makgadikgadi Pans
- Maun and of course
- the Okavango Delta.
While there are mild fluctuations in weather in these places and while the central kalahari and souther regions can be a tad drier it isn’t huge differences and therefore this packing list should be treated as universal for Botswana.
Wildlife in Botswana
Let’s face it people go on safari to see animals. And Botswana has some very special wildilfe experiences.
You will need to have clothes that will suit early mornings and early evenings when you have the best chance of seeing animals so some layers will be required.
Types of Safari in Botswana
Walking safaris are very popular in Botswana on top of jeep safaris. If you plan to do a walking safari you will need good and sturdy hiking boots to protect your feet from thorns and other hazards.
Best Color to wear on a Safari in Botswana
Now when we are usually putting together a capsule wardrobe one of the biggest decisions you have to pack is what color palette you want for your wardrobe. However this is not a problem when putting together you Botswana safari capsule wardrobe as there are definitely best and worst colors to wear on safari.
We have a complete guide to the best colors to wear on safari above but for purpose of packing a capsule wardrobe we advise sticking to the below colors:
The reasons to stick to this color scheme are:
- to blend in with your surroundings so the animals don’t see you
- to deter mosquitos and tsete flies
- Also other colors which are pale or white will show the dirt and dust too much
What to Wear on Safari in Botswana
So now you know the considerations when putting together your Botswana Packing List we can get into the details of what we think you should include.
While we would normally separate the what to wear guide into what to wear for men and women really there are fundamental principles for a safari wardrobe regardless of gender.
Long Sleeve Tops
We recommend having a mix of long sleeve tops that both pull over and button down in both shirts and blouses style.
I would mix a variety of the above color palette into your wardrobe so there is a bit of variety in your wardrobe.
Zippable hiking trousers
One thing we knew found on safari especially if you are traveling during wet season is that you legs get muddy and there are limited laundry facilities.
For this reason we recommend packing zippable hiking trousers. I would recommend taking at least two pairs of these trousers with you to give you time to dry a pair if they get rained on or need washing.
Also don’t underestimate how dusty you can get on a walking safari in Botswana.
There is nothing worse than getting a blister while out on a hike especially when you are on safari. Therefore be sure to pack plenty of thick or cushioned hiking socks and make sure you have worn in your boots before you arrive for your safari.
Light Weight Fleece
A light weight fleece that sticks to the above color palette is perfect for early starts on safari or for evenings in the lodge. And the bonus is this warm layer will not cost you much in luggage weight.
We recommend taking this no matter the month you are traveling in as you will be out a lot when the sun is down in early mornings and early evening. That is because the animals are more active then and I really can’t stress how much the temperature drops at this time.
If you feel the cold you may also want a lightweight jacket. It is usually cooler in the dry season over the wet as there isn’t the humidity.
This won’t be needed in the dry season but is an essential for those traveling to Botswana during the wet season it is an absolute essential.
We recommend a poncho over a jacket as they are compact and lightweight and you really wont want to be wearing them for long after the rain as it is still quite warm and humid in Botswana.
You can also use this to protect any backpack and camera equipment from the rain also.
Wide Brimmed Hat
It is very important to protect yourself from the elements when on safari. One of the best ways of doing this is by wearing a wide brimmed safari hat that will protect you from both the sun and rain if it happens.
Sunglasses are needed whatever time you travel to Botswana as the sun is strong and need protecting.
Gaiters definitely aren’t a essential but we recommend taking them if you are going safari during the wet seson.
Gaiters are good for protecting your trousers in muddy or rainy conditions and will help keep your trousers a bit cleaner but will also add an added layer of protection from things like thorns and nettles.
Long length PJs
Mosquitos are most active at night. Be sure to protect yourself from mosquitos by having length length (in both arms and legs) pyjamas as this will help prevent you being bitten.
You will find most Safari lodges in Botswana, particularly the luxury ones will have pools. In my opinion there is nothing more refreshing than a post safari dip in the pool. Don’t miss out by forgetting your swimwear.
Goes without saying
Can be used to dress up outfits in the evening and are a good additional layer.
Dress / Leggings and Top
We recommend taking a Maxi dress with long sleeves, for evenings in Botswana. It is nice to be able to change out of your safari clothes in the evenings into something fresh. But as many lodges aren’t formal you can opt for a dress or top and leggings.
Just be sure to keep yourself covered to prevent the chances of you getting bitten by a mosquito.
Goes without saying.
Best Shoes for a Botswana Safari
In my opinion there is only one essential pair of shoes to take on a safari in Botswana and that is hiking boots. This is especially true for those planning on doing a walking safari which are very popular in Botswana.
Lodges don’t tend to be very formal places (unless stated on their website) so you won’t need heels or evening wear with you but hiking boots are needed for out on the savannah.
If you aren’t doing any walking safari or treks however you might be able to get away with walking shoes or hiking trainers instead.
If you are traveling during wet season we would recmomend taking waterproof hiking boots with you as there is nothing worse than wet feet on a safari.
For around your lodge
For round the pool
What Else to Pack for A Safari in Botswana
On top of thinking about what to wear on safari in Botswana, you need to include the below on your Botswana packing list.
We recommend taking malaria tablets with you on safari in Botswana. Be sure to pack the right amount for your trip along with any other medications you need.
Many places in Africa including Botswana will require 6 months of validity left on your passport. Be sure to check the validity on your passports before you travel.
Camera and Lens
Trust me when I say that you will want to take many many photographs when on a safari in Botswana. Be sure to have a good camera and if you require them additional lens.
You will go through lots of battery on a Safari be that in Tanzania, Botswana or sometwhere else. Be sure to bring extra power packs and batteries to get you through charging periods.
Chargers and Adaptors
Be sure to have all the chargers for all your electronic devices with you and be sure to have a plug adaptor, depending on where you are traveling from and to will depend on what type you will need.
As you have probably realised, insects are one of the main things you need to consider when packing for Botswana. Be sure to pack plenty of insect repellant. And a strong one at that. WE recommend ones that use DEET.
Though many places in Africa will offer mosquito nets in your room, if yours doesn’t or you are worried about the quality be sure to pack one to take with you.
First Aid Kit
Though many reputable companies and lodges will have first aid kits as standards I always recommend carrying your own travel first aid kit with you just in case. We recommend taking one whereever you are traveling but think it is especially important when you are doing a safari.
The sun can be strong in Botswana and therefore you need to pack plenty of suncream.
This is very important when out on safaris in Botswana on long days so you can clean your hands before eating.
We recommend taking your own travel size toiletries with you as wells tooth paste and tooth brushes etc as when out in the bush these are hard to come by.
We always recommend taking a backpack that is waterproof with you to protect your belongings should you get caught in a rainstorm in Botswana but this is particularly important for those traveling in the rainy season.
Handy for out on long days.
Depending on your lodge and activities you may be getting up very early in a place with no electricity. For moving around your resort site or on early morning treks a headlamp can be very useful.
Not everywhere you go in Botswana will be a cashless. Be sure to have some local currency with you and a way of keeping it safe.
If you use them
Bird Watching / Wildlife Books
If you are keen to spot birds and keep track of them on your safari we recommend taking some physical books as opposed to kindle versions.
Charging at lodges can be limited so you are best to have physical books as opposed to kindles.
The wildlife is spectacular on a safari. The big 5 are always fan favourites however you should not overlook the monkey and birdwatching on safari. To see these in all their glory you will want a good pair of binoculars with you.
Complete Botswana Packing List
- Socks and underwear
- Long sleeved tops
- Lightweight, comfy trousers
- Hiking Trousers preferably zippable
- Top layer
- WAter proof poncho
- 1-2 outfits to chance into for evenings
- Hiking Boots and Hiking Socks
- Long Sleeve and long leg pjs
- Flip flops
- Sun hat
- Day bag/camera bag
- Wildlife Books
- CAmera and lens
FAQs about what to wear on a Botswana Safari
What can you not wear on safari in Botswana?
While there is no dress code for a Botswana Safari, although we recommend staying covered to avoid getting bitten by mosquitos we also recommend not wearing bright colors to attract attention, white as it gets very dirty or blue and black as it can encourage insects such as mosquitos and tseste flies.
Camouflage should also be left at home wherever you are in Africa as this is something reserved for the military.
Also we recommend leaving the perfume at home particularly flowery perfume as this can attract insects too.
Is it OK to wear shorts in Botswana?
There are no rules to say you can’t wear shorts in Botswana however we do not recommend them.
Shorts keep your legs bare which increases the chances of getting a mosquito bite which is something you want to avoid at all costs.