What to bring along
It would be a wise investment to bring along a good pair of binoculars. The Nikon Monarch 10 x 42 is great value. Many hours a day will be spent watching and photographing spectacular wildlife and beautiful scenery.
AI would recommend that you bring a decent DSLR together with a wide-angle lens and a zoom lens or two. Wildlife viewing and photography require large amounts of time and patience. Every morning we will bring tea and coffee and some biscuits and rusks for a mid morning break. Some days we will bring along a picnic lunch to make it possible for us to stay out all day. Morning and evening light is most favourable for photography however having said that, we will be taking the opportunity to photograph all day some days.
We prefer to get up early and start the morning pre dawn, to experience silhouettes and back lit scenarios from a photography perspective. Early morning is also the time when the predators are most active. The evening light allows for a bit longer time of good lighting and with the golden light (early evening) and eventually the sunset illuminating our surroundings we will have wonderful opportunities to photograph wildlife and scenery during that time of the day.
What You’ll Need
Passport should be valid for 6 months after your departure date. Most countries don’t require a visa to enter Botswana. Upon arrival you will be issued with a tourist visa with a maximum of 90 days per annum. If you are travelling to Zimbabwe or Zambia after your time with us, you will need to pay for a visa at the Kazangula border crossing. This is around USD 40.00. We advise that you have approximately USD 50.00 tucked away for this.
Double check with your local Botswana Embassy if you are not from the USA or Europe for visa requirements.
We carry basic first aid kits in all our vehicles and our guides are trained but we can’t carry everything. If you have any medications you know you will need while with us bring enough for the duration of your trip (and keep them in your hand luggage). If you have any changes to your health prior to your arrival, please let us know. For inoculations, please contact your GP or health provider.
You will be travelling to a malaria zone. Contact your GP or health provider and take action as to what they recommend. The best way to protect yourself against malaria is to cover up at dusk and dawn with long sleeve, long pants, socks and shoes and especially ankles and wrists as well as using mosquito repellent so as to avoid getting bitten in the first place. Not all mosquitoes are malaria carriers. Only some of the females are carriers and a malaria mosquito needs humans in its life cycle so, malaria tends to me more prevalent in populated areas. Conversely in less habited areas malaria is much less common Lucky us……we are mostly in the bush.
If you are travelling to Zambia or Zimbabwe you may need a yellow fever certificate. Contact your GP or health provider for more information.
The African sun shines most days and can be harsh, Please bring along a wide brimmed hat, sunscreen and sunglasses, a thin long sleeve shirt can also recommended to protect from the midday sun.
September through to April is summer time with the hottest month being October. Daytime temperature can reach as high as 45˚C (113˚F). Average daytime temperatures are in the mid thirties with night time temperatures in the twenties. Winter is May -Aug. and c is very pleasant during the day but may can be rather cool during the evenings and nights. With July being the coldest month of the year temperatures at night can be as low as freezing, although very uncommon.
The Early morning game drives during the winter months can be particularly chilly. Blankets will be provided for those early morning/late evening drives but we also recommend that you bring with a pair of gloves, a beanie and a warm top/ jacket to keep you warm and snug before the sun takes over that duty. You will still need to bring sunscreen and hat even during the winter months!
WHEN TO WEAR WHAT
Neutral earth tone clothing is a must. By sticking to the color palette of khaki, stone, olive, grey, etc. you won’t stand out. Camouflage clothing is, on the other hand, not advisable. Make sure they are lightweight and preferably cotton so your body can breathe.
Also a good pair of walking shoes is essential along with a pair of sandals. Both should have a sturdy sole, as the thorns here can be quite impressive.
Our summer (Sep-April) is when our rains come. During the day the clouds build up for a late afternoon shower with the heaviest rain in December. If you’re traveling during this time bring a waterproof poncho or raincoat for the surprise showers during your drive.
- Summer Safari Wardrobe:T-shirts and light weight cotton shirts ,cotton shorts and long trousers for after sunset .
As the name suggests, winter (May-Aug) can be very chilly. As I’ve already mentioned it can get to below zero degrees C but during the day the temperature can reach as high as 25-30˚C (77˚F- 86˚F).
Layering is a must and fairly easy way to cope with the changes in temperature.
- Winter Safari Wardrobe:Heavy cotton shirts and a fleece, wind breaker, gloves, fleece hat that covers your ears and a shawl to stop that cool breeze down the back of your fleece. This may sound like over kill for an African adventure but trust us, you’ll be happy we told you.
But don’t forget the shorts and t-shirts. Not only are they good as extra layers when you leave camp first thing, you’ll feel the benefit at lunchtime.
LIFE IN THE WILDERNESS
Setting camp in the great outdoors is a truly an amazing experience. Our camps are situated in unfenced wilderness and staying in places like this is a true and rare privilege. Due to this we recommend you are vigilant during your time in camp. It is important during nigh time especially since we never know who of our furry friends will come to visit. The camp will consist of a dining tent, luxury tents with beds and a toilet and bucket shower cubicles. (We also do a simpler version of camping where we use Dome tents and comfortable mattresses with bedding, with toilet and cubicle with bucket shower to share .should you be interested in this please ask us and well tell you more)
For weight restrictions please check with your chosen carrier but most flights allow for 20 kg. It is advisable to pack your clothing in a soft Duffel type bag as they pack easier into the vehicle. (remember to pack all fragile items in your hand luggage) Hard suite cases are not recommended due to both space restrictions and impracticality of wheeling in the soft sand.
The vehicles used during your safari are the best of the best when it comes to viewing and mobility in the bush. We only use Land Cruisers as they have proven to stand the test of time. These vehicles are specially adapted and have a frame that sits on the car with bench seats to give you maximum space and view and photograph both wildlife and nature. They are a bit higher than a normal vehicle and can for some be tricky to climb in and out of but you will soon get used to it and be a pro by the end of your trip. If you suffer from back problems or have any mobility issues, please let us know ahead of time so that we can assist you.
IPads, IPods, Kindles, Laptops, Digital Cameras…. Our lives are dominated by electronics. As you can imagine travelling to remote parts of Botswana wilderness makes electricity hard to come by. But have no fear…. we can charge your batteries using our Inverters. These are 220V inverters that are hooked up to the car for all your charging needs.
(Please double check your equipment works at 220V. Some require 110/120V)
Also remember to grab an M-type South African plug adapter just in case. These have 3 round prongs.
The local currency in Botswana is PULA but Dollars and Euros are easily exchangeable and required if you travel to Victoria Falls in Zambia or Zimbabwe.
OTHER INFORMATION BOOKS
We will have some guide books available on flora and fauna as well as a couple of recommended reads but if you want to invest in your own copies here is a list of essential safari books:
- Sasol’s Birds of Souhtern Africa
By Ian Sinclair, Phil Hockey, Peter Ryan & Warwick Tarboton
- A Field Guide to Mammals of Southern Africa
By Chris & Tilde Staurt
Some downloadable apps are also good for reference of birds and animals and do bring along a novel to read for relaxation in the camp.