There can be few more dramatic experiences than driving through pristine wilderness and there is no better place to do this than in the northern part of Botswana. It is not for the faint-hearted, and, experience in driving in difficult conditions is a necessity.
Many parts of Botswana's game reserves are only accessible in 4 x 4 vehicles due to the rough roads. If you are planning on doing a 4x4 self-drive safari in Botswana we recommend hiring a proper vehicle that comes with everything you need on your journey. Below is a quick checklist of advice that could help you when on a self-drive safari in Botswana.
But first: Make sure the vehicle you are travelling in has been serviced before the trip
Find out about Botswana Self-drive Safari Packages
Read up on roads and routes
- Travel with two vehicles if you are on an off-road 4x4 self-drive journey.
- All vehicles are right-hand drive - drive on the left-hand side of the road in Botswana.
- Watch out for animals - many of the roads are unfenced and animals such as donkeys often wander across the road, in national parks, it could well be an elephant!
- A related point - stick to the speed limit, especially in the national parks - it is for your safety and allows you to see many more animals that you may have just whizzed past.
- Do not travel after dark, as animals are harder to see on the road at night. Many accidents happen because of this - animals such as kudu often jump across the road at night in front of cars.
- Take extra petrol with you in Jerry cans - even if you have a backup tank. Most of the petrol stations are only located in the major cities and you can use a lot of fuel when driving through sand, so you may often use more than you think.
- Fuel is not available from the camps en route, so make sure you have enough to get through from Maun to Kasane - or vice versa.
- Take at least 100 litres of water with you. The water in the rivers needs to be boiled before drinking it. So take clean water with you. Also, you may need it to fill radiators or for basic washing etc.
- Carry a satellite phone. When you run into trouble, it will be in the middle of nowhere and you will have no idea when the next vehicle might come by. You need to have some way to ask for help in an emergency.
- Take a GPS and maps. The roads are often not sign-posted so a map is a definite necessity.
- You should carry extra spare tires, and a high lift jack as well as an ordinary jack.
- Carry a basic set of tools with spanners and screwdrivers. If you are mechanically inclined, then consider taking a few basic spare parts such as a fan-belt.
- A spade is also an essential item for digging out stuck vehicles.
- Take a medical aid kit. In the heat and humidity, even small cuts can get infected quickly, so it is a good idea to carry a basic medical aid kit with you.