What to Wear in Botswana

Kazungula Ferry across the Zambezi between Botswana and Zambia, December

Kazungula Ferry across the Zambezi between Botswana and Zambia, December

A Message From Helen



I want you to have an amazing vacation. That's why I started WhatToWearOnVacation.com,
to help you pack with confidence and stay safe, secure and comfortable.

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General Style Tips

  • This is a semi-desert climate - so it's hot during the day and cold at night.
  • Casual, comfortable clothes are the key. Dress down rather than up here.
  • During the day it is hot, so our advice is to pack lightweight loose-fitting clothes in natural fabrics such as linen and cotton that will keep you cool and are easier to wash and dry.
  • We suggest keeping to light, neutral colors; khaki, green and brown, but not white as it will get dirty and dusty very quickly.
  • Also note it is very important to avoid camouflage or military clothing, as this is illegal in Botswana.
  • Avoid blue or black clothing too - the tsetse flies are drawn to these colors, and their bite can give you African Sleeping Sickness.
  • Long pants and long-sleeved tops will protect you from the harsh sun by day and mosquitoes at night.
  • A wide-brimmed safari hat or cap is really useful at any time of year, as even the winter sun is hot.
  • Remember your sunglasses and lots of sunscreen (we love the Riemann P20 range for 10 hour protection), and of course insect/mosquito repellent.
  • Whenever you travel you will need warm clothes for the evenings - add in a fleece or pashmina. For extra warmth pack some long thermal underwear.
  • For early morning excursions pack a warm hat, scarf, gloves and a jacket.
  • If you are on safari, the idea is to relax and enjoy your time under the African sky, and listen to the calls of the wild all around you! Dinner dress is therefore casual and comfortable.
  • There is a very relaxed dress code in restaurants too - shorts or pants are acceptable for both men and women.

What Shoes To Pack

  • If you plan to do much walking, either on safari or with a backpack, then lightweight walking shoes or sneakers are fine. The bush is not always smooth and even, so anything that minimises the chance of a twisted ankle is a good idea. Try Hotter shoes, they are amazingly light and comfortable.
  • Flip flops are fine for walking in towns but when traveling between towns then sneakers or lightweight boots are advisable.

Clothing Tips for Women

  • Leave your valuables and jewelry at home, you really won't need them.
  • A pashmina or sarong is a versatile item that you can use for sun protection or to 'glam' up the simplest of outfits if you feel like a change.
  • A long skirt or loose-fitting pants are good in the heat and will protect you from the sun.

Clothing Tips for Men

  • There are no specific things to bring to your attention, check out our packing list for our suggested capsule wardrobe.
  • For great versatile travel jackets with multiple pockets including RFID security options, we love the SCOTTeVEST range.

Pack for the Weather

  • The dry winter season of May, June, July and August is warm in the day time but bitterly cold at night.
  • Summer (November, December, January, February and March) is hot but is also the rainy season when a lightweight raincoat will be useful.
  • Clever layering is the key to dressing for changeable weather.
  • We love the Weather+ app - it gives an accurate 6 day forecast for day and night, which when you're planning from home is really helpful. You can keep all the places you've been to too - a nice way to remember your trip :) Download for iPad/iPhone or Android

Regions of Botswana

  • The Pans are hot, dry and very dusty; carry plenty of water and a scarf or sarong to protect your face from the dust.

Other Things To Pack

  • A soft-sided rucksack is more practical than a hard suitcase for safari vacations - it's easier to fit into the small planes or transfer vehicles. Using packing cubes can help to keep your belongings tidy whilst compressing the volume too.
  • Internal flights often have much lower baggage limits than your international carrier. Use an accurate luggage scale to ensure you keep within the weight allowance.
  • Pack a sling bag or lightweight day sack for sightseeing trips and game drives.
  • Look after your mobile phone with a phone bunjee - it protects against loss, theft and damage. You may like to carry a solar powered charger too, to boost your battery when out and about - you don't want to miss that great photo opportunity!
  • To use electrical gadgets you may need a travel adapter plug, and also a step down voltage converter if your devices are not designed for the local voltage (230V).
  • Don’t drink or even brush your teeth in tap water. Consider taking a Water-to-Go Filtration Water Bottle.
  • Don't forget to leave room for souvenirs on the way home! Gaborone and Francistown have plenty of shopping malls, where you can pick up African carvings, baskets or musical instruments, to name a few. Thamaga and Gabane are good places to pick up distinctive Botswana pottery and see it being made. Head to Oodi for textiles or the craft markets at Maun.

Last updated 14 December 2017.

Get a Full Packing List for Botswana

Our Members can download a suggested packing list for Botswana which covers ladies' and men's clothes for all seasons, plus a checklist for must-take items. Sign up or log in below.

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Pack Light

  • Less luggage to carry
  • Save time packing and unpacking
  • Save money on baggage fees

Pack Right

  • Respect local cultures
  • Feel comfortable and confident
  • Suitable outfits for all occasions

A Message From Helen



I want you to have an amazing vacation. That's why I started WhatToWearOnVacation.com,
to help you pack with confidence and stay safe, secure and comfortable.