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Climate:

Botswana has warm winters and hot summers.

Summer stretches from September to April. During these months you can expect frequent thunderstorms, which are very cooling after the very hot days and nights.

Winter runs from May to August. Winter is a dry season (it does rain very occasionally) and although it will warm up during the day, the nights and early mornings are bitterly cold.

Self-Drive and Camping:

A lot of planning needs to go into your self-drive camping trip to ensure that you have everything you both need and want. You will be travelling through remote areas, and it is unlikely that you will be able to pick up things along the way!

Below is a suggested camping checklist. Please note that this list is not absolute – so have a think about what you’d like your trip tobe like and what you need to make it happen!

Camping gear:

• Tent
• Sleeping bag (many people find blankets/ duvets and sheets more comfortable)
• Extra blankets and jackets (in winter)
• Camp-beds / mattresses / bed rolls (sleeping on the cold, hard ground can be very uncomfortable)
• Cooking implements (a grill for the fire, a large pot and pan and a kettle for boiling water are particularly useful)
• Eating implements (non-breakable is best) – don’t forget useful gadgets like tin and bottle openers, while sharp knives and scissors are useful too
• Water containers
• Torches – check that they work before you leave and bring spare batteries
• Matches
• Gas lamps – check you have enough of everything the lamp needs and remember that fragile bits can break so bring spares
• Folding tables and chairs
• A large cold-box or two!
• Buckets and basins – useful for washing up, brushing teeth and washing faces
• Toilet paper
• Axe
• Shovel
• Basic tools – things break in the bush

Water:

Never scrimp on water – especially drinking water – it is always advisable to take more than you think you need and to keep some where it is easily reached.

Fuel:

Camping means that you have a lot of extra weight in your car – which means you’ll burn more fuel, so fill up at every opportunity.

Along the busier roads, mainly down the eastern side of the country, fuel is readily available. However, in the more remote towns and villages, fuel stations frequently run out of fuel. No fuel is available at the entrances to, or within the national parks.

It is therefore essential that you work out the distances that you will be travelling, and how much fuel you need to cover those distance. You must remember to make allowances for the extra weight your vehicle will be carrying, the fact that you may get lost and four-wheel drive usage.

Always overestimate – running out of fuel is a serious problem.

Fire Wood:

It is against the law to collect fire wood in almost all national parks. Please ensure that you bring enough fire wood with you. Bundles of fire wood can often be bought in small towns and along the main roads near the entrances to the parks.

Self-drive car care:

Different cars with different drivers have different needs. However,
below is a list of car care tools that are useful on a self-drive camping trip:

• Spare tyres (for some trips it’s advisable to take two)
• Tyre pressure gauge
• Tyre repair kit
• Tyre pump – off-road driving may require you to change your tyre pressure
• High lift jack or air jack – essential when changing tyres or getting the car
out of sticky situations such as mud and thick sand
• Bow shackles to fit the tow rope safely to the car
• Tow rope that is suitable for the weight of the car
• Heavy duty gloves
• Jump leads
• Extra oil
• Electrician’s tape
• Fire extinguisher
• Shovel
• Wheel spanner
• Complete car tool kit

Personal essentials:

These personal goodies will make your trip both safer and more
enjoyable. We suggest you bring them all!
• Sun block lotion
• Sunglasses
• Hats
• Insect repellent
• Binoculars