Self Drive Travel Tips

Welcome To Our Self Drive Travel Tips
Embark on a journey of self-discovery in Botswana with our Self-Drive Travel Tips. Navigate the vast landscapes and incredible wildlife of this African gem confidently, as we provide essential insights, road trip recommendations, and safety guidelines for an unforgettable and immersive experience. Get ready to embrace the freedom of the open road and create lasting memories in the heart of Botswana
Self Drive Travel Tips

Vehicle Preparation and Requirements

  • For those planning a self-drive safari in Botswana, a 4×4 vehicle is essential. Ensure your vehicle has adequate clearance for sandy tracks within National Parks.
  • If you’re bringing your own vehicle across borders, you’ll need all the necessary paperwork to prove ownership. If hiring, ensure you have permission and documentation for border crossings.
  • Equip your vehicle with basic breakdown tools, including spare tires (at least 2), puncture repair kits, tow rope, and a hi-lift jack.
  • Maintain tyre pressures at 1.8 BAR on dirt and gravel, and 2.4 BAR on tar roads. Lower pressures to around 1.2 BAR in very sandy conditions, provided you have a compressor for reinflation.
  • Carry at least 2 jerry cans for fuel and another container for water if your vehicle lacks long-range tanks.
  • GPS navigation is essential, with many downloadable apps available. Consider obtaining a Botswana Telecoms (BTC) SIM card for wider coverage, or carry a satellite phone as a backup.

Vehicle Documents Required

  • Valid passport of the driver in English or an International Driving Licence if not.
  • Certified copy of vehicle registration papers in the driver’s name.
  • Letter of authority from the registered owner if the vehicle is not owned by the driver.

Driving Tips and Safety

  • Drive on the left-hand side of the road and avoid driving at night due to potholes and wildlife.
  • Stick to main roads within national parks and exercise patience if animals block your path. Never hoot or rev at wildlife, this will enrage them and can aggrevate the situation.
  • Watch out for logs and sticks in the road (often used to rescue vehicles that have been stuck) as these may damage tyres.
  • If a large puddle blocks your route, then it is normally best to go through the middle, not try to go around. Should it look to deep, reverse and try an alternative route.
  • When entering a National Park, always solicit information on road conditions & best route to take.
  • In case of breakdown, stay with your vehicle, especially within national parks. Never leave your vehicle. Always inform your accommodation of your travel plans. If possible, phone & advise the next destination of your expected time of arrival and where you are coming from.
  • Always have an emergency pack in your vehicle in case of breakdown, basic tinned food, extra water and a warm top.
  • If traveling to the Salt Pans or CKGR, it is advisable to travel with 2 vehicles, but always check road conditions on the Pans, as a small amount of rain can make traversing the Makgadikgadi impossible.
  • Speed Limit’s in Botswana: 120km/h on open roads, towns and villages 60km/h. Traffic police now carry card machines, so no avoiding those fines.
  • As with all countries the world over we have crime, but generally speaking Botswana is a very safe country, however, you will always have your opportunists so make sure you keep your valuables on you at all times. Keep your vehicles locked and valuables out of sight.

Supplies and Logistics

  • Avoid carrying fresh meat, dairy, or restricted fruits and vegetables across borders. Tinned and dry goods are permitted. Most towns have supermarkets for fresh produce and with selected suppliers, you can place your order ahead of time for quick and convenient collection.
  • Fuel is not available within parks, so ensure you have sufficient supplies, especially if traveling between Maun and Kasane or into the Kalahari.
  • Carry drinking water as water availability within parks can be limited.

Camping in Botswana’s National Parks & Reserves

  • All Campsites & Park Entry must be pre-booked. To pre-book and pay park fees, please go onto the government website for the latest information.
  • This site will also advise you of all the Parks rules and regulations. Park fees can be paid in advance at the Wildlife office in Maun with a credit/debit card, or online. However, you can also pay at the gate, but this must be in Pula Cash.
  • Useful contact numbersDWNP South Gate + 267 6830086

    DWNP North Gate + 267 6830082/4

    DWNP Savute Gate + 267 6200224

  • Camping Guidelines: Only allowed in designated areas. Sleep in closed tents & be vigilant if travelling with children, as animals are inquisitive and the campsites are not fenced. Always put away any food left-overs etc, inside the vehicle is the best place. All Campsites MUST be pre-booked.

Exploring Botswana's Highlights

  • While you can’t self-drive into the main Okavango Delta, explore its fringes in Moremi Game Reserve or Khwai. Travel up on the western side of the delta to areas like Guma.  Consider visiting Shakawe for views of the Okavango River and Tsodilo Hills for UNESCO-listed Bushman Paintings.
  • Consider flying into delta camps/lodges for a few nights or taking scenic flights over the delta from Maun.
  • More and more self-drive guests are using Maun as their safari hub. Book a day trip into the Okavango, Moremi & Makgadikgadi from this bustling base which is fast becoming a destination of interest. Scenic flights and cultural tours are also popular from Maun.
  • Kasane is another popular safari destination for those on a budget. If you don’t have a 4×4 vehicle, you can book game drives with a local operator. Don’t underestimate the value of having an experienced guide on safari. With the Chobe River flowing all year round and teaming with wildlife, a boat trip here is not to be missed. A day visit to Victoria Falls can easily be arranged from Kasane if you wish to venture further afield.

Cross-Border Travel

  • Crossing into Zimbabwe or Namibia is feasible with the correct documentation. Ensure permission from the hire company if using a rented vehicle.
  • Check visa requirements before cross-border travel.

Currency and Health Considerations

  • The currency in Botswana is the Pula, available at bureau exchanges and banks in all towns. Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted, but it’s advisable to carry cash for fuel and other essentials. Hotels and lodges may accept US$, Euro and ZAR.
  • Okavango Air Rescue, is based in Maun and for a very reasonable cost, you can insure yourself and fellow travellers in case a medical evacuation is required. Malaria:
  • Botswana is regarded as a Malaria area, more prevalent in the North and after the rains, it is advisable to ask your doctor with regards to prophylactics. However, as always, prevention is better than cure, covering up with long sleeves & trousers from sundown & using a mosquito spray is a good habit to adopt whilst on safari.

Veterinary Fences in Botswana

  • Botswana implements veterinary fences as part of its efforts to control the spread of diseases between wildlife and livestock. These fences are crucial for maintaining the health and integrity of both ecosystems and agriculture. Guests can expect to encounter these fences when traveling through certain areas, and it’s important to adhere to any regulations or restrictions in place for crossing them. Travelers should note that fresh meat is prohibited from being carried across these fences. Additionally, guests may be required to exit their vehicles and dip their shoes or have their vehicle’s tyres sprayed as a precautionary measure. These measures are essential for safeguarding the health of Botswana’s wildlife and livestock populations

Emergency Contacts



Police Station – Maun  +267 68 61125  999
Police Station – Kasane  +267 62 52444  10111
Police Station – Ghanzi  +267 65 97726  999
Police Station – Nata +267 62 11222  999
Police Station – Francistown  +267 24 15656  999

Medical Emergencies


Name Location  Emergency Number
Prime Health – MRI Maun 992
Okavango Air Rescue & Doctors Maun 995 / +267 686 1616 / +267 75 058 247
Maun Private Hospital & Pharmacy Maun +267 6860245
Public Hospital – Botswana Government Maun 997
Doctors Inn Maun +267 6865115
Pharma Maun Pharmacy Maun +267 686 2298
Okavango Pharmacy Maun +267 71705040


Ghanzi Primary Hospital Ghanzi +267 659 6333
Smart Pharmacy Ghanzi +267 659 7722
Delta Pharmacy Ghanzi +267 659 7134


Francistown Hospital Francistown +267 240 9076
Riverside Private Hospital Francistown +267 241 2518
Lordsland Medical Centre Francistown +267 241 9696


Dis-Chem Gallo Pharmacy Francistown +267 777440668
Pharma North Pharmacy Francistown +267 241 0877


Dr Obert: Chobe Private Clinic Kasane +267 6251733 / + 267 71993199
Kasane Primary Hospital Kasane +267 625 0333
New Hope Private Clinic Kasane +267 71 627 122
Pharma Africa Pharmacy Kasane +267 71 207 667

Recovery Vehicles: Breakdown


 Area  Company Contact
Maun – Including Okavango Delta & CKGR  Trans World  Gabriel – +267 72 1160 10
 Prelube Automotives  Arthur – +267 71 2094 99 – 72 3969 14 / 73 9596 91
Ghanzi Throughout Botswana  Speedy Towing Service Ahmed – +267 77 1934 24
Kasane – Savuti & Chobe  Mario’s Garage +267 62 52294 / 72 1331 80
Francistown – Anywhere In Botswana  Autostyle Towing  +267 24 15860 / 71 3045 44

Department of Wildlife & National Parks


Office/Gate Location Contact
South Gate Moremi Game Reserve – Maqwe/South Gate +267 683 0086
North Gate Moremi Game Reserve – North Gate +267 683 0082/4
Savute Gate Chobe National Park – Savute +267 620 0224
Ghoha Gate Chobe National Park – Ghoha North +267 686 1265
Sedudu Gate  Chobe National Park – Sedudu +267 686 1265