Skip to Content

The Perfect Self-Drive Botswana Itinerary for an Epic Safari Trip (15 days)

Botswana is one of the most beautiful and exciting places in the world to explore. And I have the perfect self-drive Botswana itinerary for you in this post.

As someone who’s traveled through Botswana as a solo female traveler, I can tell you that this itinerary is absolutely doable on your own if that’s how you roll!

As long as you’re comfortable with a few basic car repairs, such as changing a tire in less-than-ideal conditions, you’re golden.

You’ll find a video below with helpful advice on what you and your vehicle might come across on your journey.

When you travel in the spectacular landlocked country of Botswana, you’ll find iconic wildlife and incredible landscapes. Not to mention some of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet. 

It’s worth any flat tire.

Located in southern Africa, it’s a land covered almost entirely by the famous Kalahari Desert. But don’t be fooled by the name.

Botswana is far from the barren dust bowl that the name implies. Wait until you see what you’re in store for.

Young lion in the Kalahari - Botswana Itinerary
Young lion in the Kalahari – Photo © DJ Hendricks

Table of Contents

Botswana Itinerary Interactive Map

15 days Botswana Road Trip Itinerary: know before you go

Botswana is so full of amazing sights and activities that you’ll have no problem filling a 15-day trip with unforgettable experiences.

Because there’s so much to see, I highly recommend flying into Maun, on the edge of the Okavango Delta.

The Maun International Airport partners with carriers worldwide, making it easy to find a flight. There’s a vehicle rental office right in this small airport, and more just across the street.

This will be your first stop. Be sure to request a 4x4 vehicle – you’ll be driving on roads that aren’t suited for a typical sedan.

Camping is the best way to go. There’s nothing like hearing the sounds of Africa while you’re drifting off to sleep. 

Find more info on vehicle rentals and camping equipment in Expert Tips, below.

Self-drive Botswana itinerary at a glance

Day 1: Arrive in Maun – camp at the Old Bridge Backpackers.

Day 2: Drive to Moremi Game Reserve/Safari – Third Bridge Camp.

Day 3: Safari on Moremi Game Reserve – camp at Third Bridge Camp

Day 4 & 5: Safari on Moremi Game Reserve – camp at Khwai North Gate

Day 6&7: Savuti/Chobe National Park – Savuti Campsite 

Day 8: Drive to Kasane – Lodge Stay!! At Cresta Mowana Safari Resort 

Day 9: Victoria Falls Day Trip – Return to Cresta Mowana Safari Resort

Day 10: Kasane to Elephant Sands Lodge – Camp here

Day 11: Spend the Day with the Elephants! Then Drive to Nata – Camp at Nata Bird Sanctuary

Day 12: Tour the Sanctuary, drive to Gweta – Camp at Planet Baobab

Day 13: See the Meerkats and Tour the Pans, then Drive to Maun – stay at Sitatunga Camp. 

DAY 14: Mokoro day trip in Maun – stay at Sitatunga Camp

DAY 15: Return your vehicle – say goodbye to Botswana.

Botswana Zebras - Botswana Itinerary
Photo © DJ Hendricks

Expert Tips for Your Self-Drive Botswana Itinerary

► HEALTH: Malaria is a concern throughout Botswana. However, there are no mandatory vaccines to travel to Botswana. So just do what feels right for you.

WATER: You can not drink the water in Botswana. You can choose to buy gallon jugs to see you through your trip. However, it is much more eco-conscious to bring personal filters such as a water bottle/purifier or LifeStraw, or water purification tablets. Whatever you do, don’t let yourself get dehydrated. You’ll end up too miserable to enjoy your hard-earned trip.

LifeStraw Go Water Filter Bottle with 2-Stage Integrated Filter Straw
$20.99

Ideal for Hiking, Backpacking, and Travel

12/01/2022 11:24 am GMT

MONEY: The currency in Botswana is Pula (said “Poola”). One pula is equal to 100 thebe. ATMs are fairly common in Botswana towns, especially Maun and Kasane. Credit cards are accepted in most places in Maun and Kasane, but don’t take this for granted. 

Try to have enough cash for smaller purchases, and for tips for guides, gas station attendants, etc. US dollars are commonly accepted, and sometimes South Africa Rands. Before you leave home, alert your bank and credit card companies that you’ll be traveling.

ELECTRICITY: You’ll find 3 different plug types in Botswana – type D, type G, and type M. Your best bet is to bring these three adapters. They also use a standard voltage of 230 V, with a frequency of 50 Hz. 

If you’re from North America or one of the South American countries that use 100-127 V, then you’ll need to use a voltage converter.

Travel Voltage Adapter and Converter Combo Step Down 110V to 220V or 220V to 110V, 880w
$29.99

for Hair Dryer Steam Iron Laptop MacBook Cell Phone Europe Converter for US to UK, EU, AU Over 150+ Countries

12/01/2022 11:30 am GMT

I suggest packing a small power bar, too,  so that you can use/charge more than one item with just one adapter/converter.

SAFARI SAFETY: Never get out of your vehicle while you’re on a game drive. Even if you don’t think there is any dangerous wildlife nearby, they might surprise you.

Animals that hunt to survive can be invisible when they want to be. And ALWAYS shut any food or snack up in the cab of your vehicle when you’re asleep or away from your camp.

Leave nothing outside for baboons, hyenas, or other animals to run off with or destroy. Trust me.

TRAVEL INSURANCE: Arrange for travel insurance before you leave home. This is definitely something that’s it’s better to have and not need, than need and not have.

It can cover medical incidents as well as loss of personal property, canceled flights, and emergency travel expenses. 

SafetyWing - Insurance for Nomads, by Nomads - Get a quote

SafetyWing is one of the reliable Travel Insurance that I would choose for multiple reasons. It's affordable and covers covid related issues, among others. Read the policy details to ensure that it's right for you.

NAVIGATION: I recommend always taking a paper fold-out map with you. Veronica Roodts Shell Map of Botswana is a great one. 

If you aren’t able to find one before you leave, stop at Riley’s Garage in Maun, on Tsheko Tsheko Road. They have a good selection of maps.

When you reserve the vehicle for your trip, ask if they provide a GPS preloaded with maps of Botswana. If not, download maps for offline use on your phone. You can do this from Google Maps at home, or before you leave Muan for Moremi Game Reserve.

Another option is downloading maps from Tracks for Africa. These can be used offline.

BOOK AS MUCH AS YOU CAN AS EARLY AS YOU CAN: Especially if you’re traveling during peak season, camps can fill up fast. Have proof of your camping reservation when you pay your park fees. For example, have your confirmations on your phone.

FUEL: Fill up with fuel every chance you get.

NATIONAL PARK GATE HOURS: These hours apply to all gates in all parks.

April thru September 6 am – 6:30 pm

October thru March 5:30 am – 7 pm

You must be inside the camp before the gate closes for the evening.

PARK FEES: 150 Pula per person per calendar day (NOT per 24 hr period) plus 50 – 1000 Pula per vehicle, depending on its weight.

Entrance fees apply for all national parks and game reserves in this itinerary.

These fees are subject to change. Be sure to search online for current prices when you’re planning your trip!

Meerkats
Meerkats – Photo © DJ Hendricks

The Best Time to Travel to Botswana

Whatever time of year you happen to be in Botswana, you’re in store for spectacular wildlife sightings. You won’t have the same experience all year, though.

Winter in Botswana

The best time in general to plan your trip is Winter in Botswana. This is the dry season, roughly from April to October. April to May is the sweet spot.

The summer heat has dissipated, and the animals, predators especially, are the easiest to spot then. There’s less pesky foliage in the way, and watering holes are fewer.

The waters of the Okavango Delta are at their highest around August or September, too. You’ll find the most water safari opportunities during this time, and aerial tours give a birds-eye view of the Delta waterways. 

However, mokoro trips are available on parts of the Delta all year round.

Peak season is from July through October. Prices will be higher and camps will be busier, and harder to book.

Summer in Botswana

When summer arrives, so do the rains. From November to March the weather is hot and humid. Driving is more difficult and parts of Botswana become less accessible. Rain isn’t constant, though, rarely falling on more than 2 consecutive days.

From December through March heavy rains might close Moremi Game Reserve completely for as long as 1 to 2 weeks.

April through September is the best time to plan the easiest trip, though if you come late in the rainy season, you’ll see a lush, green Eden, and more birds than you can imagine. April to May is the sweet spot.

Info for Renting a 4WD (aka. 4x4) Vehicle

Safari vehicle
Safari vehicle – Photo © DJ Hendricks

While it’s possible to have a great self-drive experience in a sedan, driving through some parts of this itinerary requires the clearance and traction that you can only get with a 4WD.

I recommend renting a fully equipped vehicle with a tent top, as opposed to using a ground tent, simply for ease of use. 

This way you won’t need to worry about finding all of the camping equipment you’ll need, it will all be right there for you. 

An internet search will come up with several options in Maun. But if you can’t find one you like, try Travel Adventures Botswana, on Sir Seretse Khama Rd, or Drive Botswana.

Keep in mind that any vehicle you rent will be a manual transmission. If you don’t think you’ll be able to drive a stick shift, it might be possible to find an automatic if you start trying to find one far, far in advance.

It may not be possible, though, and if it is you’ll pay extra for it.

TOP TIP – Steering wheels are on the right in Botswana, and cars drive on the left.

Try to book your 4x4 as far in advance as you can. A truck with double gas tanks is great if you can get one.

Travel Documentary. 4x4 Off Road Driver Training with Travel Adventures Botswana

Full Self-Drive Botswana Itinerary day by day

Day 1: Arrive in Maun – Camp at the Old Bridge Backpackers

Welcome to Botswana! Maun sits at the edge of the famous Okavango Delta, and is the starting point for many excursions into Botswana.

Maun International Airport is a very small airport, so you have no worries about finding your way around it.

You’ve reserved your vehicle – more on this below in Expert Tips – so your first step is to pick it up. Your confirmation email will tell you where it will be.

There is a car rental desk inside the airport, as well as across the street. If you’re picking up a camping-equipped truck and it’s not at the airport, just step out into the street in front of the airport.

Okavango Delta Elephant
Elephants In the Okavango Delta-Botswana Itinerary – Photo from Canva

Taxis will be parked there or will drive by. They’re marked as taxis – just raise your arm to flag it down. 

Find The Old Bridge Backpack in your GPS or Google Maps. (If you need help arranging your data from home, you can find it here. Keep in mind that you won’t have internet access for the vast majority of your trip.)

You can find the Old Bridge Backpackers first – they have a bar, and the kitchen serves an ala carte menu, giving you a chance to rest after your flight.

Or if you’d rather jump right in, take Airport Road to Sir Seretse Khama Road and make a left. 

You’ll find 2 good supermarkets, one on each side of the road, plus a Woolworth’s.

On the left, you’ll also find a bottle shop (aka. liquor store) next to Whimpy’s. This is usually the best place to buy the 4-liter jugs of water if you need them for your trip.

Even better is bringing a filtering water bottle or a LifeStraw from home and getting a few large refillable bladders from the camping store.

Water purification tablets are also an option, as is boiling water as you go. Boiling is not the best option, though, if you have to be concerned about conserving fuel.

Two liters per day is recommended.

Money in Maun – There is an ATM across the road from the Airport to the right. You can also find ATMs near each supermarket. Around the corner from Choppies, and down the mall from Spars. In addition, there’s a Bureau de Change next door to the bottle shop.

PRO TIP – Take some time this evening to familiarize yourself with your vehicle. Make sure you know the safety features, how to change a tire, etc. Watch this 4x4 Driver Training for how to deal with water and deep sand crossings.

Day 2: Begin Your Botswana Itinerary by Driving to Moremi Game Reserve/Safari – Third Bridge Camp

Let the Perfect Self-Drive Botswana Itinerary begin! Head out of Maun to Moremi.

PRO TIP – Remember, this is your last chance to get supplies for the next week. Make sure you have bug repellent and sunscreen.

There’s a very real possibility of seeing animals on the road to Moremi – elephants and giraffes, as well as smaller critters. And the potholes can be killers!

Don’t be in a hurry. Relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery of Botswana. Try not to be on the road after dark.

If you weren’t able to book at Third Bridge – what I think is the most beautiful of the camps – try to book at Xakanaxa.

Xakanaka offers wildlife tours in the area if you’d like to let someone else do the driving for a while.

On your drive from Maun to Moremi, have a look at the Xini Lagoon and Black Pools. You’ll enter Moremi by the South Gate.

Moremi Game Reserve - landscape
Moremi Game Reserve – landscape – Photo from Canva

Game Drives – What It’s All About!

Set up camp when you arrive, and have some lunch before heading out on a game drive. This is the hottest part of the day when the wildlife is less active.

NOTE: Be aware that bush walks and night drives are not permitted on your own inside Moremi Reserve or in National Parks.

Campsites are not fenced, so animals often wander through during the night. Try not to leave your tent after you go to bed.

If you have to, though, listen for animal sounds – footsteps, breathing, etc. –   before unzipping your tent. And before you step out look around carefully with your flashlight.

Once you’re out, stay close to your tent, and don’t dawdle.

Even better, keep something in our tent that you can use if you have to go. 

Okavango Delta Aerial view
Okavango Delta Aerial view – Photo from Canva

About Moremi Game Reserve and the Okavango Delta

Moremi lies within the stunning Okavango Delta, an extraordinary UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Okavango Delta forms the end of the Okavango River and is the world’s largest inland delta.

Moremi makes up about 40% of the Delta – arguably the most beautiful part. Some of the most endangered species on the planet thrive here.

African Wild Dogs, aka. Cape Hunting Dogs, are fighting to survive in Africa, with only about 6,600 animals left. But you have a good chance of seeing them here!

These incredibly stunning animals have strong ties with their packs, so where you see one, you’re likely to see several. It’s unforgettable when you do.

Moremi Game Reserve - Zebra
Moremi Game Reserve – Zebra – Photo from Canva

You should also be on the lookout for the critically endangered black and white rhinos. 

In fact, Moremi is home to the entire Big 5, as well as hundreds more mammals, birds and reptiles.

I never gave birds much thought one way or another until I came to southern Africa. 

Moremi itself plays host to more than 500 species of birds, and they’re not your average sparrows.

African jacanas are favourites, with their very long toes for walking across lily pads. Bee-eaters and the kori bustard, too, among so many others.

Moremi contains some of the very best parts of the Okavango Delta. The swamps and their inhabitants are here year-round, and the seasonal floodplains transform the entire area each year.

Moremi Game Reserve - Lion
Moremi Game Reserve – Lion – Photo from Canva

The Delta actually floods in the dry season, with water that comes down from the Angola highlands. 

Once the Delta floods, it attracts the highest concentration of wildlife in all of Africa.

That’s worth getting an early start for!

Be sure to include the loop around Mboma Island in your route. Animal sightings here can be spectacular.

Day 3: Safari on Moremi Game Reserve – Camp at Third Bridge Camp for Another Night

The early morning is the best time for spotting wildlife, so try to wake up before the sun.

Be sure to notice the Mapone woodlands – and if you see any, collect a few mopane worms to roast up for later, and snack as the locals do. 

These woodlands blend into acacia forests and lagoons, all swirled together with the floodplains. Together this is a stunning collection of ecosystems that is very unique to this part of the world. You’re going to love it!

Moremi Game Reserve - Elephants
Moremi Game Reserve – Elephants – photo from Canva

Game drive until lunch, and again spend the hottest part of the day resting as the animals do.

Set out again around 2 or 3 pm for a game drive. In Moremi, you can see all of the iconic wildlife that Africa is known for.

Elephants are common, as well as hippos and giraffes, and big cats like lions and leopards.

You’ll also see a multitude of antelopes such as impala and kudu, and possibly the rarer tsessebe, sitatunga, roan, and sable.

Moremi Game Reserve - Carmine Bee Eater
Moremi Game Reserve – Carmine Bee Eater – Photo from Canva

Warthogs are around too, and hyenas. And of course, keep your eyes peeled for rhinos, Wild Dogs, and amazing birds!

Note: Top up your gas tanks every time you have a chance between Maun and Kasane!

Moremi Game Reserve - Elephant with baby
Moremi Game Reserve – Elephant with baby

Day 4 & 5: Safari on Moremi Game Reserve – Camp at Khwai North Gate

Move on to Kwai Camp this morning. The journey is a game drive, so try to beat the sun up again today.

The route you take depends on the current road and weather conditions, so review the routes in your GPS, or go over your map.

If you can, go by way of Xakanaxa Camp past paradise pools. You’ll leave Moremi Park through the North Gate.

Leopard in the Kalahari
Leopard in the Kalahari – Photo © DJ Hendricks

The Khwai region is one of the best in Botswana for wildlife. In Khwai North Gate you may very well see animals in your camp. 

Hyenas may wander through to sniff around, and baboons like to look for food. Don’t leave anything lying loose, and keep all food in your vehicle, and windows up.

There are great opportunities for wildlife spotting along the Khwai River.

NOTE: Even though you’re no longer in Moremi Park, night drives are only permitted when accompanied by an employee of the Khwai Development Trust.

By now you know the routine – up early, morning and afternoon game drives.

Khwai Village does have a few shops, but don’t count on them for anything important. You might find soft drinks and beer, maybe a snack here.

You have 2 nights here, so you have time to get a lot of wildlife spotting in. Enjoy!

Day 6&7: Drive to Savuti/Chobe National Park – Savuti Campsite

Khwai North Gate Camp is between Savuti in Chobe Park, and it’s anywhere from a 3 to a 5-hour drive between the two.

Once you leave Khwai to head north, you’ll be on a good dirt road. Once you’re about 4 km before Mababe Village, watch for a sign to Mababe Gate. 

Chobe National Park Botswaa - Hippo
Chobe National Park Botswaa – Hippo – Photo from Canva

This will be the second track on the left. It’s a better road.

Savuti only has one camp, but one of the sites in it is called Paradise Camp. It’s off on its own, so affords a bit more privacy than the others, as well as an exceptional view.

When you reserve your campsite, snag that one if you can.

Note: Savuti Camp is very sandy. If you’re setting up a tent on the ground, as opposed to a 4x4 rooftop tent, make sure you have long tent pegs.

Make the most of your time here, and enjoy the game drives!

Cape Buffalo- Chobe River
Cape Buffalo- Chobe River – Photo from Canva

Day 8: Drive to Kasane – Lodge Stay! At Cresta Mowana Safari Resort 

You can opt to go for an early game drive this morning, or sleep a bit later and head straight out for Kasane.

I can never resist a game drive.

Your drive to Kasane is about 160 km and is at least a 4-hour drive. It can be longer depending on the road conditions.

There is a stretch of tar road into Kasane, but before you reach it you will be driving through sand. It’s slow going. 

Kasane elephant safari
Kasane elephant safari – Photo from Canva

Remember what you learned about driving through sand in the 4x4 driver training video.

When you arrive, have a hot shower, and a delicious dinner, and wander around the quiet little town. You can even book a massage.

👉 Book the Cresta Mowana Safari Resort on Booking.com

Day 9: Spectacular Victoria Falls Day Trip – Return to Cresta Mowana Safari Resort 

This is an excursion that you’ll book before you leave home. There are many tours available that offer pick-up/drop-off at your hotel and a tour of the stunning Victoria Falls.

I recommend a tour simply to avoid the pain and hassle involved with taking a rental vehicle across the border to Zambia.

Victoria Falls
Victoria Falls – Botswana – photo from Canva

It’s a complicated process and easily avoided with an organized trip.

Your 4x4 can be left at the resort, at your own risk, of course. It’s commonly done and saves a lot of headaches.

Note: If you have any laundry you need to be washed, ask the front desk about having it done before you leave for the day.

The trip to Livingstone, Zambia, where the Falls are located, is just over an hour. 

There are a variety of activities that you can take part in at Victoria Falls.

You might want to go bungee jumping, take a dip in Devil’s Pool, a sunset cruise on the Zambezi River, or maybe a white water rafting trip on the RIver.

Victoria Falls river
Victoria Falls river – Photo from Canva

If you’d rather spend more time here, go for it! Just adjust the remaining itinerary accordingly.

If you decide to carry on with the itinerary as is, you’ll be back in Kasane in time to relax and take in an activity or two. 

Aside from river cruises and fishing trips, Cresta also has a golf course, bird watching, and a beautiful nature walk.

Day 10: Kasane to Elephant Sands, Nata – camp here

Kasane Botswana Elephants
Kasane Botswana – Elephants – Photos from Canva

Pick up any supplies you’ve run out of before you leave Kasane. From here, though, you’ll have access to shops when you need them.

It’s a bit more than a 3-hour drive to Elephant Sands. You can set up camp about 55 yards from a watering hole with the constant activity of animals wandering in and out.

With some luck, you’ll be able to watch the elephants from the swimming pool. You’ll certainly be able to observe while you have a great dinner.

If you like you can even watch from your tent!

Elephant Sands Safari Tent
Elephant Sands Safari Tent – Photo © DJ Hendricks

Day 11: Spend the Day with the Elephants! Then Drive to the Nata Bird Sanctuary – Camp here overnight

Your drive today is only about an hour and 20 minutes, with no gate times to worry about.

The Nata Bird Sanctuary is a community-run project and is estimated to be home to about 165 prominent bird species.

The sanctuary is important on an international scale due to the populations of lesser and great flamingos. 

Some 250,000 flamingos return annually for their winter breeding season.

The sheer number of these pastel pink birds can cover the surface of the water at this time of year. It’s a spectacular sight.

You could also see spoonbills and pelicans, along with a variety of ducks and geese.

Flamingos in Makgadikgadi Pans Botswana
Flamingos in Makgadikgadi Pans Botswana – Photo from Canva
Flamingos in Makgadikgadi Pans
Flamingos in Makgadikgadi Pans – Photo from Canva

Day 12: Tour the Nata Bird Sanctuary, Drive to Gweta – Camp at Planet Baobab

The best time for birding in the Nata Bird Sanctuary is in the wet season or Botswana’s summer. 

This is roughly from November through March. The rains can make driving can be tricky in the area this time of year.

However, other wildlife is easier to spot in the country’s winter, from May through November.

This is when there are fewer water sources for the animals, so they predictably gather at the ones that are left.

Whichever season you find yourself in Nata you can have some great sightings. Even without the birds and animals, the area is quintessential Botswana. Don’t miss out!

Once you’ve seen your fill of birds, make the 2-hour drive to Planet Baobab. It’s just east of Gweta.

Try to arrive before dark, to avoid elephant surprises on the road. There’s a restaurant and swimming pool at Planet Baobab if you’d like to wait and eat there.

Makgadikgadi Pans and Nxai Pan National Parks

Planet Baobab is the perfect base for exploring the Makgadikgadi Pans and Nxai Pan National Parks. And, of course, visiting the meerkats.

Day 13: See the Meerkats, and Tour the Pans, then Drive to Maun – Stay at Sitatunga Camp.

Planet Baobab is a friendly place with quirky thatch-roofed huts, a nice little swimming pool, and a restaurant with good food.

It was actually chosen by Lonely Planet as the 2nd of the “10 Most Extraordinary Places to in 2014”. That was several years ago, and it still retains its originality and all that made it extraordinary then.

You can choose to explore the area on your own or join one of Planet Baobab’s activities. I loved their trip out to see the meerkats.

Makgadikgadi Baobab
Makgadikgadi Baobab – Photo from Canva

These funny little critters are not tame, but they are habituated to the presence of humans. They will get surprisingly close to you!

And you’ll get a light breakfast al fresco. Coffee and meerkats!

PRO TIP – If you’ll be here in the dry season between June and October, ask when you book your stay about the Planet’s quad excursion. It has you sleeping out under the magical Botswana stars.

There’s nothing more spectacular than open-air camping in Africa! You would leave your vehicle in the Planet’s parking lot and quad out with a guide and small group.

If your visit coincides with the change of seasons, you may get to witness the zebra migration.

Around November and December, the zebras travel to Nwetwe Pan for the newly luxurious grazing.

Come to the end of April, and the rains, they will cross through Nxai Pan to the rich grassland of the Okavango Delta.

Makgadikgadi Pans
Photo from Canva

An estimated 30,000 animals make the biannual journey. From December through April, Nxai and Makgadikgadi Panare a zebra lover’s paradise.

Be sure to see the famous Baines Baobabs while you’re in Nxai Pan!

The grounds of Planet Baobab are also full of these beautiful, giant succulents.

Your drive to Maun is about 2.5 hours – watch out for elephants and potholes!

Sitatunga Camp is about 8 miles west of Maun. You can spend your final 2 nights camping there.

Or if you’re done with that, Sitatunga also has Maru tents and chalets. The hot showers and great food are blissful.

Kalahari desert- Suricati Botswana itinerary
Photo from Canva
meerkats
Meerkats – Photo from Canva

DAY 14: Mokoro day trip in Maun – Stay at Sitatunga Camp

There are a lot of activities to choose from in and around Maun. If you haven’t yet had a chance to float down a waterway in a traditional Mokoro, or dugout canoe, this is the time!

The Camp can arrange that for you. Or if you’d rather take an aerial tour of the Okavango Delta, they can make that happen too.

The view from a small plane looking down on the delta is indescribable. 

You can even ride horseback through the game farm across the river. Seeing plains animals like giraffes and zebras from this perspective is thrilling, and you can get quite close to them.

_Mokoro Okavango delta
Mokoro Okavango delta Photo from Canva

DAY 15: Return your vehicle, and say goodbye to Botswana.

And it’s over, almost before it began. It’s time to gather all of your bits from your 4x4, pack up, and head for the airport.

If you’re anything like me you’re nowhere near ready to leave Botswana. If you’re lucky, you’re only setting off to another part of Africa.

I hear Namibia is beautiful this time of year 😉.

_Moremi wildlife reserve Elephant aerial view
Moremi Wildlife Reserve – Photo from Canva

Additional Adventures for Your Itinerary in Botswana

Here are a few extra adventures that will make your self-drive Botswana Itinerary even more perfect!

👉 At Third Bridge Camp in Moremi Game Reserve, head down to the Third Bridge Boat Station and take a sunset boat ride.

👉 When you visit Khwai Village, stop at the Khwai Development Trust Office, a few hundred yards north of the camp entrance. They can give you info about the area and different activities.

They also offer water safaris, as well as bush walks and guides to accompany you if you’d like to take a night game drive.

👉 Depending on when you arrive in Kasane, you may have time for a river cruise before turning in. If you do, take it! Check with the front desk to arrange it.

👉 When you return to Kasane from Victoria Falls, check out the hotel’s other activities. Some of them may need to be booked in advance, so ask the day before. Activities include fishing and nature walks, as well as boat cruises. There is a golf course, tennis court, and hair salon on the property as well.

Tshabong Botswana
Tshabong Botswana – Photo from Canva

Botswana on a Budget –   Is it Possible?

There’s no getting around the fact that Botswana is a more expensive destination than some other African countries.

This is due to Botswana’s focus on conservation and sustainable, low-impact tourism. In short, the number of visitors is limited by charging them more money. 

This is often referred to as “high-end, low-volume tourism”.

Of course, this is an extremely simplified explanation, but it is possible to keep your costs low.

Avoiding the peak season and traveling during the shoulder or low season will be easiest on your budget.

April to May and October to November are the most budget-friendly months to visit Botswana.

The low season is during the rains and is also less expensive. However, rains may be washed out, and driving can become treacherous.

Camping is definitely a great step toward lowering costs, as is opting for a self-drive tour. So you’re on the right track!

Opting for the use of a LifeStraw or filter bottle instead of buying your water can also save a surprising amount of money.

Mokoro from Maun
Mokoro from Maun – Photo © DJ Hendricks

Other Things to do in Botswana

If you’ve completed the perfect self-drive Botswana self-drive itinerary, but you can’t bring yourself to leave Botswana yet – don’t.

There is, even more, to see in this beautiful country.

 ► Central Kalahari Game Reserve

In the heart of Botswana is the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, called the CKGR.

Leopard and Sunday Pans are fantastic places for wildlife drives. You can also arrange the opportunity to go on a nature walk with the San people of the Kalahari.

_Central Kalahari Game Reserve lion
Central Kalahari Game Reserve Lion – Photo from Canva

► Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

In the southwest section of Botswana, you’ll find the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.

This is another fantastic place to find Africa’s wildlife, as well as a true desert experience.

You have the option to go on wilderness walks or take guided game drives in a convoy with other travelers.

There is also an amazingly informative Predator Centre at Nassob, and hides at Nassob and Mata Mata watering holes.

Kalahari Desert
Kalahari Desert – Photo from Canva

 How to be a responsible tourist in Botswana

✔️ Using water wisely is the hallmark of the responsible tourist in Botswana. It’s an extremely scarce resource in a lot of the country.

Take quick showers when using the ablutions in your various campsite. Save flushing for when it’s most necessary.

It’s also incredibly helpful to report any leaks that you notice to the park staff ASAP.

✔️ Be ultra-careful with your campfires. Bushfires can be devastating. Don’t leave your fire unattended, and make sure it’s completely out before you leave it.

Be careful to distinguish any sparks, and don’t drop cigarette butts on the ground.

✔️ Be sure to back only biodegradable soaps and laundry products to avoid contaminating the water supply.

✔️ Stay on the marked tracks when driving. Never leave them to chase after wildlife. Follow all park rules.

✔️ Contribute to the local economy by purchasing souvenirs from local people.

✔️ I hope this goes without saying – never purchase items made from endangered animal products, such as ivory.

Cita - Tshabong - Botswana
Cita – Tshabong – Botswana

What to Pack for Botswana

☑️ CLOTHES: Pack neutral colors. Not only do you want to blend into the background around the wildlife, but dark and bright colors attract mosquitos as well as tse-tse flies.

☑️ SHOES: You’ll need closed-toe shoes for walking in the bush, and something cool and comfortable for sitting around camp in the evening. Flip-flops are perfect.

☑️ SUNGLASSES: Sunglasses without reflexive lenses, if you have them. This is to help prevent spooking the animals with the sun glinting off mirrored lenses.

☑️ A WIDE-BRIMMED HAT: Do I need to explain? The sun can be brutal. I’d recommend a hat clip retainer, too. Clip your hat to your shirt to keep it from blowing away.

☑️ SUNSCREEN: Even if you’ll be in your vehicle much of the day, at least one arm is going to be in the sun, and your face will get sun as well.

☑️ JACKET: Mornings will be cool. You’ll be glad to have a warm jacket with you.

☑️ CAMERA: The best DLSR you can afford. This isn’t a job for your phone’s camera. Plus, enlargements of a couple of your photos make the best reminders of your amazing trip!

☑️ BINOCULARS: Even a basic pair will do. I like 10 x 26.

☑️ A FLASHLIGHT & HEADLAMP: And spare batteries.

☑️ A CAR POWER INVERTER: Your vehicle is often your only source of power. A car power inverter can charge your phone and will accept a regular plugin. This was essential for me as my camera battery charges this way.

Okavango Delta Sunset
Okavango Delta Sunset – Photo from Canva

Botswana itinerary: final thoughts

After reading this epic Botswana Itinerary I am sure you’re ready for an epic safari trip, with the perfect self-drive Botswana itinerary!

With this itinerary at your disposal, you’re ready for whatever you encounter. 

Botswana is the perfect destination for a self-drive safari – take full advantage of you’re time in this amazing place!

Tsmaya sentle! 


About the author: Deb

Deborah grew up in Canada dreaming of seeing the world. Decades later she’s traveled to places she could never even have imagined back then. The one place that keeps drawing her back is Africa. “I don’t think that there’s any other place that has more to offer the traveler. Solo is my favorite way to go. And Africa is an amazing place for solo female travel.”