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rouxeny

Botswana November 2017 - advice for first timer

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Hi all. After years of indecision, I am finally planning my first safari. It's a guided trip, so I don't particularly have questions about where in Botswana to go (Okavango), or how to figure out transportation. The focus is photography and will be mostly 4x4 based.

 

I really mostly have questions about packing and preparation.

 

In regards to clothes, some sites I've looked at recommend bringing a fleece or jacket, as morning and evening temperatures may be cold. However, when I look at weather websites, it looks like early November is the hot/dry season in Southern Africa, with expected temperatures in the 70's to mid 90's Fahrenheit. That's pretty hot. I have a Patagonia Nano-puff jacket I was going to bring, along with a waterproof shell if it will be cold. Otherwise, it stays home. What do you guys think?

 

Also in regards to clothes, I understand white is an absolute no-no and black and dark blue may be problematic with tse-tse flies. However, it also seems that's more of a problem in East Africa? If I brought a pair of darker gray pants, or a black t shirt or jacket, would that be a bad decision?

 

Finally, any specifics on the weight restriction on a flight from JNB to Maun? I pack fairly light, but will end up with a small duffel and a medium camera bag.

 

I apologize in advance if there is already a "packing list" thread that I have not managed to find.

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If you are staying in camps/lodges - they usually have a poncho in the vehicle that could double up as a fleece/ rain coat ....... if you don't wish to carry anything - your call!

 

No tse tse flies in Botswana - they have been eradicated from there.

 

JNB - Maun - never a problem. There are always people with heavy camera bags ........

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Posted (edited)

Hmm, I don't know about not bringing anything. I've learned from a few fishing trips in Alaska that the difference between being wet and miserable and having a great trip despite the weather is often times the quality and appropriateness of the clothing you bring.

 

Hmm, I may be way way over thinking this.

 

The folks in these pics from Mana Pools are wearing all sorts of colors, they seem, along with the wildlife, to be doing just fine.

http://www.wild-eye.co.za/trip-report-mana-pools-safari-october-2016/

Edited by rouxeny

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@@rouxeny It will be very warm in the day. Very waerly in the morning at late in the evening (especially if wet) it may feel surprisingly cold if you are in an open vehicle whilst driving. I have found that the thinest fleece layer I possess underneath a thin but windproof shell has worked well and they weigh next to nothing. I tend to stick to grey or khaki/green colours but no idea if it is actually important.

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@@rouxeny I have been to the Okavango in November... I think it's a great time to be there as you get shoulder season prices and the rains may have started so the grass is still low but may be greening up with a few showers and thunderstorms. In terms of the temperature - expect it to be hot; was in the low 40'sC for many of the days we were there. No puffy jackets required - maybe just the ability to layer a couple of thin items if needed. If you are going overland yourself you might want to bring a thin rain jacket or if staying at a camp they should provide a poncho per madaboutcheetah's comment. I think it's a good look to limit bright coloured clothing on safari, but others may have different view!

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I visited three Kwando camps in November/ December 2014. It was mainly dry and warm, but we had heavy and on one occasion persistent rain. The ponchos provided were not waterproof enough and I was grateful for the paclite goretex jacket I took. I was just sorry I had not taken the trousers with me! I resorted to wearing Crocs on drive, wet shoes proved difficult to dry. A warm fleece was appreciated after a good soaking.

It may not sound like it, but we did have a wonderful time!

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I'm assuming most of your trip is in a vehicle on game drives?

 

My biggest advice for packing is that you dont need everything you think you need! They did laundry at all of the camps I visited on my two trips and I really only two sets of clothes.

 

I was there during the shoulder season both times (March - May) and didn't use my rain jacket once. A fleece is nice for chilly mornings, but it doesn't need to be a thick puffy one.

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It'll be hot....definitely no puffy coat. You should be fine with what your say you are bringing luggage wise assuming there are no further flights from Maun? Grey pants should be fine. I stick to lighter colors for tops (khaki, greens, beige, etc). I know when I went tracking rhino's in Namibia they were very picky about colors. Not sure what you are doing on this trip or where you are going, but it will be hot. As in HOT :) Have a fabulous trip!!

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I appreciate all the info. This is early November and I'm staying at Nxabega and Sandibe.

 

It seems everybody agrees no to the puffy coat. Good to know.

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They certainly won't have Tse Tse flies in that part of the delta - but, might have mosquitoes when the sun goes down in the swampy areas......

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  • as measure to avoid insect bites and thorn scratches it is best to wear long trousers and long sleeve shirt

it is best to blend in with earth colours green, brown etc but not military camof patterns

you will be travelling on a light plane with a low luggage allowance which includes your hand and checked items including your camera and binos

wear your heavier shoes or boots

do not take a whole lot of clothes ,they can be washed

most camps do a laundry service for everything but female underwear which the user can wash herself

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Typical weather at that time of year will be hot to very hot with a good chance of late afternoon/early evening thunder showers. Mornings on open vehicles may, as already stated, be chilly, but not cold enough for arctic gear.

 

I would recommend several thin layers rather than a thick jacket, and make sure you have something to shield yourself and your camera-bag from rain.

 

As for long sleeves and long pants, they certainly help to keep mozzies at bay, but I don't know how people survive in them in summer. I would gladly trade a few mozzie bites for heat exhaustion.

 

But mozzies are mostly active around sunset and sunrise, so longer outer layers may be possible.

 

More importantly may be to think of ways to stay cool enough, rather than concentrating on staying warm enough. A wet hat can help a lot here.

 

I personally prefer earthy colours, but it doesn't seem to make much difference outside of my head. As you will be vehicle-bound most of the time, crawling up on game unnoticed is pretty much not going to depend on your clothes anyway.

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