Botswana, a captivating safari destination, entices travellers with its vast wilderness and commitment to conservation. Its remarkable landscapes, like the Okavango Delta and Chobe National Park, are teeming with diverse wildlife, including elephants, big cats, and vibrant bird species.
In this blog, we’ll share 10 insider tips to help you plan a budget-friendly Botswana safari without compromising on these extraordinary experiences. Known as being a luxury safari destination with many premium lodges and camps, there are still ways of visiting Botswana on a budget.
Whether you’re a first-time safari-goer or a seasoned traveller, let’s uncover the secrets to creating an unforgettable and affordable adventure in Botswana.
- 10 Insider Tips For Planning Budget-Friendly Botswana Safari
- 1. Setting a Budget for Your Botswana Safari
- 2. Choosing the Right Time to Visit
- 3. Selecting Affordable Accommodation Options
- 4. Getting Around in Botswana
- 5. Planning Your Safari Activities
- 6. Researching and Booking Safari Packages
- 7. Packing Essentials for a Botswana Safari
- 8. Wildlife Conservation and Community-Based Tourism
- 9. Safety and Travel Insurance
- 10. Additional Tips
10 Insider Tips For Planning Budget-Friendly Botswana Safari
1. Setting a Budget for Your Botswana Safari
When planning a budget-friendly Botswana safari, it’s crucial to set a realistic budget right from the start. While Botswana is traditionally known as an expensive safari destination, with proper planning, you can still make it affordable.
To determine your budget, consider your preferences and constraints. Assess how much you can comfortably spend on accommodations, transportation, meals, park fees, and activities. Research the average costs associated with these aspects to get an idea of the expenses involved. Be honest with yourself about what you’re willing to compromise on and what experiences are non-negotiable for you.
Based on Safari Deal’s Tour Packages pricing, we have listed below the average Botswana safari prices for different range of safaris:
- Budget Safaris: $120 – $400 per person per day
- Mid-range Safaris: $200 – $800 per person per day
- Luxury Safaris: $400 – $900 per person per day
Somesafari packages cover the costs of transportation within the country, which may be a light aircraft or road transfers to/from camps, while others will require flights in particular to be added on. To keep prices down, road transfers are preferable, but distances can be large and therefore time consuming so for an affordable Botswana safari it’s advisable not to travel great distances and choose to stay within one or two nearby areas.
Refer to guide “How to get to Botswana” if you want to understand the travel requirements. It will ensure you have everything necessary for your trip to Botswana.
2. Choosing the Right Time to Visit
July to October is the peak safari season in Botswana, offering excellent wildlife sightings due to dry conditions and concentrated animal activity around water sources. However, you should keep in mind the prices during this period tend to be higher, as it is the most popular time to visit.
So, if you are concerned about affordability, consider visiting during the off-peak (rainy season, Dec-Apr) or shoulder season, November and May, which can provide cost savings. The prices for both accommodation and safaris are lower during the off-peak and shoulder seasons. The wet months can make wildlife sightings more challenging, but it’s a stunning time of year with lush landscapes as well as being the best time for bird enthusiasts to spot Botswana’s diverse birdlife.
Our guide, Reasons to Visit Botswana in the Summer and Winter Season, will also convince you why the shoulder season might be the one of the best, and most affordable, times to visit Botswana.
In order to ensure that you have the best experiences in Botswana during the shoulder seasons, listed below are some of the top wildlife hotspots to visit:
- Okavango Delta
- Chobe National Park
- Makgadikgadi Pans
- Moremi Game Reserve
- Central Kalahari Game Reserve
- Tsodilo Hills
- Tuli Block
- Nxai Pan National Park
- Linyanti Marshes
- Khama Rhino Sanctuary
- Gcwihaba Caves
- Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
- Mashatu Game Reserve
- Maun and Kasane regions
3. Selecting Affordable Accommodation Options
When planning a budget-friendly Botswana safari, choosing the right accommodation is key. There is a whole range of accommodation styles in Botswana from guesthouses and budget hotels, mobile camping and tented camps to intimate bush hideaways and uber-luxury lodges.
Campsites, hostels and budget-friendly camps can be excellent options for budget-conscious travellers. This will ensure you have a great safari experience without having to worry about costs. Alternatively, some lodges offer budget-friendly rooms or special discounted rates during certain periods, so keep an eye out for such safari deals.
4. Getting Around in Botswana
Many safari packages cover the costs of transportation within the country, which may be by light aircraft and/or road transfers to/from camps, while others will require transfers, particularly domestic flights, to be added on. To keep prices down, road transfers are preferable, but distances can be large and therefore time consuming so for an affordable Botswana safari it’s advisable not to travel great distances and choose to stay within one or two nearby areas.
If you are planning to visit Botswana’s more hidden gems located in remote regions, locations such as Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, Nxai Pan National Park, Linyanti Marshes,and Mashatu Game Reserve, you will have to consider booking domestic flights, which offer convenience and save time, but keep in mind that they can be more expensive compared to other options. Rental cars provide flexibility and independence, but they come with additional costs and may not be suitable for certain areas.
Public transport is a more budget-friendly option, but it may not be as readily available for reaching safari destinations. So, consider your budget and preferences when selecting the transportation option that suits you best.
5. Planning Your Safari Activities
When planning your safari activities in Botswana, you’ll be spoiled for choice with a wide range of options, including game drives, bush walks, night drives, boat trips, walking safaris, and mokoro rides. Additionally, there are other options like birding and photography safaris which cater to more specific interests.
To make your safari activities more cost-effective, consider booking package deals that include multiple activities. Go for shared game drives or group activities to split costs with other travellers. Research and compare prices offered by different safari operators.
If you are still wondering how a typical day on Botswana safari unfolds, then read our insider info about it in our article: A Typical Day on a Botswana Safari. This may be able to help you choose the activities for your safari adventure.
6. Researching and Booking Safari Packages
Start by exploring safari packages from different tour operators to get an idea of the prices and itineraries available. Pay attention to what is included in each package, such as accommodations, meals, activities, and transfers, and once you have booked, double checked what’s included and excluded so there are no surprises
In addition, ensure that you read reviews and testimonials to gauge the reliability and quality of the tour operator or platform. By researching and comparing safari packages, you can find the best one for your budget-friendly Botswana Safari.
7. Packing Essentials for a Botswana Safari
When preparing for a budget-friendly Botswana safari, packing efficiently and bringing the right essentials can make a difference. Here’s a comprehensive packing list to help you:
- Pack lightweight, breathable clothing including long-sleeved shirts, trousers, shorts, t-shirts, wide-brimmed hat, swimwear, light jacket for cool evenings, and a lightweight rain jacket if going during the rainy season, fleece and beanie if going during the winter months.
- Comfortable walking shoes or sturdy closed-toe shoes and sandals.
- Don’t forget to pack the necessary safari gear, such as binoculars, camera with extra batteries and memory cards, portable charger, headtorch, travel adapter, bird/wildlife book, small backpack, reusable water bottle.
- Pack sunscreen, insect repellent, small first-aid kit, any necessary medications.
Consider the weather conditions and limit unnecessary items to avoid excess baggage fees. Also, check with your safari operator if any gear is provided to avoid unnecessary purchases.
8. Wildlife Conservation and Community-Based Tourism
Supporting wildlife conservation and community-based tourism initiatives is not only beneficial for the local communities and ecosystems but also adds a meaningful dimension to budget-friendly Botswana safaris and tours. By supporting these efforts, you contribute to the long-term sustainability of the region.
Budget-friendly ways to engage with local communities include visiting community-based tourism projects and purchasing locally-made crafts and products. These interactions provide insights into the local culture, support the livelihoods of community members, and foster mutual understanding.
Additionally, consider choosing safari operators and accommodations that prioritise responsible tourism practices, such as supporting conservation initiatives and employing local guides.
9. Safety and Travel Insurance
Ensuring your safety during your Botswana safari is paramount. Here are some travel safety tips to keep in mind:
- Always follow the guidance of your safari guide.
- Also always adhere to park regulations.
- Stay updated on weather conditions and take necessary precautions.
- Protect yourself from insects and wildlife by using repellents and maintaining a safe distance.
We highly recommend perusing our Travel Safety Tips guide, designed to ensure your journey to Botswana is both secure and delightful.
Equally important is obtaining comprehensive travel insurance. Look for a policy that covers medical expenses, emergency evacuation, trip cancellation/interruption, and loss/damage of belongings. Consider factors like coverage limits, deductibles, and exclusions when selecting a policy. Compare quotes from different insurers to find affordable options that provide adequate coverage.
10. Additional Tips
- Book in advance: Secure your accommodations and tours well ahead of time to avoid last-minute price hikes and limited availability.
- Plan a longer stay: Staying for a longer duration allows you to take advantage of discounted rates offered by accommodations and tour operators.
- Choose local operators: Consider using local tour operators who often offer more competitive prices compared to international operators. SafariDeal has many travel partners who are local tour operators on the ground in Botswana.
We hope this comprehensive guide will help you plan an affordable, safe and enjoyable trip to Botswana. However, if you still have some questions, you can refer to an informative blog: Botswana – Frequently Asked Questions.
We have shared our 10+ insider tips for planning a budget-friendly Botswana safari. We emphasised the importance of choosing the right time to visit, considering affordable accommodation options, and booking in advance. We also highlighted the significance of researching and comparing tour operators, packing smartly, and checking what’s included and excluded. By following these tips, you can save money while experiencing the wonders of Botswana’s wildlife and landscapes.
We encourage you to browse through our Botswana safari tours, where we have carefully curated budget-friendly options that offer exceptional experiences.
So, plan an adventure, embrace the beauty of Botswana, and create unforgettable memories without worrying about the costs.
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