Off to Botswana in 48 hours

Aug 22nd, 2011, 10:11 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 346
Off to Botswana in 48 hours

Hi Everyone - I'm about to leave on my first trip to Botswana (with one day in Zimbabwe to visit Vic Falls). Thanks to all who gave me advice many months ago as I planned this trip. This is such a fun forum to read - my wish list for my 3rd trip to Africa is already forming and I'm not even home from my 2nd trip yet. I'll be staying at Banoka, Chitabe and Duma Tau in Botswana and look forward to telling you all of my adventures when I return.

I'm planning on taking only a backpack and the very small duffle bag provided by my travel agency - Africa Adventure Company - therefore avoiding the checking of any luggage. I am not known for traveling light, so this will be a minor miracle in itself. I haven't actually packed yet, but I'm confident I can do it.

Any last minute words of wisdom from the collective group before I depart on my first solo trip to Africa??

Cateyes555 is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2011, 10:21 AM
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 607
Have a wonderful time! Looking forward to a report and pics when you return. Safe travels.
cristeen is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2011, 10:39 AM
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 2,285
Have safe travels and a great trip! Look forward to reading about it...
shouldbewriting is online now  
Aug 22nd, 2011, 12:04 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 5,286
Have tons of fun!!

Binoculars and camera, etc (don't forget memory cards. We gave one to someone who left them home)!
Earmuffs and gloves.
Feminine hygiene products. Note cards for tips. US$ for tips - better than Rand in Botswana and is now the currency of Zim. Duct tape (wrap some around a pen). WS will have bug spray in room and game vehicles at all of those camps, but bring conditioner and sun screen.
Call your banks again to make sure your debit/credit cards will work in S Africa/Botswana. Get Rand at JNB before your Maun flight. It's the last chance to get money if you need it.

Everything else can be bought at JNB.

Looking forward to your report!
christabir is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2011, 12:34 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 346
Thanks for those reminders Christabir - do I need Rands for any reason? I'm not actually staying in JBurg except 1 night at an airport hotel, then on to Zim the next morning. I figure it's safe to use a credit card for dinner at that hotel. I was planning (as you said) to just use U.S. dollars for tips and any small souvenirs I might purchase.

The info I got from my TA recommends NOT using a credit card in Zimbabwe, period. So would I be able to pay for dinner (not included in my trip at the Illala Lodge) with U.S. dollars?

Cateyes555 is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2011, 12:50 PM
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 697
Have a fantastic time and I'll be watching for your trip report!
KathBC is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2011, 03:17 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 5,286
Zim uses USD for currency, so I assume you can pay in dollars. We were told the same about cc's in 2006. That country is a mess. Too long.

I'd want some rand just in case. You don't want to be in a situation where you need a few and have none. Not everywhere in S Africa will they take dollars. Housekeeping, waiters and porters? CC's are fine in S Africa. Our bank screwed up so call them. Again.

I actually put tips in note cards before I leave. For each camp I do ranger, tracker, housekeeping (I don't think you'll have trackers, but maybe polers if doing a mekoro), so I know I have enough. I adjust if service is better than expected.

We were in S Africa for three weeks with just carry-on. You can do it!!!

Have fun. Botswana is a very special place.When Batswana shake hands, they put their free hand under their right elbow. If you are comfortable with it, do the same. Just one of those local customs.

Can you tell I'm green with envy?
christabir is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2011, 06:48 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
Have a wonderful trip. If you are packing a pair of tie shoes, you can tie them to the outside of the bag for more room.

Do you have a travel vest? You can stuff lots of things in pockets.
atravelynn is offline  
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