We have compiled an extensive list of frequently
asked questions related to a self-drive safari


FAQIf you have any other queries please get in touch!

IS IT NOT CHEAPER IF I BOOK THE TRIP INDEPENDENTLY?

We get special tour operator rates so you are unlikely to save money by trying to book the trip yourself. Also, bear in mind that many companies in Botswana do not accept credit cards and require deposits to be paid – resulting in many bank charges and a lot of time spent. We do all of this for you, so even if you have an idea of where you want to go, you will save time and money booking through us.

DO YOU OFFER VEHICLE ONLY QUOTATIONS?

No. We believe that we have the best knowledge of the areas, and know the best campsites and lodges to book (as well as those to avoid) therefore we don’t offer this option. We also have responsibilities to our vehicle suppliers to ensure that their vehicles are not driven in unsuitable places.

WHERE CAN WE START OUR TRIP FROM?

Most of our clients begin their trip in Johannesburg or Windhoek, as this is where almost all international flights fly into. However it is possible to fly into Maun, Kasane and Livingstone and trips can start from almost anywhere. In places where we do not have local vehicle suppliers, we will deliver the vehicle to you (one way fees are included in such quotations).

ARE ONE WAY ITINERARIES POSSIBLE?

Yes – these are quite popular, especially if your time is limited and you do not want to drive back to the place you started from.

DO YOU ARRANGE FLY-IN SAFARIS?

Yes – we can arrange midrange and luxury fly-in trips, either as part of a self-drive trip or an exclusively fly-in safari. These are more expensive than self-drive trips, but we can cater for any budget.

HOW FLEXIBLE ARE THE ITINERARIES? CAN I STAY LONGER AT ONE PLACE IF I REALLY LIKE IT?

Because accommodation and campsites are booked in advance and prepaid, this is not usually possible – especially in the national parks and game reserves. We will do our best to arrange this during your trip – but generally it is best to stick to your itinerary – and revisit the places you enjoyed best on your next trip!

DO I HAVE TO CAMP?

No – if camping is not your idea of fun, we arrange great value lodge based self-drive itineraries in all the national parks and reserves. Your vehicle will still be semi-equipped with a fridge, picnic equipment and recovery kit as a minimum.

WHAT TYPE OF VEHICLES DO YOU PROVIDE?

We arrange many types of vehicle hire – the most common being Toyota Land Cruisers, Toyota Hilux and Ford Rangers with rooftop tents (or ground tents if preferred). Single and ¾ cab type vehicles are popular for two people, and fully equipped bush camper 4x4s are also an option for those who require more privacy, or for solo travellers. All our vehicle suppliers are chosen with great care and we only use companies who we are sure maintain their vehicles to the highest standards.

SOME COMPANIES SAY THAT BOTSWANA IS UNSUITABLE FOR SELF-DRIVE?

Not true! Some parts of Botswana (and Namibia and Zambia too) are unsuitable for single vehicle travel (e.g. the southern Central Kalahari) and some areas are not recommended in the wet season (e.g. Makgadikgadi Pans) but southern Africa is an excellent self-drive destination. Unfortunately, some operators of alternative safari styles try to sell their products by telling untruths about the self-drive option.

HOW ARE THE VEHICLES INSURED AND WHAT IS THE COVER?

Although insurance varies slightly depending on the vehicle suppliers, vehicles generally come with standard insurance with an excess liability. It is often possible to reduce this by paying a higher insurance premium per day. The insurance cover usually excludes windscreens and tyres damage.

WHAT HAPPENS IF THERE IS A PROBLEM WITH THE VEHICLE DURING THE TRIP?

Light repairs to vehicles (for example a smashed windscreen or a brake pipe being hit by a stone and coming loose) can be done en-route at the nearest garage, and refunded on return of the vehicle. In the unlikely event of a more serious breakdown, a replacement vehicle will be sent from the rental company.

IS SELF-DRIVE SAFE? WHAT ARE THE DANGERS I SHOULD BE AWARE OF, IF ANY?

Self-drive is safe so long as you act responsibly and drive with a measure of common sense. When in the game reserves and national parks you should always remember that you are in a wilderness area, and this is the animal’s home. Never provoke a wild animal (even to try to get a better photographic opportunity) and take care when walking to the campsite ablutions at night. It is very dangerous to drive at night, and this should be avoided. If you are delayed for some reason, it is better to forfeit that nights accommodation and stay somewhere else than to risk collision with domestic or wild animals. Stick to the speed limits, and keep speed to a minimum on rough roads.

DO YOU OFFER GUIDED SELF-DRIVE TRIPS?

We don’t offer guided self-drive trips, all our itineraries are suitable for independent self-drive travel. Some of the more remote places require two vehicles, but we will not include these in itineraries with only one vehicle.

WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF SELF-DRIVE OVER MOBILE SAFARIS OR FULLY GUIDED TRIPS?

Self-drive gives you independence. You do the trip at your own pace in your own time. You can focus on your own individual interests, without having to cater for the interests of others in a group. For example, if you are a keen birdwatcher, you may be more interested in the frenzied feeding of waterbirds on stranded fish in a waterhole than a group of lions sleeping under a tree. You can spend as much time as you want game viewing. You will have a sense of pride at your sightings and the feeling of discovery as you make your way through your trip (see comments left by previous clients about how they felt a self-drive trip worked for them).

HOW IS MY PAYMENT PROTECTED?

We have Tour Operators Failure Insurance which means that you will be refunded in the event of Drive Botswana going out of business. However, it is your responsibility to arrange travel and medical insurance, and this is a requirement of our bookings.

DO YOUR PRICES CHANGE WITH EXCHANGE RATE FLUCTUATIONS?

No – some companies have a clause in their terms and conditions which states that if the exchange rate varies between the time of booking and the time of travel, extra money may be requested. We do not do this – the price you agree when you make the booking is the price you will pay. Please note that our quotations are valid for 30 days – but once you book, the price is fixed.

ARE THERE ADDITIONAL CHARGES ASSOCIATED WITH PAYING BY CREDIT CARD?

We don’t have an additional charge for paying by credit card, but can sometimes offer a discount for paying by bank transfer.

CAN I PAY A SMALL DEPOSIT TO SECURE THE BOOKING AND THE BALANCE ON ARRIVAL?

No. We prepay all your accommodation and vehicle hire in advance, and therefore payment in full is necessary before your trip starts. Usually, we request a 50% deposit to secure the booking, with the balance payable 45 days before your trip starts. This allows time for your vouchers to reach you before you leave. However, in some instances we can arrange an alternative payment schedule.

HOW FAR IN ADVANCE DO I NEED TO BOOK?

It is advisable to book at least 9 months in advance, especially in the peak season (July to September). Bookings cannot be made more than 18 months in advance however as many companies do not publish rates for more than a year ahead.

DO YOU DO LAST MINUTE BOOKINGS?

Yes – we will always do our best to fit in last minute bookings, and have successfully arranged many trips at short notice. There are often last minute cancellations but you should be aware that you may not be able to have your vehicle of choice, or go to where you want to go.

DO I HAVE TO BE FLEXIBLE WITH MY TRAVEL DATES?

It is better to have a measure of flexibility as this means we can better work around availability issues, especially with the more popular areas in peak season (July to September). It is better if you book flights after we have given you a quotation, but if you already have flights booked, we will do our best to arrange an itinerary to coincide with your flight dates.

DO YOU BOOK FLIGHTS?

Most overseas visitors fly into Johannesburg. International flights can be booked through our partner GYT using a dedicated email address drivebotswana@flightcentre.co.uk – they can book the whole route including onward connections to regional airports (Maun, Kasane, Windhoek, Livingstone, Victoria Falls).

ARE YOU NOT JUST ANOTHER IMPERSONAL, OUT OF TOUCH TRAVEL AGENT?

We like to think we are more than a travel agent – we meet many of our clients who pass through and have a chat about their trip, either at the start or at the end. Many of our previous clients have become our friends, and have come back the following year. We have personally visited 90% of the places in Botswana and Namibia where we send clients to, and have extensive first hand knowledge of Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa too. We are on the ground to deal with any issues or questions you may have during your trip, whatever the time of day.

DO I NEED SEPARATE TRAVEL INSURANCE?

Yes – it is your responsibility to arrange travel and medical insurance, and this is a requirement of our bookings.

WHAT KIND OF ADVICE DO YOU PROVIDE WITH YOUR BROCHURES?

Our brochures guide you step-by-step through your itinerary with full directions and GPS co-ordinates. They contain all the information you need for your trip – such as advice on checking the vehicle, what to do at the border, advice about driving off-road, warnings about possible dangers (e.g. scorpion stings when collecting firewood), tips on where to do shopping, fill up with fuel en route and much more.

IS MALARIA A RISK?

Malaria is a risk in northern and eastern Botswana, northern Namibia and South Africa and the whole of Zambia. Malaria is most prevalent between September and May, and it is advisable to take anti-malarial prophylactics.

WILL I REQUIRE A VISA?

Visas are not required for Botswana, South Africa and Namibia if you are an EU/Swiss, Australian/New Zealand, USA/Canadian or South African citizen. Visas are required for Zambia and Zimbabwe and price varies with nationality (South Africans do not require a visa). Visas can be purchased at the point of entry, although double/multiple entry visas must be arranged in advance at the relevant embassy.