Standard, low-clearance motorhomes are not suitable for Botswana. Like regular cars, they can’t handle Botswana’s rough national park roads and in most cases, you won’t even reach the park gates if you’re driving one. 4×4 campers are ideal, however. Not only do they grant access to all of Botswana’s parks and reserves, camping is also a significant cost saving.
Botswana has campsites everywhere, not just inside the parks, but all across the country. Camping can be anything from $8 to $10 per person outside the parks and from $25 to $50 per night inside (that’s for international visitors. SADC residents usually pay up to $30). Outside the parks, camping is cheaper than even the most basic dorm beds, and in safari areas lodge prices start at hundreds of dollars a person, so camping by far the most affordable option.
Hiring a 4×4 camper is a major outlay. But it’s important to remember that vehicle hire and fuel will make up the bulk of your total costs (after flights). Once you’ve factored this in, the remaining expenses are more manageable, and costs drop significantly the more people you’re with. A two-week safari for two will probably come to around $1500 per person, and at least $800 of that will probably go on the vehicle and fuel. With three travelling together, $1500 becomes more like $1300, and that drops again to around $1100 if you’re travelling with four. Boat trips and delta flights will cost more of course, but these are rough minimum figures that include, vehicle hire, fuel, food and drinks, and 10 nights at prime campsites inside the national parks.