Botswana Driving Information

Travel information guide to Botswana, information on weather, money, vsias and passport requirements, prices and photographs of places to stay in and around botswana, booking details of accommodation across Botswana.

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Botswana Accommodation

Travel Guide to Botswana Accommodation

Chobe Park & Area
Chobe National Park
Chobe Riverfront
Kasane
Ngoma
Pandamatenga
Kazungula

Okavango Delta
Okavango Delta
Moremi Game Reserve
Maun
Shakawe
Kwando
Kumaga
Linyanti
Savuti

Transkalahari Stopovers
Ghanzi
Kang
Jwaneng
Kanye

Tuli Block
Bobonong
Palapye
Tuli Block
Selibe Phikwe
Mahalapye
Martins Drift

Makgadikgadi Pans area
Gweta
Nata
Makgadikgadi
Serowe
Letlhakane

Kgalagadi Transfrontier
Tsabong

Other places
Gaborone
Francistown



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Botswana Roads and Driving Information

 

Map showing tar roads connecting main areas of Botswana and Namibia

distnce map of botswana and namibia

 

Driving in Botswana

Wherever you are driving please respect wildlife, the environment and other drivers
Remember most accidents are a result of too much speed!
You are meant to be enjoying a fun relaxing holiday so take your time, enjoy the journey and come home safely to tell us about your wonderful trip to Botswana.

This section is constantly being updated as we travel the routes and get more information, if you have recently travelled any of these areas please let me know current conditions, also any photographs of road conditions are welcome. Thank you, Simon - Madbookings crazy driver

Tar roads
The roads shown on the map above are all tar roads passable all year in a 2wd vehicle, generally they are kept in good condition throughout the country with only a few potholes, traffic is light and distances between fuel stations and toilet stops can be long so careful planning is required. Also bear in mind these areas are hot all year round so pay attention to tyre pressures – especially on well laden vehicles, if you’re vehicle is full of people and baggage tyre pressure and condition becomes much more important, then travelling long distances on hot roads can lead to tyre blowouts, so check your tyre pressure is correct, and take regularly stops along the journey for the tyres, passengers and driver !

Driving at night
Not recommended at all in Botswana (any part of the country) due to animals !
Wild animals, cows, goats, chickens, dogs and even people are attracted to the road as night falls and often sleep on the road, many collisions occur with vehicles causing serious injury, so if at all possible arrive at your destination before sunset and if you set out before dawn, keep your speed down and keep a sharp eye out for objects on the road.

I have never driven anywhere in Botswana without encountered animals on the road

Speed limits
Police are very vigilant about speeding the speed limit is:
120km/h out side city limits
100km/h on approach to towns village
60km/h passing towns and villages
30km/h in built up areas

Fines for speeding are instantly payable and in Pula cash only (police will escort you to nearest cash exchange if required)
Corruption and bribery is severely frowned upon as is drink driving in Botswana.

Driving off road in Botswana
When you leave the tar roads in Botswana you will mostly be going on to sandy tracks of varying quality, none are to be taken lightly and in all cases the condition of the road can change in a very short distance, so always proceed slowly.
After rains flooding of many off road routes is common with many ‘roads’ through parks and remote areas having water on them for much of the year.
Pans can look dry but often there is water just beneath the surface, even walking on them does not show this, but when a vehicles weight is applied it can sink quickly, a vehicle stuck in this way can be very difficult to recover.
Gravel roads around the country are usually dotted with sand patches so do not speed however good the surface may seem.

Waterlogged roads
It is advisable never to cross a waterlogged section if you are travelling in a single vehicle, if you get stuck there is noone to help, if with another vehicle then one vehicle at a time crosses, when the first has made it to the other side then the next vehicle proceeds.
Also check the water depth and solidness of the ground by walking across first – but beware in all game parks (and in some areas outside reserves) there are wild animals including crocodiles, hippos, lions, hyenas so walking is not always safe!

Sand driving
Driving on Pans
Gravel roads

Maun – roads
All the roads in Maun are tar.
Getting to Maun
To the south the road is tar and goes to Ghanzi.
To the west the road is tar and goes to Gweta and Nata (via the turnings for Nxai Pan and the Makgadigadi pans)
To the North the road starts as tar until Shorobe where it turns into a graded gravel road then at the Buffalo gate it gets sandy (shallow but slippy in the rains), from this point northwards it is recommended only for four wheel drive vehicles.
The road forks a few kilometres after the buffalo gate, to the west heads into Moremi Park and to the east/north goes to Chobe, the road up to both park entrances is gravely and usually in quite good condition (rains permitting) with no need for low range 4wd but good ground clearance and occasional sandy patches. After entering either Moremi or Chobe park the roads can get very sandy/wet/clay see Moremi/chobe sections for more details.

Morei water logged rod moremi bridge

Western Okavango ‘Panhandle’
This is a tarred road all the way from the turning at Sehitwa in the south to Shakawe in the north, there are several places to stay along this route but some are only accessible by 4wd, some by boat (needs pre-arranging)
You can get to the Namibian border just north of Shakawe on tar road all year, but when you cross into Namibia the road is graded gravel for 45km until you reach the Caprivi highway which is a tar road running from Rundu to Katima Mulilo.
The gravel section in Namibia can get flooded after heavy rains between Jan and April but is normally passable with a high clearance vehicle for the rest of the year and even 2wd cars between June and Oct (or first rains) with care.

Central Okavango Delta
There are no roads into the main delta, access to all the areas is by plane and boat.

Moremi Game Reserve
All the roads in Moremi require a 4wd vehicle, the roads throughout the park are a combination of sand, clay, woodland, swamp and more sand.
When it has rained or the water is at a high level (often caused by rain further north not rain in Botswana) the roads get very tricky and travelling with two 4wd vehicles is recommended.
There is a camp site just inside the South gate which is accessible all year from where you can explore the road conditions deeper into the park, but the game viewing is not so good here (of course that would be too easy).
The route from South gate to Third bridge 50km (most western track) goes through Mopane woodland and gets very muddy in the rainy season and holds water for several weeks after rains and from December to May has standing water to cross, after the water recedes it becomes thick sand in some patches (there is a couple of long stretches of muddy woodland through mopane forests) as a guide it takes 2 hours in the dry and 3.5 hours in the wet.
The road through to Xakanaxa 43km (often referred to as the central route) is very clay/sticky mud in the wet season but the best route in the dry with minimal deep sandy stretches as a guide it takes 2 hours in the dry 5 to 6 in the wet.
South gate to the North gate 30km is fine in the dry with some deep sandy patches in the wet gets very sticky. Dry season 50 mins rainy 2 hours.

hippo road Water diversion chobe

Other roads around the park
The park has many twisting tracks skirting large amounts of water, areas of woodland (mostly Mopane) some savannah areas and flat pans, all offer various challenges in all seasons, take care on all drives, don’t cross water if you cant tell how deep it is (my father told me to wait until someone else crosses the follow if they make it, good advice but in Chobe traffic can be light, I have spent three days once without ever meeting another vehicle. Don’t drive beyond your abilities, and be responsible.

Chobe National Park and surrounding areas

Getting to Chobe
From Moremi it is 40km from North gate (Moremi) to Mababe gate into the south west of Chobe the road goes through Mopane woodland and a sand dune area - both awkward in the rainy season, but if you have made it through from south gate of Mormei to north gate you should be used to the conditions.

From Ngoma (Namibia border) there is a T-junction turn left and about half a kilometre along the tar road you will come to the Chobe entrance

Excellent road in Chobe park Water route chobe

From Maun there are two routes:
1/ The shortest is the same route out of Maun towards Moremi but at the fork in the road after the buffalo gate head north to a village called Mogogelo then on to Mababe gate.
141km from Maun to the gate but only the first 40km is tar the next 45km is graded gravel the rest is semi graded sandy gravel. The last section up to the gate has some very muddy/slippy patches in the wet, keep your speed down. Through to Kasane is a total of 369km excluding any game drives
2/ Take the tar road east out of Maun to Gweta, on to Nata where you turn north to Kasane a much longer route (600km) but tar all the way and goes via the Nxai pans and Makgadigadi.

Driving in Chobe National Park
The roads around the park are not always easy, despite being kept clear of fallen trees (an elephant issue) and busy in comparison to Moremi.
In the wet season the heavy clayey soil can quickly bog down vehicles while in the dry season deep sand can cause equally difficult conditions.

Botswana sand track tar road chobe to kasane

Tsodilo Hills
From the tar road that runs along the western panhandle there is a turning 32km south of Shakawe the condition of the roade varies greatly the first section is graded gravel and normally not to bad further on it can get corrugated, passable but very bumpy and there are a few sandy patches, when you get to the Tsodilo Hills however all the roads around the hills are deep sand and require a 4wd, in the rainy season it is sticky deep sand…… all the bush camping sites are beautifully located around the hills but are through deep sand.

road to Tsodilo hills Tsodilo hills camping site