If you are combining a number of safari camps in Botswana in all likelihood your inter-camp transfers will be by light aircraft or even by helicopter.
For most guests these transfers are an exciting and integral part of their safari experience. We recommend you travel with your camera at the ready as often the views from your small plane can be amazing, particularly flying over the Okavango Delta. Generally your main bag will be stored in the luggage compartment of the plane and if you have a carry-on backpack you will drop it in an area at the back of the plane as you climb aboard (depending on the plane size). If you want to take photographs then keep your camera with you when you go to your seat.
One of the big draws of Botswana is the ability to combine camps in different areas without having to return to “civilization” or check-in at an airport, with all the associated stresses. The normal schedule when moving camps within Botswana is that the transfer takes place in-between the game drive hours, so you can still enjoy a morning and afternoon game drive. The camp staff will drive you to the airstrip in time for your flight, usually in the game drive vehicle with your guide. Most of the inter-camp flights are relatively short in Botswana, between 10-40 minutes duration. Upon arrival you will be met by your guide in another game drive vehicle and driven to your next camp, spotting wildlife along the way. So again, make sure you have your camera handy, but also binoculars, sun hat, sun cream and any bird or mammal reference books or tick lists you are using.
Generally inter-camp transfers are booked on a “seat in plane” basis. This is the most economical option. Schedules are only decided a few days beforehand by the charter company and you are likely to drop passengers at other camps before reaching your own. The charter companies are generally allowed 2 or 3 stops before you reach your destination. For most guests this is all part of the fun as they get multiple take offs and landings but for those who aren’t keen on flying and just want to get it over and done with, this should be born in mind.
If you prefer to have more control over the flight timings and want a direct flight to your destination then consider a private charter. This is a more expensive option but does allow you to request a specific flight time and you may have a greater luggage allowance.
As with other safari destinations, the charter companies in Botswana impose strict regulations over the size and weight of luggage (and often the weight of guests). These restrictions are necessary for safety reasons and on most flights you will be limited to 20kg (44lb) of luggage per person, to include your camera equipment and hand luggage. Any guest weighing over 100kg (220lb) must inform us in advance as they may need to purchase an extra seat for safety and comfort. The other crucial restriction is that bags must be soft (no wheels, frames or rigid structures can be transported) and the maximum dimensions of the soft bags which can be accommodated are: 25cm (10 inches) wide x 30cm (12 inches) high and 62cm (24 inches) long.
For most first-time visitors to Africa the imposition of such luggage restrictions is daunting…you may not have a suitable bag and the idea of packing so light can be very stressful. Our section on Pack for your Safari aims to provide practical advice to assist.