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It can be tricky to book public campsites in Botswana’s national parks and reserves. Some campsites are run by private operators, some by the Botswana Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP), and some parks have a combination of both so that a single visit can involve a convoluted back-and-forth between multiple parties before you get the dates you need. If you’re planning a trip to any of Botswana’s national parks, this is what you need to know.

Please note: this article was originally posted on 15 November 2012, but has now been updated with new contact information and prices.

Baines Baobab, Botswana

Baines’ Baobabs, Botswana. Operated by Xomae Group.


Booking steps

  1. Decide your ideal route and pick some backup campsites in the same area. Buy a map of Botswana or go online and get a general idea of where individual campsites are – if a campsite is booked for the dates you want, it can save a lot of time to immediately be able to ask for availability at a nearby alternative.
  2. Know which operators manage each site. If an operator’s campsite is full there’s no point asking them for a booking at an adjacent site that they do not manage. If you can rattle off a list of their camps it makes the process a lot smoother. Happily we’ve done that for you. All the relevant information can be found below.
    • If you’re staying at a mix of private and DWNP campsites, check availability at the DWNP sites first. Don’t pay until you have the full trip confirmed, but once you have the DWNP camps provisionally reserved you can contact the private operators and check availability there. If the dates work, book and pay for the private camps and then return to the DWNP to pay for those bookings. The advantage of going this way round is that you can then send the DWNP your private camp vouchers at the same time and pay them for DWNP camping and park fees together. Park fees can only be paid to the DWNP once all camping fees – for both private and DWNP sites – have been settled.
    • If you’re staying at DWNP camps only (a visit to the Kgalagadi for example) then camping and park fees can be paid at the same time.
    • If you’re only camping at privately run sites then you will need to book them first and then send your booking vouchers to the DWNP. Only then will the DWNP invoice you for the park fees.

  3. Do all this before you leave home. It is possible to sort everything out in Maun, and there are regional DWNP offices in many of Botswana’s major towns if you need to make last minute changes to your bookings, but it’s unwise to arrive at a park gate without a camp booking confirmed and paid for. If there is availability and the phone lines are working, it is possible to book everything at the gate, but you may just as easily be turned away, especially on Saturday afternoons and Sundays when booking facilities are usually closed.
  4. The exception is park fees which can generally be paid in cash at the gate providing you have a paid-up campsite booking voucher. Some gates now also have credit card machines, but they do not always work so carry cash to be safe. Rands, and major foreign currencies are also accepted at most park gates.


Sunset over Third Bridge campsite in Moremi Game Reserve

Sunset over Third Bridge campsite in Moremi Game Reserve. Operated by Xomae Group.


The Botswana Department of Wildlife and National Parks

As mention above, the DWNP handles all park entrance fees and also operates campsites in some of the parks.


Camps run by the DWNP

  1. All campsites on the Botswana side of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
  2. Eight campsites in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve: the three gate camps (Matswere Gate, Tsau Gate and Xade Gate), as well as Xaka, Kori, Deception, San and Phokoje Pans
  3. Two campsites in the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park: Njuca Hills and Tree Island

For the Kgalagadi, park fees are P20 per person, plus P4 per vehicle. For the Central Kalahari and Makgadikgadi, park fees are P120 per person, plus P50 per vehicle. Camping is P30 per person at all DWNP campsites across Botswana.

Contact DWNP central reservations: Tel +267 318 0774,
DWNP office Maun: S19.98433 E23.42992


Private camps and community concessions

1. Bigfoot Tours

Khutse: All five campsites in Khutse
Central Kalahari: Piper Pan, Letiahau, Lekhubu, Kukama, Sunday Pan, Passarge Valley and Motopi
Contact: Tel +267 395 3360,,
Cost: Camping is P168 per person per day.


2. Gaing-O Community Trust

Kubu Island campsite
Contact: Tel +267 297 9612
Cost: Camping is P155.60 per person including fees and levies.


3. Kwalate Safaris

Chobe: Ihaha Camp
Moremi: South Gate and Xakanaxa
Contact: Tel +267 686 1448,
Maun office: S19.9778667 E23.4314333
Cost: Camping is P185 per person.


4. Xomae Group

Moremi: Third Bridge and Gcodikwe 1 Island Camp
Nxai Pan: Baines’ Baobabs and South Camp
Contact: Tel +267 686 2221,,
Maun office: S19.9769167 E23.4305
Cost: Camping is P300 per person, except for Gcodikwe 1 which is P400 per person.


5. SKL

Chobe: Savuti and Linyanti
Moremi: North Gate
Makgadikgadi: Khumaga
Contact: Tel +267 686 5365,,
Maun office: S19.9664833 E23.4506167
Cost: Camping is P210 per person.


6. Khama Rhino Sanctuary

Campsite and chalets near Serowe
Contact: Tel +267 463 0713,
Cost: Camping is P93.50 per person and chalets from P600 per unit. Park entrance fees are P71.50 per person and P88 per vehicle.


7. Khwai Development Trust

Khwai community concession: Magotho Camp (for self drives), and Matswere Camp and Sable Alley (usually reserved for operators)
Contact: Tel +267 680 1211
Maun office: S19.9782667 E23.4243333
Cost: P300 per person for Magotho and P410 for Matswere and Sable Alley.


8. Leap/Mababe Safaris

Tshaa Camp
Contact: Tel +267 7386 3058,
Cost: Camping is P220 per person.


9. Tuli Wilderness

Molema Bush Camp
Contact: Tel +2778 391 4220,
Cost: Camping is P140 per person including P40 community levy.


A powerful lioness looks for dinner in Moremi Game Reserve

A powerful lioness looks for dinner in Moremi National Park.


A brief note on money

Credit cards are widely accepted across Botswana, but facilities are unreliable in remote areas so don’t rely on them. Small-town ATMs can also run out of cash so carry enough hard currency for padkos and emergency fuel. Fuel prices vary slightly and are cheaper in the south, getting gradually more expensive as you travel further north. Fuel is cheaper than in South Africa, but booze is more expensive. Rands are often accepted near the SA border (border permits can be paid in rands), but further north you’ll need pula or, on the Zimbabwean border, US dollars.

Here’s the latest rand/pula exchange rate.

Please note that all prices quoted above were correct as of July 2015, but are subject to change at each operator’s discretion. Please check with them before travelling.


The Getaway 4×4 Guide to Botswana

Buy a copy of our October 2015 issue and you’ll see we’ve included a comprehensive guide to 4×4’ing in Botswana. Inside you’ll find detailed information on every park and reserve, the road conditions you can expect when visiting, optimal routes between the major centres, useful points of interest and accommodation recommendations in Maun, Kasane and Victoria Falls, plus information on every national park campsite in Botswana – even down to the individual stands to pick for the most privacy and best views. There’s also loads of other essential information and contact details for our favourite non-national park campsites, backpackers and lodges. Don’t miss out – buy a copy today.


Getaway 4x4 Guide to Botswana available free with our October 2015 issue.

Getaway 4×4 Guide to Botswana available free with our October 2015 issue.

Also read: Botswana’s magical Mabuasehube 4×4 trail

Looking for a quality operator to do it all for you? Try one of these Botswana travel packages from Getaway Travel.


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20 Responses to “How to book campsites at Botswana’s national parks”

  1. Mrs Robin Scotcher

    We are battling to get through to the Reservations office in Gaberone by email – phoned today and they said to fax. But the fax number they gave me is not working either!! Any ideas on how to contact them other than by phone?

    • Chris Davies

      Hi Robin. Do you mean the DWNP reservations office? If so, I had the same trouble myself. My emails were not answered either and I couldn’t even get through on the phone. In the end I gave up and did the DWNP bookings at their offices in country. The key is to get your campsite/accommodation booked through the appropriate private operator. I found them much more responsive and once you have that sorted the park entrance is only a formality which you can do on your way through Maun/Gabs, or even at the gate in most cases (Nxai Pan certainly, and I believe the same is possible for Chobe and Moremi).


    Hi Chris
    Thanks for such informative blog
    re the season: we are expecting to arrive Okavango approx. mid-October. Would the 2nd half of October likely be quieter than 1st half?
    We are 4×4 self-drive campers, starting Cape Town Aug 18 (en route Southern Highlands, Tanzania) and could possibly but not preferably delay arriving Okavanga until end-October if getting on sites likely to be easier

    • Chris Davies

      Hi Paul. October is generally quite quiet throughout. The end of the month is probably going to be quieter, but depending on where you go or just luck of the draw you might find it busier early or late. The key factor to consider is the weather. The later you get in October, the more rain you are likely to have and that will make some of the roads more difficult and obviously you’re more likely to get damp yourselves. I suggest you don’t delay unless it suits you. Even in early October you should be able to get on sites without too much trouble.

    • Chris Davies

      Ah thanks for spotting that Mike. I’ve fixed the link and the document should now be available to download (just hard refresh the page). It’s a little dated now but hopefully the information is still useful.

  3. Jeremy Stewart

    We are planning a 8 – 10 week trip through from CT to Nam, Bots, Zam, Zim, Malawi, Tanz, Moz and back to CT. When is the best time to go – Bots camp sites taken into account? Thanks.

  4. maggie

    I need info on the condition of the road from Shorobe to Savute Camp and then to Ngoma Bride (can we travel by 2×4). We want to plan our June/July holiday and I am not sure if we will be able to travel on his road. If possible can anyone assist me on good camp sites with clean ablution fasility and power points. Any other info will be appreciated.

  5. Alwyn

    One other issue people are having problems with: All the sites at the different privately operated campsites have a capacity assigned to them. When you book as a small group they will often fill the capacity with smaller groups or couples, so you are not guaranteed an exclusive stand.

    • Chris Davies

      Interesting Alwyn, I had not heard of that. Have you had this experience at any specific sites? I can’t imagine it ever happening at Baines’ or at any of the Kgalagadi or Kalahari camps for example – they are all pretty small stands anyway.

  6. Hermano Taute

    Hi Chris

    We are planning a bicycle tour through Botswana, Namibia and Zambia and I was hoping you could maybe point to info sources on whether bicycles are allowed through the Reserves/Parks such as the northern part of the Chobe National Park and the Caprivi Game Park in Namibia?

    Thanks for all the usefull information on camping etc above.

    Kind regards

    • Chris Davies

      Hi Hermano. As far as I am aware, bikes are not allowed through any of Botswana’s national parks and reserves. Best bet would be to phone the DWNP directly to be sure, but I would be very surprised if they let you through. I think your only route down would be on the A33 from Kasane towards Francistown and then west to Maun and into Namibia that way. But as I say, the DWNP will be able to say for sure.

  7. Ndiwangu Maile

    Hi Hermano, you won’t be allowed to ride bikes through the park at all, but you can do that only as explained by Chris above but if you are booked in one of the lodges in Gweta you can do a guided private bike tour.

    NDM Travel Agency-[+267 6800264]

  8. Hermano Taute

    Thanks Chris and Ndiwangu

    Will try the DWNP and see what they have to say..

    We are quite set on our trip so hopefully we can get a lift from someone entering the park with a vehicle…Part of the adventure :)


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