Packing list for Botswana

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This list has been compiled by Volunteers serving in Botswana and is based on their experience. Use this packing list as an informal guide in making your own list. You obviously cannot bring everything we mention, so consider those items that make the most sense to you personally and professionally. You can always have things sent to you later. As you decide what to bring, keep in mind that you have an 80-pound weight restriction on baggage. And remember, because of Botswana’s proximity to South Africa, you can get almost everything you need here.

Note that while the climate is comfortable for the greater part of the year, houses do not have heat, making the winters colder than you might expect. Do not bring any camouflage or military-style clothing to wear—your time is much too valuable to spend detained at a police checkpoint.

General Clothing[edit]

For Men[edit]

  • Dress slacks and khaki trousers (jeans are not appropriate at work)
  • Lightweight cotton dress shirts (T-shirts are not appropriate at work)
  • Dress shoes or loafers (tennis shoes or sandals are not appropriate at work)
  • Sports coat or suit for special events
  • Ties
  • Durable jeans (for weekends, travel, or after-work wear)
  • Casual shoes (tennis or running)
  • Warm coat
  • Sweaters or fleece pullovers
  • Thermal underwear
  • A few pairs of thick socks
  • Gloves or mittens
  • Shorts and/or a bathing suit
  • Lightweight raincoat or poncho

For Women[edit]

  • Dresses or skirts (knee length or longer for work, no denim)
  • Lightweight cotton blouses
  • Dress shoes (for work)
  • Durable jeans (for weekends, travel, or after-work wear)
  • Casual shoes (tennis or running)
  • Warm coat
  • Sweaters or fleece pullovers
  • A few pairs of thick socks
  • Bathing suit
  • Long shorts
  • Lightweight raincoat or poncho


Women’s shoes larger than size 10 may be difficult to find. Most other types of shoes are readily available in Botswana, although they may not be of the same quality found in the United States.

Personal Hygiene and Toiletry Items[edit]

All basic toiletry items are available in Botswana, so you only need to bring enough for the first five or six weeks.

Although the selection here may not be what you are used to, the quality is generally quite good. Medicine and first-aid items will be available from the Peace Corps medical office once you are sworn-in as a Volunteer. The office will also supply feminine hygiene products if they are not available for purchase at your site, but if you have special needs, please bring a three-month supply.


  • French press (if you appreciate good coffee)
  • 10 passport-size photos in color or black-and-white (to be used for various permits, visas, and ID cards; also helpful for obtaining visas if you plan to travel outside Botswana)
  • Bicycle helmet (You will be issued a bicycle and wearing a helmet is required, so if you do not already have a good helmet, we advise you to buy a helmet that you like in the United States; the Peace Corps will reimburse you up to $30. If you do not bring a helmet, the Peace Corps will provide one, but you will not have a choice of style or color)
  • Good sunglasses and a hat (There are about 345 sunny days per year in Botswana; the Peace Corps will supply all the sunscreen you need)
  • Three-month supply of any prescription medicine you take
  • Electronics—cameras, CD players, etc. are available in Botswana but are very expensive (AA and D batteries are the most commonly available size)
  • One or two sets of double or queen flat sheets (sheets and towels are very expensive in Botswana; so, too, are curtains. Many Volunteers bring extra sheets to make into curtains!)
  • One or two bath towels
  • Solar bulbs or/and solar power panels. With a power panel you can charge your cell or any other low-voltage USB-port devices, such as IPod, Kindle, etc. All you need is sun, and that's plentiful. Check the Nokero and Solio products. Peace Corps Volunteers get a 25%-50% discount on Nokero products when they join Market for Change [1].