Botswana vs Google Maps

by Sep 15, 2019Botswana, Destinations, Safety Tips

Do NOT rely on google maps in Botswana 

If you decide to self-drive into Botswana, please do not use google maps for the more remote tracks in Botswana. Google maps will most likely be accurate in towns and on the main roads but there are some serious inaccuracies on certain routes which can lead to putting you at additional risk.

The most glaring error is if you ask google maps to give you a route from Kwhai campsites or North gate, Moremi to Savuti or Linyanti. Google maps incorrectly advises you to take the straight cutline which runs from the northgate – Mababe road to Linyanti. This is not really a road but a cutline, although this is used by military vehicles and some lodges there is some extremely thick sand on this cutline and most people get stuck and are stranded here. The cutline is hardly used so it can be days until someone passes you. In the case you do not have a satellite phone this will lead to a very stressful wait and potentially a serious situation.

The correct route to follow is you pass this cutline while heading from North gate, Moremi towards Mababe, just before Mababe village there is a road which turns of to your left and is marked Savuti. This is the correct track which will take you to Mababe gate. Strangely enough If you ask Google maps to take you from Kwhai or North gate to Mababe gate it then takes you on the correct road.

The tracks in Botswana are mostly not sign posted and this can be frustrating, this is either because no one has made the effort or quite often it is because elephants push the signs over so always use your discretion.

We always recommend GPS with tracks4africa or other accurate maps downloaded AND we recommend having good hardcopy maps the moment you drive into the parks of Botswana. When travelling alone a satellite phone is recommended.