African Safari Packing List – What to Pack for Safari in Africa
Tanzania, Kenya, Zambia, Botswana, Uganda… no matter the destination, there are some general rules about what to pack for African safari. Packing for an African safari is considerably different to most other trips you’ll ever take.
Safari is Dusty Business!
Embrace the fact you will get dirty much faster than usually as well as nights and mornings can be utterly cold, so clothing layers are essential to pack.
The major rule for packing for safari is pack light.
Bring Duffel Bags over Suitcase
Even though you travel with firm big suitcases, you will do your self a big favour if you think ahead and sort the safari items in special bag, preferably smaller duffel bag. Add a camera backpack and you have already reached the limit. If you intend to fly between the parks, light aircraft baggage limit is between 10 to 15 kilos only.
Excess baggage is usually left behind in hotel of your stay or with your safari tour operator.
Clothing and Dress Code for African Safari
Actually there is no particular dress code for safari, not even in high-end camps. More important is to keep it simple, casual, warm and comfortable.
Quantity of clothing items will depend on duration of safari but for orientation here are our suggestions:
- A lightweight windproof/waterproof jacket for chilly mornings and evenings
- Long sleeved thin-fleeced jacket
- A light raincoat in case of rain
- Walking boots or shoes: if you don’t plan adding serious hiking to safari itinerary, then also sneakers are ok
- Flip flops for lodges or around swimming pools if you booked a lodge with a pool
- Swimsuit – if you booked accommodation with a pool
- Long-sleeved shirt
- Long cotton trousers.
- T shirt
- Cotton Socks
- Sports bra – for bumpy rides, ladies will be grateful!
- Hat with brim or bandana with high UV protection
- Due to heavy dust it is not recommended to bring white clothes. In addition some areas are tze tze fly infested, like Tarangire National Park and some parts in Serengeti. To avoid bites from tze tze flies don’t wear dark colors, specially not black and dark blue.
Try to wear neutral colors, khaki, olive green, army green; light brown tones are perfect for safari.
For walking safaris neutral colors are mandatory. You don’t want to scare off the animals don’t you?
Toiletries on African Safari
You will have to pack more with you if you go for budget camping than those who are staying in high end safari lodges and camps. Lodges and higher end camps provide towels, soap, shampoos, some even mosquito repellent, but if you are not in this category, bring with you:
- Tooth brush, toothpaste, soap, razors, comb, deodorant, the regular things you use at home but in travel size if possible.
- Peeling shower gel – dusty roads and at the end of the day you will feel dust everywhere, you will be thankful to yourself you brought it with you!
For budget camping african safari, pack toilet paper as well.
Ladies: pack feminine products: pads and tampons, items are sometimes hard to get in Africa, are more expensive or lower quality.
Don’t forget to take sunglasses with you, sunscreen lotion with high protection factor and hand sanitiser or disinfecting tissues. Being on long game drives you will not have instant access to running water.
Headlamp is a must for all camping safari goers. Electricity cuts happen also in better ranked lodges.
The Safari Medical Kit
Although each safari car has to have basic first aid kit, have some stash of medicine packed for safari, just in case.
- Mosquito Repellant with deet
- Anti-malarial prophylactics in case you decide to do it
- Eye drops for itchy eyes from dust. Highly recommended!
- All medicine you have to take by doctor’s prescription
- Anti-histamine for allergies, insect bites
- Cold or flu pills
- Anti diarrhoea pills
- Oral re-hydration solution for diarrhoea and sunstroke like rehydration powder
- After sun lotion with Aloe Vera or some other soothing ingredient
- Antiseptic for cuts and grazes.
- Alcohol swabs to clean minor wounds, bandages and sticking plasters.
Also read: Best African Destinations
Photo Equipment, Cables, Adapters
Camera, lenses, lens protection filters, cables, camera drones, recharging station, extra batteries, portable travel disk, extra memory cards, pad, iphone, gopro camera ….
If you plan to use local sim card, make sure your phone is unlocked and sim adapter is also good idea! (turns local sim card into nano sim).
Travel plug adapter – All chargers and batteries will not be usable without travel plug adapter. Check prior travel if you need one.
Many safari vehicles have built-in chargers, where you can plug in and refill the battery during game drive. Ask your tour operator or bring portable charger, yet better, a solar portable charger.
Bring Cash on Safari
Lastly, bring cash on safari. Have enough USD bills for tipping, for extra drinks and meals as well as for shopping souvenirs and enjoy your safari. Remember to have only US Dollar bills issued after 2006.
And of course before you go make sure you buy travel insurance!