Your African Safari Packing List
You have spent months deliberating what you want from an African safari, which destination is best suited to your requirements and which tour operator is likely to offer you the best value for money. Finally, you have booked your dream holiday and will be heading off to Africa in no time. But what will you need to pack to ensure comfort and maximise your experience?
The majority of travellers are well versed when it comes to packing for a European package holiday, a city break, or even a beach holiday to a remote Indian Ocean island. Packing for a safari is unlike most holidays due to the diversity of activities and the strict baggage limitations on light aircraft.
The trick when devising a comprehensive but succinct packing list is to not overcomplicate things. There are many suggested packing lists that are exhaustive but in reality there is no chance you would meet the light aircraft luggage restrictions if you followed these suggestions.
Firstly, let’s elaborate on these luggage restrictions. Many long haul flights have weight limits well in excess of 20 kg with 2 cases per person with some airlines. Great right? Not quite. Most of our safari packages include at least 1 light aircraft flight. This is where the limitations arise. These safari circuit flights carry a luggage limit of 15 kg per person in soft-sided duffle bags. Therefore, you are obliged to accommodate a diverse list of clothing and personal items into a relatively limited weight limit.
So, the idea of a packing list is to be realistic so you pack everything you need but not too much as to run the risk of packing unnecessary items and leaving behind safari essentials.
Before we present a comprehensive but succinct packing list it is important to remember safari is not a fashion show. Even at night you do not need to go for dinner in your best dress or shirt and trousers. The important thing is to feel comfortable and try to avoid wearing revealing clothing as you are likely to attract unwanted attention from biting insects. Be practical for your surroundings. This advice may change slightly in the extremely high-end properties but we will advise you of this if that is the case.
Safari Packing List
- Passport (valid for at least 6 months on the date of return)
- VISA (if applicable)
- Travel operator paperwork
- Travel insurance
- Yellow fever certificate (if applicable)
- Underwear (pack a pair for each day with 1 or 2 spares)
- Long trousers (1 pair per every 3-4 days)
- Shorts (1 or 2 pairs)
- Short sleeved T-shirts (x1 per day)
- Long sleeved shirt (2-3 per week)
- Waterproof jacket
- Waterproof trousers
- 1 pair of lightweight walking shoes
- 1 pair of flip-flops or sandals (for comfort around camp)
- 1 sweatshirt or fleece (for those cold winter evenings and mornings or if staying at altitude)
- Sun hat
- Swimwear (if you know your camp or lodge has a pool)
Clothing tip 1: Wear neutral colours such as khaki, green or beige. Avoid dark colours such as black and dark blue as research demonstrates Tsetse flies are attracted to these colours. Bright colours such as red and yellow serve to scare away wildlife on walking safaris.
Clothing tip 2: Discover whether your camp or lodge provides a laundry service. If they do this can significantly reduce the clothing you will require.
- Personal toiletries (shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, deodorant/antiperspirant, toothpaste and toothbrush, face wash, moisturiser)
- Insect repellent
- Suncream (minimum SPF30)
- Hand sanitiser
- Baby wipes
- Personal lotions and potions
Medicines and First Aid
- Personal medications
- Malarial prophylactics (if applicable)
- Antiseptic cream
- Digital camera (DSLR with minimum 300 mm telephoto lens or compact digital zoom camera)
- Spare batteries and charger
- Spare memory cards
- Mobile phone and charger
- Universal travel adapter
Items of a Personal Nature
- Torch or headtorch
- Money belt
- Relevant wildlife guide book
- Book or other reading material