Everyone loves taking a vacation, but often one of the worst parts is preparing everything you need before you go. Now you’re going on a trip, but it’s a little different from the average getaway. Do you find yourself wondering how to pack for an African safari? Keep reading and we’ll cover the basics, as well as cover you from head to toe!

Packing to Go on Safari

There are a few things that you might want to consider during an African safari that you probably wouldn’t need to think about on some other trips. You may be anticipating the heat, for example, but what are you going to do on chilly mornings if you don’t bring a sweater? And have you ever had to stop and think about the effect that the colours you wear might have on local animals? Well, on this trip, you should.

Tour guides have commented that the bright colours and slogans that tend to be seen in everyday wear across North America stand out too much, potentially serving to startle animals, which would of course diminish your tour experience. They will not be considered appropriate, or respectful for your trip.

Bright colours don’t pose the only problem, however. Dark clothing might attract tsetse flies, the bite of which can be quite painful, in addition to the risk that they might be infected with parasites that can cause African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness).

Better then, to dress in typical safari colours such as forest green and beige. Don’t put your guide in the position of critiquing your outfit; wear colours that let you blend in.

Bring soft luggage, not hard and when packing, and be sure to roll your clothes, rather than fold. Not only will this help prevent creases, properly rolled clothes will be easier to pack. You may also want to bring a small backpack for daily-use items that you want to keep with you.

Also, please note there are luggage restrictions on all light air crafts, including light air craft transfers in southern Africa. Check out our handy luggage guide for all the details.

Safari Packing Essentials

  • Bring a hat, or a cap that is not likely to blow off easily. Try a Safari hat or Tilley hat. Also remember your sunglasses.
  • Long-sleeved cotton shirts with sleeves that can roll up. Bring about two, in addition to the one you are wearing. Bring pajamas for the evening and a light sweater for chilly mornings. Of course, don’t forget to bring enough underwear too!
  • One or two pairs of khaki trousers, or zip-off pants. Zip-offs give you some flexibility between long pants and shorts.
  • Make sure to pack comfortable cotton socks (avoid white). Good walking shoes or hiking boots for the day and slip-on sandals or flip-flops for the evening at camp.

You might be tempted to bring more, but it’s best to travel light, and you can always make use of the laundry facilities that you will find in camp. Your baggage limit will likely be in the 10-15 kg range, so that, combined with the availability of laundry service, should allow you to bring relatively little.

Other Safari Packing Tips

In addition to the more obvious gear such as binoculars and cameras, if you have an e-reader it will allow you to bring a number of books with you in a light, easily-portable manner. Books on animals, birds, or even general travel guides and nighttime reading can all be brought along for your trip.

Don’t forget other essentials such as sunblock, bug repellent (although be aware that DEET can damage plastic, so avoid getting repellent on your camera or binoculars), painkillers for headaches, antihistamine cream for bites and anti-malaria medication. If you are taking prescription medication, be sure that you have more than enough to cover your trip.

A small travel bag of toiletries is also a good idea, as you won’t likely have much space to spread out with your soap, shampoo, shaving cream and other items used at home. A travel kit allows you to store things neatly and conveniently.

Finally, don’t forget important documents such as vaccinations, re-entry permits and obviously, your passport.

Knowing how to pack for an African safari can make your trip much more enjoyable. No one wants to discover that they forgot something vital, so take a few moments to review before you go. It will allow you to relax and focus on your experience, rather than what you are missing.

To help ensure you bring everything you need, here’s a full packing guide for the ultimate African getaway. For a safari experience like no other, contact Sikeleli Safaris today!

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