You have taken years and month planning to go to Africa for a tour, and planning and still deciding on which country to visit for the trip, or even which activities you should have to do on your trip! We got for you what to pack on an African Safari
So now you have finally make up your decision, you really need to also plan for the things we think you need to have on your trip. During this article, you will realize that some items, if packed can always make your trip easy, relaxing, and memorable.
1. Passport, itinerary, eTickets and travel insurance docs.
One thing you should always not forget during your safari to Africa include the passport, itinerary, and the travel insurance etickets. It seems obvious, but we would be remiss if we didn’t put this at the top of the list of what you must pack for your safari.
A reminder that you should make sure you apply for your tourist visa in advance as most of the countries encourage online applications.
2. Prescription meds
Remember to put your prescription medications in your hand luggage (in case your check-in bag goes astray… it happens!)…and make sure you have enough of each type to last your entire safari.
3. Prescription glasses (sunglasses, hat, sunblock)
If you wear prescription glasses, be sure to pack more than one set (in case you lose one or they get broken). You will be outdoors for much of the time, so be prepared. Pack a hat, sunblock, long sleeves, and lip balm. As you will be walking in the forests or hills sometimes, you need that shade for the head so the hat is important.
4. Camera, and binoculars
Whilst most people will remember to take their camera (or will use their mobile phone), not everyone thinks they need to take binoculars! But they are very essential, however the tour guides will always have some pair of binoculars, though we think they may not be enough.
Binoculars are ESSENTIAL for optimum wildlife viewing on safari (and a GOOD pair of binoculars will make a BIG difference to your safari). We strongly recommend at least a pair of binoculars on your safari to Africa. Get the most expensive you can afford (at least 8x or better still 10x magnification).
Africa is an every photographer’s dream place to visit. Not only does the boundless wildlife come in all shapes and sizes, but the continent is also blessed with stunning landscapes, colorful people and fabulous light! Don’t miss out. Buy a camera, if you don’t already have one, this will also add another experience on your safari.
5. Clothes and toiletries
Of course you’re not going to forget clothes! But are you taking the right clothes…and are you within those weight restrictions your travel agent told you about for those light aircraft flights?
Most international airlines will restrict your check-in luggage to around 20 to 30kgs (55lbs). However, if your safari itinerary includes any light aircraft flights, then this can mean as little as 12 to 15 kgs (sometimes including your hand luggage!).
Don’t panic! Remember, a same-day laundry service is usually available in most safari camps and lodges. This means you DO NOT need a change of clothes for each day you are on safari! The exception will be for mobile tented safaris where it is often difficult, due the mobile nature, to offer a laundry service. It may also be possible to leave a bag with the charter company, or person meeting you, for the duration of the safari portion. When you have any doubt, always feel free to contact us on an email: firstname.lastname@example.org or click HERE.
Casual but comfortable
Casual, comfortable clothing is suitable throughout the year when on safari. Whilst you may elect to start a completely new safari ‘wardrobe’ it is really not necessary to look like an extra on the set of Out of Africa! Apart from selecting reasonably neutral or ‘non-bright’ colored clothing, safari-wear is generally casual and practical. Be sure you take clothes that you feel comfortable in – especially when it comes to your walking/hiking boots. The newer quick-drying fabrics, shirts with ventilation and trousers that convert into shorts are all worth considering.
Layering is key
Wearing clothes in layers is the most practical way to cope with fluctuating day/night temperatures and cool evenings whilst on safari. As the day warms up you can peel off another layer. Then as it begins to cool toward evening, you can put them back on. Here’s the “must-haves” to pack for your safari:
- T-shirt, shirt or blouse – long sleeves and collars help to protect from the sun and mosquitoes
- Fleece or warm jacket
- A pair of safari trousers – those that zip off at the knees are very handy, too
- Comfortable walking shoes (or boots) and socks
- Bandanna or cotton scarf and a sarong (kanga, pareo, kikoi)
- Maybe a pair of open sports sandals for general daytime use in warmer months
- Swimsuit – a number of lodges and camps have swimming pools
- An elegantly casual outfit for dinner at the smarter hotels
- A light, compact raincoat if it is likely you will encounter rain (gorilla and chimp trekking)
- And, of course, your undergarments
Dull and/or neutral colors are more suitable for safari, white and/or bright colours are not practical as they tend to stand out – definitely not advisable on a walking safari. Cotton clothing is recommended although the newer synthetic safari clothing lines are quick drying and extremely comfortable.
Check the weather
Ask your travel agent (or check online) and find out what the weather will be like where you are going. You may not need any serious cold weather gear at all (and that will really help with the luggage limit!). Alternatively, if you are going anywhere in winter where the temperature drops dramatically when the sun goes down, you may need gloves, a scarf, a thick jacket and a beanie. In east Africa, you need at least the jackets, hiking shoes, and others as well as the insects repellants.
6. Phone, music, tablet or laptop
What you must pack for your safari are your phone, music, tablet or laptop – and their respective chargers, country-specific adaptor plugs. You may need sometime on your laptop, to do some online business, and the phone for photos as most of the safari cars will have 24/7 wifi available. However, it’s good to note that inside the national parks, music is not advisable.
7. Preventative pharmaceuticals
This is just a fancy way of saying ‘meds’ – stuff you need, just in case the worst happens: diarrhea, headaches, heartburn, insect repellent, hand sanitizer, bites (antihistamine), indigestion, sore throat (lozenges), eye drops, and most important – anti-malarial tablets.
8. Odds & ends
A good torch (flashlight) is a must. It can be pitch black in the bush or in your tent in the middle of the night. A rechargeable torch is ideal but a small battery-powered torch is sufficient. The new LED miner’s lights that fit on your head (and leave your hands free) are also a good option. A smaller (pencil) torch for emergencies or looking at star maps is also worth considering. Most camps will provide a torch, or will walk you back to your tent as required, but being self-sufficient is always a good idea.
A good book. It never hurts to have an interesting book when travelling. You never know when you are going to be delayed at the airport or fall victim to Africa time, or traffic jam, this book can break your boredom.
A travel diary or journal is something we recommend. You will see and experience so much in such a short period of time on safari, that the only way to maintain a good record of it will be to write it down. It does require discipline, but will serve as an invaluable record of your safari adventure.
9. Hand luggage
Firstly, try to restrict your hand luggage to one item only, if for no other reason than more than one item makes travel that much harder. And, yes, a handbag qualifies as a second item! Obviously, that one item should be of a size that is acceptable as carry-on luggage by the airlines.
If you are a photographer, then this will mean you must have sufficient space in your camera bag for travel documents, your prescription medication and/or glasses, binoculars and even a change of clothes.
Bear in mind that restrictions on what can and cannot be taken on board an aircraft are still in place – including for liquids, flammables and sharp objects. The rules change frequently, so please double check and take heed.
10. Finally, don’t forget your sense of humor, patience and some common sense!
A word (or two) of warning:
It is not advisable to wear any form of clothing that may be construed as “camouflage”. By this we mean any form of brown/green “combat” style coloring. Even if it is the latest fashion statement – and even if it is your 14 year old wearing it – and even if it is just a cap. Many African authorities have a disproportionate phobia about such garments and this could conceivably result in you being questioned or harassed by the police. It has the potential to cause you grief, so don’t do it.
Do not take any expensive personal jewelry on safari. Be minimalist or take only those everyday items that you normally wear, like your wedding band, inexpensive earrings.
With regard to securing your luggage, we would strongly suggest using one or more combination locks to secure zips together if your suitcase does not have its own locking mechanism. Luggage tampering in airports does occur, unfortunately. Luggage straps that wrap around your suitcase can also deter, whilst shrink-wrapping facilities are available at some airports.
Time to plan your safari!
We really hope all these tips we have given you as you plan for your African perfect safari, will help you get the best out of it. You may not afford all of them, but at least 70% of them. Trust us you will have a great experience. You now got what to pack on an African Safari
NOTE: On an African trip, you need to put it in minds that it’s not a guarantee that you will see all animals or everything as mentioned in the tour package, sometimes nature may not provide everything, but to assure you that you will come back very happy and excited as the trip has a lot to offer.
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