Going to African on Safari! This is How You Should be Packing!

travel packing tips
Packing for your long-awaited safari to Africa may appear like such a little task until you begin. Then you suddenly realize you do not have sufficient information to help you make good choices on what to carry or leave behind. Many are gripped with anxiety trying to figure out what to take along in order to enjoy some level of comfort. A few commandments that might help you in the process of packing for your African Safari are given here:Generally, keep your bag light. You are probably restricted to approximately 30-40 kilos on your flight. That fact along should in some way determine how much you will take along from home. In any case, you are better off if you were able to tote your bags yourself for short distances in the event this becomes necessary.

Besides, you’d like to have extra room left over for souvenirs at the end of the safari! Most travelers pack too much. Choose clothing with multiple uses. Find toiletries in sample sizes. Remove all disposable material from your gear before you leave home.

Get a day pack or rucksack:

For your daily necessities like water bottles, camera gear, sunscreen, etc, get a day pack or rucksack. Use this as your carry-on bag on your flights, and keep it with you during game drives and walking trips. A day pack keeps both hands free. Store camera gear and important papers in plastic bags within to protect them from dirt and moisture.

Packing your Carry-on Bag:

Use your day pack/rucksack as your carry-on bag for your flights. In it pack a change of clothes, camera gear, all medications (especially essential prescription medications), several changes of socks and underwear, and other irreplaceable or breakable items.

Get a duffel bag or soft-side luggage:

A sturdy zippered duffel need not to be expensive. Depending on how much you bring, you’ll need a duffel about 26″ to 30″ long and about 12″ to 15″ in diameter. Look for heavy nylon fabric, wrap-around handles and a heavy-duty lockable zipper. You can buy a duffel bag with built-in wheels from just about anywhere.

Use plastic shopping bags, nylon stuff sacks, smaller zipper duffels or special mesh bags to separate clothing and gear inside your duffel. Isolate liquid toiletries in heavy duty zip-loc bags. Bring a few spare bags, including one for dirty laundry.

What clothing for your African Safari?

Plan to dress in layers so you can adjust to temperature changes. Be sure to bring all the warm clothing on your packing list. You will need at least one heavy wool sweater, as well as a warm fleece jacket in the season May to October – at least in the case of East Africa Safari.

You can buy clothing designed especially for travel. Avoid tight-fitting jeans. If you like to hand-wash your clothes, bring socks and underwear made of silk or a cotton-synthetic blend, which will dry out overnight.

You may be on your feet a lot during game drives, where you can stand in the vehicle to view wildlife. Bring supportive and comfortable shoes. You might consider light hiking boots, for increased ankle support.

Style Hints

Dress on safari is functional and casual, while being neat and presentable in the lodges. In local communities, and to some extent in the lodges, your dress should be modest and conservative. Although many tourists are not sensitive to this, travelers who observe this are likely to receive a warmer welcome. Avoid tank tops and sleeveless shirts. You should usually not wear shorts in towns, and women will get better reception if they wear a mid-length skirt. (A travel skirt is also unbeatable for roadside pit stops in open country, so you can maintain a degree of modesty without hiking all the way to the horizon!).

Recommended Clothing

If you are on this trip over a period of about 2 weeks, the following list may serve as a good guideline on what to bring along in terms of clothing. You won’t need much else, and you won’t have room for much else in your duffel any way!

The list:

  • Short-sleeved cotton shirts – 5. Polo-style shirts are more versatile than T-shirts
  • Long sleeved cotton shirts – 2. These can include light dress shirts for sun protection and flannel shirts and cotton turtlenecks for layering
  • Trousers: two pairs, comfortable and loose-fitting. One lighter, one a bit heavier for warmth in the evening.
  • Travel skirt, for women. Not required, but highly recommended.
  • Underwear – 7 to 10 changes. Due to the very bumpy roads, brassieres are suggested for women, even if you usually don’t wear one.
  • Fleece jacket
  • Light rain jacket with a hood. A water- proof breathable jacket can double as a wind breaker. This should be sized to fit over your sweater or fleece jacket
  • Light rain jacket with a hood. A water proof breathable jacket can double as a wind breaker. This should be sized to fit over your sweater or fleece jacket
  • Wide brim sun hat
  • Footwear
  • Pack comfortable walking shoes. Look for shoes with good arch support. Sports sandals. Not required, but very highly recommended, especially if you are taking an extension tom the beach/coast.
  • Socks – 5 to 7 pairs. During May to August, one or two pairs should be warm hiking socks made of wool, capilene or Thermax.
  • Optional Clothing
  • Swim suit (recommended for dips in swimming pools, except in June July and August, when it might be too cool to swim- East Africa speaking)
  • Walking shorts, long-cut for modesty (Not needed May through August – East Africa speaking)

The above commandments are only suggestions provided for your convenience. It is important to mention that it is often possible to do laundry during the safari, although dryers might not be available.