The Safari Packing List - What To Take On Safari


I often get asked what to wear on safari. When you are out on a game drive bumping around in a 4x4 or walking through the bush, you will need neutral, earth toned clothing. Make sure it’s loose and comfortable and no loud colours that will scare off the African wildlife and your fellow safari goers. Be prepared for your clothes to get beat up by the sun, the dust and the odd thorn during your safari adventure. Try and resist the urge to buy any new outdoor safari clothing that is not designed for the African bush, your old stuff will work just as well.

Obviously, it’s going to be hot, but depending on the time of year, it can get really chilly in the evenings and mornings, so bring a sweater, a fleece - one or two warmer layers, and maybe even a jacket (especially between June - August). Shell layers, lightweight jackets and gilets work really well. Sometimes you will be driving along in an open safari vehicle for a good few hours before it warms up, and you will get cold. In the wet season (November - April) bring a lightweight waterproof. 

Shorts are fine during the day, but you will need something to cover your ankles against mosquitoes in the evenings. Something nice for the evenings is welcome but by no means required. Ladies, remember it is respectful to cover up shoulders and knees in towns and villages, especially on the coast. In the same way, gentleman should refrain from stripping off at the first opportunity. A good sun hat and sunglasses are absolutely essential, as are a pair of comfortable and strong shoes. Flip flops are great around camp and don’t forget your swimming stuff. Open sandals or reef shoes are really handy at the beach. Snoods are excellent for keeping warm and the dust out.

Exploring certain African wildlife requires different clothing. For chimp and gorilla trekking, you will need trousers and long-sleeved shirts to keep the bush at bay. Hiking boots and gators are a good idea, and your walking poles will come in handy.

Where possible try to pack with soft bags as these are easier to fit on planes and safari vehicles, they are less keen on bouncing off the back as well. 

Laundry is available at most camps. Make sure to put it in two days before you leave.

Remember that the weight limit on domestic small planes is strictly 15kg + small hand luggage in the cabin. You will be charged for every kilo over. We can arrange for this in advance. 

Other safari essentials in no particular order:

  • Face masks
  • Hand sanitiser
  • Malaria prophylaxis (you need to start taking these before you go)
  • Small medical pack and personal medication; including painkillers, antihistamine and re-hydration salts (Camps have basic medical kits)
  • Sun cream, factor 50
  • Phone + charger + adaptor (a lot of camps have Wifi, but some don’t on purpose - check with us if this is an issue, or read more here)
  • Insurance details
  • Important phone numbers, written down
  • Visa (should be in your passport), apply for it online before you go
  • Any tickets and vouchers
  • Camera + good bag + charger
  • Bank cards (check they will work)
  • Cash (USD and some local currency for shopping)
  • Insect repellent
  • Binoculars
  • A good book and field guides
  • Small day bag

There may be particular places or activities whilst out on your private African safari, like going up in a hot air balloon over the Serengeti national park, for which you will need extra clothes, but we will always let you know.

As always, get in touch if you’re unsure about anything before embarking on your African safari vacation.

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