When it comes to packing for a safari in Africa, you’re going to need to pack supplies that you have never considered before. From rural roads in open-top jeeps to plummeting night-time temperatures, you will need to pack for a variety of situations. But don’t worry we got you covered. We’ve put together the ultimate guide on how to pack for an African Safari, covering what you will need for most 7-10 day safari holidays and still leaving you some room in the suitcase for those all-important mementoes.
How to dress for your safari
Dressing for a safari is a casual affair. The best shape to go for is lightweight and loose so you will be kept cool during the day and will dry quickly if you get caught in the rain. Remember to bring one fleece or jacket as at night time it will get cold. Bring long sleeved tops to keep mosquitoes at bay, especially in areas that are prone to malaria.
If you want to wear bright, vibrant colours, think again. Neutrals are best for helping you camouflage in the bush and colours like camouflage will also hide dirt! Avoid wearing blues if you are in an area prone to the tsetse fly as this colour attracts the insects.
Clothes and Accessories
2 long-sleeve shirts
1 sweatshirt or fleece
1 lightweight raincoat
1 pair of comfortable shorts
2 pairs of cotton trousers
3 pairs of socks
4 pairs of underwear (cotton, so that you can easily wash and dry them overnight)
1 pair of sunglasses (with UV protection)
1 warm woollen hat
1 pair of lightweight, durable walking shoes or hiking boots
1 pair of flip-flops or sandals (for wearing around camp)
A supply of zipped bags to keep your dirty clothes separate from your clean clothes
For ladies, a good idea is to pack a sports bra that will help with the bumpy off roads of Africa.
Toiletries and First Aid
When you go on a safari you mightn’t have the opportunity to pick up any extra supplies you may have forgotten. That’s why ensuring you have packed the correct toiletries is so important. Your camp or lodge will have a first aid kit, but it’s a good idea to bring your own just so you are covered in case there is a shortage. It’s also a good idea to bring a variety of toiletries just in case you might run out.
Personal toiletries, including travel size shampoo, conditioner, soap, deodorant, moisturizer, toothpaste and toothbrush
Sunscreen (minimum SPF 50+)
Period products (you won’t be able to get any out in the wilderness)
Contraceptives (including a supply of the pill, if you’re on it)
Mosquito repellant (the most effective includes DEET)
Malaria pills (if needed)
Antihistamines for bug bites and allergic reactions
Cold and flu medicines
Diarrhoea medication is a must
Rehydration sachets in case you get sick
Any prescription medicines you may take
Camera (as basic or as professional as you wish)
Spare memory cards
Spare camera battery (consider a solar charger if you’re going to be camping)
Spare sets of AA and AAA batteries
Small flashlight (this will be helpful at night)
iPad or tablet for storing e-books and any travel apps you might need.
Fancy giving back to the community?
It’s common for safari camps to support local communities in and around the reserves and conservation areas. Before your trip get in touch and ask if there’s anything you could bring to donate to the local community. This could be as simple as some school supplies, medication or clothes you no longer need. Reusable menstruation supplies and things for women and girls especially can make a difference in the local communities as many girls around the world lack basic access to menstrual products and will miss out on valuable school to combat this.
Research what your safari camp will be like before you start packing. If there are two parts to your trip you may be able to leave your suitcase in a hotel, whilst you take a duffle bag on safari. This will also help if you plan on getting a bush flight as you will have luggage weight limitations.
Also, confirm whether or not your camp has laundry facilities, so if it doesn’t you can pack your own soap and makeshift washing line. Remember to invest in a sturdy lock for your luggage and always pack your valuables in your hand luggage so you’re covered if the unthinkable happens.
Written by Stuart Cooke, Blog Editor at MyBaggage.com a door to door luggage service for tourists.