Here is our packing list for your upcoming African safari.
Tips on what you should pack for your African Safari
- Please avoid loud or bright colors and patterns.
- Black and white are not the best colors on safari because of the dust you will encounter.
- We suggest earth tones – olives, beiges, greys etc.
- Please note that unlike in India, CAMOUFLAGE patterned gear is STRICTLY FORBIDDEN in many African countries.
- Avoid dark blue (and therefore jeans!) if you will be in a tsetse fly area.
- Cotton, linen, silk and wool tend to do best in the bush, though synthetic outerwear is not a bad idea.
- AVOID perfumes and scents as they are insect magnets. Try to ensure that your toiletries are of the non-scented type as well.
- Since it get can get chilly on those morning drives and warm by noon, we suggest layering your clothes, and peeling off layers or adding them back on as desired.
African safari packing list
Clothes and shoes
- 2 pairs khaki cotton pants
- 2 pairs khaki shorts/zip-off pants
- 2 long sleeved shirts/ blouses (for sun protection as well as warmth)
- 1 light sweater or sweatshirt
- 1 lightweight, waterproof windbreaker
- Swimming costume
- Sturdy walking or hiking boots
- Sandals for evenings around the campfire or to wear in outdoor showers
- 3-5 short-sleeved shirts or T-shirts
- 5 changes underwear and socks
- Hat with a brim
- Gloves (if you really feel the cold)
- Down vest or jacket (if you really feel the cold)
- 2 changes of pajamas/sleepwear
- 1 fleece jacket (depending on when you go)
- A sarong type garment
- Large towel and washcloth (thin, quick-drying) – if required for camping/overland safari
Toiletries medication and equipment
- Toilet kit including shampoo and soap
- Insect repellent
- Sunscreen or block
- Moisturizer, lip balm
- Personal first-aid kit (headache pills, antihistamine cream etc)
- Personal medications, including emergency medication for traveller’s diarrhea etc.
- Good quality sunglasses plus protective case
- Hand wipes or ‘Baby wipes’
- Ziploc bags to compartmentalise items within your travel bag
- Repair kit: needle and thread, nylon cord, rip-stop tape
- Camera, film or memory card
- Spare batteries. Film and batteries can generally be obtained at lodges, but at a price of course, so please be sure to have sufficient supplies for your needs
- Paperback reading, writing material (keep weight at a minimum)
Note: Most internal bush flights in Africa have a luggage weight restriction of 15 kgs. Please read our post on suitcase recommendations and luggage weight restrictions.
Where to purchase your African safari gear
As for where you can purchase safari gear – there are specialty shops that sell camping/outdoor/safari gear, but we believe you can buy most of what is not already in your wardrobe in any good quality clothing store. Some people specifically look for clothing that contains insect repellants in the fibre, but we don’t think any of this is absolutely necessary. If you want to splurge, spend your money on high quality binoculars and make sure that each person in your party has his/her own personal pair for his/her exclusive use.
Do I need any formal clothes on safari?
Not really, unless you are going to a very posh lodge or if you are with your own group that likes to dress for dinner. Most camps have very relaxed rules for dressing and people tend to dress for comfort over style. That said, it is nice to clean up and feel fresh after a day of being out in the bush, so bring whatever works for you, provided it is comfortable and an easy-care garment.
Are there laundry services?
Almost all camps, including mobile camps, offer laundry services. However, due to cultural reasons, underwear is not laundered by the camp staff and this must be handled by you personally. Washing powder is provided in the rooms for this purpose. Some camps offer wash & fold services, whereas others will even iron your clothes. However, since clothes are often ironed with coal-fired irons, please do not give delicate items for laundry. Your clothes will be hand washed and dried outside. They may even be pinched by baboons, so bring nothing that you won’t mind losing!