What to pack for your African Wildlife Safari
Part of the fun of booking an African Wildlife Safari is in the planning from what to wear, choosing the right currency, where to stay, visa and health requirements, what bag to take and through to which camera to take for capturing your African journey on. We have put together a recommended list on what to pack for your Africa Wildlife Safari and remember everyone’s needs are different so this is a guide and for you to choose from.
Let’s start with the all-important What to wear on Safari?
Washing is available in most camps and lodges and often included in the package so don’t over pack. Generally you will be moving between camps so plan your wash days while staying for 2 nights or more giving time for your clothes to dry.
Layering is the key to success. Early safaris there is usually a chill in the air, mid-morning you through to afternoon the sun is shining and the temperate warms up and then for your afternoon safari through to drinks around the camp fire you will need a fleece.
Clothing should be comfortable, casual, lightweight, breathable, hand-washable and quick-drying. Avoid taking your favourite white outfits as they may not return home white thanks to the rich red African dirt. The wildlife finds red obvious and tsetse flies have an attraction to blue so simple bush colours like olive, khaki and brown colours are ideal.
You will be jumping in and out of safari vehicles, walking on uneven ground around camp, transferring between camps and stopping for refreshments in the bush and may participate in a walking safari so we recommend comfortable, sturdy, closed in walking shoes. Hiking boots are not essential unless walking long distances.
Another tip is to invest in zip off long pants. No they will not make the front page of the Vogue Magazine though they are so comfortable and practical for early starts through to bed time, light weight and dry quickly. A special thanks for these happy guests staying at Flatdogs Camp in Zambia who just loved there safari gear while on game drives.
A few African Wildlife Safari essentials:
Shorts (not too short)
Short & long sleeved shirts including T-shirts
A few pairs of breathable socks
Zip fleece jacket and water proof jacket – umbrellas are not allowed on the 4×4 vehicles
Bandanna or cotton scarf and a sarong (kanga, pareo, kikoi)
Swimmers (check if your camps have pools) and sun hat with brim
A good book, most of the camps have a book exchange
Refillable water bottle
US cash in small denominations for tipping
MasterCard and Visa is generally accepted in the camps though American Express is rare
Suitcase or duffel (check weight restrictions for internal flights) 15kgs for internal flights often
Day pack for daily activities
Locks for all checked in luggage
Waterproof plastic bags for organizing gear and dirty clothing (Ziplocs and garbage bags work)
Clear toiletry bag for airport checks
Flashlight/torch small with extra batteries
Camera, lenses, memory disks
Tripod if you use one
Take a few zip lock bags/garbage bags to store in case of rain
Pack your day pack the night before your morning wildlife safari and have ready sunglasses, sunscreen, water bottle, snacks, wet wipes, hand sanitiser, camera, wide brimmed hat and a scarf handy for sun and wind protection.
Camera and ideally with long lens for capturing those stunning birds
Animal and bird guide books (always available in the camp & on the vehicles)
Africa Safari lodges stock a very small supply of the essentials so please pack what you will need for your Africa Wildlife Safari.
Soap, shampoo, conditioner
Hairbrush, comb, mirror, hair ties
Toothbrush, toothpaste, floss
Hand-wipes / Hand sanitizer
Lots of sunscreen and lip balm
Nail clippers and file
Ibuprofen and Paracetamol
Disinfectant, antiseptic cream, antibiotic ointment
Gauze bandages and tape
Malaria pills & prescription drugs (talk to your doctor)
Passport with at least 6 months validity from return to your home and adequate pages for visas/entry and exit stamps.
Visas for all countries as necessary
Airline tickets, e-tickets double check all names match exact spelling as per your passport
Medical insurance card
Make copies of passport, visas, driver’s license, airline tickets/schedule, travel itinerary, credit cards (front and back), Leave a copy with someone at home and put a copy in a travel companion’s luggage
Yellow fever certificate and other vaccination records
What not to pack:
Do not ever pack anything in your checked in luggage that you can’t live without on this journey. If you were unlucky and your luggage did not arrive at your destination it would be almost impossible to replace it especially prescription medication. Leave your expensive jewellery at home and it is not advisable to wear any form of clothing made from camouflage or combat colouring. It has been reported that some African authorities and you could be delayed.