If you have never been on safari before, packing can be quite daunting. Are you taking too much, too little, what will the weather be like, are there laundry services, how smart do you have to dress in the evenings? We have all been through this and we have all asked these questions!
1. WHAT CLOTHES SHOULD YOU TAKE ON A SAFARI?
We always suggest wearing neutral colours like earth tones or khaki for your safari, especially if you are doing a walking safari. Try to avoid any bright colours, which are more visible and distracting to others and may attract insects. White clothing is also more visible and will show a lot of dirt very quickly!
In areas where there are tsetse flies, you should avoid blue and dark colours, as this attracts them. You don’t need to buy a whole new wardrobe, just get a couple of neutral-coloured t-shirts or shorts and mix and match these with your normal casual clothes. Remember that a lot of time on safari is spent bumping around in a vehicle and/ or in the hot sun, so dress in loose, comfortable clothes. Long sleeves and trousers will protect more from the sun, insects and (if you are walking) thorns.
Lightweight safari trousers that unzip to become shorts are a great option. For early morning and evenings, when temperatures may drop, we would suggest that you take a fleece with you and even gloves, hat or a ‘snood’ (tube scarf). If you are going gorilla trekking you will also need to take waterproofs with you.
2. HOW SMART SHOULD YOU DRESS?
Ultimately this depends upon the quality of your hotel or safari lodge. In the evenings, the dress is still casual in the vast majority of camps – these are safari lodges, after all. There is no need for a jacket and tie. However, some of Africa’s top lodges, such as Singita and &Beyond, are super-expensive luxury lodges where à la carte dinners are common. Dressing smart casual is always recommended. Either way, you will always want to have long trousers and a light jacket or jumper for chilly mornings or evenings.
3. WHAT FOOTWEAR SHOULD YOU TAKE?
Unless you are doing some major hiking or serious walking safaris when you are in Africa, you will normally just need a good pair of trainers – hiking or proper walking boots are unnecessary.
4. IS THERE A LAUNDRY SERVICE IN THE BUSH?
The vast majority of all lodges in safari Africa provide laundry services and it is usually included in the accommodation cost. It tends to take 24 hours to return laundry, so bear this in mind if you need to get some done before you leave a property. In most places, the laundry service will not include underwear, so there is usually washing powder in your bathroom for these personal items, or more delicate garments.
5. WHAT IS THE LUGGAGE LIMIT?
Firstly you need to check if you are taking any light aircraft flights – and if you are, check what the luggage allowance is. It is usually 20kg in Southern Africa, with the majority of East Africa’s planes having a limit of 15kg INCLUDING hand luggage! It is also worth stressing that you will need to have a soft-sided bag that can be manipulated into a small hold in the plane. Airlines can be VERY strict on baggage limits, so it’s important to double-check your limit before you travel. For a full list by country, check out this helpful guide on luggage limitations in Safari Africa.
***6. WHAT NOT TO PACK***
Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda have all implemented a strong ban on single-use plastic. This includes plastic carrier bags, which can no longer be imported, exported, manufactured, sold, stored, supplied, and used, in an effort to tackle plastic pollution. In many destinations, offenders will be punished with a hefty fine or even prison time for simply using a plastic bag. We highly recommend that you do not pack any plastic bags when travelling to these destinations.
Safari Packing List: what essentials to take on safari to Africa
- Your luggage should be a soft bag with no wheels for all main luggage packing (if taking an internal flight on light aircraft)
- Passport (valid for at least 6 months from when you depart Africa)
- Visas (if needed and if applying in advance for these)
- Proof of your Travel Insurance (policy number & 24-hour emergency contact)
- Proof of vaccinations (if needed) and/or anti-malarial medication (if taking)
- Cash – US Dollars for most African countries or South African Rand for South Africa & Namibia
- Clothing in neutral tones (khaki, green, brown or grey)
- Fleece or jumper for early morning/evening game drives
- Comfortable walking shoes (e.g. running/gym shoes)
- Sun protection - hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen
- Lip balm or Vaseline
- Mosquito repellent
- A good book
- Gardening gloves (f you are going gorilla trekking for protection against thorns, etc)
- Toiletries (almost all safari camps and lodges provide towels, basic toiletries (shampoo, shower gel and body lotion), and insect repellent, though of course, you can bring your own)
- Hand sanitizer
* DISCOUNT WITH SAFARI STORE *
If you are looking to purchase new safari clothing, you can use the discount code "yellowzebra" when you check out for 10% off most products at The Safari Store.
When To Go
We are able to advise on the best time for you to experience your dream holiday. Whether you have in mind a dry-season stay or you are set on travelling while it's all green on safari, we can come up with an itinerary to suit you!
All of our holidays are tailor-made, designed entirely to suit your needs and budgets. The sample trips below are intended to give you inspiration of what is possible for your safari holiday.