After years in the field, we’ve narrowed down our top ten must haves to pack when going on a safari.
If you’re doing a fly-in safari, you’ll often find that there are weight restrictions for small light aircraft flights. This can sometimes seem like a challenge for packing, but in truth, safari packing is not too tricky and best kept basic and casual.
Most luxury camps have a laundry service, so you really don’t need to pack too many clothing options. Two pairs of long trousers (light-weight), two pairs of shorts, a few t-shirts, vests and long-sleeve shirts, and a cashmere sweater should do the trick. Depending on the time of year, a thicker jacket may be needed for early mornings and evenings, and a waterproof jacket for the odd downpour. Stick to neutral colours (avoid white).
A cotton scarf or shawl and a kikoy/sarong are absolute essentials, and can be used for just about anything.
And don’t forget your swimming costume! Many a hot afternoon can be whiled away next to a sparkling pool in the African bush.
Comfortable hiking/walking shoes are a must (especially if you are doing a walking safari!), along with a pair of flip-flops and all-terrain sandals, which are great in hot or wet weather.
And a camera. Safari essentials!
4. Prescription medication
Along with anti-malaria medication, it’s important to take enough of your daily medication along with you on safari. And it doesn’t hurt to pack a small basic first aid kit too, although most lodges will have an extensive one on hand.
If weight restrictions are a consideration, it makes sense to take a tablet along for reading material, rather than three or four paperbacks.
The African sun is relentless, and high factor sunscreen is all-important for protection and comfort. Take a hat along too (with a tie under the chin so it doesn’t blow off on game drives).
7. Insect repellent
An indispensable item, especially if you aren’t taking anti-malaria medication.
8. Flashlight or head torch
It’s dark out in the African bush, so it’s definitely worth packing your own light source.
9. Charging cables
Don’t forget all the various cables you need to charge your phone, cameras, tablets, etc. A car cigarette lighter charger is great for mid-game drive battery top-ups.
10. Small backpack
A small, light-weight backpack will come in handy often, whether it’s to carry snacks in on a game walk, or for bird books on a game drive.