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What to pack for Safari in Africa

Are you planning to go on safari and busy wondering what to pack? How many clothes are needed on a safari? What shoes should I wear or pack?

Don’t worry, we will help you to figure it out.

What to wear on safari?

Are you planning to go on safari and busy wondering what to pack? How many clothes are needed on a safari? What shoes should I wear or pack?

Actually, it’s not so hard to find the right safari clothes. The first consideration is that you need to try and pack about 20kgs of luggage. You will need 3 short sleeved safari shirts and 3 long sleeved ones, as well as few t-shirts. You need 2 shorts and 3 pairs of trousers. Also a hat, your underwear and few pairs of socks off course.

Africa has different seasons and weather changes throughout the year. So May safari wardrobe might not work so well in October.  May to September is cold and rainy season, so warm clothing is needed. Both thick and light weight jackets will come in handy, a few sweaters, gloves and socks should all make it to your suitcase.

The African summer, October to April, is quite hot, so bring some tee shirts, shorts, swimsuits and cargo pants. We recommend that you select lightweight and preferably neutral-colored materials.  Sometimes in South Africa, the temperature rises to 30 degrees and here you will need hot weather safari clothing. And In Volcanoes Park in Rwanda, it can rain 2-3 days! Prepare water-proof jacket with the hood, pants and boots.

African Safari

Your packing guide

Planning to go on Safari in Africa and have no idea what to bring with you? What clothes and how much of it you will need? what footwear to pack and so on…

We will help you!

Travel lightly

Neutral Colours

If you hope to get the most out of your safari experience, then all the attention should be focused on your surroundings rather than on you. The best way to achieve this is by going neutral with your clothing.  The best safari color is Khaki, followed by olive, tans and browns. These are good at handling dirt and will help you blend into your surroundings, especially while walking. White is ok when in vehicles, but not during walking safaris. The same goes for black – stark colors will make you stand out when you’re walking in the bush, potentially attracting unwanted attention from dangerous animals.

Keep it casual and comfortable with tee shirts, long sleeved shirts, shorts, hiking boots, and athletic socks to keep the blisters away. For the cold season, a light fleece jacket, gloves and sweaters will suffice. These should all be in neutral colors such as greens, olives, browns, and khakis.

Clothing and colours to stay away from:

Dark blue and/or black colours can attract tsetse flies. This is common in East Africa (some areas in Tanzania, Kenya and Zambia) and Central Africa. In southern Africa, Tsetse flies are not much of an issue. Tsetse flies carry human sleeping sickness, and while most flies are not infected, their bite can be extremely painful.

Jeans are not ideal – they can be too warm during the day, and take long to dry if you are doing laundry – camps will not have drying machines.

No White and very pale, white is adorable, but not on a safari, its far much better to spare that white dress or shirt for the evening at dinner. This is Africa and so you expect real dust!

No Camouflage clothing , it is important that you keep away from this type of clothing, since in most African countries, it identifies with the soldiers.

Leave expensive jewelryand watches at home. They’re out of place in the bush, and if left unattended in rooms or tents, they can fall prey to monkeys, who are partial to stealing shiny objects.

Even at expensive camps, safari lodges are mostly very casual. There’s no need to bringevening wear, although you certainly can wear “nicer” clothing than you would on safari. Keep everything comfortable and stick to the policy of avoiding bright colours.

Ladies, Don’t packhigh heeled or wedged shoes, you won’t be needing them and they’re highly unpractical in a bush situation. When it comes to shoe packing, comfort and durability is what you want.

What fabric to use?

Think light materials, neutral colours, functional and comfort. You can never go wrong with those. Simple cotton usually works best for shirts and trousers, though you can try some of the new man-made materials; some of these are more durable than cotton.

Depending on where you want to go, it is important to check the climatic conditions and the season. For example, during the dry season, in Tanzania, light safari clothing is encouraged, as compared to Bwindi gorilla trekking where it rains almost every single day and you need a waterproof jacket and boots.

Safari Footwear

Your best choice would be a pair of comfortable hiking boots with thick soles for the game drives and walking safaris and simple snickers or sandals and flip-flops for when you are at the lodge or relaxing by the swimming pool.

Hat and Scarf

It might not be essential safari wear  or safari clothes, but any hat or cap is always useful especially in the tropics. It often gets hot, dusty and windy and a hat will protect you from the heat and your hair from the dust. It can also be used to keep your hair away from your face during the game drives, especially for the ladies. A scarf might be small and look flimsy but it can be quite helpful too. It can be used to wipe dust off yourself or your camera lens, keep your hat in place when strong gusts of wind are blowing, and if a little thicker, it can keep you warm on early morning or evening game drive.

Sunglasses

On an safari you want to be able to see everything, the African sun can sometimes make that difficult with its very harsh glare, so keep your eyes safe and always your sunglasses with you. We recommend you get a polarized pair of sunglasses, you’ll be able to spot interesting wild animals easily even with the sun glaring at its highest.

Swimwear

Pack your swimsuit. You won’t spend all your time viewing wildlife on game drives, or taking nature walks or exploring historical sites. You will have some time to relax and wind down. What better way to do that than a swim in the pool at your hotel or lodge. Your hotel or lodge might have a swimming or be close to a beach, get that information before you pack.

Dont forget to layer

The climate and weather in Africa ranges from one extreme to another, from the extremely cold freezing nights to very hot and dusty afternoons. Layering is very convenient in these situations. Your layering should include at least one warm layer, especially if you plan to go on early morning game drives.

What suitcase to choose?

Because you are aiming for light luggage, use a light weight bag or suitcase. Heavy suitcases will limit the amount of gear you can carry considering the luggage weight restrictions.

If you are flying between camps/reserves, you will need to keep in mind luggage restrictions. Small aircraft usually have a baggage limit of around 20-30lbs, so remember to pack light. It may be better to bring a light duffel bag rather than a wheeled suitcase, and this will also force you to keep the contents of your bag to the essentials.

 

 

Basic safari packing list:

– Safari clothing – includes trousers, shorts, shirts, t-shirts. All should be in neutral colors such as beige, browns, khaki and greens.

– Sweaters & Jackets – The nights and early mornings can be sometimes be really cold. A warm heavy sweater, fleece or jacket is necessary.

– Windbreaker

– Socks & Underwear

– Raincoat or waterproof jacket – in Africa there is always possibility of rainfall. So a water proof jacket is a good and safe addition to your suitcase. That way if you are hiking or gorilla trekking and get surprise showers you will be prepared and will not get soaking wet.

– Comfortable hiking boots, casual walking shoes and sandals or flip-flops.

– Hat – Take wide brim hat for the good protection from the sun.

– Scarf – pack the lightweight scarf for the protection from the dust.

– Pajamas

– Swimwear

– Sunglasses – Polarized ones will be the best.

– Sunblock – You might want to pack 2 different SPF factor ones (50 and 30). Also don’t forget the lip balm and after-sun.

– Insect repellent

– Camera & batteries or charger

– Binoculars

– Camera

– Pocket torch

 

Safari clothing for men:

 

Safari clothing for women:

 

General Items to pack:

– Passport with spare pages – at least 2 blank pages per country

– Yellow Fever Certificate – Only visiting certain countries

– Travel Insurance Documents

– Itinerary & E-tickets

– Credit card & Cash

– Personal toiletries

– Malaria tablets – if going to Malaria area

– Small first air kit (items listed below)

– Adaptor plugs

– Backpack or bag for excursions

 

Personal First aid kit:

– Painkillers

– Anti-diarrhea medication

– Cold/flu medication

– Anti-allergy pills

– Air sickness pills (for small charter airplanes)

– Tweezers

– Plasters

– Antiseptic cream or wipes

– Lip balm

– Personal medications (if you are on prescription)

Dutch saying

"For those, who stepped out of their door, the hardest part is over."

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