Planning and Packing for Your Safari | What to Bring on Safari

South Luangwa, Zambia. Walking safari with Robin PopeSouth Luangwa, Zambia. Walking safari with Robin Pope

One of the most frequently asked questions is what to pack for a safari in Africa, the answer to which depends on the destination of choice and the seasons of travel. What follows is a general guide to packing for an African Safari. Your Siyabona travel consultants will help you with the intricacies of each safari.

Africa Travel essentials: Not to be forgotten items

  • Valid passport
  • Valid visa - if required
  • Copies of passport and other essential documents
  • Air tickets
  • Spending cash
  • Comprehensive travel insurance

Safari dress

Generally the days on safari are warm and shorts and t-shirts are ideal, but nights can be cold in some regions so long-sleeved shirts, long trousers and pullovers are essential. During the warm months the long trousers and long-sleeved shirts act as a protection from mosquitoes.

It is important to note that clothing should be in earthy colours such as khaki, brown, beige and olive as bright colours may affect animal behavior. This is important for all safari activities. Night-time wear can be of colour of choice.

Footwear is a very important part of an African safari - especially for walking activities. Comfortable and practical footwear is recommended. Sandals and flip flops are not recommended for a safari.

Think: scorpions, Matabele ants. centipedes... a painful bite or sting can just ruin your whole day, for quite a few days.

Safari Essentials

  • Personal Toiletries
  • Personal first-aid kit (headache pills, antihistamine cream etc)
  • Insect repellent
  • Protective eye-ware - the sun can be harsh on the eyes
  • Hygiene wipes
  • Sewing / repair kit
  • Photographic requirements - batteries and chargers, memory cards
  • Binoculars
  • Lightweight reading and writing material
  • Sun protection for skin
  • Lip balm

Important note: Prescription medicine

For any special medicinal needs - it is essential to bring sufficient supplies of prescription medicine with you for the duration of your safari. It is also very important to bring the prescription with you in case of emergencies.

Luggage on safari

A soft luggage bag or backpack is recommended luggage for any safari as the space on safari vehicles and aircraft is limited. Hard suitcases are bulky and difficult to pack. A daypack is advised for carrying personal items such as binoculars and cameras. Special luggage concessions can be made for people on a private or specialist safari - particularly regarding photographic equipment.

Safety: Weight Restrictions for Light Aircraft

For safety reasons, pilots and tour guides are entitled to refuse to load bags that do not comply to the restrictions.
For itineraries that include a light aircraft flight, weight restrictions vary from from country to country, depending on the height above sea-level ceiling of the aircraft.
Botswana, Namibia & South Africa - 20 kgs (44 lbs)
Tanzania & Kenya - 15 kgs (33 lbs)
Zimbabwe - 12 kgs (26 lbs)

Important: Photographic Equipment

The important rule of thumb is: "If you don't have it with you, you will learn to do with out it."
Bring enough digital memory devices and additional batteries as you may need. In some places in the bush there will be no option to charge batteries.
Obviously, photographic accessories can be obtained at shops in any major city you pass through, but the further you travel from civilization, the less likely you are to be able to obtain any such equipment.

African Safaris Guide to South and East Africa
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