What Should I Pack for My African Safari?

Packing for your safari may seem like a daunting task, but taking a systematic approach to the process by planning ahead will make it way more manageable. Here are a few tips from the pros at Premier Tours to help streamline your packing process:

Tip 1: Start with the basics and remember that less is more. You should only need three changes of clothing for an entire trip since most safaris include laundry as part of the package.

For summer, the basics include two pairs of shorts, two T-shirts or short-sleeve khaki shirts, two long-sleeve lightweight shirts for sun and bug protection, two pairs of long pants, sandals, a sports bra for women, sneakers or light boots, a sun hat or baseball cap, and a light jacket or Windbreaker.

For winter, you need to add the following: a warm jacket, a sweater or fleece sweatshirt, and a warm hat.

Tip 2: Align your packing process to the type of safari you’re booking

Since most safaris include laundry services as part of the package, you should generally only need around 3 changes of clothing for the entire duration of your trip. Furthermore, three changes of clothing should be optimal if you’re packing drip-dry fabrics that don’t require ironing.

For mobile safaris, you’re expected to wear tops and bottoms more frequently than once; accordingly, you should plan to either bring enough underwear to last a week between lodges or wash as you go in the bathroom sink.

For summer safaris, you will be able to dry your clothes easily overnight in the hot African air.

For a canoe safari, remember to also pack a towel, SPF 30 or higher, and a kikoi or sarong to protect your legs, particularly your thighs and shins, from sunburn.

For game walking safaris, you will need to also pack sturdy, but lightweight, walking boots or shoes. In the majority of cases, it would also behoove you to buy these boots well in advance of your trip so you will have time to break them in and avoid blisters.

For walking safaris in the bush, you will also need to pack robust insect repellent that you should spray on your shoes, socks, and legs up to your knees, even when you’re wearing pants. You should also pack a few large white plastic garbage bags for dirty laundry. When possible, you should try to isolate clothing worn during your walks from the remainder of fresh garments in your bag.

Tip 3: Think twice about packing blue jeans

First and foremost, denim is a heavy fabric that takes a long time to dry if you’re doing laundry in the bush. Additionally, in regions with tsetse flies, dark blue traps are used to lure insects, similar to the indigo dye of so many denim jeans. Don’t risk becoming a tsetse fly target. Leave the jeans at home.

Tip 4: Consider whether you’ll need to bring toiletries too

Keep in mind that most hotels and game lodges provide toiletries including soap, shampoo, and insect repellent, so you shouldn’t need to waste precious packing space on these items.

What to pack for an African Safari
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