African Safari Gear Packing List - What To Take Along

The last thing you want on an African safari is to realise that you have left any important safari gear behind.

Because of the nature of safari there are some things that are essential to take with and others that you can do without because they are only going to add to your luggage weight.

This is a listing of some of the "must have" safari gear you need to pack to take along which forms a part of the full safari packing list that you can print out to tick off each item as you go along.

This safari packing list is based on the packing advice and recommendations from a collection of safari trip reports and my own experience in packing for the dozens of safaris that I have been on...

SAFARI CLOTHES

If you are going on a walking safari it's essential that you get the safari clothing right. Bright colours are definitely to be avoided.

My wife and I went on a walking safari in Botswana and we came across a group of elephant that the tracker wanted to take us closer to but because my wife was wearing a red shirt she had to wait further away for fear of the elephants noticing us. So remember to pack the following safari gear...

  • Clothing in neutral colours: khaki, light brown/green, tan. Avoid bright colours and white for improved game viewing.
  • Comfortable non-synthetic short- and long sleeved safari shirts (2 or 3 of each)
  • Comfortable non-synthetic shorts and long trousers (2 or 3 of each)
  • TOILETRIES & FIRST AID

    Every safari company worth its salt should have a first aid kit available for use by its clients so it might be a good idea to check with them first if they do and what it contains.

    But if you have specific medicine requirements then take it with as it might not be available in the areas you are going on safari in.

    • Sun block and after sun
    • Towel - travel towel is light and takes very little space
    • Skin cream
    • Insect repellent/mosquito coils (do not use coils in tent)
    • Anti-malaria medication
    • Citronella or other body soap/shower gel
    • Wet wipes/hand sanitizer or no-water/antibacterial soap ? very handy in the Landrover etc.
    • Band aids and moleskin
    • Pocket knife (Swiss/Leatherman type)
    • Small scissors, if not on your Leatherman/Swiss knife
    • Small unbreakable mirror
    • Plastic bags (wet washing/muddy shoes/organise clothes in suitcase)
    • Book to read between game viewing and other leisure time
    • String/rope (washing line, tying sleeping bag, multitude of uses!!)
    • Cold/flu tablets
    • Allergy remedy
    • Some people take a basic antibiotic in case
    • Prescribed medicine (enough to last your trip)

    SAFARI LUGGAGE

  • The thing to remember when choosing safari luggage is mobility. You might be moving between several different modes of transport (airplanes, cars, light aircraft, trucks, boats) so plan accordingly.
  • Suitcases with wheels don't work very well in the African bush but they are adequate if you don't mind carrying them. (A good safari company will probably have someone on hand to carry your luggage for you).
  • A daypack is very handy to transport the safari gear you need while driving around in the safari vehicle or walking through the bush
  • GENERAL

    There is one item of safari gear that you should never be without on your trip and that is binoculars.

    The frustration of seeing an animal in the distance and not being able to take a closer look because you don't have a good pair of binocs is intense.

    Many safari companies do supply them for you but they might be a little battered and bent with use and you will also have to share them with other members of the group which will mean less viewing time for you.

    • Binoculars (essential safari gear)
    • Torch
    • Camera and film (can be expensive and/or difficult to obtain) and extra flash batteries and lens cleaner
    • If taking a digital camera: memory stick(s)/data card(s), charger and extra batteries
    • Small bean bag to substitute a tripod
    • Sleeping bag (may be supplied by safari company so check first)
    • Travel pillow, or you can use your polar fleece/windbreaker
    • Small calculator (or if you're taking your mobile phone) for currency calculations
    • Money belt

    DOCUMENTS

    Visa requirements are an important consideration especially if you are going on safari in multiple African countries as some of them have different visa terms. Your travel agent or safari operator should be able to help you with this so make sure you check with them...

    • Passport and correct visas
    • Emergency phone numbers
    • Insurance policy
    • Guide book(s) covering the area you're visiting ? it should include animals/birds pages for easy identification
    • Your itinerary
    • Addresses and mobile numbers (postcards/e-mails/texts)
    • Any vaccinations certificates
    • The complete safari packing list can be found at the African safari journals website which will ensure that you never leave anything important behind for your safari. Print it out and tick it off.

      Not sure where to go on safari? These are the Top Five Safari Destinations in Africa ranked by using trip reports from previous visitors to these areas.

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