What to pack for a modern safari

Packing for a safari can be quite intimidating – even if it is not your first time. There are so many factors to consider: weather and temperature, sun exposure, insects, terrain, and the list goes on. We have chatted to some of our expert safari goers and put together an idea packing list for your next safari.

The Clothes

There are a couple of golden rules when it comes to safari clothing: 

1. Pack Minimal: It’s advisable to pack light when going on a safari. Most safari camps offer laundry services, so you can wash and reuse your clothes during your trip. By keeping your clothing items to a minimum, you can save space and avoid overpacking.

2. Be Casual and Comfortable: Safaris are usually relaxed and informal, so opt for casual clothing that allows freedom of movement. Choose comfortable fabrics like cotton or lightweight materials that are breathable and help you stay cool in hot weather.

3. Layering is the Way Forward: Layering is essential for safari trips because temperatures can vary throughout the day. Mornings and evenings can be chilly, while afternoons can be hot. By layering your clothing, you can adjust your outfit according to the changing weather conditions. 

4. Neutral and Earthy Tones: When it comes to colour choices, stick to neutral and earthy tones such as khaki, beige, olive green, and brown. These colors blend well with the natural surroundings and help camouflage you while observing wildlife.

5. Consider Weather Conditions: Safaris can experience different weather patterns depending on the season and location. Summers can be hot, while winters can be cold. However, it’s not uncommon to encounter unexpected temperature changes, even during the opposite season. Checking an online weather app before your trip can help you prepare accordingly. It’s a good idea to pack a warm jacket for cooler moments, but also be prepared for rain by carrying a lightweight poncho.

Here is our best, basic list:

  • A pair of safari trousers 
  • Comfortable, lightweight shorts
  • T-shirts and shirts – long sleeves and collars are great protectors from the sun and mosquitoes
  • Fleece or warm jacket
  • A hat or cap
  • Comfortable walking shoes 
  • Sandals or slip slops – great for all-year-round safaris
  • A cotton scarf or sarong will possibly be the most useful thing in your bag
  • Swimsuit 
  • If it is winter time you will want a beanie and scarf as well as gloves

The Gear

Cameras, binoculars, torches, etc. Africa is every photographer’s dream, and even those who never thought it was their thing will be captured and inspired by the surrounding beauty. So, whether it is a DSLR, the latest mirrorless, or even just your phone, be sure to take something along that will capture your magical memories.

Binoculars are a must for the best game viewing on safari, although often you get a lot closer to the game than expected, for viewing birds or far-off animals we highly recommend a good quality pair of binoculars.

Although most camps will provide you with a torch and you will never walk around unescorted after dark it is still really nice to have your own, small, lightweight torch!

Bits & Bobs

Having a small pack of preventative medication can be very useful when traveling to remote or unfamiliar destinations, even if the lodges provide some supplies. It’s always better to be prepared and have your medication for common issues like headaches, allergies, upset stomach, and any prescription medications you may need.

Chargers are indeed important for keeping your electronic devices powered up. Cameras, phones, tablets, and other gadgets are essential for capturing memories, staying connected, and navigating your way through unfamiliar places. Make sure to pack the appropriate chargers and adapters for the countries you’ll be visiting to ensure compatibility.

Sunglasses and sunblock are essential for protecting yourself from the strong rays of the African sun. The UV rays can be harsh, especially in open safari vehicles or when engaging in outdoor activities. A good pair of sunglasses will shield your eyes, while a high SPF sunblock will help prevent sunburn and skin damage.

Bringing along a good book is a fantastic idea. Traveling provides a great opportunity to relax and immerse yourself in a captivating story. Whether you’re enjoying downtime at the lodge, waiting during transit, or simply want to unwind by the pool, a book can be a wonderful companion.

Lastly, maintaining a sense of humour and embracing adventure will enhance your vacation experience. Traveling to new places can bring unexpected challenges, cultural differences, and memorable moments. A positive attitude and a willingness to embrace the unknown will make your African safari more enjoyable and enriching.