Safari Packing List: Everything I bring with me on Safari.
One word of advice before we start: when packing for African Safaris remember: don’t overdo it. You’ll be surprised just how little stuff you need and the less you pack, the more you will enjoy yourself…
Another word: This packing list contains affiliate links.
Okay, so let’s do this: I always travel with two backpacks – a small one for carry-on and a bigger one for checked-in luggage.
Safari Packing List – Carry-on-pack:
For my carry-on I found the perfect option for me – and cheap as well! This is the Brandit US cooper 30 litre backpack. It has lots of little and big pockets and my Laptop fits inside. I’ve got this one in olive and it is perfect for bush walks as well, because it has a strap I can attach around my waist for support and a separate compartment for my water supply. There are more expensive Cooper packs out there, but to me this one is an excellent and affordable version that I am very happy with!
Now, what do I put inside my cooper?
For the flight I pack:
- One change of clothes (including underwear)
- One pair of socks ( + I wear comfortable sneakers on the plane)
- All of my important medicines (including malaria medicine).
- Any other valuables that I might have
- Passport (I always put one copy of my passport in my carry-on bag and another copy in my checked-in luggage)
- Certificate of Vaccination
- airline and safari itinerary
- Cash (some Euros, some Rand, some US Dollars – all in small bills)
- Driver’s license or other ID + international drivers license
- A good book to keep me entertained on the road and while waiting for transfers
- A Journal or diary
- Ziploc bags – so handy, you’ll keep finding more uses for these as you go!
- In a ziploc-bag I keep: Zam-Buk, Chapstick, sanitizer, mini body-lotion, mini toothpaste, mini-deodorant, headache-pills, basic make-up to freshen up after a long flight
- Wet wipes
- My MacBook Pro 13″ + charger
- Adapter plug
- Sarong or kikoi – always useful when travelling. I use this as a scarf, a blanket, to keep the sun away or to cover my hair on a bad hair day 😉 Don’t buy this at home though if you don’t have one already! You will get cheaper and nicer ones at your destination!
- Guide books to local flora and fauna. I personally own the following: Mammals of Southern Africa / Sasol Birds of Southern Africa / Field Guide to Trees of Southern Africa / Tracks & Tracking in Southern Africa ( Please note though that these books can be quite heavy. There is an App-Version to most of these books for your smartphone and if you’re really into one of these subjects, purchasing the App might be a very good idea!
- My camera + lenses I keep in a small extra bag, something like this is just perfect: Camera Bag
Safari Packing List – Clothing:
- In general: Anything cotton is a good idea on your safari packing list!
- Natural and light-coloured clothing – no neon or shiny colours. Your guide may just send you straight back to your tent if you show up wearing this. Try to blend in with nature as best you can, but no need for the full-on camo-style either
- Light-weight long sleeved shirt or two
- Personally, I like to wear tank-tops and I got them in various neutral colors
- Hiking shoes – for walking in the bush or in wet conditions. If you don’t plan on walking, sneakers are just fine
- Flip Flops for around camp
- One pair of long pants to protect the legs from mosquitos at night and tick bites on walks in long grass
- One or two pairs of shorts
- Light-weight, rainproof jacket
- Fleece-jacket: Setting out early in the mornings, it might still be pretty chilly on that game vehicle…
- Short-sleeved T-shirts
- Long-Sleeved shirts and blouses especially for the evening
- Pack one pair of jeans – you might just miss them when you’re wearing khaki every day 😉
- Bring socks. Plenty of socks. And underwear.
- Scarves or bandanas
- I always bring a nice, light-weight dress as well. After you’ve been sweating in the bush all day, it is just nice to have that shower and wear something pretty for dinner. Don’t care what others think about me.
- You do need a hat. A hat like that. A good hat. A wide brim safari hat with a neck strap.
Safari Packing List – Essentials:
- Camera Equipment
- binoculars are a MUST and if you can afford them, you’ be wise to invest in a decent pair. I tried these ones first: Steiner Safari Fernglas UltraSharp 10×26 – I think they’re perfect just for a holiday. However, I’m about to “upgrade” to a better pair now 😉
- Pocket knife – you’ll get lots of cool opportunities to use this, trust me. In my humble opinion, the best pocket-knife for your safari might just be the Leatherman
- First-Aid-Kit: It is always a good idea to bring your own first-aid-kit. Something like this: DocCheck First Aid Kit is a good way to start, but after I took several courses in Wilderness medicine and actually had to look after a couple of (harmless) spider-bites, injuries and bruises, I started to really appreciate a well-equipped first-aid-kit and stocked mine with a lot more things that come in handy. Nowadays, I take pride in this kit. It is an important thing to carry.
- Malaria tablets – Please talk to your doctor whether or not you need these in the area you are traveling to
- Antibiotics (even if I don’t use them, they are good to have just in case)
– this is the best thing I’ve come across in a while and yes I am an addict! A multi-purpose ointment for minor scratches, bites and burns. I also put this on dry lips:
- Tweezers and nail clippers
- Headache medicine
- Allergy medicine, should you need it.
- Immodium – just in case…
- Eye drops, if needed
- Anti-itch cream
Safari Packing List – for the Ladies:
- Hand and body lotion (my skin dries out super quick under the African sun, so this is a must for me!)
- If you have hair like me: Bring conditioner. Trust me on this one.
- Feminine products
- Toothpaste and toothbrush
- rubber bands
- A strong handheld torch AND a head-torch (yes, you will be grateful that you brought both)
- Sunscreen lotion
- Q-tips ( I am an addict, so I always have more of those than I need…)
- Insect repellent – that contains DEET (25% or 32%)
- travel alarm clock that works with batteries
- If you’re planning on doing a lot of bush walking, a CamelBak might just become your new best friend.
- Money belt – To conceal money and passport
- Journal or diary
- Pens. Lots and lots of pens.
- Spare batteries for everything!
- Anti-bacterial gel or wipes
- Ziplock bags for everything – This is one of the most valuable things you can take on safari.
So, so, so important:
- Adapter plug
- Insect repellent
- Sunscreen Lotion
- Photographic equipment
- Wide-brim hat
…Got any questions or your own insider-tips for a safari packing list? Pleas share them in the comments!