What to Pack for a Safari?
Packing for your safari is essential and can be difficult for your first safari. The anxiety of figuring out what to pack can dampen your pre-getaway excitement. For your benefit, we have created a suggested list of things to bring along with you when you’re on a safari. These items can be essential or not depending on your safari style.
There are different types of travel bags you can use but for safaris, your optimum travel bag depends on your travel style as travelers going for private & lodging trips have the flexibility to choose their travel bag as there will be enough space but for camping & group trips duffel bags or backpacks are recommended as jeep storage space is limited
Travel backpack (recommended for camping/group safaris)
With hands-free mobility and ultimate versatility, backpacks are recommended for budget travelers wishing to join group or camping safaris
Rolling luggage (recommended for private & lodging safaris)
The wheels are nice. No need to carry your luggage, these bags are recommended for private and lodging safaris. Not recommended for camping or group tours where space will be limited
A backpack. (recommended for camping/group safari)
While there is sufficient room in our safari vehicles for your travel bag, it’s always handy to have a more manageable bag that you can have with you in the vehicle.
Safari clothing packing list
- A warm sweater.
Nights and mornings in East Africa can be cold, so it’s always good to have something a little warmer to throw on until the sun warms the plains up. (Note: evenings & nights can get to 6 degrees in Ngorongoro)
- Walking shoes/sandals or boots.
Much of your safari takes place within your safari vehicle, which means you’ll need a comfortable pair of shoes, sandals, or boots. However, shoes or boots can be essential if you’ve added any walking safaris to your itinerary or to cover your skin to prevent sunburn and insect bites (tsetse flies).
- A pair of safari trousers (those that zip off at the knees are very handy).
Perfect for both sun protection and to ward off hungry mosquitoes, a long-sleeved shirt and trousers are also a good option for a cold morning or evening.
If you’re staying in nicer lodges, you’ll also want these short sleeves and trousers for dinner and drinks at the end of a long day.
The sun in East Africa can be quite intense, so sunglasses are a good protective measure and have the benefit of reducing glare while you are game-viewing.
Sun protection should be a priority while you’re on safari. While your vehicle provides shade, having the top-up for game-viewing means you’ll be exposed to the elements. A good hat is a great way to avoid horrible burns or heatstroke.
One should avoid clothes with black or dark blue colors when on safari as they tend to attract unwanted insects (tsetse flies) who are thirsty and hungry for blood. Also, white clothes must be avoided as they might get very dusty in Tanzania’s parks especially when visited during the dry season.
- Wet Wipes.
Having wet wipes is generally recommended given the dusty roads while on safari but for those going camping it is essential to have wet wipes, body wipes instead of a shower, and wipes for the bathrooms as the camping grounds may not be highly sanitary
- Toothbrush, toothpaste, floss
These items are essential to keep your breath fresh & are not provided for on a camping trip. Those opting for mid-range lodges however do not need to pack these items
it can get very sunny on a safari so sunscreen is recommended
- Tissues/Toilet paper roll
while lodges provide toilet rolls the same can’t be said for those on camping safaris, toiletries tend to miss out on the public bathrooms
- Slippers (essential for a budget camping safari)
For those going on a camping trip, bathroom facilities are public so slippers are essential if you do decide to take a shower (clogging drains can be an issue).
- Hand sanitizer
- Travel towel
For those going for camping trips, it is essential to carry with you a towel
- Shower gel & shampoo
a valid passport will be required to enter the country, also visas will be required and you can get one online
- Travel insurance documents
While on safari we have air ambulance (fly doctor medical insurance), we recommend travelers to take travel insurance to ensure other aspects of their travels
Last but not least is you won’t find credit card machines in the African bush, so make sure you get enough cash in the city before you head into the savannah. While some lodges accept credit cards, you’ll likely need some cash when visiting villages or buying souvenirs. You’ll also need cash to tip your guides and porters. (see tipping guideline)
Health & Safety.
- Health requirement documents
Make sure to check what vaccinations are mandatory and recommended for your destination a few months before the trip. Check the https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/list and consult your doctor. Some shots come in a series, so you will need a few months before departure to get them done.
- Health insurance documents
- Insect repellent.
Mosquitoes and tsetse flies are both capable of carrying diseases and their bites can be quite irritating or painful. Tsetse flies can deliver a particularly nasty sting. A good insect repellent is a good way to ward off these blood-thirsty little guys.
It goes without saying that you’re going to want a camera for your safari adventure. While in some cases your smartphone will be enough to snap a shot, a camera with a good zoom lens is the perfect companion. Note: additional camera batteries & memory cards are recommended
You can hire a pair of binoculars that you can use in the bush, though having your pair is a good way to ensure you don’t miss a second of the action. You don’t need an expensive pair. Even a travel-sized pair of binoculars is sufficient for game-viewing.
- Electric converters and adapters
Plug type g is commonly used in Tanzania, so adopters or electric converters can be useful if your charging device is of a different plug type
- A flashlight or headlamp.
The wilderness can be pretty dark, so a headlamp or flashlight can be essential when moving about camp after dark. Many lodges provide these, but those staying in budget camps will want to bring their own.
safari entertainment, information & comforts
- Guide books.
You don’t need a heavy Lonely Planet for your safari, but having a wilderness guidebook is a good way to build a ‘to-do list’ for your trip.
Your safari driver is a font of knowledge when it comes to animal, bird, and plant life too. Don’t hesitate to ask questions! We love questions.
- A good book.
You’ll rarely find yourself without something to see while on safari, but there is going to be some downtime.
Whether it’s the drive to or from the airport or just a lazy night at your lodge, having a good book (or a Kindle) on hand is a great way to pass the time.
- travel pillows
on a safari you will spend most of your time in the jeep, travel pillows can be essential if you want to take a quick nap
- Extra blanket
What not to pack for a safari?
Tanzania is a polythene-free country. For environmental reasons, plastic bags are illegal and have been banned, the customary plastic duty-free bags included. For liquids in hand luggage, it is recommended to use transparent toiletry bags. Also, note that no drones are allowed by any camps in East Africa.
Time to plan your safari!!!
Hopefully, these tips will help you to figure out what you need to pack for your safari. If you need more information or want to go ahead and embark on a safari adventure, please contact us. We’ll be happy to help you decide on the best tour option.