The safari packing list below is based on our personal experience as well as the advice and recommendations from previous guests along with our partners in-country. Follow the list and you won’t worry about leaving something behind or taking something that you won’t need on your African safari. Going gorilla trekking? A complete list of trekking essentials is included at the bottom of this guide.

SAFARI CLOTHING TIPS

  • Wear neutral colors: Khaki, light brown, green, and tan. White clothes will show up dust and dirt. Bright-colored clothing such as red makes you very conspicuous to the wildlife, especially on a walking safari.
  • Dress casually: Safari only requires casual clothing unless specified (i.e. for luxury train journeys, etc.)
  • Cover at night: Long sleeves and pants will help you stay warm and avoid mosquito bites
  • Be comfortable: Clothing should consist of non-synthetic material. Cotton is ideal.
  • Use the laundry service: Most camps/lodges offer laundry service but will not launder undergarments. Choose clothing that is easily laundered.
  • Dress in layers: Zip-off sleeves and lots of pockets are a plus. Bring a jacket and scarf along on game drives as temperatures drop quickly once the sun goes down in the evening.
  • Check your hat: Hats must do three things well to be effective:
    • Provide complete sun protection – especially for the back of your neck
    • Gas permeable so the heat generated from your head can escape
    • Be water-absorbent on the inside and waterproof on the outside, in order to absorb sweat and cover you if you get caught in the rain
    • Our top picks:
  • Don’t over-pack: Choose lightweight clothing options whenever possible since packing space is at a premium.

LUGGAGE ON LIGHT AIRCRAFT TRANSFERS

Most airfields are over 3,500 feet above sea level and are located in the warm tropics, thereby reducing the permissible carrying capacity.

  • Weight restrictions on charter flights are limited to a soft “barrel” (duffle bag) with a maximum of 44 lbs (33 lbs in parts of Southern Africa). This includes your day pack and camera gear. Weight limits are strictly enforced. Only soft bags, preferably without wheels, will be accepted. This includes camera equipment and hand luggage. Hard suitcases are not permitted. The maximum dimensions allowed are 10” W x 11” H x 24” L. Light aircraft baggage compartments are only 10” high, so the pilots must have the ability to manipulate the bag into the compartment.
  • A daypack is very handy to transport the items you need while driving around in the safari vehicle.

TRAVEL ESSENTIALS

MEDICATIONS

Pack enough daily vitamins and prescribed medicine to last your entire trip. Keep your prescriptions in their original bottles and store them in your carry on bag. 

HYGIENE

Most accommodations provide basic toilet amenities (i.e. body soap, shampoo, conditioner). Any liquids and cream that go into your carry-on luggage must be in bottles of 3.4 ounces or less

Travel Tip: If you’re transitting through the U.K., and you pack liquids in your carry-on bag, they must be placed in a single, transparent, resealable plastic bag, which holds no more than a liter and measures approximately 8in x 8in. Contents must fit comfortably inside the bag so it can be sealed. You’re limited to 1 plastic bag per person and you must show the bag at the airport security point.

PHOTOGRAPHY

GORILLA TREKKING ESSENTIALS

  • Garden gloves to push away tree branches and for gripping tree roots – you will be happy to have clean hands when taking photos.
  • Long waterproof socks and gaiters to prevent cuts and scratches and protect from army ants.
  • A light raincoat is highly recommended as it tends to rain often.
  • Water-resistant pants to protect you from the stinging nettle plants and sliding downhill on the seat of your pants.
  • Sturdy hiking boots with good ankle support and tread to grip the wet, uneven terrain.
  • A lightweight, foldable backpack is necessary for carrying all your essentials.

WHAT NOT  TO PACK

  • Several countries in East Africa have banned single-use plastic bags (this includes customary plastic duty-free bags). Zip-lock bags are acceptable.
  • Camouflage clothing is not recommended for travel in southern African countries. Camouflage or military-inspired clothing is prohibited when traveling in Zimbabwe.
  • Drones are prohibited at most camps.
  • Many camps cannot support electricity for hair dryers.