What should I pack for Safari?


Packing for a safari can be a challenge because of the weight restrictions that small charter aircraft place on your bags. The weight quickly adds up if you bring a tripod and telephoto lens. So choose all items carefully (most lodges and hotels have laundry facilities). This is not the terrain for a wheeled suitcase; instead, invest in a duffel or soft-sided bag that can be placed into small compartments. Carry everything that’s valuable in a daypack.

  • Everything needs “power” these days, so always have a 12-volt inverter to plug into a car cigarette lighter to give batteries a recharge or batteries for change.
  • At the end of the day, there is nothing better than to hang one’s dirty boots or shoes outside your tent and wear a pair of lightweight sandals or flip flops.
  • A waterproof bag. Not only to protect anything and everything from rain, but frankly, dust is an even bigger problem and anything waterproof will solve that too.
  • A really good flashlight is essential for good visibility at night when walking between the tents.
  • No one should even contemplate going on safari without a good pair of at least 8 x 30 magnification binoculars. “Opera” binocularss just don’t cut it out there in the bush.
  • A dose of Coartem or Cotecxin malaria cure—as most of safari guides never take malarial prophylactics like Malarone, they find it essential to keep this stuff in our sponge bags, just in case they ever get malaria whilst on safari. It works amazingly quickly and effectively (within three days) and has no side effects, so you can self-prescribe even if it is not malaria but just a fever. It’s made from a herb called Artemesia.
  • Mosi net if in remote area with rudimentary conditions
  • Sunscreen with insect repellent (clear gel, not cream)
  • Hat with under-chin tie so doesn’t blow off all the time
  • A small First Aid Kit.

And of course a sense of adventure!

And please remember, that the colors that you wear on safari are almost as important as the actual clothes. Anything white and bright will distract the animals, and black and blue (including jeans) attract flies. Stick to olive, green and khaki. Forget your formal clothes; things are casual out in the bush, even at upscale lodges. Safari roads can get bumpy, so women might want to pack a sports bra. The African bush can be chilly during the mornings and evenings; be sure to bring a windbreaker and long pants.