Preparing for a Week-Long African Safari:
The keywords of packing for an African safari trip are lightweight, breathable, moisture wicking, and sun protection.
Varying Temperatures: Temperatures can range from blistering hot during the day to near freezing at night. So multi-function clothing and layering techniques will be helpful.
Neutral Colors: Avoid dark colors, as various insects are attracted to bright and dark hues. White may show dust and dirt, so your best colors to dominate your safari wardrobe are khaki, taupe, and brown.
Sun Protection: Be sure to protect yourself from the UV rays that are plentiful in Africa. Long sleeve shirts and pants, wide brim hat, and polarized sunglasses are a must!
Proper Footwear: If you're taking a walking safari you will need a sturdy pair of safari boots to protect your feet from thorns and small malicious wildlife (scorpions, snakes, etc). However, if you are safariing by bush vehicle, a more light walking shoe will be sufficient. In fact, if you're spending a great deal of the time in a bush vehicle, you'll want the breathability of a lighter walking shoe.
Recommended Packing List
Great layering pieces with moisture wicking tank tops or undershirts, like the North Face Mire Tank
- (1) Sun protection hat - packable/crushable, wide brimmed, light weight, uv blocking, moisture wicking on the inside but water repellent on the outside. Suggested Brands: Tilley (LTM6 & T3 models specifically), North Face, Orvis
- (2) Sun Protection Long Sleeve Shirts - lightweight, moisture wicking, UV blocking. Suggested Brands: ExOfficio, North Face, Orvis
We highly recommend convertible pants - pants that zip off to make shorts. Suggested Brands: North Face
- (2) Sun Protection Short Sleeve Shirts - lightweight, moisture wicking, UV blocking. Suggested Brands: ExOfficio, North Face, Orvis
- (2-3) Sun Protection Long Pants/Shorts - lightweight, moisture wicking, UV blocking. Suggested Brands: ExOfficio, North Face, Orvis
- (3) Travel Underwear - Lightweight, moisture wicking, quick drying. Suggested Brand: ExOfficio Give-N-Go
(7) Socks - moisture wicking, supportive. Suggested Brands: Smartwool
- Footwear: See footwear guidelines above.
Safari Boots - Sturdy sole, ankle support. Suggested Brands: Vasque, Hi-Tec, Merrell
Walking shoes / Sandals - Sturdy sole, toe protection preferred. Suggested Brands: Keen
- Fleece Jacket - for layering in the chilly evenings/nights. Also handy for a travel pillow!
- Rain Jacket - A light weight rain jacket is always handy to have. It won't take up much space or add much weight, but it can provide protection from rain and chilling wind. Suggested Brand: North Face Venture Jacket
- Bathing suit - For any beach time or unexpected pools or Jacuzzi's at hotels.
Accessories & Equipment
Include: Painkiller, Antiseptic cream, Heartburn remedy, Anti-diarrhoea medicine, Re-hydration salts, Cold/flu tablets, Allergy remedy, basic antibiotic in case. Be prepared for any medical circumstances! Chances are your travel/safari company will have these on hand, but it never hurts to have your own just in case! A complete travel first aid kit is also a good idea.
When traveling through Africa take into account all the potential forms of transportation you may encounter: plane (obviously, to get there), boat, vehicle, light aircraft, possibly even livestock! Wheeled luggage isn't going to be convenient in the bush - although many travel companies will probably have staff to take care of your luggage. In any case, a bag you feel comfortable carrying will allow for any surprises.
Ideal Luggage Characteristics: Easy to carry, durable, water resistant