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Essential Safari Packing

Posted by on May 20th, 2019

Category: Southern Africa




So with your Safari booked, it’s time to consider what to pack.  

Travelling light is key, not only is it a refreshingly liberating holiday experience, it’s actually essential when using light aircrafts, as these have strict weight limits for obvious safety reasons and volume is also an issue on 4×4 game vehicle road transfers.

Most people are aware that the ideal safari clothing colour should be neutral in colour (khaki, beige, green) in a light weight quick drying man made fabric and there are lots of stylish choices in the shops, but it’s important to get the following elements right too.


1.  Walking Boots

Take comfortable closed shoes that you can wear on game drives and for short walks.  Strong canvas shoes are fine for this, but if you want to do longer walks, then pack a pair of lightweight trail or hiking shoes that are up to the task.  Top tip is to travel in these.  Around camp you’ll find a pair of flip flops or canvas shoes very useful.

2.  Soft Luggage

The luggage will need to be soft sided because during your Safari it will either need to be squished down in the back of a 4×4 and/or packed into a small baggage bay on a light aircraft. Wheels are not encouraged at all and only allowed if they are not part of a solid frame or rigid structure.  To get around this issue, invest in a travel trolley that will collapse and then be stowed in the hold or with you in the main cabin.

3.  Backpack or Smaller bag for Safari

Travel with this as your carry on bag for the journey to Africa with passport, book, camera, lenses, malaria prophylaxis and binoculars.  It’s also invaluable then on game drives and walks into the bush allowing you to easily carry high SPF sunscreen & lip salves, insect repellent and extra layers of clothing.

4.  Binoculars

Top of the list has to be a good pair of binoculars, you can ‘get by’ sharing one pair, but for a couple it’s much better to each take your own.  When an exciting spot is going on, you don’t want to be fighting over one pair. Also  binos allow you to observe predator behaviour without getting too close for comfort, especially when on foot.  I’ve found that 10x magnification with an aperture of 42 mm serves me well even for bird spotting.  Carry these in your backpack, just in case your luggage goes missing at the airport.



5.  Wide brimmed Hat & Beanie

The African sun is intense and you need to protect your face and neck.  By 11 am when temperatures start climbing to 30degC you’ll be glad of your hat, especially when in an open topped vehicle and when walking.  Be inconspicuous and choose a neutral beige or khaki and also one that easily collapses into your luggage. At the other end of the spectrum, those early morning starts can often be chilly, so take a warm beanie or similar. 
Finally as a general rule aim to wear layers that you can peel off as the morning heats up.  Travel to Africa in a fleece or warm lightweight jacket – this will be the most bulky clothing item you’ll need to take to keep you warm on those bracing morning game drives!


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