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Safari Packing Checklist: Preparing for your African Safari

 | John White

Safari Accessories

 

Packing can be a little tricky when going on safari, especially if it’s your first time. Overpacking is a big issue for many travellers, particularly because small planes and safari vehicles have limited luggage space (20kg limit). This guide should hopefully make your life a little easier, so you remember to bring the essentials and leave behind all the unnecessaries!  

Clothing:

  • - Clothing colours: Try to stick to neutral colours so as to blend in with your surroundings. Cotton clothing will keep you cooler and is lightweight. Avoid white as it gets dirty and bright colours may distract animals. If you are visiting an area where Tsetse flies are present then try to avoid blue and black.
  • Warm fleece: It can be cold (even in summer) in the early mornings and evenings, especially on the back of an open safari vehicle.
  • Wind breaker/waterproof: Although many safari vehicles are covered, the sides will be open to the elements so you will probably get a little wet if you have any rain. Waterproofs also help keep the cold wind out.
  • Long-sleeved shirts: It can be really hot during the day and a light long sleeve shirt can help protect your arms from the sun. They will also help keep you warmer in the mornings and evenings.
  • Shorts and longs: Shorts are best for the heat of the day but you may want to take a pair of trousers either for the cooler evenings or to help protect you against mosquitoes.
  • Swimsuit: Most lodges and rest camps have swimming pools.
  • Walking shoes: A good pair of walking shoes are essential if you are planning to walk on any trails. African thorns can be very long and sharp!
  • Sandals/flip-flops: Great for giving your feet some air around the lodge as long as you are not on any thorny or rocky terrain!

 

Camera, Video & Binoculars:

  • - We recommend a camera with a good zoom lens. If you are into photography then a SLR with a decent lens (over 200mm) is advisable.
  • - Binoculars are essential. You don’t want to be the only one to miss a leopard sighting because you didn’t bring any bino’s. There is also a huge difference between cheap and mid-range binoculars so try to get the best you can afford. This is a pair we use and highly recommend: Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 10x42mm binoculars

 

Mosquitoes and Malaria:

 

Protection from the sun:

  • - Sun block: High SPF sun block as the African sun can be harsh (we recommend between 30 and 50 SPF).
  • - Lip balm: Keep those lips hydrated from the sun and wind on the back of your safari vehicle.
  • - Sunglasses: Good sunglasses with a high UV rating will help protect your eyes from the glare of the sun, especially if you are going to be near water.
  • - Hat or cap: This is the most effecting way of keeping the direct sun off your face and neck - a wide-brimmed hat is ideal.

 

Maps:

  • Digital maps: Use the Tracking the Wild app or download our PDF maps here.
  • Hardcopy maps: Some parks and reserves sell maps. Alternatively you can download and print our maps here.

 

Miscellaneous Kit:

  • - Your itinerary and reservation printouts
  • - Flashlight
  • - Universal power adapter
  • - Batteries and chargers
  • - Personal toiletries
  • - A good book
  • - Credit and ATM cards
  • - Drivers license
  • - Travel insurance
  • - Passport and a photocopy of your passport
  • - Yellow Fever Inoculation certificate: You will need to get this if you are travelling to Zambia and most other East African countries. It is checked at border crossings and airports.

 

Bird, Mammal and Reptile Book Recommendations:

Roberts Bird Guide
  • Roberts Bird Guide (Covers over 950 Southern African birds)
Sasol Birds of Southern Africa
The Raptor Guide of Southern Africa
  • The Raptor Guide of Southern Africa
Chamberlains LBJs
  • Chamberlain's LBJs (Faansie Peacock)
    • - Buy the book here.
Field Guide to the Mammals of Southern Africa
A Complete Guide to the Snakes of Southern Africa