No wonder you have been planning your Africa safari for years or even months now, but your minds don’t settle on what you should pack or not for your trip.
It’s ok to feel that way, we are all human. In this article, we are going to discuss in detail how to pack for your Africa safari.
There are some restrictions from flight companies on what you should carry or not, recommended bags, and even weight allowed for free during your travel to African destinations.
Other restrictions are imposed by the government or park authorities, for instance, the drone uses or even guns during your trip.
Take it easy, and let’s dive into the subject. To make this discussion more precise we have chosen Tanzania and Kenya safari as our case study for safari packing list in Africa
Tanzania and Kenya are the top-notch safari destination in Africa. No doubt that Serengeti, Maasai Mara, Zanzibar, and Mount Kilimanjaro are the best destination for anyone who dares to visit East Africa.
The weather pattern of these two countries is nearly the same. The best time to visit both Kenya and Tanzania is during the dry season for the best viewing of wildlife and mountain climbing or even a beach holiday in Mombasa and Zanzibar.
What You should PACK for your Africa safari?
No matter which kind of trip you’re going to take in Africa, traveling to Kenya or Tanzania requires the items listed below. We have shared the quick checklist for packing and below you will read details information about this packing list.
Here is the checklist or a quick guide for Tanzania and Kenya safari
- Travel Insurance Policy & Emergency Contact Numbers
- Plane tickets
- Safari itinerary or service contract
- Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate (if applicable)
- U.S. dollars in large and small denominations ($20, $50 & $100 bills should be issued after 2005)
- Credit cards and ATM bank cards
- Sunscreen and lip balm
- Small flashlight or headlamp
- Insect/Mosquito repellent
- Eye drops and extra contact lenses or spare glasses (if applicable)
- Anti-bacterial hand sanitizer
- Tissue paper and small travel towel (washrooms in Tanzania often don’t have toilet paper or paper towels)
- Camera, extra memory cards, batteries, and charger, if applicable UK plug adapter and transformer/voltage converter, if applicable
- Ziplock bags for toiletries, camera equipment, snacks, etc.
- Personal toiletries
- Small first aid medical kit including Tylenol or ibuprofen, antimalarial pills, cold and allergy medicine, itch medication, band-aids, stomach ache remedy, antibiotic cream, diarrhea medicine, prescription antibiotic for travelers diarrhea (Ciprofloxacin) and any prescription medications.
- Safari clothes. If you’re not sure refer to our article: what to wear on an African safari
A quick reminder during traveling to Africa you should focus on simplicity. Make sure your duffle bag does not exceed 20 kg or 44 pounds.
Many chartered flights charge extra luggage, which could add up to your travel cost in Tanzania or Kenya.
There is no need to pack many clothes depending on the safari destination you’re visiting. Most accomodation offer laundry services to clients, you should be able to wash your clothes and changes them, this could help you to save space and be flexible while on safari.
The quick guide above gives you an idea of what you should pack but create a better understanding, below we’re going to discuss in detail the safari packing list for Tanzania and Kenya.
Here is the list of items to pack for your Africa Safari: Kenya & Tanzania
1. Duffel Bag (80-90L duffle bag )
Duffel bags are the best bags to pick when it comes to an African safari. it is easier to travel with a soft duffel bag than a hard suitcase.
As everyone’s gear gets piled up in trucks and squeezed into small, chartered flights, duffel bags make the trip easier for everybody.
Most of the chartered flights here in East Africa, allow 44 pounds/ 20kgs and for extra luggage, you should have to incur the cost
The 80- 90 litters duffel bags are the best bags to opt for while visiting Africa for safari. Make sure all the zippers are easy to lock and with strong zipper systems that are not easy to break.
You can use a small lock to secure your bag. The other idea to think about is how to add versatility to your bag, simply by considering the hand and shoulder strapping system.
Some of the icon brands available in the markets and we would like to recommend for your safari if you can afford include:
The North Face Base Camp Duffel
This is something that will never let you down, but it comes at the hefty cost of paying for the North Face brand.
It is available in five sizes, but if you decide to go with the North Face duffel, we would recommend the Large version.
The REDCAMP Extra Large Duffel
This a great quality 96L duffel bag that is perfect for safari trips. It is super durable and decently water-resistant.
It comes with loads of storage and is equipped with three outside pockets and an interior pocket that the duffel bag folds into when not in use. In terms of value for money, the REDCAMP Duffel is hard to beat.
2. Safari Daypack ( 20-30L day pack )
In addition to your duffle bag, you’ll need to bring a daypack. In your daypack, you should keep all important (sunscreen, sunglasses, snacks, water), personal (money, passport) or small breakable (camera, phone) items.
If you’re looking to invest in a good quality daypack, something like the Osprey Daylite Plus Daypack would be ideal.
If you are going with the Osprey option, it’s a good idea to also get the Osprey Packs Talon 22 Men’s Hiking Backpack (Medium/Large, Ultramarine Blue) which is super reliable.
Pro Packing Tip: Consider investing in some packing cubes. Not only do these help keep your bag as organized as possible, but are also an excellent space-saving hack.
3. Safari clothes – Focus on comfort & color
Safari clothes are the essential items for your safari. You should consider clothes which offer you comfort and relaxation without forgetting the color if you will be in wildlife parks.
Focus on breathable and moisture-wicking clothes, this help for layering while on the trip.
Depending on which safari destination you’re visiting, in many places like camping or lodges, there is no dress code.
You should decide to wear casual or official the choice is yours. We have covered this topic before, see our guide on what to wear on safari
4. Insect Repellent- Mosquitos & Tsetse flies
Insects are good for the ecosystem but are the opposite story for humans. Tanzania and Kenya are countries with tropical diseases including malaria which is a life-threatening disease if not treated on time.
As you plan your safari to East Africa, on your packing list you should bare in mind either to pack skin-based repellent or cloth spray repellents.
While on your vacation to Africa, you need Insect Shield clothes that have been treated to bind permethrin into the fabric. Instead of having to worry about applying repellent, your garments act as the insect guard themselves.
If you’d prefer to opt for the budget-friendly option, then there are two things you need to add to your packing list: permethrin and a DEET-based repellent.
Permethrin is used to treat your clothing as a spray and can be found at most outdoor stores. A major plus of permethrin is that it lasts through multiple washes – six washes or six weeks to be exact (whichever comes first).
Deet-based repellent is used directly on your skin. Deet wipes make the insect-repelling process effortless and provide easy on-the-go protection.
Why do you need insect defense on safari?
Disease. The number one reason to pack insect defense for your safari is to prevent disease.
Prevent stings and bites. Before they happen with insect repellent which has been developed for the tropics and safari-tested to be effective against flying and crawling insects.
Relaxation. Even when they aren’t biting or stinging, the very presence of insects can affect your ability to relax.
Take the swatting arm motions and whirring of small wings out of your explorations of wild places so you can enjoy undisturbed enjoyment of the scenery and wildlife Africa has to offer.
5. Safari gadgets: Tech staff for your Safari
Despite the latest phone brands available around the world, nothing can replace the quality of photos produced by good cameras.
If your passion is to capture the best moment while in African parks or around cities, you need to have a good cameras.
Having a camera with a zoom lens of 200- 300mm or more is the best favor you could do for yourself while visiting Tanzania and Kenya.
Charger banks and adapters
Having universal adapters is the best idea while traveling in Africa. You should expect to get adapters and outlets in new hotels or lodges, but some time is rare to find them while camping.
You should study the country you visiting and focus to have adaptors suitable for that destination.
Consider Buying European and U.K. Outlet Adapters At hotels, lodges, and some permanent tented camps, you will likely find 220- volts AC, 50-cycle current.
Most modern electronic appliances can operate on this current – check your devices for the voltage requirements printed on them.
If you would like to charge batteries at lodges, you will need outlet adapters.
Travelers extending their trip to Zanzibar, Ruaha, the Selous, Mahale, Rwanda, or other destinations may need to charge batteries at lodges that have varying outlets – European or U.K.-style adapters.
Pro Packing Tip: Consider packing in a heavy-duty power bank, especially if you plan on using your phone to take photos and videos during your game drive or if you’re camping remotely.
While binoculars are not a necessity, taking a good pair on your trip will certainly add to your safari experience. They’ll come in pretty handy if you’re tracking the Great Wildebeest Migration in the Serengeti.
The best quality binoculars might add some weight to your suitcase, but cheaper ones will leave you disappointed.
- Binoculars (8×40/42 models are excellent choices; center focus binoculars are best)
- The SkyGenius 10 x 50 Binoculars are easy to focus, reasonably priced, and provide 10X magnification.
6. Clothing and Shoes
East African weather is unpredictable. It can be as uncomfortably cold in the morning as it can be extremely hot in the afternoons.
The icy morning breeze as you set off for your safari can change dramatically by as early as midday.
For that reason, it’s a good idea to wear cool clothing as your base layer and then warmer clothing over it that you can remove as the day heats up.
But let’s make the process of choosing the right safari clothes easier. On your safari to Tanzania or Kenya you should focus to have the following :
- Comfortable short-sleeved shirts for men and women
- Comfortable long-sleeved shirts for men and women
- Long trousers for men and women
- Simple, lightweight safari shoes for walking and hiking
- Shorts for men and women
- A dress or smart top if you feel like dressing up at night
- Underwear, including sports bras for women
- Unisex windbreaker or rain jacket
- Warm jacket or fleece jacket
- Swimsuits for men and women
- Unisex hat
For details information check our article on what to wear while on safari
7. General Accessories
These are a few items that add spice to your safari. Remember the final touches are what make the palace shine. This is the list to finalize your packing for Tanzania or Kenya safari
- Baby wipes
- General medication (Imodium, Paracetamol)
- Reusable water bottle
- Small lock for your duffle bag (essential)
- Zip-lock bags for important possessions
- Passport and visa,
- Travel insurance,
- Yellow fever card (if applicable)
What are things you should NOT pack for your safari?
During preparation for your Africa safari, you may experience some challenges in deciding what you should pack or not.
We have made this simple for you. These are the top five items to leave behind when visiting Tanzania or Kenya for safari.
1. Leave drones
These are restricted in an increasing number of reserves around eastern, central, and southern Africa. Refer to our guide on drone uses in Tanzania
2. Leave camo, cotton, and color
Your clothing color is important on safari. Camouflage clothing is illegal in some African countries and bright colors, black, and white should be avoided unless around the lodge.
Dark colors also tend to be more attractive to insects. Technical fabrics are also preferable over natural fibers for their comfort and performance in hot climates. Read more on safari clothes colors
3. Leave strong-smelling perfume and sprays, especially on walking safaris. In its place: Don’t leave home without essential Australian-made insect repellent (and use underarm deodorant to keep smelling fresh)
4. Leave hard suitcases
These won’t do in the cramped holds of small planes and the back of Land Rovers on the way to the lodge.
5. Leave portable hairdryers
Many camps supply hairdryers, while others do not have the power supply to run these appliances.
And you’re now reading the wrap on the safari packing list for East Africa. We hope you have learned and un-learn what you should pack for your trip to Africa.
Do you need more information or want to go ahead and book your Tanzania safari? Get in touch with us today.
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