Imagine roaming around the wild grasslands of Africa, experiencing the incredible wildlife first hand. The sounds of stampeding elephants, the rush of seeing a lion in the midst of a hunt, the feeling of the wind rushing through your hair.
An African safari should be on anyone’s bucket list. This once in a lifetime experience is absolutely necessary if you’re traveling to Africa.
Being a once in a lifetime experience, you want to make sure you experience it to its fullest. That’s why you need to be completely prepared for your African safari.
From essential clothing to handy accessories, to the best gear to make sure everything is perfect, we have your essential packing list for your safari day right here.
It seems obvious, but when you’re caught up in a whirlwind of planning adventures and straightening out small details, sometimes the biggest things slip your mind.
Make sure you bring your passport. You already have it with you if you left the country, so make sure to bring it on your adventure. If your safari travels through multiple countries, make sure you have the necessary visas for each one.
Make sure to bring your travel insurance documents as well in case something goes awry on your safari. Also, print out your tickets and bring those as well just in case something happens to your phone.
We’re going to get all the non-fun stuff out of the way first. If you’re going on a safari in Africa, you want to be prepared for the worst.
Make sure you check the countries you’ll be traveling to for any required or recommended vaccinations. Yellow Fever is a required vaccination for many African countries, and you won’t be allowed to enter the country without this vaccination.
Make sure you bring all of the prescription medications that you need for the duration you’ll be out on safari, along with a few extras just in case.
While any safari company you book should have first aid and medical supplies, you’ll still want to bring along a few things just in case. We recommend insect repellent, stuff for upset stomachs and headaches, santizer, and most importantly malaria pills.
Now it’s time for the fun stuff! Or not so fun, depending on how much you enjoy picking out clothes.
First off, you’re going to want to pack light. Not only will you not want a big bulky bag for the safari, but depending on where you’re flying into, some airlines have pretty strict weight restrictions for small planes.
Want to know the most important tip for choosing your clothing on a safari? Wear layers. A safari is usually an all day adventure, and while most African countries are scorching hot during the day, the evenings and early mornings can get quite cool.
You’re going to want to pack casual, comfortable, neutral-colored clothing. You don’t need to look like you’re in a movie set in Africa, the clothes you already have are fine. Pack the same sort of clothing you would pack for a camping trip.
If you need specifics, here’s you’re ultimate safari clothing packing list.
- T-shirt or blouse – some with short sleeves and some long-sleeved.
- Fleece, hoodie, or warm jacket for those cool nights and mornings
- A light, compact raincoat if you’re doing any jungle trekking
- A pair of comfortable trousers and shorts. If you have those weird ones that unzip into shorts those will save space in your bag
- Bring a swimsuit for that post-safari pool and hot tub
- Comfortable walking shoes and good socks
- Hat, bandana, and sarong or pashmina to block the sun
Tech, Leisure, and Accessories
This category is pretty broad, but it covers all of the things that you’ll physically survive without, but really need to bring.
First, you’re on the adventure of a lifetime, and you’re going to want to capture it in all its glory. This means you’re going to need the right equipment to capture it. The best safari destinations will make for the best memories.
We highly recommend bringing a DSLR digital camera. Sure iPhones take amazing photos now but you’re still going to want a real camera to capture those speeding animals or to zoom in on something far away. Also make sure to bring extra memory cards for the camera, you’re going to take way more photos than you think.
Bring a GoPro to take wild videos of the bumpy rides. Those things are waterproof and mostly indestructible so carry it on you or mount it on the safari vehicle if you can. If the country or safari company allows, consider bringing a drone. There’s nothing like a beautiful overhead shot of the wild savannah of Africa.
Bring binoculars, and make sure they’re nice ones. The safaris promise you’ll get up close and personal with the wildlife, and most of the time they’re right. But sometimes your guide is going to point out something amazing happening in the distance and you’re going to regret it if you’re the only one in the vehicle who can’t see what they’re talking about.
Finally, bring the things you should bring on any extended trip but almost always forget one of them. Always bring a portable charger, especially for a safari where you might not have an outlet for days. Bring headphones and books for your downtime. And bring a journal to write down all the amazing things that you’re experiencing.
Other Safari Day Tips and More
Now that you know everything to pack for your safari day adventure, we have a few other tips to make your experience the best possible.
Don’t pack single-use plastic for your trip, as it’s banned in many African countries. Save the environment and bring a reusable water bottle!
Bring a few small things to give as gifts to your guides or any other locals who help you along the way. It won’t cost you much and it means a lot to them.
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