Having completed our first African Safari this November, here’s our complete guide to what to wear on safari and an easy to follow safari packing list.
Day Bag (for cameras & personal items)
We travel everywhere with a 60L suitcase each, and a 20L camera bag each. And for our safari packing list it was no different.
One large checked baggage is always ideal to leave at the hotel or have the drivers chuck in the back of the jeep for the day.
Then you’ll want one day bag, to keep with you at all times, carrying your valuables plus any tech gear/accessories you need for the day ahead.
Sweatpants (for wearing around camp)
Sandals/Flip Flops (for wearing around camp)
Dress/Jeans (for evening dinners)
When planning what to wear on safari, you’ll probably wonder why everybody wears long sleeve shirts and pants? And why everybody dresses in those typical beige safari colours?
Well safaris usually begin before sunrise and go on until after sunset. Therefore, it can be super cold at the beginning of the morning safari, but when the sun is high in the sky, it gets HOT!
So you are going to need layers.
We kept our long pants on for every activity on our 4 day safari trip, but changed between short and long sleeved shirts as and when we needed to.
As for the colour choice it’s mainly to keep cool but also to avoid the pesky Tsetse flies. These flies are inhabit much of tropical Africa and are attracted to BLUE and BLACK!
Therefore it’s always a good ideas to wear the typical camouflage colours, like khaki, beige and white.
All clothing should be casual and comfortable, as you’ll likely be wearing your chosen outfit for up to 10 hours a day.
As for the evenings, you’ll probably want to shower and get straight into your comfy’s ,so we recommend some jogging bottoms and flip flops for down time.
If you’re staying in luxury accommodation however, don’t forget to pack some nicer clothes for your evening meals.
Also, if you’re above a certain altitude, which some camps are, the evenings can get a little chilly so a sweatshirt/fleece is always handy to have in your luggage.
Thermals/Leggings (for layering if it’s cold)
Depending on the time of year, and how high up you’re going, some safaris may require some extra layers.
We didn’t use any of the above on our trip to Tanzania safari packing list, but if there’s room in your luggage we recommend chucking them in anyway.
Aloe Vera (Aftersun)
These few items are key! You’ll be spending long days in the direct heat, so all of the above you’ll definitely need.
Just a tip, a common side effect of some anti malaria tablets, is sensitivity to sunlight. We were prescribed Doxycycline and definitely caught a bit of redness even through the clouds and sitting inside the jeep all day!
If you do get burnt, it’s a necessity to apply some kind of soothing gel. If you’re on a tight schedule you don’t want to be wasting too many days sitting indoors recovering!
Deet (Mosquito Repellant)
Anti Malaria Tablets
These safari packing list items are pretty self explanatory.
The most important thing to do, is to visit your local GP as far in advance as possible before your trip.
Of course mosquitos are heavily populated in most areas of Africa so strong repellant is recommended and a hand sanitiser/first aid kit we always keep in our day bags anyway.
US Dollars (for local markets/tips)
The number one thing you’re going to want on your safari packing list is a camera!
We use a Canon 90D for all of our photography. It’s light, easy to use and the perfect camera to explore the world with. In terms of lenses, we tend to rely on a 18-55mm lens for most of our photos.
However one thing we WISH we’d have picked up for Tanzania was a zoom lens.
Even if you’re not that into photography, to capture some of the rarer animals that only hang around in the distance, a 55-250mm or 75-300mm zoom lens is ideal.
Binoculars are another great addition for spotting those animals in the distance. Our guide carried a set in the jeep, however we strongly recommend a pair of binoculars – at least 8x or better still 10x magnification.
One important thing to end with is that out in the bush you may not pass an ATM for a while. So make sure you head into your safari areas with money.
Whether it be to purchase souvenirs from local markets, or to tip your servers/driver, a little cash is always handy to carry and USD is accepted everywhere.
The words ‘travel insurance’ can be used to describe many different types of cover, but basically it’s there to protect you if/when things go wrong.
We use WorldNomads.com. We’ve used them since the beginning of our travels, and will continue to use them as long as we’re on the move.
You can buy and claim online, even after you’ve left home, and travel insurance from WorldNomads.com is available to people from 140 countries.
It’s designed for adventurous travellers, with cover available for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities.
And the best part is not only do they allow global cover, their online claim form means that it takes just 10 minutes filing a claim, rather than being on the phone for hours abroad trying to get through to customer service.