African Safari Packing Checklist.
A safari in Africa is one of the most exciting events in one’s lifetime. It can also be a bit uncertain considering the reports portrayed by the media about the living conditions in Africa. Hence, one has to work out an African safari packing checklist so as to be sure you are ready for the experience. One thing is for sure, times are changing and Africa is catching up with the rest of the world in terms of economic growth.
When one has no experience with Africa or its environment but still wants to go on a safari. It becomes hard to know what exactly you should carry or the correct documentation needed. Well, I will go through a general African Safari checklist just to highlight some important items and documents you must carry on your trip.
Just to note that Africa is a continent with 54 countries, each with its own by-laws and needs. Not all countries can be considered for a safari. But if you are planning to visit more than one country, always be sure to have the required documentation and visas for each.
- You must have a valid passport, at least 6 months before expiry. It should have at least 2 blank pages for stamping on.
- International flight ticket, where some countries require you to print out a ticket and attach a copy of your passport.
- Some countries require vaccinations to be done like yellow fever. Always carry your vaccination certificate with you to produce on request.
- It is also prudent that all your immunizations are up to date. Like for hepatitis A and B, Typhoid, Rabies, meningitis, malaria etc as specified by the country you are visiting.
- In case of any health condition, make sure your doctor gives you a clean bill of health before travel. Or gives you the necessary prescription to carry.
- If you intend to use your visa card, kindly make sure you inform your bank that you will be transacting while overseas so as not to block your transactions. But also consider carrying some cash as some remote areas might not support visa card.
Just like any other vacation, a safari is a dress down moment. Hence, casual wear is the way to go. You don’t have to wear like you are participating in an Out of Africa movie though.
Consider full sleeve tops preferably cotton when bush safaris or hiking. They should be light as it is always warm and easy to dry up in case of being rained on. Add in some khaki or sweat pants for bottoms, trousers or shorts. You can include one or two jackets for the evenings do get cold and windy.
Avoid white coloured clothes as the dusty terrains might not work well. Also, avoid black and dark blue clothes as they tend to attract tsetse fly and other bugs.
Never forget toiletries like toothbrush, toothpaste, unscented lotion. Most hotels have a hairdryer so you can opt to skip that or choose a hairstyle that does not need much work. Add in swimming costumes enough to last for your stay.
A sun hat is a must-have, sunscreen, sunglasses to protect yourself from the hot African sun. For your feet, consider comfortable closed shoes. If going for game drives or hiking consider boots or hiking shoes. Add in some sandals or flip-flop for relaxing in the hotel or by the pool.
Check more on My Safari Bag
Well, when travelling internationally, make sure you maintain the set luggage size limit. Most safari vans have enough room for your luggage whatever size. The trick comes if you are scheduled to take a private charter flight from the main airport to a remote area.
Some small flights have a luggage limit which is usually no longer than 26 inches with no wheels and not exceeding 20kgs(44lbs). If you exceed this, you need to pay for an extra seat or wait for a flight that has space enough for your bag.
Include a small bag pack for your camera, batteries, adapters and other necessities that is waterproof and easy to clean in case of excess dust.
This can include a good camera with extra lenses, memory card for those great photos. Binoculars can also be added especially if you intend to do bird watching while on your safari.
You can come with your phone or iPad and laptop as most hotels and lodges have WiFi connections. Hence, you can keep in touch with your friends and family. Include some extra batteries and a converter plug that can fit all sockets for charging your gadgets. Add in a small flashlight or torch especially if you are going camping.
First Aid Kit
Though most hotels and lodges have first aid kits, you cannot be sure and it is advisable to carry your own items. This includes things like painkillers which is highly recommended by many travel agents. Some anti-malaria tabs, an antihistamine for bites and stings reaction. Antidiarrhoeal medication and sunscreen or sunburn treatment ointment.
For ladies don’t forget tampons or sanitary pads. You can add in panty liners since you might find yourself going to the toilet in the bush while on game drives. Hand sanitisers or wet wipe napkins will come in handy if the water is not accessible.
You can add in band-aids and an antiseptic cream especially if planning on hiking or mountain climbing. You may consider alternating eye contact lenses with eyeglasses as contacts don’t do well in dusty terrains.
Check out more on the Packing list for an African Safari
Extra information to keep in mind while on safari
- It is not a must but it is always expected to tip your travel guide and any other person who helps you through your safari.
- It is better to exchange your money for local currency in any of your transaction to avoid being ripped off.
- Be cautious of your safety. If advised not to leave a car while on a game drive or not to take safari walks without a guide, please adhere to this.
- Avoid wearing camouflage clothes. These are military uniform in most African countries and sometimes they are worn by poachers. Hence, avoid being considered suspicious.
- It is better to get a good camera to zoom in especially when taking wildlife photographs as you may not be able to get too close to the animals in some instances.
The list is not exhaustive depending on the country you intend to visit. You can add more things to consider in an African safari packing checklist in the comment section below. Be it from experience or what you cannot do without when in Africa, you never know who needs this information.
This is great to read I always thought of visiting there. You are right to plan it well and the main thing that I would be concerned about would be good drinking water. Do you think the water is ok? If it is I’ll go.
Yes, please make time to visit one of the countries in Africa. Well there is enough bottled water to buy, you can shop the water that suits you most though in most hotels, lodges or camps do have bottled water for their guests. I have never heard anyone complain about water.
Going on Safari is an adventure i am planning on next summer. As you nicely written, there are many things a person should be aware of. I think the biggest is getting the Visa in order to travel. This procedures take time and you should start your planning on time, unless you want unexpected surprises.
Also, do you need certain medical care before or after exiting certain countries, like specific shots or special exams?
Yes visas take time but for most countries that receive a lot of tourists in particular times, they always make it easy to get tourist visas. You can get yourself a travel insurance, on top of that, there are certain shots that one needs to take when visiting certain countries like yellow fever shot, anti-malaria shot or any other you will be advised by your embassy before travel. There no special exams needed.
I really like traveling, but I had never considered a safari in Africa, is it safe? Those big and wild animals scare me, I know it is very exiting travel, but… I have been thinking that the best clothes in a safari were camouflage clothes. Your advice for a safari is complete, you have considered all that anyone can need and what isn’t useful in those travel. Thank you for this preview of any safari event 🙂
You haven’t traveled if you have not been to Africa, plan that trip. Yes it is safe, we have a huge number of tourists coming in and leaving with good memories. You can check different reviews on Trip Advisor.
Camouflage is not the best for a safari as it is the legal uniform for Game Rangers and military and is also generally used by poachers so to avoid being considered suspicious just stay away from it. Avoid dark blue too as it tend to attract tsetse flies and other bugs. You can do a jungle green, brown or and not so dark colors.
Thank you for the checklist, this is so important to keep in mind for this type of adventure.
I glad you found the information useful and hope it met all your expectation.
very informative and really useful to explore
Thank you for taking the time to read the article, am glad the information was useful to you.