Safari Packing Suggestions
Your packing list will vary depending on the season and the specific areas you plan to visit.
You can check current temperatures/weather forecast at www.qwikcast.com. In general:
- Mornings and evenings are often cool.
- If you’re out on a game drive early or late during the cooler season, it can be downright cold!
- Mid-day temperatures tend to be quite warm (sometimes hot!).
Clothing — General
Given the above, packing with layers in mind is important. To layer while also packing light, bring clothing items made with lightweight, quick-dry, versatile fabrics. They are worth the investment! Many camps/lodges offer laundry service, so you can wear items multiple times. If you’re spending time in a large city, you might pack one “smart casual” outfit.
Please try to be culturally sensitive with your clothing. Most Africans frown upon skimpy or revealing clothing, especially when worn by women. Shorts are fine for safaris. Otherwise, dress conservatively and avoid short shorts, especially in the rural areas. If you plan to visit people in rural areas, it is respectful for men to wear long trousers and women to cover their knees with a sarong or skirt. A sarong is especially useful as you can always wrap this around shorts if you visit local people while on safari.
Clothing — Safaris
On safari, the emphasis should be on practical and casual clothing. One strategy to packing light is to do what the safari guides do: Have “a uniform” for your safari outings. Khaki/beige shorts and shirts are ideal as they are least likely to attract the animal’s attention … and least likely to need washing.
Luggage and Weight Restrictions
For safety and space reasons, all charter flights to remote locations have luggage weight restrictions. Including carry-on items, camera bag and equipment, passengers are generally restricted to:
- East Africa: 15 kgs (33 lbs)
Charter companies request you use “soft luggage” (no hard suitcases can be transported as they physically cannot fit into the aircraft), usually with maximum dimensions of 36”x12”. Please contact us for exact weight limits for your specific trip.
Suggested Packing List
*Note: print out our “Safari Packing Checklist” as a helpful reference when preparing to depart
- Airline tickets
- Medical insurance card
- Cash/credit card
- Comfortable walking shoes or light hiking boots
- 2 long sleeved shirts
- 2 pair shorts
- 2-3 short sleeved shirts
- 1 lightweight wind/rain jacket
- 2 pair long trousers
- 1 skirt or casual dress
- 1 sweater/fleece
- Socks and underwear
- Sandals for use in the bath and casual
- Bathing suit
*Note: It’s best to avoid black and especially white clothing when out on safari
In addition to the normal clothing for an East African safari, we recommend the following for those going gorilla trekking:
- Strong walking boots with ankle support
- Socks long enough for trousers to be tucked into
- Light shoes
- Cotton or Gortex trousers
- Long-sleeved shirts for trekking
- Sweater or sweatshirt
- Light gloves for protection against thorns and nettles
- Light jacket
- Waterproof clothing (no bright colors, which disturb the animals)
- Hat for sun and/or rain
- Plastic bags for cameras, film, and spare clothing
- Be prepared for cool or warm, dry or wet weather when trekking gorillas.
- Muted colors are necessary for gorilla trekking, no bright colors.
- No camouflage clothing (can be an issue, relating to national military uniforms)
- Broad-brimmed sunhat, sunglasses
- Bandana (good for protection when its dusty)
- Small pair of binoculars
- Extra eyeglasses and/or contact lenses
- 1 lightweight backpack
- Copy of passport and extra passport photos
- Small flashlight
- Camera and all photographic equipment
- Small notebook/sketchbook; pens/pencils
- Electrical converter/adapter plug: the electrical current is 240v/50Hz; in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, sockets are usually 3 prong square (British type) though some sockets may requre round 2 prong adapters; in Rwanda, sockets are typically round 2 prong. Our recommendation is that you travel with one of each adapter, or a universal travel adapter kit (all-in-one adapter), to avoid any inconveniences, especially if you are visiting multiple countries.
*Note: See www.kropla.com/electric2.htm for more information on conversion tables, plugs and adapters around the globe.
- Insect repellent
- Personal toiletries (including prescription medicine and malaria prophylaxis)
- Band-aids, antiseptic, topical antibiotic
- Hand sanitizer/towelettes
- Aspirin or other analgesic/anti-inflammatory, a broad-spectrum antibiotic, diarrhea medicine, and other medications that you use for common ailments
*Note: Check out www.globalsojourns.com/blog for a detailed list of what one of us packed for a two-week safari.
A Few Favorite Products from Fellow Sojourners
- ExOfficio Air Strip shirts
- ExOfficio quick dry underwear (for men and women)
- Gramicci QwikDry pants and shorts
- Eagle Creek Luggage – the Switchback model, carry-on size
- Merrill and Keen shoes: walking, running and hiking options
- TeaTree Oil Ointment (an all-around great item to have in your toiletries bag)