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, use 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. In respecting the local cultures, it is recommended that women wear a skirt or shorts that cover their knees when visiting local people in the rural area.
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
Charter / Light Air Flights: For safety and space reasons, all charter/light air flights to remote locations have luggage weight restrictions. Including carry-on items, camera bag and equipment, passengers are generally restricted to:
Southern Africa: 33 lbs (15 kgs) or 44 lbs (20 kgs)
East Africa: 33 lbs (15 kgs)
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”. Some companies do not allow wheeled luggage and restrict the dimensions to 10″ x 12″ x 24″. Please see your itinerary for exact weight limits for your specific trip.
It is very important that you adhere to these restrictions as the pilot can refuse to fly you if your luggage is over the weight limit or not in a soft bag. If by chance you have a special need to carry additional weight, depending on your routing and with advance notice, payments can be made for the additional weight and/or arrangements can be made to have some luggage stored for you along the way. Please contact us for details.
Regional Commercial Flights: Note that most all of the regional commercial flights restrict carry-on luggage to 15 lbs (7 kgs).
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/ casual dress
- 1 sweater/fleece for warmth
- socks and underwear (sports bra for women)
- sandals for use in the bath and causal
- bathing suit
- if traveling during May-Aug, consider packing gloves, a hat and some long underwear, especially for South Africa
- *Note it’s best to avoid black & especially white clothing when out on safari
- broad-brimmed sunhat, sunglasses
- small pair of binoculars
- extra eyeglasses and/or contact lenses
- 1 lightweight backpack
- copy of passport & 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 Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe, sockets are usually 3 prong square (British type). In Namibia and South Africa, sockets are primarily 3 prong round. Our recommendation is to travel with a universal travel adapter (all-in-one adapter), and if spending significant time in Namibia or South Africa, a 3 prong round adapter will have to be purchased separately as these are not included in the universal travel adapters.
*Note see http://kropla.com/electric2.htm for more information on conversion tables, plugs and adapters around the globe.
- insect repellent
- motion sickness preventives
- personal toiletries (including prescription medicine and malaria prophylaxis)
- band-aids, antiseptic, topical antibiotic
- hand sanitizer/towelettes
- aspirin or other analgesic, 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 2-week safari
Items for Bartering at Markets
Some clients have enjoyed bartering for souvenirs at local markets (e.g. the market next to Victoria Falls in Livingstone). Some of the items sought after by vendors include clothing (e.g. pants, t-shirts, long-sleeved shirts) and pens. If you plan to do some shopping at the end of your trip, this can be a good way to make room for your souvenirs!
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)
Website Resources for Travel Stores/Products