Priscilla’s Southern Africa Packing List

originally uploaded by Roger Northage.
My personal packing list for a two week safari
It can be a challenge to pack for one’s adventure, especially when you’ve got weight restrictions and you’re trying to travel light.  We’ve got packing lists that I send out but I thought that it might be helpful to share specifically what I pack for safari trip.
Key to successful packing for safaris is to be like the guides and have a “uniform” that you wear in the bush! With that in mind, packing becomes quite easy.  Remember also that most all camps provide laundry service and provide items such as shampoo.
Itineraries to Southern and East Africa often utilize charters which restricts one’s weight limit from anywhere between 12 kg.s (26 lb.s) and 20 kg.s (44 lb.s), requiring efficient packing.  Below is a list of what I packed for my recent trip to Africa.  The weight restriction was 26 lb.s.  All of the items below (including the luggage) came in to just about that amount.

I traveled in December (southern Africa’s summer), one of the hottest times of year and the beginning of the rainy season.  If you’re traveling in winter, you’ll want to include warmer clothes including some long johns for those early morning safari drives!  Much of my clothing is in khaki and natural colors- good for being in the bush and easy for mixing and matching.

I’m a committed “carry on only” traveler.  All of this was carried on on the trans-Atlantic flights but I had to check luggage for the regional and charter flights due to the smaller planes.


Eagle Creek Load Hauler (22″)  (note that most charter companies don’t allow for luggage with hard backs or wheels due to the size and configuration of their luggage compartments)

Eagle Creek office backpack (I put this under the seat)
Items that I put in the backpack:

2 books

magazine articles (that have been collecting at home!)

articles on the places/cultures I’m visiting


MP3 player

Noise canceling headphones

Inflatable neck pillow

Eye shade

Toothbrush and toothpaste

Ear plugs (wax type)

Small tube of lotion

Salon Pas patches for cramped muscles on long flights



Spiral Notepad

Reading glasses



Plane tickets


Credit cards/airline cards/medical insur. card/driver’s license


Items in suitcase

2 pairs lightweight shorts (Gramicci; 100% nylon; quick drying)

1 pair very lightweight walking shorts- good for city or safari (Exofficio; 100% nylon; quick drying)

2 pair lightweight pants (100% nylon; quick drying)

1 very comfortable t-shirt (100% cotton)

1 sleeveless very lightweight shirt (Gramicci; 70% nylon, 30% polyester; a bit like sheer sucker material)

2 lightweight t-shirts (Exofficio; 65% polyester; 35% rayon; great wicking; quick drying)

2 long sleeved Exofficio Air Strip Shirts (this is a classic for safari goers; I only needed one; I recommend getting it in a khaki/natural color)

2 long sleeved Exofficio Buzz Off t-shirt (58% cotton, 42% polyester)

1 lightweight cardigan (Exofficio Buzz Off; cotton/polyester)

1 lightweight long skirt (100% rayon)

3 pair underwear (Exofficio- quick drying, moisture wicking, antimicrobial finish)- these are great!

2 bras


1 pair cotton sport socks

1 pair light wool hiking socks (plus the pair I wear on the plane)

1 sarong (misc. uses- i.e. for covering arms/legs from the sun; for wearing as a skirt when enter village/town- it?s customary to cover one?s knees in most areas of Africa)

1 lightweight wind resistant/rain jacket

1 bathing suit

1 pair cross training shoes (sneakers)

1 hat with flap that covers my neck (Sahara style)

1 lightweight travel bag (I used this to hold the items I wanted on our game drives; if you want to purchase souvenirs/gifts, you can use this as an extra bag when traveling home)

1 digital camera and charger plus small camera bag

charger for the MP3 player

1 adapter

small pair of binoculars


zip-lock plastic bags

1 extra pair reading glasses

1 small lock

copy of my passport

extra passport photo


(everything in small bottles/containers)

foldable travel brush



small bottle of shampoo/conditioner (most camps/lodges/hotels will supply shampoo)


insect repellent

antibacterial wipes

small aerosol bottle (to fill with water and spray when it?s really hot)

tea tree oil / ointment

prescription pills


face lotion

chap stick

emory board

a few small pairs of earrings

What I wear on the plane (my “travel uniform”)

Light to medium weight long black skirt (sooo comfortable!)

Comfy t-shirt (cotton/spandex)

light fleece pullover (comfy and warm for the plane and great for early AM and evening game drives with a lightweight jacket over it)

Slip on black shoes (light weight but sturdy black Bass shoes that can be worn with a skirt or shorts)

Light wool socks


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