What to Pack for Your African Safari

Your Insider’s Safari Packing Guide

What To Take On Safari In Africa (And What To Leave Behind!)

Africa safari tour packing list

When does your safari adventure become real? Is it the moment you first dream of tracking the big cats on the plains? Or maybe it’s when you speak with an Africa Kenya Safaris travel expert about which parks to discover the elephants, giraffes, and zebras?

Perhaps your upcoming safari becomes undeniably real when you begin shopping and packing for those warm days out on the savannah and cool nights sitting by the campfire.

No doubt about it – there is something truly exciting about gathering the specialized clothing and gear for your safari that says you’re about to go on the adventure of a lifetime.

So let’s explore and have fun with our many insider tips about how to pack for a successful and comfortable safari.

Some Important First Steps

But before we jump into safari shopping let’s review some important packing and travel guidelines that will help your trip be safe and hassle-free.

  • Sometimes things happen… like one of your suitcases not arriving with the other. An easy workaround for this – divide some of your clothing between suitcases.
  • Important stuff. Meds, jewelry, cameras, phones, binoculars, visas, passports, wallets, vaccine certificates – keep them all close in a hand-carry shoulder bag.
  • Speaking of jewelry… and fashion in general, we’re going on safari – it’s all about the land, the wildlife, and the cultures we’ll discover. Try to keep jewelry and high style to a minimum, especially bright clothing.
Best safari bags for an African safari - Africa Kenya Safaris Limited
  • Photocopies of important docs. Nothing beats the security of having color photocopies of your passport, visa, travel insurance, emergency contacts, additional forms of ID, credit card contacts… you get the idea.
  • Plastic Bags. You know, the type you find in supermarkets? They are illegal in Kenya. Bring fabric bags instead.
  • Weight. If your safari includes in-country flights on small aircraft please be aware that there is a weight limit per passenger of 15 kilograms (33 lbs.) and that includes your hand luggage.
  • Soft sides. Whether you are safari-ing by road or air, your luggage needs to be of a soft-sided configuration for easy packing in your 4 x 4 Jeep or light aircraft.
Kenya Family safaris - Kichwa Tembo Camp Masai Mara - Africa Kenya Safaris
Peak of Mount Kenya

Important Info About Safari Clothing

We’ll get to your actual clothing items in a moment but first a few general notes about clothes, comfort, and culture.

On safari, neutral colors like khaki and forest green work best. Bright colors can alert animals and definitely attract insects! Also, beige and green neutrals do a good job of hiding the safari dust.

Before your trip, talk to your Africa Kenya Safaris travel specialist about the upcoming weather. Will it be hot, mild, cool, or cold? Perhaps some parks like the Masai Mara will be warm but upcountry spots on your itinerary like Mt. Kenya or Aberdare Park could be decidedly cool. You’ll need to know the expected weather to bring the right items.

Layering. It’s the secret sauce of comfort and convenience while on safari. Wearing clothing in layers allows you to be warm on that first early morning game drive but then peel off a jacket or long-sleeved shirt as the savannah warms up.

Come late afternoon and evening, the process is reversed, adding more layers to keep you comfy as the sun goes down.

Laundry. Most lodges and camps provide laundry services, some at no cost. So there is no need to bring excessive amounts of clothing on your safari.

Camouflage-style items. While fashionable, this is where different cultures may clash. Please avoid any clothing – even a hat – with a “camouflage” or military-type pattern. These may considered illegal in East Africa as this is the uniform or look worn by military forces and you could be questioned about it. Best to avoid.

Watching elephants from an open top safari jeep while on a safari tour with Africa Kenya Safaris

Safari Clothing Checklist

By now you know an extensive and glamorous wardrobe is the last thing you need on safari, so here’s our list of smart, practical clothing to ensure your comfort.

  • 1 long-sleeved safari shirt of breathable organic cotton or man-made fabric that is thick enough to keep out flies and mosquitoes.

  • 2–3 T-shirts

  • 2 pairs of safari shorts and trousers with plenty of pockets. Try the long pants-to-shorts combo – very convenient.

  • Long-sleeve, full-leg pajamas.

  • Bathing suit

  • Jacket or fleece – lightweight for summer, heavier for winter

  • Light rain jacket

  • A scarf or bandana

  • A sunproof hat, lightweight and breathable

  • Closed sturdy shoes for general activity. Hiking boots if you’re going on trails.

What to wear on an Africa safari in Kenya and Tanzania - Africa Kenya Safaris Limited
Mountain bikers on a cycling safari excursion see a giraffe
Safari toiletries-what to pack on a Kenya safari - Africa Kenya Safaris Limited
Guided walk on a wellness safari tour

Toiletries and Medicines

We already advised you to hand-carry your prescription medicines but don’t forget to pack these essentials along with your toiletries:

  • Aspirin/pain relievers

  • Malaria pills

  • Imodium

  • Insect repellent

  • Sunscreen

  • Hand sanitizer

  • Allergy pills

  • Lip balm

Your Devices

These days almost everyone has a cell phone with a built-in camera. This small camera is fine for many situations but the world of safari can be bigger than life. When you come upon that lion or cheetah staring down from a nearby hill, you may want to be ready with a telephoto or zoom lens to capture the look in its eyes!

Digital cameras have gotten smaller and lighter with great quality optics and many now have built-in video capabilities as well. Don’t forget to bring extra batteries or a charger and plenty of memory cards as well as a blower/brush to clean off any safari dust.

At Africa Kenya Safaris, we always provide high-quality Olympus binoculars in your 4 x 4 Jeep. But you might want to bring along your own pair for instant accessibility. A good size is 8/10 x 40.

Power adaptor: Your many devices: camera, phone, shaver, electric toothbrush, etc., are all power-hungry and need their daily dose of electricity. A power adapter with multiple sockets will ensure they can all be charged at the same time with only one outlet.

Seeing elephants on safari in Amboseli National Park
Best cameras for an African safari in Kenya and Tanzania - Africa Kenya Safaris Limited
Travel documents required on an African safari - Africa Kenya Safaris Limited
Travel Vaccinations

Essential Items

We’ve mentioned some of these earlier and some are new. Let’s go through a final checklist of these necessary items:

  • List of telephone numbers for blocking lost or stolen credit cards

  • Passport that is valid for at least 6 months

  • Any required vaccination certificates

  • Any required children’s birth certificates

  • Local currency and credit cards

  • Travel insurance is always recommended

  • Emergency contacts with phone numbers

  • Second form of ID in addition to a passport

And Finally…

Africa safari packing list - What to pack on your African safari tour in Kenya & Tanzania - Africa Kenya Safaris Limited

Just a few more items to go and you’re ready for your safari adventure. A money belt is always a good idea to protect your cash, credit cards, and passport.

The equatorial African sun is strong so a good pair of sunglasses is essential to shield your eyes and you’ll get a clearer view of that family of elephants parading by.

A flashlight can come in handy – especially convenient is the lightweight type worn on the forehead, leaving your hands free.

A good book is always a trusty companion for relaxing in the evenings and a small journal for recording your safari impressions can become a moving souvenir of your once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

And there you have it – our insider’s packing guide based on hundreds of safaris and the feedback from our thousands of happy and satisfied safari-goers.

And now we look forward to adding you to this all-important list of valued guests.

Any questions? Just contact us here for all the answers!

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Safari Packing FAQs

Preparing for your safari adventure is a crucial aspect of ensuring a memorable and comfortable journey through the wilderness of East Africa. To assist you in this process, Africa Kenya Safaris offers a comprehensive set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) dedicated to packing and preparation. Whether you’re curious about what clothing to bring or what the essential items are to pack, our FAQs provide valuable insights and guidance to help you plan and enjoy your safari to the fullest.

When it comes to preparing for your African safari, having the right clothing is essential for a comfortable and enjoyable journey through the wild landscapes of East Africa. At Africa Kenya Safaris, we understand the importance of suitable safari attire, and we’re here to guide you on where to find the perfect safari clothes for your adventure.

African Safari Clothing Essentials

Before embarking on your safari, it’s important to ensure that you have the appropriate clothing for the diverse climates and activities you’ll encounter. We recommend clothing that is lightweight, breathable, and neutral in colour to help you blend in with the surroundings. You can shop for safari clothes at outdoor and adventure stores, as well as online retailers that specialize in safari and outdoor apparel. Many brands offer clothing designed specifically for safari adventures, including moisture-wicking shirts, convertible pants, and comfortable footwear suitable for bush walks and game drives.

Popular Safari Clothing Brands

For quality safari clothing, consider reputable brands known for their durability and functionality in the wild. Brands like Craghoppers, Columbia, The North Face, and Patagonia offer a wide range of safari-appropriate clothing, including moisture-wicking shirts, convertible pants, and safari hats. Shopping at these brands ensures you have access to clothing designed for the rigors of the African bush while providing comfort and protection throughout your safari. Additionally, many outdoor stores carry a selection of safari attire, allowing you to try on clothing and find the perfect fit for your adventure.

When preparing for a safari adventure in Kenya, choosing the right clothing is paramount to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable experience in the diverse landscapes and climates of East Africa.

Neutral and Lightweight Safari Apparel

In Kenya, it’s essential to wear neutral-coloured clothing to blend in with the natural surroundings and not disturb wildlife. Opt for lightweight, breathable fabrics like cotton and linen, which will help keep you cool in the warm African sun. Long-sleeved shirts and pants are advisable to protect against the sun and potential insect bites. Additionally, consider moisture-wicking clothing, as it helps to keep you dry during game drives and bush walks.

Safari Footwear and Accessories

Comfortable closed-toe shoes or hiking boots are a must, especially for bushwalks and exploring rugged terrains. Don’t forget to pack a wide-brimmed hat or safari hat to shield yourself from the sun. Sunglasses with UV protection and sunscreen are also essential. Finally, a good pair of binoculars for wildlife viewing is a valuable addition to your safari attire. With the right clothing and accessories, you’ll be well-prepared for your Kenyan safari adventure.

For men embarking on a thrilling safari adventure in Africa, the right choice of clothing is crucial for comfort and practicality in the wild. Whether you’re tracking wildlife through the savannas or exploring the untamed beauty of Kenya, here are some key safari clothing options for men to consider.

  1. Neutral-Coloured Shirts and Trousers: Safari attire for men should include neutral-colored clothing to blend in with the natural environment and avoid disturbing wildlife. Opt for lightweight, long-sleeved shirts and comfortable trousers made from breathable materials like cotton and linen. These will keep you cool in the African heat while offering protection from the sun and insects.
  2. Moisture-Wicking Apparel: Moisture-wicking clothing is an excellent choice for men on safari. It helps keep you dry during game drives and bushwalks, making your adventure more enjoyable. Look for shirts and pants with moisture-wicking properties, which will enhance your comfort, especially in hot and humid conditions.
  3. Sturdy Footwear: Quality footwear is essential for a safari, and men should choose closed-toe shoes or hiking boots that provide comfort and support. These are ideal for exploring rugged terrains, going on bushwalks, and ensuring your feet remain protected and blister-free throughout your adventure. By selecting the right clothing and footwear, men can fully enjoy the breathtaking landscapes and wildlife of Kenya while staying comfortable and well-prepared for their safari journey.

For women embarking on an exciting safari adventure in Africa, choosing the right clothing is essential for comfort, style, and practicality in the wild. Whether you’re observing wildlife in Kenya’s savannas or enjoying the picturesque landscapes, here are some key safari clothing options for women to consider.

  1. Neutral-Coloured and Lightweight Clothing: Safari attire for women should include neutral-coloured clothing, such as khaki, beige, or olive green, to blend harmoniously with the natural surroundings and minimize disruption to wildlife. Opt for lightweight, breathable fabrics like cotton and linen to keep cool in the African heat. Long-sleeved shirts and trousers are advisable to provide protection from the sun and potential insect bites.
  2. Moisture-Wicking Apparel: Moisture-wicking clothing is an excellent choice for women on safari. It helps keep you dry during game drives and bushwalks, enhancing your overall comfort. Look for moisture-wicking shirts and pants, as they are designed to pull sweat away from the body, keeping you feeling fresh even in hot and humid conditions.
  3. Sturdy and Comfortable Footwear: Women should opt for comfortable closed-toe shoes or hiking boots that offer the necessary support for bushwalks and traversing rugged terrains. Sturdy footwear ensures your feet remain protected and blister-free during your safari adventures, allowing you to fully enjoy the beauty and wildlife of Kenya in style and comfort. By selecting the right clothing and footwear, women can experience the wonder of the African wilderness while staying comfortable and well-prepared for their safari journey.

When it comes to planning a family safari adventure in Africa, ensuring your kids are dressed appropriately is vital for their comfort and enjoyment. Safari clothing for kids should strike a balance between comfort, protection, and style. Here are some key recommendations for the best safari clothes for children:

  1. Comfortable and Lightweight Clothing: Dress your kids in comfortable and lightweight clothing made from breathable materials. Opt for neutral-colored attire to help them blend with the environment and avoid disturbing wildlife. Lightweight, long-sleeved shirts and trousers are ideal for protecting their skin from the sun and insects.
  2. Moisture-Wicking Apparel: Consider clothing with moisture-wicking properties, which are great for keeping your kids dry during game drives and outdoor activities. Moisture-wicking shirts and pants can help prevent discomfort caused by sweat, ensuring your children stay comfortable throughout the safari.
  3. Sturdy Footwear: Ensure your kids have comfortable and sturdy closed-toe shoes or hiking boots to support them during bushwalks and explorations. These will protect their feet and provide the needed grip on various terrains. By dressing your children in the right safari clothing, you can make their safari experience in Kenya enjoyable, stylish, and safe, allowing them to fully appreciate the wonders of the African wilderness.

A photo safari in Africa offers unparalleled opportunities to capture the breathtaking landscapes and incredible wildlife of this region. To ensure your photography adventure is a success, it’s essential to pack the right gear and essentials for the journey.

  1. Camera Equipment: Your camera is the heart of your photo safari. It’s recommended to bring a digital SLR or mirrorless camera with interchangeable lenses. A versatile zoom lens, such as a 70-200mm, is excellent for wildlife and portrait shots, while a wide-angle lens is ideal for capturing expansive landscapes. Don’t forget extra memory cards, batteries, a sturdy tripod, and lens cleaning equipment.
  2. Photography Accessories: Pack accessories to enhance your photography experience. These may include lens filters, a lens hood to reduce glare, a remote shutter release for long-exposure shots, and a camera backpack to keep your gear safe and accessible during game drives and excursions.
  3. Personal Essentials: Aside from photography gear, bring personal essentials like a wide-brimmed hat to shield yourself from the sun, sunglasses with UV protection, sunscreen, and insect repellent. These items will keep you comfortable and allow you to focus on capturing the beauty of East Africa. By packing the right equipment and personal essentials, you’ll be well-prepared to document the magic of Africa and return home with a collection of stunning images from your photo safari.

When preparing for your African safari adventure, one common question that arises is whether you should bring your own binoculars. At Africa Kenya Safaris, we understand the importance of enhancing your wildlife viewing experience, and we provide binoculars to our guests. However, there are some compelling reasons to consider bringing your own.

Personal Comfort and Familiarity

While we do provide binoculars, using your own set can be more comfortable and familiar. You can select binoculars that match your specific preferences, such as the right magnification and field of view. This personalization can enhance your overall experience and make wildlife observation more enjoyable.

Convenience and Flexibility

Having your own safari binoculars readily available allows you to use them whenever you wish, whether it’s during game drives, guided walks, or while relaxing at camp. You won’t need to share with others, and you can explore the surroundings at your own pace. Additionally, having your binoculars ensures you’re always prepared for a spontaneous wildlife encounter.

A Deeper Connection with Nature

Bringing your binoculars provides a deeper connection with the environment and the wildlife you encounter. You can immerse yourself in the experience, observing animals and birds up close, appreciating their behaviours, and capturing memorable moments. While we offer binoculars to our guests, bringing your own can offer a more personalized and intimate safari adventure.

When preparing for your African safari with Africa Kenya Safaris, one question often arises: “Do I need to bring a camera with a zoom lens?” The answer depends on your photography goals and preferences, but a zoom lens can be a valuable asset for capturing the stunning wildlife and landscapes of East Africa.

Capturing Wildlife Moments

East Africa is renowned for its diverse and abundant wildlife. A camera with a zoom lens allows you to capture animals in their natural habitat without disturbing them. Whether you’re photographing a distant lion in the savanna or a bird perched in a tree, a zoom lens lets you get up close and personal in your images.

Versatility in Composition

A zoom lens provides versatility in composition. With the ability to zoom in and out, you can frame your shots creatively, adjusting the focal length to suit your subject and scene. This flexibility allows you to capture a variety of shots, from close-up details to expansive landscapes, ensuring you can document the full scope of your safari experience.

Ideal for Wildlife and Scenery

For wildlife enthusiasts and landscape lovers, a zoom lens is an excellent choice. It enables you to photograph distant wildlife with clarity and also capture the breathtaking beauty of East African landscapes, from sweeping savannas to lush forests. While it’s not mandatory, a zoom lens can significantly enhance your photography experience and help you create memorable safari memories.

When preparing for your East African safari adventure with Africa Kenya Safaris, one question often arises: “Should I bring mosquito repellent?” The answer is a resounding yes. While the primary focus of your safari is wildlife and landscape photography, safeguarding your health from insect-borne diseases, such as malaria, is paramount.

Protection from Insect-Borne Diseases

Mosquitoes are prevalent in East Africa, and they can transmit diseases like malaria. Even though most safari destinations are in low-risk malaria areas, it’s crucial to take precautions. Mosquito repellent is your first line of defence against mosquito bites, reducing the risk of contracting mosquito-borne illnesses.

Peaceful Nights and Comfort

Mosquito repellent not only safeguards your health but also ensures you have a comfortable and undisturbed night’s sleep. Most game lodges and safari camps provide mosquito nets, but having additional protection in the form of repellent adds an extra layer of security, allowing you to rest peacefully without the buzz of mosquitoes.

Enjoy Your Safari to the Fullest

By bringing mosquito repellent, you’ll have the peace of mind needed to fully enjoy your safari experience. You can focus on wildlife viewing and photography without the worry of mosquito bites and potential health risks. It’s a small but crucial addition to your safari packing list that contributes to a safe and unforgettable adventure in East Africa.

When preparing for your African safari with Africa Kenya Safaris, one of the key considerations is the type of footwear to bring. The right choice of shoes can greatly impact your comfort and enjoyment during the safari experience. Here’s what you need to know about suitable footwear for an African safari.

1. Comfortable and Sturdy Shoes

Comfortable, sturdy shoes are essential for safari adventures. While most game drives and wildlife encounters are done from the safety of your safari vehicle, you’ll have opportunities for guided walks and exploring on foot. Therefore, it’s crucial to pack comfortable walking shoes or lightweight hiking boots. These shoes should provide good support, have sturdy soles, and be well broken in to prevent discomfort or blisters during your excursions.

2. Closed-Toe and Breathable Design

Opt for closed-toe footwear to protect your feet from dust, thorns, and potential insect bites. Breathable materials, like those found in hiking shoes or boots, are ideal for keeping your feet comfortable in the African heat. Sandals and open-toe shoes are generally not recommended due to the risk of injury and exposure to elements. Having the right shoes ensures you can fully enjoy guided nature walks and other on-foot experiences.

3. Multiple Pairs for Varied Activities

Consider packing more than one pair of suitable footwear. In addition to your comfortable walking shoes or hiking boots, bring a pair of casual, closed-toe shoes for relaxing at your safari camp or lodge. Having options ensures you’re prepared for different activities, from game drives to leisurely evenings. The right choice of footwear will contribute to a more comfortable and enjoyable safari adventure in East Africa.

When preparing for your African safari with Africa Kenya Safaris, it’s essential to consider the luggage restrictions and guidelines for domestic flights within Africa. These flights are a common way to access various safari destinations, and being informed about the specific requirements will ensure a seamless and stress-free journey.

Understanding Luggage Restrictions

Domestic flights in Africa often have specific luggage restrictions due to smaller aircraft and weight limitations. These restrictions typically include both weight limits and size constraints. It’s important to adhere to these guidelines to ensure the safety and comfort of all passengers on the flight. As part of your pre-safari preparations, Africa Kenya Safaris will provide you with detailed information regarding the specific luggage restrictions for your itinerary, allowing you to pack accordingly. Flexible rucksack style baggage is required rather than hard suitcase type luggage.

Packing Strategically

To make the most of your luggage allowance, it’s advisable to pack strategically. Choose lightweight, versatile clothing and limit the number of shoes you bring. Safari-friendly, neutral-coloured attire can be mixed and matched for various outfits, reducing the need for excess luggage. Packing essentials in soft-sided duffel bags or similar luggage are requested over hard-shell suitcases, as they are easier to handle and fit into aircraft storage compartments. By adhering to these guidelines and packing smartly, you can fully enjoy your safari adventure without the stress of luggage-related issues during domestic flights.

Before embarking on your safari adventure with Africa Kenya Safaris, it’s essential to be informed about any specific health considerations and vaccinations required for safaris in Kenya or Tanzania. Ensuring your health and well-being is a top priority, and understanding these factors is crucial for a safe and enjoyable journey.

Recommended Vaccinations

Certain vaccinations are recommended or required for travel to Kenya and Tanzania. One of the most common recommendations is the yellow fever vaccination. This vaccine is essential when visiting regions at risk for yellow fever transmission, and it may be required for entry into these countries. Additionally, routine vaccinations, such as measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR), diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTaP), and influenza, should be up-to-date before your safari.

Malaria Prevention

Both Kenya and Tanzania are located in malaria-endemic areas. Malaria is a mosquito-borne disease, so taking preventive measures is crucial. Consult your healthcare provider for advice on antimalarial medications and other preventative strategies. Insect repellents, long-sleeved clothing, and mosquito nets provided by accommodations also play a key role in protecting your health. By addressing these health considerations and staying up-to-date on necessary vaccinations, you’ll be well-prepared to fully enjoy your safari adventure in East Africa.

Africa Kenya Safaris understands that even the most well-prepared travellers might forget to pack something essential for their safari. It’s a common concern, and we’re here to help ensure that your experience remains enjoyable, even if you find yourself missing a critical item. Here’s what to do if you forget to pack something important for your safari adventure.

Inform Your Safari Guide

Your experienced safari guide is your go-to resource for assistance in situations like this. Inform your guide about any missing essential items. They may have access to spare supplies or be able to recommend local options for replacement. Safari guides are well-versed in the needs of travelers and can offer valuable advice and support to help you make the most of your safari, even if you’ve overlooked something vital.

Local Markets and Safari Camps

In many safari destinations, you can find local markets and safari camps that stock essential items like clothing, toiletries, and other necessities. While it’s best to arrive well-prepared, these options can serve as a safety net if you forget something crucial. Keep in mind that availability and variety may be limited, so it’s always wise to bring all your essentials. Africa Kenya Safaris is dedicated to providing you with a memorable and hassle-free safari experience, and our expert guides are there to assist you in every possible way, ensuring that you can continue to enjoy your adventure, even if you overlook an item or two.

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