What To Pack


Panic! What to pack!

Do I need a dictionary or will someone speak English?
Do I have to wear camouflage-gear? What about malaria?

Don’t panic! Here’s the Good Safari Guide low-down on what you’ll find in our suitcase.


Pretty much everywhere we recommend will offer you the chance of doing laundry, so don’t feel you have to pack enough for your whole trip.

Equally, it’s useful to take a little bar of laundry soap so that you can freshen up a t-shirt if you need to.

And most importantly, if you are flying into the bush in a little plane, you will only be permitted 15kg of luggage in a soft holdall so you simply can’t take everything on your trip.

The long-sleeved tops are to protect from insects and from the sun. Choose light colours to repel insects and the sun. The beanie is useful on early morning game-drives or late evening al fresco dining.

Jewelry and high heels are totally inappropriate on safari, but you may find that people like to dress up a little in the evening for dinner at some lodges, although it’s not expected.

Safari Packing List Essentials

5 x t-shirts/light cotton tops, including some long-sleeved.
2 x shorts
2 x light cotton trousers
2 x jumper/jersey
5 x underwear
5 x socks
1 x pyjamas
1 x sun hat
1 x wooly hat/beanie
1 x waterproof anorak
1 x sarong/wrap/kikoi
1 x swim-wear
1 x sunglasses
1 x sturdy walking shoes
1 x sandals/flip flops

Good lodges will not require you to bring your own soap, shampoo, body cream, hair dryer or towel, and may even give you your own water bottle so that you lower your carbon footprint.


Safari Equipment To Pack

  • Camera
  • Waterproof and dustproof bag for your camera
  • Charging paraphernalia including adapters
  • Spare batteries
  • Telephoto lens if you can!
  • Binoculars – the more expensive, the better
  • A flora/fauna guide book
  • Malaria pills
  • Sunblock and mosquito repellant
  • Basic antibiotic in case of minor infections in the bush
  • Headtorch – not necessary but could be useful where you don’t have 24hr electricity

Safari Packing Mistakes to Avoid

1: What to pack where?

The mistake most people make is packing everything in the same case. Things do go missing, so make sure to pack copies of your passport, driver’s license and credit cards separately from the originals.

2: Doubling up

Make sure to bring spares of anything you can’t do without: 2 x pairs of prescription glasses; 2 x any prescribed medication.

Keep them separate so that if anything happens (breakages, sun/heat/water damage) you have the spare.

3: Timings for medications

Don’t leave it too late to get injections/ malaria pills. Some malaria pills need to be taken 2 weeks before travel, and some jabs need to be given 2 weeks or more before travel.

4: Suitcase woes

You need to pack in soft holdall and restrict your luggage to 15kg if you are flying into the bush. Most flights into the bush will be in a little plane such as a Cessna, which can’t fit a big suitcase in the hold which has a small opening. We regularly see poor people having to unpack at little airports across Africa, sorting which bits they are able to fit into the soft bag that they have to use, leaving their big case with the airline (if they’ll have it!!).

5: Copies of documents

Make sure you have copies of your credit cards, passport, and your insurance details including emergency contacts.

This is most of a shock for UK people who are used to being treated instantly in an emergency, no questions asked.

In Africa if you can’t show that you are insured or have means of paying, you won’t be looked after. Keep your insurance details handy and obvious.

6: Children’s unabridged birth certificates

We thought that original birth certificates were unabridged – it turns out they’re not!

Check your children’s birth certificates show parent details and if they don’t, you need to buy the unabridged versions for travel to some countries in Africa (check for the latest advice but at the time of press this included South Africa and Zambia).

And as an extra note, definitely don’t wear camouflage: not only is it a crime against fashion, it’s actually a crime in many countries unless you happen to be in the army.