What to pack when going on safari


Suggested Packing List

Packing doesn't have to be a chore; it can be just as much fun as a safari, especially if you have something to work from. Please find below a list of suggested items which can be used as a guideline whilst planning your trip.

Please remember summer months are Sept - Apr and winter months are May - Aug. During the winter months it can get really cold at night and in the early morning, particularly when on safari, so we would suggest that you pack accordingly.

What to bring on Safari


  • Man-made fabrics, such as MaraTech and BUGTech shirts
  • Shorts and/or skirts - really short skirts are not practical for getting in and out of game drive vehicles
  • Long trousers/slacks
  • Pyjamas - lightweight for summer and warm/thermal for winter
  • Underwear - a sports bra is recommended for games drives as the roads can be bumpy
  • Swimming costume
  • Lightweight jersey or fleece in summer
  • Light rain gear or jacket for summer months
  • Warm jersey or fleece plus anorak or parka in winter
  • More formal attire if you are staying in a city or beach region where this may be required
  • A hat that provides excellent protection is important on your travels, one that is waterproof and breathable and can be packed flat is suggested
  • For ladies a scarf is recommended. This piece of clothing takes up virtually no room and has so many uses, from dressing up a boring travel outfit, to providing warmth in chilly locales to protecting your hair from dirt and dust


  • Hiking/comfortable socks
  • Comfortable footwear is essential, with trainers, flip-flops and sandals advised if you will only be engaging in game drives and the occasional walk
  • For walking safaris sturdier footwear is required, as such closed walking/ safari boots are strongly recommended

Essential Documents

  • Tickets for flights
  • A passport that is valid for at least 6 months
  • The required visa for the country/s you are visiting
  • Foreign currency and credit cards
  • Travel insurance
  • Emergency contact details and phone number
  • Additional form of ID in case of passport loss
  • Maps

Expert Tips

  • Place some of your clothing in your hand luggage as a failsafe in case any of your luggage is lost
  • A suitcase is easily parted from its luggage label. Always put a second one, with details of your flight and destination, inside
  • While it's fine to wear cotton on safari the material retains around 20% of your body sweat, whereas if you spend a little extra, the manmade MaraTech fabric holds only 4%
  • Fancy cameras are far from a necessity; an iPhone can work just as well and saves lots of room. Certain apps can be used to enhance your pictures and you can store reference books through apps too
  • Wearing camouflage gear is a bad idea and is actually illegal in many African countries, black, white and blue are also ill-advised
  • Classic safari colours such as khaki are ideal to wear

Must Haves

  • Good quality sunglasses, UV protected,preferably polarized
  • Camera equipment including spare batteries, chargers, film, flash cards, memory sticks,cards and a cleaning kit for lenses
  • Waterproof/dustproof bags or cover for your camera
  • Good Torch (consider spare batteries)
  • Binoculars - we recommend that you bring your own pair for viewing both wildlife and birds. 8x40 and 10x42 are the recommended general purpose binocular specifications. Night vision binoculars are not essential but highly recommended if you your safari includes night activities
  • Pen for signing any documentation or for personal use
  • The correct plug adapter for the country you are travelling to


  • Malaria tablets (if applicable)
  • Basic medical kit: aspirins, plasters, Imodium, antiseptic cream, antihistamine cream and tablets and anti-nausea tablets etc
  • Insect repellent


  • Small hold-all bag to use on game drive, handy if you wish to take your personal belongings, passport etc, along with you
  • Money belt
  • A deck of cards for any long hours spent travelling
  • Mini-sewing kit

Please note

While on safari, transfers between camps and lodges are usually facilitated by chartered flights in light aircraft. These flights often practice strict baggage restrictions. To ensure seamless boarding and departure adhering to the plane's baggage limitations is strongly advised. Bags with wheels and a frame or hard base will not be accepted on these flights.

The majority of chartered flights will only approve of soft-sided duffel bags. Please note that on some light aircraft transfers there are luggage restrictions of between 15kg (33lbs) and 20kg (44lbs) (in a soft bag with no wheels or frame). Please ensure you have all the details according to your itinerary to avoid leaving luggage behind or having to buy new.

What to bring on Safari

Recommended Safari Field Guide

To help prepare you for your safari adventure here is a selection of our recommended guide books:

Southern Africa

  • Field Guide to Mammals of Southern Africa - Chris and Tilde Stuart
  • Roberts' Bird Guide - Hugh Chittenden
  • Sasol Birds of Southern Africa -Ian Sinclair, Phil Hockey and Warwick Tarboton
  • The Wildlife of Southern Africa - A Field guide to the animals and plants of the region - Vincent Carruthers
  • A Field Guide to the Tracks and Signs of Southern and East African Wildlife - Chris Stuart, Tilde Stuart

East Africa

  • The Kingdon Field Guide to African Mammals - Jonathan Kingdon
  • East African Wildlife (Bradt Travel Guide) - Philip Briggs
  • The Safari Companion - Richard D. Estes
  • Birds of East Africa: Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda - Terry Stevenson
  • A Field Guide to the Tracks and Signs of Southern and East African Wildlife - Chris Stuart, Tilde Stuart


  • Africa's Top Wildlife Countries - Mark Nolting
  • Field Guide to African Wildlife (National Audubon Society) - Peter Alden, Richard D. Estes, Duane Schlitter, Bunny McBride
  • Field Guide to the Larger Mammals of Africa - Chris and Tilde Stuart
  • Bradt Travel Guides (for individual countries)Fodor's African

We asked safari clothing expert Steve Adams his top tips for what to wear on safari. Read all about it here