Packing Up for a Safari to Africa
This packing list presents several great ideas for things you should bring on a trip to Africa. If you’ve got a trip booked with Expedition Wild, you can check your materials for the best list of ideas of things to bring on your adventure, along with packing lists based specifically on the time of year. You’ll get these materials and lists a few months before your adventure is scheduled.
Things Specific to Your Trip
You might want to bring a backpack or other carrier that is resistant to water for carrying your photography equipment and other essentials while on our nature tours and other activities.
It is a good idea (but not a requirement) that you don’t wear brighter colored clothes while on safari, as it can scare the wildlife. Army camouflage is forbidden in some countries, but wearing khaki is okay.
You should try not to bring too many things, like radios, blow dryers, or a whole lot of clothes. The goal of these adventures is to be easy going and casual, and your best bet is keeping your luggage packed with just the essentials.
Best Ways to Dress By Time of Year
April to September: It’s not always warm just because you’re in Africa. In this time, you should probably dress in layers. Things like fleece pullovers, jackets, gloves, and hats will be your best friends in the African night. You won’t have to worry with these items during the day, however, as the weather heats up.
September to November: This time can be some of the warmest in Africa. Later in October is typically the warmest period of the whole year, and it is no surprise to see temperatures climb as high as 100 degrees. You should bring light jackets or hoodies for the nighttime in these months, and plenty of shorts and short sleeved shirts or zip off pants for the daytime adventures.
November to April: This is considered the “green period” in Africa. Lightweight and quick drying clothes are preferable here. Raincoats are also recommended, as there is always the chance of rain in the area.
From the perspective of culture in Africa, short sleeved shirts and sleeveless articles of clothing are fine for women wear on safari to Africa.
If we are going to national parks in Zambia or other parts of Zimbabwe (besides Victoria Falls), it is advisable to not wear any shade of blue or black. These colors actually attract flies.
You should always check the weather forecast on the web from a trusted weather source so you can always be ready for any off-season weather on our trip. You can always change your packing based on the weather forecast. We also highly recommend that you bring clothes that are easy to layer up, so you can stay comfy during the day as temperatures rise.
You’ll want lightweight and breathable windproof jackets or hoodies. This is really only necessary in the months of April to September. You might also consider bringing a few sweaters or other warm pullovers, as winters in the area can reach freezing temperatures in the nights and early points in the mornings. This is one reason we recommend layers.
You might also want to bring a light down sweater or jacket. This is only necessary between the months of June and early September. You should also consider bringing gloves and warm hats for the nighttime and early morning air, which can still be quite chilly in these months.
Bring a lightweight and breathable rain jacket or cheap poncho. This is really only needed during the green season. In Africa, the green season is late November through early April.
When it comes to shoes, you will want a good, light pair of hiking or walking shoes. You might also consider bringing an extra pair of footwear, just in case. You might want a pair of second shoes for the colder wildlife drives, and sandals could come in handy at camp. You could do without sandals completely if you wanted to save some extra room in your packs.
You’ll want to bring some short sleeved T-shirts and maybe a long sleeved shirt or two for wildlife drives to protect your arms from the sun and for those possible cool feeling mornings with the jeeps wind
You should also think about bringing swimming trunks or your bathing suit. This is because some of the camps we visit have swimming pools guests can take advantage of.
You’ll want to bring a bandana or lightweight scarf as well. This is recommended because of our wildlife drives, and will help keep dust off of your face and out of your mouth. You can also think about bringing some silk or thermal underclothing to help stay warm while sleeping at night, though this is only really necessary in the months between June and September. Certain cool scarves (like EnduraCool) are recommended as well.
You can bring money for personal expenses (along with envelopes for discretion) if you so choose. You can also use your cash for anything not included in your trip expense, like if you want souvenirs or need to pay for any food or beverage items that weren’t included in the cost of your trip.
You will want to bring some binoculars for your trip. Binoculars are a must on these adventures. We recommend each guest bring their own personal binoculars (because we will be using them quite constantly on our nature tours). Binoculars will greatly enhance your viewing experience and give you something to enjoy. You can practice getting a feel for them before your adventure, and make sure you always have them with you so you’ll always have yours handy on the trip!
Reusable water bottles can be one of your best friends on our adventures. We will provide plenty of water for you throughout our trip, as well as provide you with a reusable water bottle. This way, we do our part to lessen our impact on the environment by not using a whole bunch of plastic bottles. Disposable bottles are not recycled in this country the way they are in the United States.
Insect repellent may be something else you might want to bring with you. There typically aren’t many mosquitoes during the drier times of year, but there is usually a good chance of seeing them, so it is better to have repellent and not need it than to need it and not have it.
You also will want to bring a hat and sunglasses to help protect your eyes from the sun. You can also bring a headlamp or flashlight if you’d like, along with some batteries. You never know when we may experience a power outage.
You can also bring your toiletry items (shampoo, deodorant, soap, lotion, etc.) from home if you’d like. This isn’t a must, however, as most lodging accommodations provide some toiletry items for guests. If you do bring your own, use small travel bottles.
Bring your prescriptions and medicines and over the counter medications if necessary. It never hurts to have something around for headaches and upset stomachs. Please remember that if you are on your way to Zambia, don’t bring anything containing diphenhydramine (such as Benadryl) as this is considered a controlled substance in the country.
A few other handy items for your adventure will be reusable waterproof bags. These can come in handy to protect camera equipment and store dirty clothes in. You can bring hiking poles if you want, as well. You’ll want to make sure they fit inside checked luggage, however, because you probably won’t be allowed to bring them onto the plane.