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The Safari Packing Guide

How to pack for an African safari is the big question that our agents receive the most when it comes to preparing for this trip of a lifetime. You get a lot dustier than you may expect because of the roads and, you may be surprised to know that you’ll be quite chilly on the early morning game drives.

We may love luxury, but when you’re in the bush there’s just some things that can’t be “luxified” so here we have our best tips and tricks to packing for your next Safari. We’ve put together a little packing list to help you figure out what to take, and what to leave behind, and leave room for a few curios.

First, and foremost, THE BAG!

An exercise in the art of traveling light

If you are flying between camps, the typical baggage specs are soft (all-sides) luggage/duffel bags with no rigid sides (flexible bags being made of pliable material such as cotton or canvas are best) with maximum luggage weight of 20kg/44lbs (in the hold) and lastly, a maximum luggage size of 40cm (16 inches) wide x 30cm (12 inches) high x 60cm (24 inches) long.

The best thing to bring for this is a soft side medium-sized duffel bag and a small carry-on for any extras. If you’re staying in a city before and after your safari, or indeed, headed to the beach, we recommend that you store your larger luggage at the airport while you’re in the bush. Also, keep in mind that most camps and lodges offer laundry service. Check with your SmartFlyer agent before you go on laundry and storage services.

You can find our team’s go-to bags here: here, here, and here.

What to Pack

For Ladies & Gents: Dressing for Your Safari

Safaris are generally casual affairs, even at the high-end camps, so leave the sparkles at home, and make sure that you will be warm and comfortable by packing layers and great basics.

It will be chilly in the early morning when you start your game drive, so you’ll need to layer up and bring a fleece. At night, there will usually be a campfire to keep you warm, but you’ll want to wear long sleeves and trousers to cover yourself up and avoid those pesky mosquitoes.

To get you started, here’s our list for the must-have/must-bring for when our team head out on safaris. The lists below should cover all the basics from top to bottom:

  1. long sleeved tops
  2. sweatshirt/fleece/versatile jacket
  3. thin waterproof raincoat if traveling during the wet season
  4. comfortable shorts
  5. cotton trousers/pants
  6. denim for the cooler months
  7. flannel pajama pants for the chilly nights
  8. swimsuit (you never know when you will need one!)
  9. sunglasses and light scarf
  10. socks, under garments & sport bras for the ladies!
  11. wide-brimmed hat/baseball caps for sun protection
  12. walking shoes/boots

Pack For a Purpose

Community Initiatives

There are some safari camps and lodges that support local community initiatives in and around the wildlife parks, reserves and concession areas. Please ask if you can bring any school supplies, medical supplies, clothing or other light objects that will help these projects. However, because bringing outside commodities can get complicated, many safari camps are just as happy to receive a donation.

Gadgets and Gizmos

For Your Memories

If you are serious about your camera, we recommend renting your gear so you won’t have to drag them around between camps. Don’t forget to bring memory card for your camera + extra ones, because you’ll take more video and photos than you ever thought possible.

If you are more about iPhoneography (yes, this is a thing!), than forget the big professional grade cameras, don’t forget to bring a battery pack, so you can be sure to charge on the go.

Visual Examples

Because it’s easier to show then tell

At the end of the day, it’s much easier for us to show you what our agents choose to pack and wear when they are on their own African safaris.

Image Credits:

cover, 1/2/3, 6 via Lila Fox
2, 10 via Claire Eastwood
7 via Jean Pickard
9 via Erina Pindar
8 via Katie Frederick

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