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What to pack when going on safari: the little things you might have missed

When going on safari, you want to bring the right things to be prepared for your time in the bush, but you don’t want to pack too much either. Thus, what to pack when going on safari is a crucial question. Because a safari is not like any other trip, we compiled a list of things you should not forget to pack when venturing into the wild.

Binoculars and camera: Get ready to observe

Your travels are all about seeing things, so do yourself a favour and pack some binoculars when going on safari. Even if you have eagle eyes, binoculars will make your game drives so much more exciting. These small devices are incredibly helpful to spot animals and enable you to closely inspect nature and wildlife. To make sure your friends at home believe the thrilling stories you tell them, don’t forget to pack your camera when going on safari. You will want to capture the moment when the elephant herd that doesn’t follow priority rules crosses the street right in front of you. You can charge your battery packs at your accommodation or in your safari vehicle.

A man looking through binoculars on a game drive


Baseball cap or hat: Protect yourself from the African sun

Whether you go to Tanzania or Kenya, to Namibia or South Africa – the sun can be very strong and stressful on your skin. There is one body part that is particularly at risk that many of us forget: Our heads. Getting a sunburn on your hairline or even your whole head is not very nice. Bring a baseball cap or hat, something that sits tightly on your head, to protect your scalp from the harsh sun and to keep dust out of your hair while on safari. When thinking about what to pack when going on safari, a cap or hat is a definite must.

A man wearing a backpack and cap sitting on a rock in Namibia


Headlamp: Seeing in the dark while being hands-free

Headlamps are admittedly not the most glamorous fashion accessory, and you might end up looking a bit like a miner. But when contemplating what to pack when going on safari, headlamps should definitely be on your list. These lamps are incredibly useful: Being able to see in the dark while having your hands free is a big advantage, especially on camping safaris. On the equator, the sun sets early around 7pm – using your headlamp you can still read a book, play cards or rummage in your rucksack while it’s dark outside.

Tents on a campsite on a safari in Samburu National Reserve


A good book and a travel diary: Introspection and reflection

You will have some downtime while on safari, so remember to pack a good book that you can read in a shady spot under some trees. The experience of reading a book can be very different depending on which setting you find yourself in – just imagine reading Karen Blixen’s “Out of Africa” while being in the Kenyan bush. If you want to learn as much as possible about nature and wildlife, consider packing a guide on flora and fauna when going on safari.

What else to pack when going on safari? A travel diary! It might sound old-school, or even remind you of your teenage years, but trust us: You will experience so many things in such a short amount of time that writing them down is a great way to reflect on your time in the bush. Moreover, it will help you remember all these beautiful little details of your safari experience. Writing a diary is a great way to reflect on the new things you are learning and the new world you are discovering. Or maybe you want to soak up as much of your guide’s specialized knowledge as you can? Then, pen and paper are your friends.


What not to pack when going on safari

A safari is not a fashion runway and there is no need to bring your fanciest clothes. When going on safari, above all your clothing should be functional and comfortable. Remember that you will spend many hours in your safari vehicle, so bring your most comfy sitting-down-pants. Please don’t pack any camouflage clothes for your safari. While this might seem like a great idea to camouflage yourself from animals, dressing up as military personnel may cause problems with the local government.

Simply choose clothes in neutral tones, made of light fabric. Pack clothes that you can layer and don’t forget long-sleeved shirts and long pants to protect yourself from mosquitoes at night. The ladies might want to pack a good support bra when going on safari, as some game drives can be a little rough.

Also, remember not to bring too many things. While international flights have a high luggage allowance, space in the safari vehicles is limited. Always bring a soft bag, not a hard-shell suitcase. Suitcases can’t be stored in the safari vehicles as space is very limited.

A softshell bag and backpack as luggage on a safari

When you book a safari with us, you will receive a complete list of what to bring, depending on the country you travel to.

Need more help with what to pack when going on safari? Our experienced travel experts are happy to help you plan the details of your travels. Contact us for more information.

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Author: Johanna Höß

Johanna Hoess | Travel Writer Africa-Experience

Born in Germany, Johanna studied Media in Mainz before she visited South Africa for the first time in 2016. One year later, she relocated to Cape Town and has made it her mission to spread her love for Africa. Johanna writes in German and English. Besides writing, she is also passionate about photography. She has always been intrigued by travelling and is constantly looking for the next adventure.

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