Be Prepared for Your Safari Through Africa
So you’ve booked your safari trip but now you don’t know what to expect or what exactly is needed during your safari. There’s no need to panic, we’re here to help you out. From what to wear to important documents, you’re guaranteed to be prepared for your safari.
Top 10 Things to Pack for Your Safari
1. Important Documents
Going somewhere unfamiliar usually requires any form of identification. Ensuring you have the right documents with you wherever you go, will usually ensure you have easy travels. Below are a few items essential for any safari or overland trip:
Having a valid passport is crucial when travelling to wild Africa. Ensure you have enough space in your passport for stamps—two pages are bound to be enough.
Make sure you keep your passport safe as it’s your main form of identification.
Travel insurance will cover you against risks such as stolen luggage, medical costs, and cancellation cover—you’ll never know when you’ll become sick.
Certain African countries require a visa to enter. Make sure you apply for your visa early as it can sometimes take months to obtain.
2. Health Precautions & Medication
You’re not just visiting a country to expose yourself to its wildlife or culture, you’re also exposing yourself to new health risks. Taking health precautions before your safari is a must.
Make sure you visit your doctor at least two months prior to your departure. The doctor will make sure you’re up to date with all your vaccinations and inform you of what medications you might need for your trip. When on your safari, make sure you have a copy of all your vaccinations.
Depending on the area you’re visiting, make sure you have malaria pills on hand. If you easily get car sick (all those rides over sand dunes in Namibia), ensuring you have medication will help prevent a soiled trip. Other meds which could come in handy for headaches, insect bites, diarrhoea, heartburn, sore throat, etc. will help ensure you enjoy your trip at all times.
Having your prescription meds on hand—think hand luggage or handbag—is crucial. Make sure you have enough to last your entire trip to Africa.
First Aid Kit
Accidents happen all the time so make sure you’re prepared by packing a first aid kit. Make sure you have some bandaids, disinfectants, etc. in your kit.
Sure, separating yourself from the rest of the world seems like a great idea of a relaxing trip, but ensure you have communication devices on hand in case of emergencies.
Although Africa has cell service and Internet available, your smartphone might not work without some additional services. Make sure you chat with your service provider about international phones and service plans.
Get a prepaid phone with an international SIM to phone to family or friends back home.
4. Protect Your Eyes
With clear blue skies and warm sunshine, you’ll be needing to protect your eyes from the sun’s harsh rays. Pack those sunglasses!
If you wear prescription glasses, make sure you pack more than one—in case a pair breaks or gets lost.
Who wants to go on a safari without taking at least a million photos?
Camera & Camera Equipment
Some people like to have the best camera to take the best pictures, but taking a smaller (and maybe a bit less expensive) camera is essential to complete any safari trip. The lion dozing off under a tree isn’t going to take its own picture, right?
Sure, taking pictures with your smartphone is good enough for most people, but using at least a 200 mm lens, will ensure you have photographer of the year worthy photos. Also, ensure you pack enough memory cards and have extra batteries with you. Another unforgettable item? A tripod. Safaris are full of gorgeous landscapes and animals drinking at waterholes where you’ll need a steady hand.
Bird watching anyone? To get an even closer look at the wildlife roaming Africa, you’ll need a pair of binoculars. A good option would be one with 8x to 10x magnification.
Take loads of pictures
Take as many pictures as you possibly can, you can always delete the ones you don’t like. Rather have too many than not enough.
Probably the most important piece for your safari—clothes. What do you even pack on a safari? Do you wear all-brown or khaki? Do you pack fancy clothes as well? All these questions we’ll help answer for you…
Before you start throwing your closet into your luggage, think about weight restrictions. Most international airlines have luggage restrictions around 20 to 30 kilograms (55 lbs). This weight differs if you’re travelling in any light aircraft. These smaller aeroplanes have a restriction of about 12 to 15 kilograms.
Most safari camps have a laundry service in place allowing you to wash your clothes and avoid packing a new outfit for each and every day.
Make sure you ask your safari guides or agents.
Make sure you pack loads of comfortable, casual clothes for your trip. There will be lots of walking (maybe even climbing) throughout the trip.
The best safari-wear options are practical and casual—select neutral or non-bright clothing. Some great options are shirts with ventilations, pants that convert to shorts, and quick-drying fabrics.
Hiking boots are essential.
Layering is key
Layering your outfits is another wise thought since day and night temperatures can vary. As the day gets warmer, you can peel off a layer of clothing and when it gets colder, just add that layer back.
Some must-have clothing to have in your luggage:
- Safari trousers
- Warm jacket
- T-shirts – long and short sleeves and those with collars.
- Comfy hiking/walking shoes or boots with comfortable socks
- Swimsuit – there are loads of rivers, dams, and other water areas in Africa
- Elegant but casual outfit for dinner at a hotel
- Sports sandals
Colours & Material
As discussed above, non-bright and neutral colours are best to wear on a safari. Bright colours stand out and are not always the best when going on a walking safari.
Cotton is a great material as it’s extremely comfortable. Quick-drying materials are also a great fit as you can easily get wet on your safari trip.
7. Check the Weather
Weather in Africa can sometimes be extremely unpredictable but checking weather beforehand will be a massive benefit. Check online or ask your safari agents about the weather.
Basic electronics needed on a safari are as follows:
- Smartphone and its charger
- Some form of device for listening to music, i.e.
- iPod and its charger
- Laptop or tablet and its chargers
There isn’t a standard electrical adapter to use in Africa so doing research in advance will ensure you keep your electrical devices charged.
Some popular plugs:
- South Africa and Namibia – type D/M
- Zimbabwe, Tanzania, and Botswana – type D or G
- Uganda and Kenya – type G
Try and restrict yourself to one hand luggage when travelling. You don’t want to carry too much baggage with you.
If you have a camera bag, make sure you have space for travel documents, some medication, binoculars, some clothes, etc.
Keep Luggage Secure
If your suitcases don’t have locks of their own, consider using combination locks or zip ties to keep them secure. Tampering with luggage at airports are a daily thing and losing items before or after a trip is on nobody’s agenda.
10. Odds & Ends
A few odds and ends to pack include:
- Flashlight (torch) or headlight—driving at night or sometimes just walking to your outside bathroom can make a flashlight come in handy.
- Book—Sometimes sitting at an airport is an occurrence when travelling anywhere
- Travel diary/journal. A journal will make sure you remember every detail about your safari trip.
- Africa is full of pesky mosquitoes, so make sure you pack repellent to help keep them at bay.
- Because some locations in Africa can have dry heat, packing lip balm will help keep your lips from cracking.
So we’ve helped you out with some essentials you’ll need on your safari through Africa but now we’d like to inform you of some safari don’ts.
This is a trip full of dirt roads, nature, and camping so don’t bring along your expensive jewellery. Keep it minimal by wearing inexpensive jewellery or none at all. Some couples substitute their wedding bands for the trip with wooden or other inexpensive rings.
We know you want to dress according to the theme, aka bushveld. Don’t wear camouflage clothing. Many African authorities disapprove or forbid camo attire as it’s often considered military.
Some Tips to Keep in Mind During Your Safari
Obey the Rules
If foreign people were to visit your country, you’d want them to obey the rules you have there, right? Same goes to you and all other travellers. Stick to the rules of the safari and the location you are in.
Remain in the truck at all times when exploring wildlife. You’re exploring wildlife territory and the animals know it better than you. Sometimes you won’t see them until it’s too late.
Don’t get too close to the elephants, try not to make any loud noises, and keep your hands and other items (i.e. camera) inside the vehicle, especially near the bigger cats.
Ask to Stop if Needed
There’s no rule saying you can’t ask to stop the vehicle, especially if you’d like to take a quick photo. Remember, this is your safari and we want you to have the best experience!
We’re not talking about doing a split for the safari group—though it would be pretty cool. We mean that any trip can be unpredictable, therefore you must be flexible with changes. It can be warm and very cold in Africa so have appropriate clothing. Some rides you’ll see nothing and others you’ll see a lot.
We hope these tips helped you mentally and physically prepare for your African safari. Although it might seem like a lot to remember, once you sorted out all the nitty-gritty parts, you’re guaranteed a wonderful, unforgettable safari experience!
Would You Like to Go on a Safari in Africa?
Africa Travel Co. offers diverse safari tour packages that fit any and everyone. Get in touch to start your wildest African safari experience.