Safari & Tour Clothing
While on safari comfortable, casual clothing is all you’ll need unless your itinerary includes elegant restaurants and hotels or travel on luxury trains. Laundry is widely available and most safari camps/lodges and hotels provide toiletries. The less you take with you, the better! The maximum weight on your specific safari will be noted at the top of your itinerary but please note the following guidelines. We strive to provide current and accurate information but cannot be held responsible for policy changes.
Safari clothing should be neutral or bush colored (green, brown, grey or khaki).
Bright colors and white are unsuitable for game drives or bush walks!
Black and dark blue are known to attract insects like tsetse flies (where applicable) and should be avoided.
Camouflage or military-inspired clothing is not recommended and is illegal in some African countries.
- Tennis or running shoes. If doing extended bush walks, consider a thick-soled tennis shoe or light hiking boot.
- Light casual shoe for cities & air travel.
- Sandals or flip-flops (optional)
- 4 pairs of socks Wide-brimmed sun hat (all seasons!)
- Wind-breaker or light raincoat
- A very warm jacket, pile or fleece (winter)
- Warm sweater (winter) or light sweater (summer)
- In winter, bring a warm hat, gloves & scarf!
- 2 pairs of pants: jeans, khakis or safari pants
- 2 pairs shorts
- 4 sets underwear
- 2 short-sleeved shirt
- 2 long-sleeved shirt (sun protection)
- 2 or 3 T-shirts Swim suit (especially in summer)
- Bandanna or scarf
- Ladies, depending upon itinerary, dress/skirt
- Men, depending upon itinerary, sport jacket
- Malaria pills if applicable
- Hand and body lotions, lip balm
- Insect repellent (not too much)
- Sunscreen (factor 15+)
- Small containers of hair shampoo & conditioner; however, we encourage use of biodegradable products provided by camps to preserve the fragile ecosystems you’ll be enjoying!
- Toothpaste, toothbrush & floss
- Hair brush/comb
- Electric or hand razor
- Feminine hygiene supplies
- Passport (check for sufficient blank pages & expiration date of more than 6 months after travel)
- World Health Organization immunization card
- Air tickets & vouchers
- Money belt with cash
- Credit cards
- Calculator (optional, for currency conversion)
- Sun glasses/case
- Prescription glasses/case
- Adapter/converter kit (US to UK is common)
- Flashlight (small with extra batteries)
- Sewing kit, small scissors (optional)
- Camera (with extra batteries)
- Camera bag to protect gear from dust and/or rain
- Lenses (Telephoto of 200-300 m + wide-angle)
- Lens cleaning equipment
- Memory cards (a lot!)
- Battery charger (12V or 220V for video cameras)
- For digital cameras, adapter for recharging
- Zip lock bags*
* Large-size zip lock bags are also ideal for packing clothing to keep it organized.
We strongly recommend that each traveler carries a pair of quality binoculars.
Allen Bechky, a long-time colleague and author of Sierra Club safari guides on East and Southern Africa, has these comments:
“I recommend having good binoculars for optimum viewing pleasure. I don’t like ultra-compact models but they have the advantage of small size and weight. I like mid-size but high-power, quality lenses.”
- Decent quality models start at about $300.
- Well-respected brands include: Zeiss, Nikon, Canon, Bushnell, Pentax, Swarovski, Steiner and Leica
- We recommend you consider a local retailer such as REI or a specialty camera store such as Looking Glass in Berkeley, CA where you can get personal advice from knowledgeable staff and the chance to try out binos yourself! If you don’t have access to experts near you, try a reputable camera store like B & H Photo.
Personal First Aid Kit
Bring a small kit including aspirin, antiseptic & band-aids, throat lozenges, antihistamines, other prescription medicines, etc. This should be adjusted according to your personal needs and experience.
The less you take the better! Laundry service is widely available at most safari camps and lodges free or for a small charge. Please note that, due to African cultural traditions, staff at camps and lodges may not wash “smalls’ or undergarments. Please ask about this policy on arrival.
To minimize inconvenience due to lost luggage, please pack a small bag with your essentials including any life sustaining medication, which can be carried with you as hand luggage, and pack a second bag containing non-essentials that can be loaded in the aircraft hold. If the second bag does not arrive, you will still have your essential items on hand while efforts are made to recover your baggage.
Luggage safety and security
There has been a general increase in the incident of theft of personal belongings from checked luggage. Although authorities are addressing this, it is of utmost importance that you do not put anything of value (personal or financial value) in your checked baggage as luggage can be tampered with and valuables removed. This includes, but is not limited to jewellery, cameras, video equipment, reading /sunglasses, laptops or other computer/electronic equipment, medication (especially critical medication) etc. We also strongly recommend that you lock your luggage with TSA-approved locks to deter opportunistic theft.