Comprehensive Safari Packing List & Safari Advice - for just about all safaris: Why do we spend so much time thinking through and creating our safari packing lists to ensure they are the best out there? In a sentence: we are dedicated to ensuring that you have the most incredible time on safari and packing the right safari clothing, safari luggage, safari binoculars, and all the other important safari accessories is key to this.
This is the new version of our general safari packing list and it is a list of essential safari supplies you should not leave home without. The list has been made by our safari packing list experts to ensure that you pack the correct clothing and gear for just about all types of safaris.
As a general introduction to the safari experience, most safaris start early in the morning and will be on open safari vehicles with little protection from wind and rain. Therefore, the rule of thumb is to dress in layers for all activities. For more in-depth information on what to pack for your safari and why, we recommend that you read through our safari clothing advice, safari luggage advice, safari binocular advice, and our safari accessories advice pages.
To find out what our experts have to say about each item we recommend that you pack, please simply click on "more info." We have also included accessories you may need for add-on safari activities such as gorilla safaris on this page under "other essentials to not forget," plus everything else you will need to remember to pack in your bag.
Please also read our "top tips" section for handy insider information on the guidelines for packing for a safari and visit our expert advice pages too.
This packing list calculates the total number of items you will require for the number of men, women, and children you have indicated above. Simply divide by the number of men, women, and children should you wish to work out the number of items required on a per person basis or, of course, set the number to one for each in the form above.
Please also note that if your safari is longer than 12 days - and if you will have a laundry service available on your safari - that you should only take the recommend number of items for a 12-day safari or you will run out of space in your safari luggage.
▢ Malaria prophylaxis (please check with your doctor or travel clinic)
▢ Motion sickness pills (if needed for light aircraft flights)
▢ Lip Balm
▢ Shampoo/Conditioner (most camps have these available, but you may prefer your brand of choice)
▢ Toothpaste / Toothbrush
▢ Dental Floss
▢ Hair Brush / Comb
▢ Electric / Hand Razor
▢ Emery Boards, Tweezers etc
▢ Hand & Body Lotion
▢ Ladies Hygiene Supplies
▢ Passports with any required visas
▢ Health card and Insurance details
▢ Air tickets & Vouchers
▢ Credit Card: we find that Visa is most widely accepted in Africa.
▢ Calculator (or just use your phone for conversion calculations)
▢ Money Pouch with some cash in it: we prefer to use credit cards where possible, but taking some smaller denominations of US dollars is always a good idea for tipping and any emergencies. Opt for mostly US$5, 10, 20 notes with a few $50 notes just in case. Do you not travel with large sums of money, however, and note that many countries in Africa have cash points (ATM's) where you will be able to withdraw local currency too. Again though don't overdraw as you do not want to be heading home with a wallet full of a currency you cannot use.
▢ Prescription Glasses & Case
▢ Safari reading material
▢ Super glue. In our interview with Steve Backshall, he rated this as the one thing to not leave home without.
▢ 2 to 3 months before departure
VISA: If you require a visa and want to get it beforehand, make sure that you apply for the visa as soon as possible.
PASSPORT: Check that your passport has sufficient pages as most African countries require two blank pages or more, and that your passport does not expire within 6 months. Apply for new passport if needs be.
MEDICATION: Ensure that you visit your doctor and tell him where you are going. He will then advise you on malaria prophylactics, and other injections or medication that is necessary for your trip
▢ 8 Weeks Prior to Departure
PAY: Make sure that you have settled your balance due for your holiday with your tour operator.
SAFARI SUPPLIES: This is a good time to also contact The Safari Store for advice on what to pack, and to obtain your safari essentials (as above) in good time.
RE-CONFIRM: If travelling independently, you must go through your itinerary, check that all flight times (including dates) coincide with your holiday dates, and contact all lodges, camps, hotels, transfer, private guides & car hire companies to re-confirm your holiday details
PETS, HOUSES ETC: Make sure you have made arrangements for your pets, booked a house sitter, and any other arrangements you may need to make for post, services and so forth.
▢ 4 Weeks Prior to Departure:
DEPARTURE DAY PLANNING: A smooth departure day takes 3/4 of the stress out of your holiday. Make sure that you arrange parking at the airport, start looking into taxis or trains, and book where necessary
TRAVEL MONEY: Work out what you are going to do to pay for tips, purchases, extra tours etc while travelling.Arrange cash, credit & debit cards, travellers cheques accordingly (travellers cheques tend to be a pain to use in most parts of Africa - cash and credit cards are best! Take small denominations in cash in US Dollars - US$1, 5, 10 & 20 for tips and sundry purchases)
▢ 1 to 2 Weeks Prior to Departure
PACK: If you are organised, this is a good time to start packing for your trip. Ensure that you have all the correct safari clothing and luggage from The Safari Store - and don't forget to pack the BIG 5 Essentials (first page of this list, on the right). If you require any further supplies, contact The Safari Store. Also work out what you are taking as hand luggage, and what will go into the hold.
CHECK: Check again that you have your passport with visa, correct travel documentation, travel vouchers, confirmed itinerary, tickets, etc
TELL: Tell your bank & credit card provider that you are going away so they know to expect transactions from outside your home country; Let your mobile phone company know too, and set up your preferred setting for roaming; Remind friends and family that you are going away - passing on your itinerary, with hotel/lodge/camp contact details to people involved in managing your affairs while you are away is also a good idea.
CONFIRM: Taxis, train times, pet & house sitters. This may also be a good time to check on exchange rates for the country you are going to.
▢ Departure Day
NICE & RELAXED: With the proper preparation this should be as simple as picking up your luggage and travel documents, locking the front door, jumping into your taxi, or walking to the train station, checking in and taking off. Allowing yourself sufficient time to check in at the airport is vital in reducing the stress of travel. Arrive early, rather than late!