Things you should know before you go for Safaris
Safaris are extremely informal vacations and the main goal is to pack lightly and smartly. Most lodges and camps will launder your clothes for free or a small fee ($2 -
There is little or no opportunity for fashion while on safari though you may wish to bring a nice outfit for a special dinner. All the lodges allow casual clothing and traditional safari wear while dining. There is a large temperature range each day and it is recommended to wear layers enabling you to adjust to the varying temperatures. It can be quite cold on early morning game drives and long pants and a warm sweater are needed. In contrast, shorts and t-
Dark colors do tend to attract unwanted attention from certain insects. The tsetse fly (active only during the day) is attracted to dark colors (primarily dark blue) so these should be avoided when game driving. Tsetse areas including the woodlands of the West Serengeti, Tarangire and a few parts of the North Serengeti. The plains of the south and east Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater and the southern areas of the Central Serengeti are tsetse fly free. It is recommended to wear long pants and shirts when game driving an area known for concentrations of tsetse flies. Lighter and more natural colors such as khaki, brown, beige, olive and green should be worn during the day. During the nights, the color of your clothing is irrelevant. From dusk to dawn, it is recommended that you protect yourself from mosquitoes by wearing pants, long sleeved shirts, socks and shoes plus insect repellant.
Please see below for a recommended African safari packing list:
• One pair of comfortable walking shoes (i.e. sneakers, cross training or light hiking shoes)
• One pair of sandals or flip-
• Casual, comfortable and loose fitting clothing in khaki, brown, beige, green and olive colors made of natural fabrics such as cotton
• Light long pants or convertible long-
• One warm fleece or sweater
• One Swimsuit
• Cotton socks and underwear
• Hat and bandana
• Heavy sweater, warm gloves, knit hat and scarf for the cold season (June – August)
• Optional: lightweight jacket or windbreaker
• Passport, plane tickets, safari itinerary and emergency contact document
• U.S. dollars in large and small denominations and credit cards
• Small flashlight
• Sunscreen and lip balm
• Insect repellant
• Contact lens solution, spare glasses and extra contact lenses, if applicable
• Waterless anti-
• Camera, plenty of film, extra batteries and charger, if applicable
• UK plug adapter and transformer/voltage converter, if applicable
• Small battery operated alarm clock or watch
• Playing cards, small games and reading material
• Journal or notebook for recording daily observations and pens
• Snacks – nutrition bars, nuts, candy, etc.
• Zip lock bags for toiletries, camera equipment, snacks, etc. and small trash bags
• Personal toiletries (all rooms at each lodge/camp have soap though some may not have shampoo)
• Small medical kit including aspirin, antimalarial pills, cold and allergy medicine, cream for itches and rashes (i.e. Benadryl itch relief stick), band-
• Small battery operated hand-
Most internal Tanzania flights have a baggage restriction of 33 pounds per person. Excess luggage is charged at $2 per pound if it can be accommodated on the flight. We recommend packing light as no formal clothes are needed and laundry services are available at most lodges and camps either free of charge or for a small fee ($2 -
IMPORTANT: Please note that delayed or lost checked luggage is common on international air carriers (i.e. KLM and British Airways) arriving into Kilimanjaro, Nairobi or Dar es Salaam. Accordingly, it is recommended that you carry-
Plastic bag. Remember, you are flying to a remote location where it may be impossible to purchase such items in the event your luggage is lost or delayed. As you pack, ask yourself “would my trip be ruined if I did not have this item?” If the answer is yes, pack it in your carry-
Please read below an excerpt from KLM Airlines regarding carry-
‘When luggage is carried on-
Recently KLM Airlines has become more aggressive in enforcing weight and size limits with regards to carry-
As an extra precaution, we recommend that you include a plastic bag or similar in one piece of your carry-
We have had clients in the past who were concerned about losing checked luggage express interest in mailing items to Arusha ahead of time. Although it is 'possible' to try and mail some items to Arusha ahead of time, we would not generally recommend it. It would likely be rather expensive and the mail service in Africa is extremely unreliable (much more so than the airlines!)
Please keep all critical items and valuables in your carry-
Please note that you may leave extra suitcases at our office in Arusha upon arrival and we can redeliver to your after your safari. This is particularly useful for those individuals combining their safari with vacations in Europe or other destinations where the clothing requirements and climates are different (especially in the winter). We can securely store all non-
Some guests prefer packing two different suitcases with one to take on the safari and a second one for Europe or other destinations.
Note: This is applicable for Zanzibar only. If you are traveling to Zanzibar, please ensure that you dress modestly when not at the beach or at the beach resorts. When away from the beach and beach resorts, women should not wear sleeveless tops and short skirts (pants or at least knee-
Many people will bring a lightweight rolling duffle bag, since it has reasonable capacity but the bag itself doesn't weigh much, so you can allocate your weight allowance to the actual contents of your bag rather than the bag itself; you may recall each person is allowed 33lbs of luggage on the small plane flight to the Serengeti/Zanzibar. Either that, or just a lightweight bag will do.
Some manufacturers to consider: Skyway; Tutto; Travelpro; Samsonite; Atlantic, Briggs & Riley; Eagle Creek; Swiss Army; Jourdan; JanSport; American Tourister; High Sierra; Traveler's Choice; Tumi; Atlantic; Andiamo. A simple approach is to go to Google.com (or your favorite search engine) and type in the search window what you are looking for, i.e. "lightweight luggage" for selection from many sources. To help aid you at the airport to identify your checked luggage, remember that colorful tags or baggage straps are still the best way to spot your bag!
What to wear (and what not to wear) for your safari:
Colour is Key when packing for Africa:
The worst possible colours to pack on safari are white and black. Neutrally toned colours are the order of the day. The aim of any safari is to blend in as much as possible, so that you do not disturb the wildlife you are viewing. This ensures that you are able to watch animals behaving naturally, and not running away from you (or towards you, which is certainly not ideal!). White is the most conspicuous colour on safari, and you will be seen from a mile away.
This is most true while walking, an activity we highly recommend! White clothing should be avoided as it stands out against the muted browns and green tones of Africa. Please also do not pack safari clothing that is blue or black in colour, especially if you are going to an area with tsetse flies. These flies are the equivalent of tiny fighter jets, and deliver a very painful sting. The traps used to attract and catch tsetse flies are blue and black and you do not want to become a mobile tsetse fly trap. The ideal colours for safari travel include Olive, Stone, Khaki, Mushroom, and Acacia. For the majority of African countries please do not pack camouflage safari clothing as camouflage clothing is illegal attire for civilians, and this law is strictly enforced.
Some travellers have asked why colour is such an issue, when African tribesmen (for example the Masaai) wear bright colours in the bush. The answer is simple -
All the safari clothing stocked by The Safari Store is neutral in colour, and based on the ideal colours for safari travel: Olive, Stone, Khaki, Mushroom, and Acacia.
Cotton versus Manmade Fabrics:
Manmade fabrics today are as far removed from the heavy Nylon clothing of yesteryear, as computers are from typewriters! In a nutshell clothing made from manmade/technical fabrics, usually 100% Polyamide, are without doubt the best for modern travellers to Africa. Cotton shirts used to be the ideal shirts for safaris, about 10 to 15 years ago. Since then, an incredible amount of research and hard work has gone into producing superior technical fabrics -
These fabrics are:
1) Lightweight, yet incredibly strong often with a built in weave called RipStop;
2) Much cooler than cotton to wear, and wick moisture away from the skin;
3) Easier to wash and wear repeatedly, with far quicker drying times than cotton, reducing the number of clothing items you need to pack which is important with luggage restrictions in mind;
4) Does not crease as readily as cotton, and releases creasing simply by hanging, or using a cool iron;
5) Have a built in Ultra Violet protection factor (or SPF) of 30 or more to ensure that you are not burnt by Ultra Violet rays through the fabric;
Looking for Expert Advice on What to Pack?
Simply contact us and we will send you our essential list of what to pack for your safari.