Safari Packing List
Preparing for an African Safari can be tough for first timers. It is a unique, adventurous trip that requires some attention to detail when packing. Here, we will discuss everything you will need to look the part and be comfortable too! We will also mention things we wished we had brought. Who says you can’t be stylish in the bush lands?!
What clothes to pack is probably the most stressful part of planning this trip. Being an unusual type of vacation, we had a lot of questions and were a bit lost at first. Questions we had were: What’s the weather going to be like? Should I bring any dressier clothes? I hear Africa is hot, but HOW hot? Is it true that I shouldn’t wear bright colors? These are just a few questions, but luckily we were able to read some helpful blogs and gain some idea of how to prepare.
We traveled to South Africa in December, their summertime. Let me tell you, it is HOT. When we landed mid-day the temperature was 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Now we are Floridians, but that was brutal. Luckily, the game drives are in the morning and at night. We left as the sun was rising for the first drive and headed out about an hour before sunset for the last. We were grateful for this, because we wouldn’t have lasted three hours in the dead of heat. That African sun beaming down on you is no joke! That being said, early in the morning and late at night, the temp does drop and can be on the cooler side. We brought a jacket for each drive just in case. Our resort, Lion Sands Game Reserve, was phenomenal and provided legit rain ponchos. We ended up needing them twice and were thankful for them.
The basic items to bring are neutral-colored, breathable clothes. Nudes, whites, and greens are all favorable colors. This is so you blend into the bush and do not stand out too much for the animals. Safety precautions for you and the animals. Cottons and polyesters are ideal materials to wear. Something breathable and easy to dry is key. If you’re sweating or getting rained on, you’ll be grateful you wore the appropriate attire.
Layering is also key if you’re traveling in the wintertime. We typically wore a cotton shirt with some type of cargo pants/shorts and boots. We preferred to wear our pants in the morning and shirts for the evening drive. It was a little hot still when we left prior to sunset. I absolutely adored my Frye combat boots. I wanted a pair of stylish, yet practical and comfortable boots for the trip. These were worth the splurge! I’ve gotten many uses out of them. We didn’t do too much off-roading, so they never got mucky. Plus, the fresh leather smell of the unworn boots was delightful! Be sure to break in any new boots or shoes prior to your trip. I brought a couple pairs of hiking socks for underneath. You don’t need thick socks in the summer, just tall enough for your boots. Pack a pair of sandals or loafers for resortwear.
You’ll probably take advantage of the pool if you’re visiting in the summer. Pack a bathing suit and cover-up just in case. You will also wants clothes for lounging around the resort and for dinner. We enjoy dressing up for dinner, so we packed a couple options to change into after the drive. A cute summer dress for women or nice blouse is perfect. For men, a long sleeve button down or collared shirt is acceptable with jeans or khakis. There was no real dress code at our resort, but we like to keep is classy 😉
Naturally, you want to look the part for your once in a lifetime African Safari. This is where your accessories come into play. We ordered all of these off of Amazon for a reasonable price with a fast delivery!
A good backpack will come in handy during your game drives. Preferably one with multiple pockets and compartments. We were able to fit our camera gear, jackets, both of our water bottles (courtesy of Lion Sands), and snacks in the bag! We were very pleased with our purchase. Not to mention, it had “safari” written all over it.
Next most important item is a sun hat. The African sun is serious and you will not regret wearing one of these bad boys. The Columbia hats are perfect because they have adjustable straps on the head and neck areas. The ride can be windy and bumpy at times and you don’t want your hat to fly into the lions! Also, don’t forget to bring a pair of polarized shades!
Last but not least, totally necessary beaded necklaces to complete the outfit. Not required, but they certainly look cool!
The Camera Gear
You’re in Africa…bring the proper lens and camera equipment! I made the biggest mistake by leaving my telephoto lens at home thinking we’d get close enough to the animals for a normal zoom lens. I thought wrong. This is literally the only trip I’ve ever been on where I regretted not having that lens. You won’t always be able to get up close to the animals. There may be water or other barriers preventing the Land Rover from reaching them. This is where your telephoto lens will come in handy. You’re sitting for majority of the game drives, so carrying a lot of gear won’t be bothersome. If you have a prime lens, that is even better. Perfect for normal zooming and longer focal lengths. The downside is that prime lenses are expensive. A lens with focal lengths up to at least 200-300 mm is ideal.
I personally love the Fujifilm XT100 for novice photographers. It is a reasonably priced mirror less camera, easy to use, and produces high quality photos. The 4K video is also a plus. There’s a great variety of lenses to choose from for the X series cameras. Below are some highly recommended zoom and telephoto lenses. Click on the photos for links to read more about each.
The Emergency Kit
The last thing you want is to be sick and stuck in Africa. Or at least have a minor issue. Most airports worldwide have common over-the-counter meds, but Johannesburg did not have what we needed. My ankle was swollen for some odd reason when we landed and I could not find Benadryl for the life of me. You do not want to have a bad allergic reaction and be so far from home. Luckily, the swelling went away on it’s own, but it would have been nice to be prepared. Pack ALL emergency meds and prescriptions for this trip. You won’t regret it.
Shopping and preparing for a safari vacation is an absolute blast. After we figured out what gear we needed to bring, we couldn’t wait to start swiping some credit cards! It’s a lot of fun to create the perfect outfit, but is a million times better once you get the full experience.
Hakuna Matata my friends!