What to Pack

What to pack and what not to pack

When packing for a safari in East or southern Africa there are a few things to consider, right off the bat.

  1. It will be much cooler (even cold) than you expect in the mornings and evenings.
  2. Laundry can be washed, ironed and returned to you each day.
  3. You are trying to blend in, you are NOT trying to be seen.
  4. Traveling with less is a wonderful freedom.
  5. Nothing in East or Southern Africa really requires formal or fancy dress.

The difficulty with packing for a safari is that you have to be prepared for the wide range of daily temperatures.  You will not be out in the rain, not to fear, and there are virtually no “bugs”, snakes, or “creepy-crawlies”.   No one ever believes this but its true!

You can pack light because laundry service is always available (and free on my safaris), and you need to pack somewhat lighter because we’ll always be flying, in my personal aircraft.

What to bring

I recommend, and personally always pack, the following:

  • Two pairs of blue jeans
  • Two pairs of shorts
  • Three long-sleeved cotton shirts
  • Two synthetic t-shirts for running and swimming
  • Three pairs of socks
  • One fairly heavy fleece jacket
  • One fairly heavy gortex or windproof outer jacket
  • Hat
  • Very light gloves
  • Sun glasses
  • Sun cream
  • Swim suit
  • Light walking shoes (not boots unless were going to the gorillas up up Kilimanjaro)
  • Sandals
  • No underwear (just kidding!).
  • Personal toiletries and medicines.
  • A book or two, deck of cards, Kindle
  • Binoculars (no sharing, one per person, even for children).
  • Camera, or not, as you wish.  We can discuss this in greater detail

You will NOT need:

  • Insect spray
  • Flashlights
  • Laundry soap
  • Rifle
  • Water bottle

Please make sure that NO CLOTHING IS RED OR WHITE (as it scares predators).

Then pack it all in a soft duffle bag that does NOT have wheels or a frame.  You can pack it all inside a hardshell suitcase, or whatever, for the international flight and then leave that hard suitcase in Nairobi (we do it all the time).

This list covers pretty much all safaris but some trips, like going to see the mountain gorillas, or hiking up Mt. Kilimanjaro, or rafting down the Zambezi or horseback riding in Mongolia (which is a great trip that I lead every year, and has absolutely nothing to do with Africa) require some specialized clothing and equipment. I will happily and personally deal with those safaris in greater detail.