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  • Writer's pictureKerilouise Cherry

The Ultimate Guide to What to Wear and Pack for an African Safari

Embarking on an African safari is a thrilling adventure that allows you to witness some of the most magnificent wildlife and breathtaking landscapes on the planet. However, packing for this once-in-a-lifetime experience can be daunting, especially if you're unsure of what to expect. Here’s a comprehensive guide to ensure you’re well-prepared, comfortable, and ready for your safari adventure.

The Ultimate Guide to What to Wear and Pack for an African Safari

Clothing Essentials: What to Wear

1. Neutral-Colored Clothing:

  • Why: Neutral colors like khaki, brown, and green help you blend into the environment, making it easier to observe wildlife without startling them.

  • Avoid: Bright colors and white, which can attract unwanted attention from insects or even animals. Dark colors like black or navy should be avoided as they attract tsetse flies.

2. Lightweight, Breathable Fabrics:

  • Why: The African climate can be hot and humid, especially during the day. Opt for lightweight, breathable materials like cotton or linen to keep cool.

  • Recommendation: Pack long-sleeve shirts and long pants to protect against sunburn and insect bites. Convertible pants, which can be zipped off into shorts, are also practical.

3. Layers:

  • Why: Temperatures can vary significantly between early morning, midday, and evening. Layering allows you to adjust your clothing according to the temperature.

  • Recommendation: Bring a lightweight fleece or jacket for cooler mornings and evenings, and a light scarf for added warmth and sun protection.

4. Sturdy Footwear:

  • Why: Safaris often involve walking on uneven terrain. Comfortable, sturdy shoes are a must.

  • Recommendation: Hiking boots or robust sneakers with good grip are ideal. Ensure they are well broken-in before your trip to avoid blisters.

5. Hat and Sunglasses:

  • Why: Protecting yourself from the intense African sun is crucial.

  • Recommendation: A wide-brimmed hat offers the best protection, and polarized sunglasses will help reduce glare.

6. Swimwear:

  • Why: Many lodges and campsites have pools, and there might be opportunities for swimming in natural pools or rivers.

  • Recommendation: Pack at least one swimsuit.

Travel Packing

Essential Gear: What to Pack

1. Binoculars:

  • Why: Essential for spotting wildlife from a distance.

  • Recommendation: Invest in a good pair of binoculars. It can make a significant difference in your wildlife viewing experience.

2. Camera and Accessories:

  • Why: You'll want to capture the incredible sights you see.

  • Recommendation: Bring a camera with a good zoom lens, extra batteries, and memory cards. A dust-proof camera bag can help protect your equipment.

3. Backpack:

  • Why: Useful for carrying daily essentials on game drives and walks.

  • Recommendation: Choose a comfortable, lightweight backpack with compartments for organization.

4. Water Bottle:

  • Why: Staying hydrated is crucial, especially in hot climates.

  • Recommendation: A reusable water bottle with a built-in filter can be handy.

5. Insect Repellent:

  • Why: To protect against mosquitoes and other insects.

  • Recommendation: Choose a repellent containing DEET or another effective ingredient.

6. Sunscreen:

  • Why: The African sun can be extremely strong.

  • Recommendation: High-SPF, broad-spectrum sunscreen is a must. Reapply regularly.

7. First Aid Kit:

  • Why: It's always best to be prepared for minor injuries or illnesses.

  • Recommendation: Include basics like band-aids, antiseptic wipes, pain relievers, and any personal medications.

8. Travel Documents:

  • Why: Necessary for identification and travel logistics.

  • Recommendation: Keep your passport, visa, travel insurance, and vaccination records in a safe, easily accessible place. Photocopies can be helpful in case of loss.

9. Flashlight or Headlamp:

  • Why: Campsites and lodges can be dark at night.

  • Recommendation: A headlamp is particularly useful as it leaves your hands free. Bring extra batteries.

10. Snacks:

  • Why: While most safaris provide meals, having snacks can be useful during long game drives.

  • Recommendation: Pack non-perishable, high-energy snacks like nuts, dried fruit, and energy bars.

safari Information

Additional Tips

1. Pack Light:

  • Many safari operators have strict luggage weight limits, especially for small charter flights. Use soft-sided bags as they are easier to fit into small aircraft luggage compartments.

2. Stay Organized:

  • Packing cubes can help keep your items organized and easily accessible.

3. Respect Local Customs:

  • Be mindful of local customs and dress modestly in villages and public areas.

4. Leave No Trace:

  • Safaris are about appreciating nature, so be sure to minimize your environmental impact. Avoid single-use plastics and take all your trash with you.

5. Prepare for Connectivity Issues:

  • Internet and phone service can be limited in remote areas. Download maps, guides, and entertainment before your trip.

6. Health Precautions:

  • Check if you need any vaccinations or malaria prophylaxis. Consult your doctor well in advance of your trip.


A safari in Africa is an incredible experience that offers unforgettable encounters with wildlife and nature. By packing thoughtfully and dressing appropriately, you'll ensure your comfort and safety, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the adventure. Follow this guide, and you'll be well-prepared for the journey of a lifetime.


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