THE ULTIMATE SAFARI PACKING LIST

We imagine that packing for your first safari isn’t an easy task, and many questions will be going through your head. ‘Am I more likely to be eaten by a lion if I wear my favorite red t-shirt?’ or ‘In case I need to run from that lion, am I better off in flip flops or in hiking boots?’ You know, normal questions like that. But there’s no need to worry anymore, ’cause we’re here to help. Here’s our full safari packing list! 

PACKING LIGHT

A first advice we want to give you is a simple one: try to pack as little as possible. You’ll be moving from camp to camp or lodge to lodge all the time and everything you pack will have to move with you. If you book a private safari for 2 people and overnight in lodges it’s usually not such a big deal, but if you’re in a group of 5 or 6 people on a camping safari, the car will be full enough as it is and there simply will be no room for 20 kg of luggage per passenger.

If you’re on a longer trip that doesn’t only include the safari and have more luggage, you can usually leave the rest at your accommodation. If this is a problem for whatever reason, let us know and we’ll help you out.

SAFARI CLOTHES AND SAFARI SHOES

When picking your safari attire it’s important to consider a few things.

  • You’ll be sitting in a safari vehicle most of the day, so comfortable clothes are a must. For the same reason, the type of shoes you wear isn’t really important. Although for running from that lion, honestly, we’d recommend the boots… JUST KIDDING!
  • The weather will go from chilly in the morning (you’ll probably be doing a few sunrise drives) to possibly very hot during the day and cold again in the evening and night. For this reason layers of light breathable fabric are a good idea.
  • On the game drives the roof of the jeep will be open and it can get windy. During the day this might be refreshing, but in the morning you’ll probably be happy with something that protects you from the wind.

Safari clothes and shoes – our list

With that being said, here’s our list of clothes and shoes we recommend you to bring. This list is valid for any ‘standard’ safari where you spend the day in a safari vehicle. For walking or biking safaris eg. we recommend bringing additional items.

  • Underwear and socks for each day
  • Pyjamas
  • A pair of long trousers (zip-off trousers, light cotton trousers, …)
  • Shorts (preferably knee-length or longer), 1 per 2 days
  • Short-sleeved T-shirts or tank tops, 1 for each day
  • Light sweater or long sleeved shirt to protect you from the sun or for when it starts to get cold. This can also be a base layer for when it gets really cold.
  • Warm sweater or jacket, 1 or 2 depending on how fast you get cold (at Ngorongoro crater eg. temperatures can drop as low as 0°C at night)
  • Swimwear if you’re staying in a lodge with a pool
  • A hat and/or scarf if you want
  • 1 pair of closed shoes for when it gets cold.
  • 1 pair of flip flops for the showers in case of a camping safari
  • 1 pair of easy comfortable shoes for the day – can be 1 of the above
  • rain jacket

So what about that favorite red T-shirt? Do colors matter?

We’ve all seen it, in real life or on TV. That typical safari look, with beige zip-off trousers and khaki t-shirts. Add the safari hat and binoculars and you’re good to go for your own version of ‘Out of Africa‘. But jokes aside, there IS something to be said about the colors of your safari clothes, so here it goes!

First of all there’ll be dust. The amount will depend on the season and the place, but no matter what, you won’t be able to escape it. Neutral colors like beige or khaki won’t BE cleaner, but at least they’ll LOOK cleaner than white or very bright colors.

And then there’s the animals. On a standard safari where you spend the day in a vehicle, it doesn’t make much difference. The animals won’t see YOU, they’ll see the vehicle, and the color of your clothes has no effect on their behavior. But on a walking or horse riding safari eg. it’s another story. In this case there is no vehicle, and the animals WILL see you, so we strongly advice to blend in as much as possible. Not only to be safer when you encounter large animals, but also because you’ll be able to get closer to the smaller ones as they’re less likely to notice you or consider you a threat.

Finally, tsetse flies are more attracted to dark colors, especially blue and black, so unless you want to spend your safari sleeping (tsetse flies can cause sleeping disease, which can lead to death when untreated), we recommend to avoid these colors.

The ultimate safari packing list

PERSONAL HYGIENE AND MEDICATION

We might not be able to promise you with 100% certainty that you’ll see 14 rhinos and 27 leopards (the estimated population of rhinos in Ngorongoro crater, eg. is only around 16), but there’s one thing we CAN promise you’ll see lots of… DUST! Depending on the type of accommodation you choose, showers can go from super luxurious to barely working, so be prepared. Here’s the standard list of things we recommend you to bring.

  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Towel(s) if you’re camping.
  • Shower gel, shampoo (small bottles)
  • Deodorant
  • Baby whipes
  • Shaving stuff for the guys, hair stuff for the girls
  • Sun screen
  • Mosquito repellent, painkillers, bandages, antiseptic cream, anti-malaria pills, anti-diarrhea pills and any other medication your doctor recommends
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Toilet paper

SAFARI GEAR AND OTHER THINGS

We recommend:

  • Safari luggage: a duffel bag will be the easiest option to fit into the safari jeep, but a backpack’s fine as well. Try to avoid wheely suitcases, especially the ones made out of a hard material. For the same reasons we’ve already described above, try to keep your bag as small as possible.
  • day pack for things you want to keep close to you (camera, phone, money…)
  • A drinking bottle, as we try to provide drinking water in big tanks to avoid plastic waste
  • Some money for soft and alcoholic drinks, souvenirs, tips, … 
  • flashlight, preferably one that you can attach to something (eg. in the showers of the camp sites there’s not always light, so it’s handy to have this type of lamp to shower after dark).
  • Camera, phone, etc. + spare batteries, chargers, cables …
  • power bank 
  • Multi-plug travel adapter
  • Your passport
  • Sunglasses

There you go, you’re all ready to rock that safari outfit! So go pack your safari bags, and see you soon in Tanzania!

Note: this packing list is specifically for going on a safari in Tanzania. It does not include a full list of items, documents, vaccinations etc. that you’ll need to get into Tanzania, but stay tuned, we’ll add this information to the website shortly.

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The ultimate safari packing list