Haisley Smith and 5 other Brownell Travel advisors have recently returned from an African safari! Haisley shares below her great advice for the perfect checklist for packing for an African safari.
Start with a soft-sided suitcase that you don’t mind getting dusty. Most East Africa safari touring companies ask that your suitcase not exceed 30lbs, due to weight requirements for in-country flights, but this can vary.
UNDERGARMENTS or “Smalls” – 4 to 6 pairs
The staffs of most camps and lodges will not launder your underthings, even on the most luxurious and best African safaris, so be sure to pack enough for 4-6 days. Almost all camps and lodges provide a basin and washing powder for you to wash your own.
PANTS 2-3 Pair
We recommend quick-dry pants that can be unzipped into shorts. It’s often cool when you start out on your morning game drive, but temperatures can heat up quickly. You may also want to pack a pair of blue jeans, especially if your travel plans include a safari by horseback.
SHORTS 1-2 Pair
If you invest in a pair of “convertible” pants that zip off into shorts, you may not need to pack any shorts.
A mix of sleeveless shirts, t-shirts and quick-dry, vented long-sleeve shirts will prepare you for all conditions. The quick-dry sleeveless shirts are great for cool morning game drives and for keeping the sun off your arms and back in the afternoons. Sleeveless shirts and T-shirts are perfect for staying cool in the late afternoon and evenings. Mix and match and you won’t have to repeat an ensemble the entire duration of your African safari!
SHOES 1-2 Pair
Sturdy walking or hiking shoes are key. We recommend Chaco, Keen and The North Face. You may also want to pack a small, light pair of sandals for dinner in the evenings.
Women may want to pack a light scarf or two to protect their neck and shoulders from sun, and to dress up evening dinner wear. Leave jewelry, perfume, and your hand bag at home, but DO bring a small backpack or camera bag to pack your essentials (sunscreen, camera equipment, chapstick and cash) for game drives and excursions.
Leave the high-tech gadgets (blackberry’s, iPhones, gameboys, kindles, etc) at home – or at least in your suitcase until the plane ride home! Who wants to be distracted by electronics, when you have much better, and much more beautiful distractions waiting for you around every turn. Plus, electricity is a precious commodity in the camps and lodges. Many run on solar power, or generators that are switched off during the day and overnight.