The world has never been quite as fast-paced as it is today. People are working more and more and taking less and less time off, especially in the United States. In fact, the average full-time employee in America only takes about two weeks off work per year!
If you’re among this group of ultra-productive Americans, you have to make your precious little time away from the office count. And what better way to do so than with an African safari!
If you’re planning to embark on a safari adventure, what you include on your Africa packing list can make or break your trip. From what to wear on an African safari to what gear and extras you need to bring, your packing list is going to look a little different than it would for your average vacation.
Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! By the end of this article, you’ll know exactly what to put into your bag for the ultimate safari experience.
Know Your Baggage Allowance
The first step in creating a South Africa packing list (or any region of Africa) is to know your baggage allowance or the weight in luggage each person is allowed to bring on the safari. This will vary depending on the company you book your trip through, so it’s a good idea to check with them before you start packing.
You should also keep in mind that many safari operators do not allow hard suitcases. Instead, you’ll need to pack your belongings into a backpack or duffel bag. If you’re worried you’ll need more space on the trip home, add a second, foldable bag to your list!
Check Vaccination Requirements
Certain diseases, such as malaria and yellow fever, are more common in Africa than in other countries. As such, you’ll likely need a few vaccinations before your trip. Specific vaccines will depend on the region of Africa you’re visiting, but some commonly recommended vaccines include yellow fever, meningitis, hepatitis, and cholera.
Remember, certain vaccines, like the one for meningitis, come in a series. This means you may need to plan your doctors’ visits well in advance of your trip.
If one of the required vaccinations is against yellow fever, be sure to bring your yellow fever health card with you. You’ll need to pack it somewhere easily accessible, as you will be asked to present it as soon as you arrive.
Now, let’s get into the other items you should put in your suitcase.
A Thorough First Aid Kit
Although your lodge should have a first aid kit, it’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your health. While on safari, you’ll more than likely be hours away from a store or pharmacy.
Along with the first aid basics like bandaids and Neosporin, pack an over the counter pain killer such as acetaminophen, an antihistamine for allergies and bug bites, and an anti-diarrheal in case of food poisoning.
You should also consider taking malaria medication to protect yourself from this dangerous disease. However, many malaria medications have strong side-effects, so do your research before deciding.
Plenty of Insect Repellent
Speaking of malaria, it’s transmitted through mosquito bites. So regardless of whether or not you’ve decided to take anti-malaria medication, you should do your best to prevent being bitten.
The best way to do so is to always wear insect repellent that contains DEET. Although DEET is safe for anyone older than 2 months, this type of repellent is not recommended to be used more than once a day. Also, if you’re traveling with children, it’s best not to use a repellent with a DEET concentration in excess of 30%.
Electronics and Camera Equipment
On any trip, electronics, especially your camera and its accessories, are a must. After all, you’ll want to take plenty of pictures so you can relive your vacation again and again!
If you can, bring an SLR camera and a long-focus lens to get the clearest photos you can of the animals and scenery. And pack a few extra memory cards in case you run out of space.
Along with your camera and lenses, be sure to add your phone, laptop, e-reader, and tablet, as well as any necessary chargers.
Because your adventure will likely provide limited electricity, it’s a good idea to bring a portable power bank or two. That way, you’ll be able to recharge any important electronics, even if you don’t have access to an outlet.
If you’re purchasing any new electronics for the trip, you should familiarize yourself with them before you leave. AirPods, for example, are a convenient way to enjoy your electronics cord-free, but they take some getting used to. Check out https://setapp.com/how-to/connect-airpods to learn a bit about how they work.
Clothing and Accessories
When choosing your African safari clothes, you want to go with breathable, earth-toned pieces. Even in winter, Africa can be quite warm, so you should be safe with primarily lightweight clothing and a sweater or two.
The earth-toned colors are more important than you might think. First of all, they will help you blend into your surroundings, making it less likely that you will spook the animals. Second, the deadly tsetse fly is attracted to very bright and very dark clothing.
If you can, pack long-sleeved shirts made for trekking, so you can stay cool while staying safe. In terms of bottoms, your best bet is zip-off pants. They will protect you from bug bites and sun exposure, but can always be zipped into shorts if you feel that you’re overheating.
Last but not least, pack a pair of binoculars! You never know when you’ll come across an animal that’s a bit too far to see clearly with the naked eye. Having a pair of binoculars handy can vastly improve your experience.
Include These Items in Your Africa Packing List for the Ultimate Safari Adventure
Building your Africa packing list is a different experience, and requires a bit more care, than a typical vacation. But as long as you’re thorough, you’ll have the time of your life on safari!
Don’t be afraid to check with your safari operator if you have any questions or concerns in regard to preparing for your trip. It’s always better to ask than to assume incorrectly.
To make your packing list more easily digestible, break it into categories, such as clothing, electronics, and travel essentials. Make your packing and to-do lists as far in advance as you can to avoid forgetting or missing anything important.
For more advice and information for all of your vacation needs, be sure to take a look at our blog!