Safari: What do I pack?
If you have never been on safari before, it can be difficult to know what to pack.
VIVID Travel’s safari expert Jody has lived in South Africa and compiled the ultimate safari packing guide so you can be sure that you’re well prepared. Just don’t forget your camera/GoPro!
1. What clothes should I pack?
The key to packing for a safari, is to keep it minimal. Lodges provide great laundry services, so you don’t need more than a couple of outfits, however, most are hand-wash only, so you’ll need to pack enough underwear for the duration of your stay as they don’t usually accept delicates. I’d suggest that you pack loose, long-sleeved, comfortable clothes, and a sunhat to provide the best protection from the sun, insects and thorns, as well as a bandana to protect your face from the dust. I’d also recommend getting a good pair of lightweight safari trousers that unzip to become shorts.
It’s a good idea to pack a fleece, a windproof jacket and even a hat or scarf for early morning and evenings when temperatures are much cooler. If you are going Gorilla trekking, you will want to take waterproofs and gardening gloves with you to protect from the tropical rains and the thorns!
On safari, it’s best to wear neutral colours such as earth tones or khaki and avoid bright colours, including whites which are more visible to animals and may also attract insects. Definitely avoid blue and darker colours in areas where there are tsetse flies, as they are attracted to these colours!
2. What about shoes?
The key to safari footwear is ensuring that your shoes are breathable and comfortable enough to wear all day! I would definitely suggest some good walking boots which cover the ankle, particularly important on walking safari through the grasses.
3. Do I need to dress up at the safari lodge?
In the evenings, the dress code is casual in the vast majority of hotels and lodges – this is the bush after all! However, in some of Africa’s super-expensive luxury lodges, à la carte dinners are common so I would recommend packing a smart casual option. If you are unsure, it’s best to check with your VIVID Travel Designer who will have stayed in the hotels and lodges themselves on product assessment trips.
4. Is there a luggage limit on internal flights?
This depends on where you are travelling. In South Africa the limit for light aircraft flights is typically 20kg, however, most of East Africa’s light planes having a 15kg limit including hand luggage and are very strict on enforcing this. To save on baggage weight, definitely pack into a soft, duffel bag without wheels that can be squeezed into a small hold in the plane.
5. Something extra?
A big trend in 2019 is multi-generational holidays so why not take the children/grandchildren and share the incredible safari experience with your family. Bigger kids love safari and for those travelling with smaller kids’ grandparents provide invaluable support. Alternatively, couples might want to take an engagement ring and pop the question in the bush. If the magic of the night sky in Africa is not romantic enough* go one better. You can dive for the diamond first off South Africa’s West Coast and find your very own stone for the ring! How unique is that!
*it will be
Jody’s ultimate packing list:
- Soft bag without wheels if taking an internal flight on light aircraft
- Small rucksack for ease of carrying items during the day
- Clothes in neutral tones (khaki, green, sand-brown or grey)
- Lightweight safari trousers that unzip to become shorts
- Fleece, windproof jacket, bandana, hat and scarf
- Comfortable walking boots
- Sun protection – hat, sunglasses and sunscreen
- Good mosquito repellent and insect bite cream
- High-quality camera
- Gardening gloves & waterproofs if you’re going Gorilla trekking
- Grandchildren and diamond rings optional extras!