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What to pack for an African safari

A group of zebras grazing in a field during a safari.

An African safari is the pinnacle of adventure. You may have seen a few wildlife docs in your time, but nothing can prepare you for the real thing – the glorious sun emerging over folding plains, illuminating some of the world’s most impressive wildlife.

Fortunately, when it comes to packing for an African Safari, we can prepare you for the real thing. Because if, like us, you’re planning an epic adventure in 2023, you’re probably wondering: what should I pack for a safari? Read on for everything you’ll need in your ultimate African safari packing list (and the things best left back home).

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Quick fire Qs

What should you not wear on an African safari?

When it comes to safari clothing you want to make sure you’re not packing anything too heavy or too revealing – the bugs are everywhere and you need to stay protected somehow. Unless endless mosquito bites are your thing…

What colour do you wear on an African safari?

While there are no set rules, you can wear what you want, generally neutral colours are the most common and accepted. It’s all about blending in with the dust and the brush so as not to disturb the animals.

What color should you not wear on a safari?

Again, there aren’t any set rules, but maybe stay away from the neon…

Can I wear leggings on safari?

You sure can! If you’re wanting to wear them during the day we’d recommend they be quite light weight to withstand the heat, but if you want to wear them camping at night, the thicker the better! It gets cold in these open plains.

africa-safari

To khaki or not to khaki?

Maybe you’ve imagined yourself doing an African safari in full 19th century explorer outfit, complete with khaki shorts, moustache and brimmed hat. Unfortunately (for your more romantic side), this will probably make you stand out rather than disguise you, and disguising yourself is the key.

If you’re thinking about what to pack for an African safari, full khaki isn’t really necessary, but it’s a good idea to stay with your earthy tones. Very boho-chic, no? Clothing-wise, the most important thing is that you pack for varying temperatures. If you’re camping, temperatures can go from swelteringly hot during the day to freezing cold at night. The key is lightweight, skin-covering clothes that you can layer or remove as necessary.

Here are the clothing essentials:

A group of people standing on top of a truck during an African safari experience in the middle of a field.

Headwear

If you’re wondering what headwear to pack for a safari, you’ll be happy to know that the classic safari hat isn’t just a gimmick. It’s an important accessory for protecting your face from the relentless African sun, whilst shielding your eyes so you can get a good view of the wildlife. A baseball hat will be fine, but opt for a good wide-brimmed hat with a strap to ensure the wind doesn’t claim it.

East Africa Safari with Nadine Sykora

Footwear

You probably picture yourself walking cracked plains in your heftiest hiking boots, but these are heavy and will take up a lot of space. Packing light is key, and something lightweight will do much better, such as a pair of waterproof, lightweight trail runners. If you’re talking a walking safari, make sure they’re comfortable and nice and padded as well. In this heat you’ll want something as breathable as possible.

Safari Africa

Essentials

Don’t forget these essentials:

Hot air ballooning

Gadgets

It’s not really necessary or wise to bring a heap of gadgets with you on your safari. Most camps won’t have WiFi or electricity, and conditions won’t generally be conducive for keeping your expensive electronics in good shape.

However, there are a few things that might be a lot of help. We recommend:

Nadine Sykora East Africa Safari

During the day

Packing your daypack is a vital part of your safari trip. This is where you put all of the essentials that you should never be without. Choose a comfy bag with padded straps, and fill it with:

Avoid

This isn’t your typical holiday and you’ll probably be moving around quite a bit, from game drive to game drive, on one car to another. Here’s a few things you may want to avoid doing so you don’t inconvenience yourself or others.

Looking for the ultimate adventure? You’re now perfectly prepared for our awe-inspiring East Africa safari trip.

Giraffe Centre, Nairobi, Kenya

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