At The Legacy Untold we are professional travelers. After personally going on safari in Africa and planning these bucket list trips for our travelers hundreds of times, we know exactly what is worth bringing and what isn’t. That said, your pack may vary depending on your personal preferences, as well as the weather and luggage restrictions that are specific to your trip. We recommend that you always ask your travel designer for advice on how to tailor this safari packing guide to your own journey, whether it’s your first safari or your fifth!
GENERAL PACKING TIPS
Ahead of packing, here are a few helpful tips based on our personal experiences on safari:
- Weather can vary throughout the day, so you may find yourself bundled up in the morning, hot and sweaty and craving pool time by the afternoon and then cool in the evenings for dinner!
- Even the most luxurious safari lodges are not fancy when it comes to attire. A safari is a casual experience, and comfort is key. Although you may want to wear different clothing at meals than when you’re in your safari vehicle (some do, some don’t), dress shoes, formal wear, and jewelry are not necessary. We recommend leaving valuables at home for safekeeping.
- Your safari lodge or camp will almost always include daily laundry service free of charge (except in cities). This allows you to pack less – you really only need two daytime safari outfits: one to wear while the other is being laundered.
After your international flight arrives on the African continent, you will most likely be riding in smaller aircraft to arrive at your safari lodge or camp. The remote nature of our favorite properties in Africa is what makes them so special, and connecting to your final destination on propeller planes or small jets is part of the fun! The size of the plane, however, means that there is limited space for luggage. This means you will be restricted in both the weight and style of your luggage.
It’s very important that you check with your travel designer at The Legacy Untold to find out what the restrictions are for your individual trip, because they can vary. The maximum weight per person is often 44 lbs, but can be as little as 33 lbs. It is sometimes possible for us to make special arrangements for you, such as purchasing extra space (if available), leaving a bag behind with our trusted handlers on the ground for safe keeping, or shipping luggage for you from your point of entry to the continent to where you will need that particular bag (think shipping your city-wear to Cape Town so you don’t have to bring it on safari where you are more limited with luggage).
As for style, in most cases you will not be able to bring hard-sided luggage. Rather, a duffel bag made of a soft pliable material is required. The size isn’t as important as the weight as long as the bag is completely soft-sided. A couple of our recommended models are below:
SAFARI PACKING CHECKLIST
We’ve compiled a list of items which we hope makes packing easier for you, including links to a few of our favorite items from brands we love. Once you’ve checked everything off your list and you’re on your way, it’s time to relax and enjoy the trip.
- Light, neutral-colored t-shirts and long sleeved shirts. Dark colors attract the sun and also tsetse flies. Bright colors can scare wildlife.
- Lightweight shorts, pants, or skirts
- Waterproof jacket
- Sweater or light jacket, hat, scarf and gloves. Mornings in the bush can be very chilly!
- Swimwear and beach coverup. You may have either a private or shared pool area.
- Sunhat to protect your face
- Close-toed shoes. We love Merrell’s Moab hiking boots!
- Depending on the specifics of your trip, you may need more gear that protects you from the elements. For example, a walking safari may warrant heavier boots that cover your ankles, and thicket pants to protect you from thorns. Once your trip is booked we are more than happy to talk in great detail from our own personal experiences about what you will need for your trip!
- Insect repellent (minimum 20% DEET- the other stuff just doesn’t work)
- Malaria tablets and/or any other vaccinations as recommended by your doctor
- Any prescription medication including extra contact lenses if you wear them
- Ear plugs, eye mask, and melatonin – for jet lag and the occasional roaring lion!
- Personal toiletries stored in ziploc bags. Please note that some countries including Rwanda and Tanzania no longer allow plastic bags of any kind (they are confiscated in entry), and this is a growing initiative on the continent that other countries will join as time goes on.
- First aid items – your lodge or camp will have a kit on hand, but if there is any item you have a preference for, we suggest bringing it.
Other/Optional (some this gear is sometimes available to borrow at your lodge or camp)
- Passport, any necessary visas, travel insurance document, and photocopies of all
- DSLR camera, extra batteries, memory cards
- Headlamp and/or flashlight
- Trekking poles (for walking safaris, or destinations with steep terrain like Rwanda and Uganda)
- Gardening gloves (for gorilla trekking)
- Cash for tipping – see our tipping guide here [link eventually]
- Inflatable solar lights for donation – ask us about our solar light drop signature experience [link to it] – an amazing initiative that helps solve the issue of energy poverty in many of our favorite destinations.