What to Pack for Safari
Friday, 05th September 2014
What to Pack for a Safari
It’s easy to get hung up with your safari packing list, especially if it’s your first time in Tanzania. But there’s no need for stress. We’re going to simplify everything.
It can be daunting. Choosing what to stuff into your suitcase for a beach holiday is hard enough, never mind picking the items for an adventure in East Africa. Most safari guides will provide a seemingly endless list of “essential” items, and we’ve seen people arrive with a bizarre range of things, including plastic toilet seats, tinned baked beans, and fluffy slippers. It’s easy to over-compensate when you’re traveling to a new destination, so most people overfill the suitcase with anything and everything, “just in case.” So let’s take a look at what you actually need.
The Few Essential Items When Going on Safari
This isn’t a list of 20 odd items to buy before you travel. There are very few essential items, and don’t worry if you’re missing one or more of them, they are generally easy to find in Tanzania.
- Binoculars (our safari trucks come with a good pair of binoculars but it’s nice to have your own).
- A camera with a good optical zoom, preferable higher than 5x. If you’re serious about photography then a tripod is also essential.
- High factor suncream (30+).
- Insect repellent with a strong deet content.
- Wide rimmed sunhat (easy to purchase in Tanzania).
- Any medication you require, including antimalarials.
- US dollars in cash. Some people arrive in Tanzania and discover that their bank has blocked their credit cards. The US dollar can be exchanged and used everywhere, so packing $300 in notes provides peace of mind.
- Comfortable closed footwear. Walking boots are only necessary if you’re actually going to be walking. On a vehicle safari you won’t be wandering across the savannah, so there is no need for the cumbersome boots, just make sure your feet are covered. Walking safaris will demand something more robust.
- It can get cold at night so remember a warm sweater or hoodie.
That’s it. Seriously. You don’t need the sleeping bag, penknife, immense first aid kit, tent, or cuddly toy (wait, it might be nice to bring that one!) Our experienced guides have an intimate knowledge of the Tanzanian landscape, so they’ll have pretty much everything covered. Furthermore, the level of luxury while on safari comes as a surprise to most people. You’re not roughing it. Tanzania and Aventura know how to provide the ultimate comfort in the bush.
Pack the Clothes That You’re Comfortable In
Most people on safari are dressed identically. They wear grey zip-off trousers, huge heavy walking boots, and shirts from an “Out of Africa” film. There isn’t a discount for dressing like this, it just seems to be the style. When you come on a safari and you should wear whatever you’re comfortable in. Just remember it can get hot, sticky, and dusty, so leave the three piece suit at home. Lightweight breathable fabrics are the most sensible, and long sleeves really help prevent sunburn and insects. But it’s really up to you. Just remember that it can get hot and dusty so don’t bother with the three piece suit. Many lodges and camps have a laundry service so there’s no need for 14 different t-shirts.
Tanzania isn’t Middle Earth – You Can Still Buy Most Things You Need
Tanzania might not be Europe or the States, but it’s not a primitive country. In the major cities you can buy most things you will need for a safari, the obvious exception being high-end camera equipment. So yes, you can buy toiletries, suncream, safari hats, clothes, etc. Furthermore, it’s all probably cheaper than at home. However, once you’re on the road and into the vast national parks, you’re not going to be stumbling across a convenience store. If there something you need when you’re in Tanzania, speak to your guide before you head off.
Why It’s Good to Travel Light
With most safari itineraries you’re moving destinations and camps on an almost daily basis. So it gets tiresome to keep packing and unpacking. Keep it simple and travel light. You’re going to be exploring some of the most rugged and untouched landscapes in the world, not going out in a city nightclub. The big cats and wild mammals don’t care too much about fashion, so they won’t be passing judgement if your colours are clashing. Nor will they care if you wear the same trousers for three days in a row.
Traveling light makes everything easier; there’s less stuff to carry in the safari truck, you have more time to relax, and there’s more room for souvenirs.