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What to pack for safari: the essential guide

Packing for your safari can be a daunting task.

Maybe it’s your first safari ever or you’re heading to a continent you’ve never visited before and aren’t quite sure what to expect. You know you’ll be in the wilderness and not close to your average department or travel store and so you want to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything. Have no fear! Everything you need to know for what to pack for safari is included in this blog.

First things first, you need to consider what countries you’re traveling to, the time of year you’re going and what the weather is like in those places as a result. You’ll also want to consider what kinds of activities you’ll be getting up to and if your safari has a particular focus (i.e. walking in Mana Pools, gorilla trekking in Uganda or Rwanda, white water rafting at Victoria Falls or have you chosen to spend more time on a vehicle photographing leopards?) Each of these will have a slightly different requirement.

The best safari apparel is whatever makes you feel good and comfortable. Neutral colors are best for walking but if you’re planning to spend most of your time in the vehicle then bright colors are welcome. And one of the keys to comfort on a safari is packing layers!

What is the weather like on safari?

As you prepare for your trip, our team will guide you through the best seasons to travel for your chosen destinations and special interests. As such we’ll make you aware of what season you’re coming in and you can pack according to the winter and summer packing lists provided below. Having said that though an important thing to remember is that regardless of the seasons, layers of different items of clothing are the key to being comfortable on safari.

What To Pack For Summer Safari

The summers in Africa (Dec – Feb) tend to be our wetter seasons. You can expect warm mornings and evenings and hotter temperatures during the middle of the day (the temp is generally warm between Oct – March). Temperatures range from 18-38°C.

Clothing to bring:

  • Lightweight shorts and t-shirts
  • Summer dresses for the ladies
  • A light long-sleeve shirt (if you are wanting to avoid the sun). Light weight and cotton is best.
  • A light weight rain jacket and warmer puffer jacket.
  • A pair of long pants (temperatures can cool off quite a bit if it rains)
  • Walking shoes, sandals and boots
  • Summer scarf or shawl
  • Summer evening wear (although no change of clothing is required and lodge dress is completely up to you and your dressing up or down preferences).
  • Active wear (if the lodge you’re visiting has a gym, you’d like to practice yoga or walk the camp grounds)
  • Bathing suit
  • Although not necessary a buff is also a very useful piece of clothing (to keep dust off your face, keep your neck warm or as a headband to keep hair off your face).
  • A sun hat (wide brimmed is best)
  • Sunglasses

Summer is typically green, lush and hot in Africa. Make sure to pack lighter, cooler clothing but if it does rain that often drops the temperature meaning that a jumper and rain jacket are crucial.

What To Pack For Winter Safari

Winter (June – Aug) in most of our destinations is typically quite cold in the mornings and evenings (0- 9°C) with milder, warm middays (10-25°C). Typically the skies are clear and there’s very little wind and the bush is dry. While some destinations stay relatively mild, places like the Okavango Delta, the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Hwange National Park, Tswalu and Busanga Plains can get very cold. If you bring the following you’ll be prepared.

Clothing to bring:

  • A warm jacket
  • A beanie, scarf and gloves
  • A few long-sleeve shirts
  • Long pants
  • Cotton shirts or vests
  • One or two jumpers (or jerseys as we call them in South Africa). Light weigh down puffer jackets also work very well.
  • Thermal undergarments (you can always change out of these at your morning drinks stop)
  • Walking shoes, sandals and boots
  • Bathing suit (as it does warm up during the day)
  • Winter evening wear (although no change of clothing is required and lodge dress is completely up to you and your dressing up or down preferences).
  • Wind breaker / light jacket
  • Active wear (if the lodge you’re visiting has a gym, you’d like to practice yoga or walk the camp grounds)
  • Although not necessary a buff is also a very useful piece of clothing (to keep dust off your face, keep your neck warm or as a headband to keep hair off your face).
  • A sun hat (wide brimmed is best) as even though it’s winter the sun is still strong.
  • Sunglasses
  • ** Pro tip: Prepare your clothes for the following morning the night before and leave them easily accessible from you bed. This means you can hop out of your warm nest and slip on your clothes without moving too much in the cold mornings. You’ll then be given a hot water bottle and warm blanket on the vehicle to keep you cosy.

Winter in the bushveld is typically dry and crisp. Mornings are normally the coldest times of the day and scarf, gloves and beanie are recommended. But remember your layers because as we reach midday the temperatures rise significantly and you’ll want to remove some layers.

Other Gear

  • Binoculars (please contact us directly if you wish to invest in a pair of binoculars. Wild Again can provide a wide range of Swarovski and Vortex binoculars for purchase at a range of price options. They will either be delivered to you prior to your safari or your guide will meet you with them at the start of your safari. Binoculars are crucial to your safari experience and your ability to immerse yourself in the wilderness). We really do not recommend coming without them.
  • A camera
  • Zoom and wide angle lens
  • Batteries
  • Memory cards
  • Lens cleaning kit
  • Lightweight tripod
  • Rain protector
  • *Please be aware of weight restrictions when it comes to packing both clothing and gear.

If you’re a keen photographer but are not keen to carry all your gear from home please get in touch before your trip as some of the lodges have gear rental facilities.

What else you need to know:

How much luggage am I allowed? (Please note this applies to small aircraft charter flights)

• Luggage is restricted to 20kg (44lbs) per person including camera equipment and carry-ons. It must be packed in soft bags as hard cases cannot fit into the small aircrafts luggage pod.
• If luggage does exceed 20kg (44lbs), weight arrangements-can be made to leave your personal luggage at departure-point (to be collected after safari section of your trip) and repack items into smaller soft bags. If you are likely to have excess luggage please let us know before hand and we will make the necessary arrangements.

Make sure to pack your gear into soft duffel bags if you’re catching some of the smaller, charter flights. Large, hard suitcases don’t fit in the hold on these smaller aircrafts.

What are the Malaria risks?

This depends on the area you’ll be traveling to. Please consult your doctor or pharmacist for further information on prophylaxis. In all camps, mosquito and insect repellent is offered and most camps will have mosquito nets surrounding your bed.

What the lodges have for you?

Most camps offer a daily laundry service. If there is electricity in your camp you are also likely to have universal adaptors and a hairdryer. Please contact us if you want to make sure of this. Camps also typically provide a yoga mat (however if you’re a practiced yogi and you’d prefer to use your personal mat don’t be shy to carry it along with you). We would however recommend bringing a travel mat that is more light weight.

The open roof top of And Beyond’s Phinda Rock lodge, looking out over the valley below. This is the ideal spot for yoga, early morning meditations, roof top dining or post dinner star gazing. Yoga mats are provided by the camp.

Will you need guide books?

Each camp has a variety of bird, mammal and reptile books available for you to use. If you choose to travel with a private guide he/she will also have resources on hand for you to use. At most camps a Bird and Mammal checklist will be provided in your suite to take out on safari with you.

Although you’re welcome to travel with your guide books, also feel free to save some luggage space and leave them at home, our guides and camps are well stocked for you. If you’re set on having your own resources or want to do some pre-safari reading then please reach out and we can make suggestions or direct you as to which ones are available as applications for use on your mobile phone.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding packing preparation for your trip please email and we’ll be sure to clarify or make necessary arrangements for you.

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