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Safari Packing List and Suggestions

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Just returned from first safari in Northern Tanzania using lodges and tented camps. These are the packing instructions for our family (all adults) along with packing suggestions.

Sarari Packing List
We will carry on, so we need to pack light and everything should fit into your duffel bag plus a backpack or camera bag or other carryon. We will spend our days in a safari vehicle on bumpy, dusty roads. We will do laundry at several of the lodges. Clothing should be neutral colored. Blue jeans are not recommended since they do not dry quickly and blue attracts tse tse flies. We will treat clothes with insect repellent before we go.

Passport, plus a copy, Yellow fever certificate
Things for Long Plane trip--Earplugs or headphones, Books, etc., Sleep mask, Travel
Pillow, tylenol pm
2-3 short-sleeved shirts
2-3 long sleeved shirts, including 1 with UV protection if you have one
2 pairs long or convertible pants
1-2 pairs capris or shorts
4 pairs of socks (2 light, 2 heavy)
Underwear (laundry will not do this, but we can hand wash, or you can bring enough for trip)
Shorts bra (some roads are bumpy)
Buff, scarf, bandana
Money belt or fanny pack
Light jacket, fleece or hoodie. Layers will be needed as it will be cool in the mornings and evenings but warm during the day.
Comfortable shoes such as tennis shoes, keens or tevas.
Flip flops or sandals for around the lodges or pool
Scarves for dinner (optional)
Swimsuit. Lodges have pools and there may be time for a cool dip
Warm sleeping clothes
Hat with brim
Insect repellant and sunscreen
Lip balm
Malaria med and any medications or medical supplies you may need
hand sanitizer
Small flashlight
Camera, battery and extra battery, charger, many memory cards
Glasses, sunglasses, contact lenses, contact fluid
Electrical adapters
Extension cord
Journal and pen
Toiletries—deodorant, toothbrush, tooth paste, comb, brush, conditioner,
First aid meds--band aids, antibiotic ointment, pain reliever, immodium, cipro from doctor, etc.
Granola bars, nuts, snacks
Pens, pencils, stickers, balls, uninflated soccer balls and pump to give away and leave at a school we visited
Cash for visas, tips, including driver and guide, lodges that do not take credit cards, some shopping, new bills
Credit cards (call ahead)
Cell phone and charger (Our I-phones worked most of the time)
Itinerary notebook with tickets, itinerary, confirmation numbers, emergency phone numbers, copy of passports, etc. (Mom only, plus one copy to leave at home)

Observations and things we would do differently next time:

We travelled for two weeks, including a planned stopover day and night in London, and packed so we did not need to check any bags on our US or international flights. The bags were weighed on our Nairobi to Kilimanjaro legs in both directions, but they did not ask to weigh our camera bags or backpacks that we carried with us on the smaller planes. (Thank goodness!) We were happy to have followed advice on this forum to pack light and use soft-sided bags. If we had it to do over again, we might have packed and checked a bag or two with clothes and other things to leave behind.
There is no need to obsess over the clothes or to go out and buy a lot of special clothes for a safari. We did buy some new things, but also used shirts and pants we already owned and used laundry service. On the other hand, drug stores and sundry shops are limited or non-existent so don't count on being able to pick up something you need on the trip.
We did not need the washcloths since all our camps and lodges provided these.
Brought extra toothbrushes and was glad since two of us accidentally rinsed them off with tap water. (Place a washcloth over the tap in the bathroom to help you remember.)
Very happy to have brought an old pair of glasses. Too dusty to wear contact lenses and one lens of glasses cracked with no known cause. Extra pair of glasses was a lifesaver.
We gave and received safari items as gifts-- rolling duffel bags, journals, clothing items, camera memory cards, binoculars and Buffs--in the year leading up to the trip.
We used Buffs for head covering, face covering during dust, head band and for a touch of color around the neck. Not something that is a "must have", but we enjoyed them.
Wished I would have brought my round brush since nearly all camps and lodges did have hair dryers. Not a necessity, but I could have used it.
Would have liked hand sanitizer wipes in addition to spray, especially the days we ate boxed lunches. Hand sanitizer was used frequently.
Good to have a backpack or day pack for things you will want to have access to during safari. Rest of luggage was not always immediately accessible.
Luggage locks were a good idea since there were times when luggage was not in our sight.
I wear chicos travelers in black to travel and wore the same black slacks to dinner.
I was very happy to have two fanny pack type purses. These things are not fashionable, but since I needed to carry passports, credit cards and a significant amount of cash, I was very glad to be able to keep it in my possession and out of hands at all times. (Just remember to tuck in and/or turn to back for photos!)
Everyone should take a few minutes to journal. Need to record the thoughts and feelings that will blend together if they are not recorded each day. Our daughter found a book: African Safari Journal by Mark W. Nolting which is highly recommended. Used it for her journal and to record the dates and places of the birds and animals the first time that we saw them. We also gathered a few thoughts of our group on the last day--best moments, worst moments, things I do not want to forget, things that surprised me, best quotes of the trip, etc. along with a general concensus on the numbers of animals that we had seen. This will help us continue to remember and cherish our safari in the years ahead.
Thanks to all who have posted packing lists and made packing suggestions--your advice was invaluable.

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