Kenya packing list

Dec 28th, 2004, 08:13 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2004
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Kenya packing list

I'm going to Kenya for three weeks, leaving Jan 28th, going for the first time. I will be spending 1 1/2 weeks in Nairobi at the Africa Nazarene University doing mission work, taking a three day safari at Massi Mara, and spending a week in Mombassa. I always overpack, and need help knowing what to bring in terms of clothing (or any other necessities). Any suggestions? Thanks!
Suevenia75 is offline  
Dec 28th, 2004, 09:10 AM
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Hello Suevenia75,

I would start off by completing the questionnaire on the Universal Packing List website. You provide simple information about the climate in your destination, the kinds of accommodation in which you will be staying, the kinds of transportation you'll be using to get around, etc., and the website pops up with a packing list. That will ensure you have whatever is necessary for Nairobi and Mombassa.

The Universal Packing List is not geared towards safaris, however. There have been numerous previous threads about safari clothing here at Fodors. Just do a word search for "pack," and numerous threads will come up.

As a cross check, you could look at the recommendations of a safari company. Although I know nothing about Siyabona Africa, other than the fact that I found them during a Google search, they do have an informative web page called "What to Bring on Safari."

Their website also has other informative pages, such as, "Safari Etiquette," and "Safety on Safari."

The only part of Africa that I know is Southern Africa. However, what I am about to say may be true for East Africa too. If one wants to maintain one's professional credibility in Southern Africa (e.g., in a school, hospital or university setting), it's good to be somewhat modest in one's dress. I don't know if you're a man or a woman. If you're a woman, I would recommend that, while you're around the university, you wear tops that at least have short sleeves, as opposed to sleeveless tank tops. I also would wear skirts that reached below my knees and would avoid mini skirts. I personally don't like wearing shorts, and I wear loose, light weight, full length pants when I'm in warm climates. If you do like to wear shorts, you might consider taking a pair of pants with zip on / zip off legs, as they would enable you to adapt to a variety of situations.

This is all the more true if you're going to be interacting with Nazarenes. I don't know if you're a Nazarene yourself. If you aren't a Nazarene, but are going to be doing mission work at a Nazarene University, I assume you've had some contact with Nazarenes. I assume, then, that you know that Nazarenes dress a bit more conservatively than some elements of "mainstream" society.

To get ideas for packing lightly, see the One Bag website (which has useful information even if one is not as religious about sticking to one bag as the author is):

and also Tralite FAQ:

I personally love Tilley clothing for travel and, indeed, for everyday wear. The laundry instructions on Tilley garments are simple, "Give 'em hell." An especially useful feature is the secret pocket (a pocket within a pocket, that is secured by a zipper or velcro) in every skirt and pair of pants.

Last but not least, when one goes on safari one also has to consider the kind of luggage one needs. Generally speaking, soft sided luggage is required. Luggage requirements are more rigorous for a safari that involves flying in a small plane. If your safari will involve land travel only, the rules will not be as strict. All the same, I would recommend doing a word search for "luggage" here at Fodors.

Hope that helps.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Dec 28th, 2004, 10:33 AM
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Thanks so much for all the tips. I have been told that dress is much more modest in Nairobi, and since I will be doing mission work, I have also been told to dress conservatively. However, I don't care for shorts, either, but was not sure about dresses if we are going to be doing any physical work (I am a woman, by the way, forgot to mention that), so your suggestion for full pants is great. I am going to go check out those websites now. Thanks again!
Suevenia75 is offline  
Dec 29th, 2004, 07:19 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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When we traveled within Kenya and Tanzania a few years ago, we were cautioned to leave all jewelry at home or else hidden. There has been an "incident" just a couple weeks before when a man, unable to get his gold wedding ring off his finger, had his finger chopped off by a bandit in the Serengeti. Another bandit, using an AK-47, shot a South African white woman who later died in hospital. She had refused to hand over her jewelry (which, it turned out, were merely cheap costume gold earrings). Moral: leave your glitter at home.
USNR is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2005, 11:54 AM
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You don't need a lot of clothing---most important, bring layers & select neutral beige/white advice we got was to bring (a) pants that have zippers and convert to shorts, and (b) sanitizer.
baroness is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2005, 01:33 PM
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Sorry to contradict, Baroness...
For safari I would not recommend white - certainly not in large blocks such as Tshirts or shirts. The reason to avoid bright colours AND white is that they do not really occur naturally in the bush - certainly not in large blocks - and they can distract the animals - which will adversely affect your game viewing experience.
Opt for muted colours but not just beige - pale greens, greys, beiges... regular browns and greens will do you fine for the safari segment of the trip.
Kavey is offline  
Jan 4th, 2005, 06:24 AM
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I had been wondering about the pants that have zippers and convert to shorts. I think I'll try to find a pair. Thanks!
Suevenia75 is offline  
Jan 8th, 2005, 04:50 AM
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Kenya is a beautiful country, you will definitely enjoy your visit. I live here in Kenya and work as a tour guide, If you are going to be moving around the city I would advice you to be careful of pick-pockets those are the only security problems you are likely to encounter. Otherwise if you have someone to accompany you it will be quite good.
jgmuh is offline  
Jan 11th, 2005, 07:33 AM
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jgmuh -
Thank you! I will be traveling with a group, so hopefully security will not be much of an issue. I am most concerned with what type of clothing to bring - does it get cool at night? How hot/humid is it usually during the day? This is my first time to Africa - I leave in 2 1/2 weeks and am getting very excited! Thanks again!
Suevenia75 is offline  

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