Safari Packing List and Suggestions

Jul 17th, 2011, 10:35 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 23
Safari Packing List and Suggestions

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.
jangonow is offline  
Jul 17th, 2011, 06:12 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
Hope you will share some of the general consensus at the end of the trip. Thanks for the hints.
atravelynn is offline  
Jul 17th, 2011, 10:34 PM
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 624
I am in awe of anyone who can travel on safari with just carry on … well done!! Good information, thank you.
twaffle is offline  
Jul 17th, 2011, 11:23 PM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 5,215
So, for carry-on you had a duffel bag and a backpack (backpack or other type like camera bag), right? How big was the duffel bag (they can get rather large) ? How big was the backpack/camera bag? (Backpacks can also be large).

Do some airlines still allow -only one- carry-on? As for example, BA at least used to permit only one.

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Jul 18th, 2011, 07:54 AM
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 607
Thank you for the list and suggestions. We are planning our packing now for Sept. I am hoping we will be able to just go with carry-ons. We have 1 small charter flight mid-trip that will determine how much we take for entire trip. I hope it's possible.
cristeen is offline  
Jul 18th, 2011, 08:23 AM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 8,675
While many carriers from the States allow carryon bags, up to 40/lbs (size of bag determines), once connecting in Europe, some of the carriers onward to Africa can be strict, as BA, mentioned by tom above. Best always check each carrier's rules before assuming

Would be nice to have a trip report, when you get to it.
sandi is offline  
Jul 18th, 2011, 10:42 AM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 2,619
I just took carry-on bags last year for 3 1/2 weeks in Botswana and Zimbabwe. My main case had to be 10k or less (22 lbs) and I was able to do that. My personal/camera bag wasn't much less in weight, but I kept it on my back and no one questioned it. The international carriers all have varying carry-on weight and bag limits, which can vary according to whether you are flying Business or Economy class (check their websites.) My bag of choice is the Rick Steves "Convertible Carry-on" bag. It weighs only 3 lbs and is expandable if you decide to buy souvenirs and check it on the way home. I've used various versions of this bag since 2000 and also used it for 3 weeks in Europe earlier this year.
ShayTay is offline  
Jul 19th, 2011, 07:39 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 23
I am working on my trip report and hope to have it posted soon. We used Lands End rolling duffels which are lightweight but fit in the carry on sizer. The backpacks were medium sized, just barely small enough to fit under the airline seat if necessary. My experience was similar to ShayTay's--my camera bag weighed 10 pounds but no one ever checked or weighed the smaller bags. I actually put the camera bag inside a slightly larger bag so I could add my binoculars, notebook, heavy souvenirs and a few other items to my smaller bag. We did have a backup plan which included leaving the gifts behind and packing the duffels so they could be checked if we were challenged, but none of this was necessary.
jangonow is offline  
Aug 19th, 2012, 11:00 AM
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 9
Here's our list of what we brought! (Complete with pics and all =D) The weight of the luggage was not an issue. Six of us were traveling together, so our backup plan was to shift things between people if weight became an issue. Our luggage was weighed between Rwanda and Tanzania.
porcupinelane is offline  
Sep 30th, 2012, 03:53 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,657
All packed for Zimbabwe and South Africa -- leaving day after tomorrow. Should I put all the extra AA batteries for my camera in my carryon or in the duffel that will be checked?

Also, we have two electrical plugs for SA from our previous trip. Can we take a simple two pronged extension cord with three plugs at the end, to plug into one of these, to increase our ability to charge batteries, camera, iPod, etc?
uhoh_busted is offline  
Sep 30th, 2012, 04:18 PM
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 689
uhoh have you posted your itinerary anywhere. Would be interested in seeing it.

I packed my batteries in the checked luggage and had no problems.
KathBC is offline  
Sep 30th, 2012, 06:04 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,657
I planned this trip so long ago, I'm not sure where the original thread is, so I will start a new one that may morph into a TR, and keep this in the Packing list thread active so it stays on topic for others later on.

I am also packing a car charger for all the Apple devices.
uhoh_busted is offline  

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