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jaydh42 Jun 25th, 2013 11:02 PM

Weight limitation on OAT Kenya/Tanzania Trip Weigh too LOW
Just read through the final info booklet sent us by OAT for our 15 day Kenya/Tanzania adventure and to my amazement I see that there is a weight limit of 35 lbs total including the duffle bag and a carry-on. Wow!!! This is getting serious. Low weight limit because we will be taking two small planes in country, I guess. What this comes down to is that we will be taking strictly the bare essentials...........Wife says, " what about my make-up case?" I say, "I don't think so." Bare essentials are bare essentials! I say, " are you going to make yourself up for the animals?

How have all of you tried and true travelers handled this on your African safaris? What about you women? Did you leave your make-up cases behind?

Jay H.

amyb Jun 26th, 2013 06:12 AM

I brought zero make-up, not even moisturizer. You'll be out on a game ride and either already sweaty or dusty or both within an hour. Instead, it was sunscreen and insect repellant. I didn't bother with anything for my hair but shampoo, because windblown hair in the Land Rover and no hairdryers in the tents meant that everything was drying as nature would have it.

I did travel with women who insisted on keeping up their lipstick, full made-up look, but it frustrated them to keep getting so dirty so fast and always brushing out their hair every time the Land Rover stopped or reapplying lipstick over grimey lips. Finally they gave up, it's not a battle to be won. The animals will certainly not tell you know how unkempt you look!

Believe me, you don't need as much as you think. I read that 100 times before I left and now that I'm back (and going again in Feb!) I realize it's true, even though I was under the weight limit anyway. You don't need a complete change of clothes for every day. You can hand-wash and rewear if the fabric is quick drying. When they say pack and then take half out, they mean it. I brought back a lot of unworn clothes. Don't bring guidebooks at all if you're going fully guided. I only took a wildlife guide. I'll wear my hiking boots on the plane this time rather than pack them and wear sneakers in transit.

jaydh42 Jun 26th, 2013 07:36 AM

Thanks for quick response AMYB. You just said it as it must be. Think I'll print this out and submit it to my wife.

Jay H.

Cateyes555 Jun 26th, 2013 08:22 AM

That is the standard weight restriction. Most camps do laundry so you don't need much clothing - check with OAT to see if the camps you are staying at provide this. I never bring separate dinner clothing - only what I will wear for the day out on game drive and just wear that to dinner. No make up or other froo froo itmes :-)

thursdaysd Jun 26th, 2013 09:02 AM

I'm female, and my luggage for a normal trip weighs less than 35 lbs - and that's for a trip lsting months rather than weeks. It can be done! (See and two more posts for my packing list.)

starspinners Jun 26th, 2013 12:07 PM

The weight limitations might seem un-doable, but really,you can do it and so can your wife.
My husband and I have been on 4 African safaris and will be leaving for # 5 in 2 weeks.
The key thing to remember is that you will not have to pack a lot of clothes , because you'll be able to have your laundry done in the camps.
In the morning ( before you go out on your game drive) you place the clothes you want laundered in the provided laundry bag.
The freshly washed and dried clothes are returned to your tent by that evening.

The cost of the laundry is most often included in your daily room rate, but even if it isn't the cost will be nominal.

I usually pack 4 complete outfits: shirt, slacks, socks, and undies. ( These are in addition to what I wear on the plane.)
The clothes are made of light-weight/quick drying material, for example: Columbia Bahama shirts and Columbia Silver Ridge slacks.
We like to go on safari in what is Africa's winter so I bring a fleece jacket, a wide brimmed Tilley hat, gloves , a second pair of shoes, and a fleecy scarf.

The safari camps are will not feel out of place wearing one of your freshly laundered outfits as your "dinner attire."

Most camps provide shampoo, soap, and body lotion. Many provide mosquito repellant.

I prefer my own brand of shampoo and conditioner; so I pack enough for the length of my trip .
And I like wearing SPF moisturizer and a bit of make-up so I bring travel sizes of my regular stuff... weighs very little and takes up little space... the make-up ( plus the shampoo & conditioner ) fit into my 1 qt zip-lock ,TSA mandated baggie and I still have room to spare in the baggie. :-)

amyb Jun 26th, 2013 12:34 PM

FYI...I wouldn't count on the camps doing laundry. Sandi (or maybe eaven OAT) may be able to chime in more broadly, but none that I stayed at in Tanzania did, and none I am about to stay at in Kenya do. Water shortages and all. That's why I said, the quick drying tops was all I washed by hand and hung overnight.

I took one comfortable outfit and a pair of Tevas for dinner. Wore that every night. Yes, every night. I'd never do that at home, but who cares. We'd shower after getting back from our last game ride, and I'd be clean for the 2 hours of dinner, then on to bed.

amyb Jun 26th, 2013 12:35 PM

And none of the camps provided cosmetics/toiletries of any sort other than liquid hand soap!

sandi Jun 26th, 2013 02:48 PM

Sandi here - I do take make-up, enough to feel human but not as I'd wear at home, though if you saw me now you'd wonder :). And as you only need 3-4/changes of clothing and this is all lightweight, even I manage at less than 33/lbs for my often 3/week visits. In addition, I always have a dark pair of slacks with a few great tops, smart scarves or faux jewelry and pashmina for the night chill. Hate wearing safari cloths for dinner.

You're allowed one main duffle bag to be checked on those small planes, along with a reasonable weighed carryon bag/tote and your camera. But if you go crazy with lots/heavy photog equip, might have to cut down on the other stuff.

Laundry - well, depends on where you stay and though some camps absolutely do NOT do, most camps/lodges will do limited laundry. And, if not already included in your price (usually the high=end camps), the price you'd pay is way less than at home. Be aware though that even those that do, they don't do women's 'wears' (undies) and some not even mens. Why these past few years I travel with paper disposable panties instead as previous trips having sufficient for an entire holiday as "I do not do laundry" (anywhere... that's a job for someone else) - easier to wear and toss.

All lodges/camps have soap and at least shampoo, but bring my own along with conditioner & body lotion that fit in those 3/oz bottles to fit into the 1/qt bag, that nowadays TSA doesn't even ask about... I just keep moving on.

Remember you're not on a cruise and even these are rather casual (the airlines limit your luggage) or running around Europe where most feel they have to change attire a few times a day... NOT!

It's doable, believe us.

jaydh42 Jun 26th, 2013 03:19 PM

OK! I hear you all and I'm with you....I get it ! I'll have to get Ingrid to slow down and take time to read your posts.
Thanks! Do you think I am getting a little anxious....our very first African Safari !!!!


amyb Jun 27th, 2013 07:55 AM

I completely understand the anxious feeling, Jay. I had packed the weekend I left and let that anxious feeling allow me to throw things in the luggage I didn't need! Don't cave in! Trust me when I say what you read here will work for you, I promise! :-)

jaydh42 Jun 27th, 2013 11:55 PM

OK Amyb, Sandi, and all others , thanks so much for taking the time to bear with me throughout all of my questions over the last months. We are looking forward to a most exciting and event filled trip.

I feel that we could all be friends and socialize together if we lived in the same town. What States are you all from? Just curious!

Jay H.
Granada Hills, California

amyb Jun 28th, 2013 05:53 AM

Jay, write a fabulous trip report for us when you get back! Take lots of photos and enjoy it for us all! We will be traveling with you in spirit.

Boston, MA

jaydh42 Jun 28th, 2013 08:17 AM

Thanks Amy. My son gave me (us) a 5X7 hard covered journal book which must weigh 1/2 pound itself with blank pages. Imagine what it will weigh when pages are filled ! Ha!

Expecting up to 110 degrees F. today till Tuesday or Wednesday. My job today, however, is to spray Ingrid's safari trousers, the ones which can zip off at the knee. Nasty stuff which states don't touch and don't breath as you spray. We are getting there!

The duffles come upstairs from the garage, where they have been airing out from that plastic/oily smell, on Monday , July 1, and then the countdown begins to July 11, when we leave. Please don't get me wrong in thinking that these people are novices at the job of traveling, because we are world travelers, having visited so many wonderful places around the world. This trip stands out, however, as being so different from anything or anyplace we have ever been.

That's it. I'll stop now. Any continued thoughts or comments always appreciated. If you are all tuckered out, so to speak, with this topic, that's understandable. You are all very patient !

Jay H.

Jay H.

Jay H.

BarbAnn Jun 28th, 2013 09:43 AM


Please write a trip report when you return. DH, another couple and I are going on our first trip to Africa (OK, I was in Egypt many years ago) in February. We will spend 12 days on safari in Kenya and then fly to Cape Town, South Africa for a week before returning home. I, too, worry about packing light as we will be taking a small flight from one of the camps.

Have fun!!

P.S. It is supposed to very HOT up in NorCal too.

starspinners Jun 28th, 2013 10:28 AM

I hope you and your wife have a fabulous trip and that you will be be planning your next safari ASAP.

My husband and I have been to Kenya, Tanzania ( with a side trip over to Zanzibar), Namibia, Zambia, South Africa, and Botswana.
We found new delights in every location we visited, whether it was the very remote camp in the Bushanga Plains, the Namibian dunes, the Okavanga Delta, or the beauty of Cape Town.

We'll be returning to South Africa and Botswana in < 10 days and, once again, I have that yipeeeee I'm -going- to- Africa feeling.

Another couple is going with us...their first safari and they are sooo excited.

This weekend I will triage the piles of "stuff" that I've been stacking in our guest room and make my selection of what I'm actually going to pack.:-)

Safari njema, to you.

Louisville, KY

sandi Jun 29th, 2013 11:25 AM

Are you really spraying your cloths? Ugh! There is no need, believe me.

Otherwise, I'm in NYC and though not quite as 'boiling' as it is out west, we are having 'ugly' weather... hot/humid and still those darn brief storms that instead of cooling off, only makes it worse. Well, we asked for it when wondering just 2/weeks ago, with this awfully long winter that never seemed to want to end 'where is summer?' - now we know.

jaydh42 Jun 29th, 2013 01:05 PM

OK Sandi,

That's it ! If you say there is no need to spray, then there is no need to spray. I consider you the "maven" on this site. It's the dry(er) season and there should be less mossies than in the rainy season. Right? Right! Ingrid gave me a non-plus look when I told her that Sandi said no need to spray so I wouldn't be spraying her knee-zipper trousers. I agree with you and I wasn't planning on spraying my own knee-zip trousers anyway. I did spray our safari hats with neck-flaps in back, however.

When all is said and done I would guess these topics are pretty mundane and will not have any affect on world socio-political outcomes. Ha! Ha!

sandi Jun 29th, 2013 03:34 PM

'maven' - too funny :), though not really, but been often enough. And besides fact I have the original zip-off pants when Banana Republic only sold safari attire, I should give them away to the thrift shop, as I've never worn them. I wear regular pants and never been so hot that I felt the zip-offs would be welcomed.

That's not to say that some visitors might be magnets for flying critters, it's still rare to hear from those returning 'even hearing a mossie' Even though the so-called dry season, we can't be so cavalier that it won't rain. However, if it does, it also soon dries so puddles of water don't accumulate where mossies can breed.

Also, it's one less chemical to deal with even if we can't be guaranteed of what might be contained in anything we eat or wear, regardless how many labels we read. Maybe we should just boycott Mansanto!

Socio-political - duh! I'm not smart enough, but then seems that those who are responsible for these aren't either... ha! ha!

crosscheck Jun 29th, 2013 04:56 PM

<<Are you really spraying your cloths? Ugh! There is no need, believe me.>>

Agreed - don't spray! Yuck. We saw nary a bug in July.

I had no trouble sticking to the weight limit, as well as my husband's strict carry-on limit (click on my name to see my trip report - much about packing anxiety). Our camps were eco-lodges and we still managed to get laundry done. Of course take makeup in travel sizes. Camps provide shampoo and lotion, but bring hotel-sized bottles of conditioner and sunscreen. Tell your wife to pack three daytime outfits, one workout outfit, three evening outfits (nice jeans/long-sleeved tee or shirt), a few cool scarves, plus lightweight hiking shoes, sandals, pjs, warm socks, a cashmere and a fleece.

If you decide you'd rather have something super lightweight that rolls rather than a duffel,
I HIGHLY recommend the Lipault 22" spinner (which didn't exist when I went on my safari 3 years ago):

I have used the Lipault for all types of business and pleasure trip (including two weeks in India) and it's astounding how little it weighs and how much it fits. There is a whole thread about it on the Europe board, in which people list what they packed:

Good luck and have a terrific trip.

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