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The Ultimate Guide to Preparing for a Luxury Safari Trip

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Vihann Van Wyk

Safari Travel Planner

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Vihann Van Wyk

Author: Vihann Van Wyk - 17 March 2017

Last Update: 14 June 2024

The African savannah is often portrayed as a warm and dry destination and may result in unwanted surprises for travellers who aren’t properly informed about what to expect in the bush on their luxury safaris.

With the right advice and guidance, knowing what to pack will give you the best possible start for your African adventure.

Luggage pick: a soft duffle bag

When choosing your luggage of choice, stay away from any hardshell cases as well as bags with wheels for your trip.

Weight is your most important factor here, as a large bag that is slightly above the weight limit can still be squeezed into a small corner, while a hardshell bag might struggle.

Clothing: One to wear. One spare. One in the laundry.

This is generally the best method to follow when packing for a safari. So be sure to take three of every item of clothing. Most lodges and camps provide an excellent laundry service.

Here’s a clothing packing list that will cover all the basics for both genders when on safari:

  • Pants that can transform into shorts: Try to find a multi-functional pair of pants with zips at the knees that will protect you from the early morning and evening chill, whilst giving you the opportunity to cool down during midday.
  • Long and short sleeve t-shirts: Depending on the weather, you can easily alternate between the two.
  • Long sleeve shirt: Be sure to pack a few with a collar, as it’s a lifesaver in protecting your neck from the African sun.
  • A waterproof jacket: Even if you’re travelling in the warm summer months, it’s always best to take a light waterproof jacket for the eventuality of rain. Rather safe than sorry.
  • Knitwear: Like most of the world, Africa is also prone to sudden drops in temperature. A woolly garment or two will cover your bases here.
  • A wide-brimmed hat: Give yourself extra protection from the African sun.
  • Sunglasses: Be sure to take an extra pair with you – the likelihood of one breaking is always a possibility on safari.
  • A good pair of hiking boots as well as some sandals: One for the bush and the other for relaxing at the pool.
  • Other items include: Swimwear, gloves, a beanie, and of course, underwear.

Toiletries: Bring your favourites along

Here’s a general list of toiletries to bring along:

  • Shampoo and conditioner

  • Lotion

  • Sunscreen with a good SPF rating

  • Insect repellent

  • Medicine and a first aid kit

  • Toothpaste, toothbrush, shaving essentials

Digital items

  • A digital camera to capture your favourite safari moments

  • Binoculars to spot wildlife hidden away in the bush

  • A power bank to keep your camera and cellphone charged

After you’ve ticked all these boxes, you should be well prepared adventure!

Using your cellphone

Call and text for free via Wi-Fi: Most lodges and camps have internet options available to guests. If you’re looking to cut down on how much you’ll spend on data, try using apps such as Viber for Android and iOS, Google Hangouts for Android and iOS or Skype for Android and iOS.

Health and Safety

To make sure that your safari is an unforgettable experience, be sure to plan ahead when it comes to health and safety precautions. Book an appointment with a health professional that specialises in travel medication.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) publishes up-to-date information about essential and recommended vaccinations to all destinations, but the risk of contracting diseases varies with the duration of your trip and intended activities. This is why you must discuss your specific plans with a health professional.

Travel Requirements

  • Depending on which country you’ll be travelling to, ensure that your VISA and Passport requirements are in order well before your travel date. 

  • If you’re travelling with children – they will need an unabridged birth certificate when entering countries such as Botswana and South Africa. 

  • If you’re travelling to South Africa, you can find out exactly which documents you’ll need by using this handy checklist


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