Planning for a safari can be an exciting experience, probably you have been waiting for months and finally your safari is around the corner. Merk travel will give you tips on the must haves on when packing for your safari.
Passport, itinerary, travel insurance docs and tickets
This should be on the top of your list, without travel documents you will not be able to travel anywhere, unless when your planned safari is in the country where you are a citizen. If your safari involves travelling across countries or continents, travel documents should be sorted first thing.
Remember to put your prescription medications in your hand luggage, sometimes your check in bags could go astray and make sure you have enough of each type to last your entire safari.
Prescription glasses (sunglasses, hat, sunscreen et al)
If you use prescription glasses, it’s advisable to pack more than one set in case you lose one or they get broken. You will be outdoors for much of the time, and they could break accidentally. Pack a hat, sunscreen, long sleeves, and lip balm.
Camera, video and binoculars
Binoculars are important for optimum wildlife viewing on safari and a good pair of binoculars will make a big difference to your safari. We strongly recommend a pair of binoculars on safari. Get the most expensive you can afford (at least 8x or better still 10x magnification).
Africa is a photographer’s dream. Not only does the boundless wild life come in all shapes and sizes, but the continent is also blessed with stunning landscapes, colorful people and fabulous light! Don’t miss out. Buy a camera, if you don’t already have one.
Clothes and toiletries
It’s important to pack the right clothes for a safari. Most international airlines will restrict your check-in luggage to around 20 to 30kgs (55lbs). However, if your safari includes any light aircraft flights, then this can mean as little as 12 to 15 kgs (sometimes including your hand luggage!).
This makes it very crucial for the clothes you can pack, never the less here is a simple list of the clothes to pack.
• T-shirt, shirt or blouse – long sleeves and collars help to protect from the sun and mosquitoes
• Fleece or warm jacket
• A pair of safari trousers – those that zip off at the knees are very handy, too
• Comfortable walking shoes (or boots) and socks
• Bandanna or cotton scarf
• Maybe a pair of open sports sandals for general daytime use in warmer months
• Swimsuit – a number of lodges and camps have swimming pools
• An elegantly casual outfit for dinner at the smarter hotels
• A light, compact raincoat if it is likely you will encounter rain (gorilla and chimpanzee trekking)
NOTE; Casual, comfortable clothing is suitable throughout the year when on safari.
safari-wear is generally casual and practical.
walking/hiking boots. The newer quick-drying fabrics, shirts with ventilation and trousers that convert into shorts are all worth considering.
same-day laundry service is usually available in most safari camps and lodges. This means you DO NOT need a change of clothes for each day you are on safari! The exception will be for mobile tented safaris where it is often difficult, due the mobile nature, to offer a laundry service. It may also be possible to leave a bag with the charter company, or person meeting you, for the duration of the safari portion. When in doubt, ask your travel agent.
Check the weather
This can be checked through your travel agent or online, to find out what the weather will be like where you are going. This will help you determine the type of clothes you will need to pack. Alternatively, if you are going anywhere in winter where the temperature drops dramatically when the sun goes down, you may need gloves, a scarf, a thick jacket and a beanie
Phone, music, tablet or laptop
You will definitely need a phone for commutation, you may choose to move with your music, laptop if it’s a must and do not forget their chargers, country-specific adaptor plugs
These may come in handy and save the day, these may include pain killers, antacids, medicines to help with diarrhea, Other extra things you can put are insect repellent, hand sanitizer, bites (antihistamine), indigestion, sore throat (lozenges), eye drops, and most important – anti-malarial tablets
A good torch (flashlight) is a must. It can be pitch black in the bush or in your tent in the middle of the night. A rechargeable torch is ideal but a small battery-powered torch is sufficient. The new LED miner’s lights that fit on your head (and leave your hands free) are also a good option. A smaller (pencil) torch for emergencies or looking at star maps is also worth considering. Most camps will provide a torch, or will walk you back to your tent as required, but being self-sufficient is not bad either.
A good book. If you are a reader this can come in handy, you never know when you are going to be delayed at the airport or when you may need it.
A travel diary or journal is something we recommend. You will see and experience so much in such a short period of time on safari, that the only way to maintain a good record of it will be to write it down. It does require discipline, but will serve as an invaluable record of your safari adventure.
There may be other things you may consider when packing for a safari that are not included here, this list gives you ideas and you can adjust it. We hope these tips will help you to figure out what you need to pack for your safari. If you need more information or want to go ahead and embark on a safari adventure, contact us We’ll be happy to help you decide on the best tour option.