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Pro Tips

Safari Packing Guide 101

Welcome to your safari packing guide 101! As luxury travel advisors with over 15 years of expertise, we excel at crafting dream safaris for our clients. Our firsthand experiences, gained from countless safari adventures alongside our esteemed on-the-ground partners, ensure expert planning and once-in-a-lifetime journeys. Drawing from this wealth of experience, we’re excited to share our safari packing tips to ensure that your safari journey is nothing short of seamless from start to finish.

From navigating strict luggage restrictions to selecting the perfect clothing brands and assembling an essential emergency kit, we’re here to equip you with all the tips and tricks you need to prepare for your unforgettable expedition into one of the world’s most wildlife-rich ecosystems: Africa.

Crafting The Perfect Safari

An African Safari ranks high on many travelers’ bucket lists, and rightly so. The unparalleled stillness, beauty, abundance of wildlife, and sense of place found in Africa are incomparable. When it comes to choosing the best country, accommodations, and timing for your journey, the options can be overwhelming. As your dedicated luxury travel advisor, we’re here to craft the ideal itinerary tailored to your unique interests. Whether you prefer an exclusive private safari or joining a small group journey with like-minded travelers, your experience is guaranteed to combine luxury, excitement, and authenticity.

We specialize in crafting tailored itineraries for Southern and East Africa. Do you want to observe the Great Migration of hundreds of thousands of grazing animals and predators across Kenya and Tanzania from an unparalleled vantage point? Do you seek to immerse yourself in the natural jungle habitat of mountain gorillas in Rwanda or Uganda? Perhaps you want to journey to South Africa to view the Big 5 and go on exceptional water safaris, navigating through Botswana’s Okavango Delta in dugout canoes. Or, maybe you want to see the awe-inspiring Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. Whatever your dream, we’re here to make it a reality.

Often clients will plan their Safari around the Great Migration. The annual migration is the migration of vast numbers of wildebeest, accompanied by large numbers of zebra and smaller numbers of Thomson’s gazelle, eland, and impala. They migrate throughout the year, constantly seeking fresh grazing. While witnessing part of the migration is a truly remarkable experience, the precise timing of the migration is entirely dependent upon the rainfall patterns each year and can be very unpredictable.

Our trusted partner, Africa Inscribed, put together guidelines on where to expect the migration, however, timing can vary greatly from year to year.


The herds are usually calving in the southern Serengeti plains where the grass grows most productive and the nutrient contents are high.

The herds start moving north towards the central Serengeti plains.

The herds move northwest crossing the Grumeti River.

Herds continue north and must cross the Mara River before they reach Kenya’s Maasai Mara.

Following the rainfalls, the migration continues into the Maasai Mara.

The migration starts moving south again, back into the Serengeti following the rains. The herds return south to the fertile calving grounds.

For more precise information, contact our team.

Luggage Restrictions

Throughout your itinerary, transportation between destinations may be facilitated by small passenger planes, which are subject to stringent weight restrictions. To mitigate the need for last-minute decisions and ensure a seamless travel experience, we strongly advise adhering to the most restrictive weight limitations for all flights from the outset of your itinerary.

Size Restrictions

Luggage, including hand luggage, is restricted to 44lbs per person in Southern Africa and 33lbs in East Africa. Only soft bags will be accepted. No hard suitcases can be transported, as they physically cannot fit into the aircraft. The maximum dimensions of the soft bags that can be accommodated are as follows:
10 inches wide x 12 inches high and 24 inches long.

If you have any further questions, our team is happy to help.

Clothing Essentials

While staying at Safari Camps/lodges, it is recommended to opt for ‘bush’ colors such as olive green, khaki, gray, and brown. Bright and light colors should be reserved for evening wear. Conversely, it’s best to avoid black and dark blue during the day to prevent heat absorption and attracting insects. It is best to dress in layers so you can add or remove clothing throughout the day, depending on the climate changes.

Typically, four changes of clothing are sufficient for a safari, as most camps offer complimentary laundry services.

Casual clothing is the norm anywhere you go, so it is okay to leave the elegant wear behind. However, if you are commuting on the Blue Train or Rovos Rail, men are required to wear a jacket and tie, while women are expected to wear cocktail attire for dinner.

Packing List: 

What Not To Pack:

  • Jewelry: only bring simplistic jewelry to avoid unnecessary attention
  • Bright-colored clothes: avoid purple, red, or royal blue because they can scare the animals away. Do not pack striped patterns of royal blue and black because they attract insects.
  • Camouflage clothing is not allowed in many African countries and is restricted to military use only- this includes hats too!
  • Perfumes can attract animals
  • Drones are strictly prohibited
  • Plastic bags are illegal in Kenya and Rwanda: pack your toiletries in bags. We highly recommend Béis cosmetic bags.

Packing Your Toiletries

Prepare to pack a little more toiletries and medication than usual. Here’s our recommended packing list:

  • Medications
    • Asprin
    • Immodium
    • Anti-histamine cream and tablets
    • Cough drops and ear drops
    • Pepto-Bismol
    • Flu medication
  • Glasses: if you wear contacts, bring your glasses just in case of dust build-up
  • Sunscreen and lip balm (SPF 30 or higher)
  • Bandaids
  • Personal toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, feminine care products, hairbrush)

Please note that insect repellent will be provided at every lodge.

Please also note that most luxury accommodations have hair dryers in each room so there is no need to pack your own.

Packing Your Gear

Embark on your safari adventure fully prepared with these essential accessories:

Travel Documents

While each country has its own requirements, here is a general guide to the paperwork you can expect to have in preparation for your Safari:

  • Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond your travel return date and have at least 6 blank VISA pages for entry stamps.
  • Travel visa
  • Consult your local travel clinic: It is recommended that you are up-to-date on all routine vaccinations, and it is advised to take your itinerary to your local travel clinic so a medical doctor can advise what other vaccinations or medications are recommended based on your medical history
  • Credit card/cash (please note that American Express is not widely accepted in many countries)
  • Boarding passes
  • If applicable, a yellow fever certificate
  • Emergency paperwork: we recommend printing copies of your passport, credit cards, and flights. We also recommend leaving a copy with a trusted family member.

We also highly recommend purchasing travel insurance for your trip. Travel insurance protects various unexpected events, such as medical emergencies, flight cancellations due to weather conditions, missed connections, and accidents abroad.

Our insurance partners offer flexible policies and wonderful customer service. We also have an exclusive Insurance Desk to help answer any questions you have regarding your travel policy. Contact us for a quote or you can build your own quote and self-purchase travel protection online through our dedicated Travelex Insurance page. Read more on our “Travel Protection” page.

Conservation and Social Responsibility

Our team loves to help make an impact on the destinations that we travel to, whether through financial assistance or material contributions. In rural Africa specifically, the primary aspiration of parents for their children is often education. Acknowledging this imperative, and recognizing the increasing interest among travelers and their families to make meaningful contributions without causing discomfort, we are happy to offer some thoughtful suggestions to answer this call based on your itinerary.

Are You Ready To Start Planning?

Planning a Safari can often be overwhelming and we’re here to help! We’re not just your average travel agent – we’re your trusted travel advisor, ready to guide you through the world of travel with the same expertise as your financial advisor or legal counsel. Except let’s be honest, our industry is way more fun!

By understanding your travel style, we’re able to recommend and design a curated luxury itinerary that is completely custom to each of our client’s unique trip goals through our Tailored Luxury service.

Did you know encountering traffic jams during a safari is a reality in some national parks? Not when you embark on a journey curated by us! Armed with insider knowledge, we guide you to the optimal locations for accommodation, ensuring your focus remains on maximizing wildlife viewings.

Through our exclusive partnerships with luxury hotels and specialty travel partners around the world, we’re able to offer our clients exceptional value-added amenities and VIP experiences during their trips. Aside from our destination knowledge, we also have great confidence in our partnerships with destination specialists and onsite tour operators around the world. We aspire to learn all we can about our vendors and their services so that we can connect your itinerary with the best partner and deliver a dependable and quality itinerary on every trip.

When can you add a Private Guide to accompany you on safari? Private Guides are selected based on their extensive experience and exceptional skills. They take charge of every aspect of the safari, from coordinating with local camp managers and guides to handling luggage and logistical matters behind the scenes, so you can relax without any concerns. As seasoned wildlife guides, they enhance every safari activity with their expertise, offering valuable insights into photographic techniques and natural history throughout your journey.

Most importantly, we only collaborate with local experts who are available 24/7 in the country you’re visiting. This means you can rest easy knowing that you’ll be taken care of every step of the way while traveling. Say goodbye to stress and hello to a seamless and unforgettable travel experience.

To get started, fill out a Travel Request Form or email us at [email protected] where you will connect with Courtney, our Tailored Luxury expert to see if we’re a good fit for your travel needs. To learn more about our Tailored Luxury service and what the process looks like, read our blog here.

We sincerely hope this guide serves as a tool to help you pack for the trip of a lifetime. If you have any questions, let us know.

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