Packing for Safari

(Post updated after Safari; please read to the bottom for all tips!)

I have dreamt of this moment for years! Not the packing part, but going on a journey in Africa? Yes!

Most people plan months or even years in advance for this type of trip. However, mine came together in under a month, and I had about three weeks to get all my gear in order!

I had so many questions, and worries, and I panicked a bit because I needed many new things as Safari is a different animal altogether. Pun intended. So, this post is to help my fellow travelers and hopefully take some stress out of the planning.

For reference, I’ll be on Safari for ten days, during Spring, and visiting Kenya and Tanzania.

Soft-sided, no wheels, easy to carry
There is a 33lb max limit including hand luggage and camera gear on smaller bush planes.
I’m already a light packer, but this was still a challenge!
Main Carry-on Pack: Sky Train Backpack Hybrid from Red Oxx – you can carry it as a duffle or backpack, and the straps are nicely padded. The only caveat is that it weighs 4lbs before packing.
Smaller Personal Carry-on: LeSportsac Medium Weekender – it’s lightweight, the zippers lock, it packs down, and holds lots of stuff!
Day bag: Baggalini Cross Body – Lays flat in my main bag and is lightweight.

Yellow Fever is mandatory.
I also got Hepatitis A & B and Typhoid.
Passport Health clinics are great for travelers. Check if one exists in your area!
I also got Malarone (anti-malaria pills) and Cipro (for an upset tummy.)

Bring as little as possible!
Colors: Neutral earth tones – olive, khaki, brown
I packed two lighter colored tops, and I’ll report back if they stay clean or if I need to leave them in Africa.
My beloved black will need to sit this trip out since darker colors attract mosquitos and other buggies.
If you are a mosquito magnet, you might want to invest in Insect Repellant clothing.
Here’s what I packed:
3 Pants – two pants/1 Jean (not for Safari)
2 Long-sleeve shirts – one has Insect Shield
3 T-shirts/tops – one convertible shirt, one linen, and one cotton.
2 Bras – bralettes
3 Socks
8 Pairs Underwear
1 Pajama set + long sleeve top
1 Hipknotie – a convertible scarf/skirt/top
2 Buff Headbands
1 Swimsuit
1 Ultra Light Down Jacket
2 Flip-Flop/Slippers – I packed one crystal flip-flop as my “sandal” and one sturdy flip-flop with durable sole

On the plane, I’ll be wearing a sports bra, tank top, long-sleeve top, pants, waterproof hiking shoes, wool ankle socks and a sweater/fleece.

5 – 1oz Nalgene leakproof containers and filled them with hair product, sunscreen, and other necessities
2 – 2oz containers for body cream (I’ll be in many dry locations.)
2 – 10ml Roll-on SkeeterBeater Insect Gel (all natural, no DEET)
Toothpaste, Face Cream, Face Serum, Lavender Oil, Clear Nail Polish

For Cleaning Up
Lavender Wipes
Face/Eye Cleansing Wipes

Superzoom Camera
OlloClip 4-in-1 Lens for iPhone
Mophie Powerstation
2-Outlet International Travel Adapter

How I packed: I rolled my clothes in tissue paper and put them in Gallon-size Ziploc bags. I compressed all the air out the bags and placed the sealed bags into Eagle Creek Compression bags to keep everything organized. All my loose and smaller items are in smaller Ziploc bags, and I did the same – squeeze all the air out and place them in Eagle Creek packing cubes. I used Think Tank Photo Cable Management cases to organize my electronic gear.

All the clothes and bags I'll be traveling with for 10 days on Safari

All the clothes and bags I’ll be traveling with for 10 days on Safari

I packed all my clothes into making cubes and shoes in shoe bags.

I packed all my clothes into Ziploc bags and then in packing cubes and shoes in shoe bags.

Clothes in bottom layer of Sky Train by Red Oxx

Clothes in bottom layer of Sky Train by Red Oxx

Shoes (Olukai Slippers & Havaiana Slim Crystal Flip-Flops) laid flat on top.

Shoes (Olukai Slippers & Havaiana Slim Crystal Flip-Flops) laid flat on top.

Sky Train packed with clothes

Sky Train packed with clothes

I will let you know how it all goes and what worked and what I could’ve left behind!

‘Til next time, thanks for reading and Happy Travels!

January 5th, 2017
I have completed my Safari travels and have news and tips to share!

What you read online about packing for Safari in soft-sided bags without wheels – all lies!!! Many people had hard cases with wheels. 15kgs is preferred but if you go over, you pay a fee. I swapped my backpack/duffle for a carry-on spinner in Nairobi.

Here’s what I didn’t need, or use:
– Gloves
– Binoculars ~ every camp I visited had binoculars I could use on the Game Drives.
– Go Girl pee cup ~ the freedom to squat and pee in random isolated locations was exhilarating! I felt one with the land and animals!
– Emergency Poncho ~ it didn’t rain enough to warrant protection.
– Waterproof hiking shoes and wool socks ~ it was HOT during the day, and my shoes with wool socks were too much. Regular, simple sneakers or durable, sturdy flip-flops would have sufficed for game drives.

Here’s what I wish I brought:
– More dress clothes/relaxation clothes ~ I had enough clothes for Safari, but in the evenings, it would have been nice to change into something a little more formal – like dress slacks and a cute top. I also could have brought jewelry, and a nice pair of sandals.

Reviews for everything else:

My International Health Card was requested at the entry point to Tanzania.
Even though I brought Malarone (anti-malaria pills), my body did not respond well to it, two days in, and I stopped taking them so I could enjoy my trip. I’d recommend to either take them with a BIG meal or not at all. Cipro did come in handy, and I wish I brought it on all my game drives!

Colors: Neutral earth tones – olive, khaki, brown – YES!
I packed two lighter colored tops, and with laundry in the camps, all the dust came out in the wash!
If you are a mosquito magnet, wear long sleeves. You don’t need Insect Repellant specific clothing.
I wore everything noted above in my packing list, except the swimsuit. I didn’t have much downtime to warrant a swim in any of the pools.

SkeeterBeater Insect Gel (all natural, no DEET) – GOOD – I used one roll-on during the trip.

For Cleaning Up
Lavender Wipes – YES! These came in handy!

Superzoom Camera – Excellent for Safari! So HAPPY with this purchase!
Mophie Powerstation – I didn’t need this. The camps and game drive vehicles had outlets. 
2-Outlet International Travel Adapter – I liked this. It came in handy.

I also liked that all my clothes were in Ziploc bags, and no matter where I traveled, my clothes stayed dry and dust-free!

Overall, the Safari was great, and I can’t wait to do it again!

If you have any questions about my packing list, please leave a comment below!

Happy Travels!

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5 Discussion to this post

  1. Cindy says:

    Just wondering – did you use the Olliclip?

    • Lisa Eve says:

      Hi Cindy,
      I don’t remember how often I used it during that trip. My primary camera was the Panasonic Superzoom. The Olloclip is fun for different perspectives, but it doesn’t work as well when you have a screen protector on your phone. They’ve done a lot of upgrades since I purchased mine; you might want to take a look and use it locally before deciding if it’s right for you.

  2. Kim Odenwald says:

    Lisa, all your tops and follow-ups so very helpful. LOVED viewing and reading them!!
    What countries in Africa did you travel to on your trip, because we have been told that absolutely NO DISPOSABLE PLASTIC BAGS (including ziplocks) of any kind are permitted in most African countries. Not even for carry-on toiletries. Have purchased TSA approved clear plastic zippered toiletry bags, instead. Did you not find this to be the case? Surprised you could place all your clothes in ziplock bags and get away with that. That’s what I had originally planned to do, too.
    Also, did the natural no-deet inspect repellant REALLY work??
    And re hard-sided luggage … we have been informed from your operator that the smaller bush planes to travel from bush camp to bush camp (mostly in Tanzania and Kenya) require soft-sided, squishable luggage that can be jammed into luggage holds. Don’t know about WHEELED luggage … usually means some kind of rigid frame involved, and THAT is what Bush planes can’t accommodate … can’t conform to spaces around other luggage in hold, and to rounded corners of luggage holds.
    Thanks for any more feedback …

    • Lisa Eve says:

      Hi Kim!
      Glad you found my review helpful! To answer your questions…
      Re: Plastic ziplock bags – I took regular quart and gallon sized bags for just about everything and didn’t experience any issues. If they’ve changed the rules, I can’t speak to that. I traveled through Kenya and Tanzania.
      Re: Soft sided vs hard sided – I would definitely recommend soft sided. I did see folks using hard-sided luggage with wheels on bush planes – and I imagine if they went over in weight, they paid a fee.
      Re: Insect Repellant – I loved the one I bought so much, I’ve used it on a several other trips to the tropics.
      Hope that helps! Wishing you a great trip! 🙂

      • Kim Odenwald says:

        Thank you so much Lisa! We actually aren’t going until Aug. 2019, but am having fun researching and preparing now!! The ziplocks would make a world of difference for me—love packing any-and-everything in them!! And FYI, I’m ordering the Red Oxx Sky Train bags for both my husband and myself … so glad for your recommendation and showing how you packed them, too. 😊. Where are you off to next?

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