What To Pack in Your Travel Bag
Going on an African safari and spotting animals like lions and zebras in their natural habitat is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Since it’s not something most people do very often, it’s also not the easiest trip to pack for. We often have last-minute calls from guests seeking help packing their bags, which is understandable. Most guests will be away from home over two weeks, travelling in places where it is hard to pop out for extra socks or change of clothes. Also, maximum weight limits for luggage can range from 12kg person to 20kg per person, depending on your itinerary.
We have rounded up a list of essentials to consider packing for your wild adventure.
Your Travel Bag
It is recommended that your bags be 100% soft-sided if you are planning on travelling in an open vehicle where space is limited, preferably no suitcases or bags with wheels. Many recommend a soft-sided duffel bag as the lightweight and roomy duffel should hold everything you need, and it is compliant with most African airline requirements.
Passport, visas, itinerary, and travel insurance
First on the list and one of the most important are your important travel documents. Not only take a paper copy, but if you are taking your phone with you, save an electronic copy on your phone for back-up. These are essential.
Remember to put your prescription medications in your hand luggage and make sure you have enough to last your entire safari. Professional medical care isn't always close when on safari. For that reason, it’s important to be prepared for medical issues. Some important medications to consider for your travel bag:
Prescription medicines / Antibiotics (if you currently take any)
Malaria medication (if necessary)
Paracetamol or other painkillers
Anti-diarrhoea pills for food poisoning
Oral Rehydration Salts in case of diarrhoea or dehydration
Anti-histamine for allergic reactions
Insect repellent (eco-friendly)
Lavender essential oil (functions as after bite and many more purposes like a good night of sleep)
Pads for blisters
Toiletries to pack: Essentials for travellers.
Soap, shampoo, conditioner
Toothbrush, toothpaste, and dental floss
Feminine hygiene products
Contact lenses and fluid
Wet wipes (handy on camping trips or long drives)
Lip balm for the dry air
Hand and body lotion
Shaving kit or razor
Binoculars are essential for the best wildlife viewing. A good pair of binoculars will make a BIG difference to your experience. Many national parks and game reserves, vehicles are restricted to the road networks, so your driver won’t be able to go off-road to follow a pride of lions or elephants bathing in a river. That’s when binoculars will really come in handy. Though some safari operators carry binoculars in their vehicles, these are generally limited to one pair.
Your Trusty Camera
If you are an avid photographer, make sure you have all your gear, you will be blown away by photographic opportunities. Make sure you take plenty of memory cards for your camera and don’t forget to pack your charger, camera bag and maybe some extra batteries. Plugs can be a bit tricky so you might want to bring one or two with you.
Casual and Comfortable Clothing
Casual and comfortable clothing is best. Make sure you take clothes that you feel comfortable in, especially when it comes to your walking shoes. The newer quick-drying fabrics, shirts with ventilation and trousers that convert into shorts are all worth considering.
Choose neutral tones and light fabrics, preferably cotton. These fabrics work best in a hot climate. Pack about 3 t-shirts and 3 pairs of shorts. Do not pack white shirts, they show the dirt up easily and make you highly visible to the animals. Other colours to avoid are red which attracts animals, and if you are going into an area where Tsetse flies are present then you should also avoid the colours blue and black.
Ladies, you can pack one smarter set of clothing for if you are staying at a private lodge, but for the most part informal. Much more important however is to pack a good support bra, as game drives can sometimes be a little rough.
Pack a couple of long-sleeved shirts and a pair of long trousers. The evenings can be chilly and they are also good for keeping mosquitoes and other insects at bay. The temperatures in Kruger can vary greatly. In winter you can be very cold on a morning game drive, but perfectly comfortable in shorts and a t-shirt at midday. Unless you are doing a walking safari, there is no need to pack heavy duty hiking boots. A good durable pair of trainers is all that is needed. You might also like to pack a pair of sandals for around the lodge or pool. Many first-time visitors to Africa underestimate the strength of the Sun even in the late afternoons. Choose a hat that has a wide brim to shade your eyes and the back of your neck (this is an area most people forget, and where they get sunburnt).
Don’t Forget Your Sunscreen and Sunglasses
Choose a sunscreen with a high SPF or sun protection factor of between 30 and 50. Middays get incredibly hot and from experience, you can get sunburnt very quickly. It is a good idea to pack a pair of sunglasses as the glare from the sun during the middle of the day can hurt your eyes and give you a headache, especially if you are not used to it.
So, sit back, relax and know you’re covered for a comfortable adventure. Get ready to take in the epic sights, sounds and experiences of our amazing South Africa.