What and some tips on how to pack for your safari to make it even better

To get away from the doom and gloom and all the news of COVID-19, here is someting lighter for you to read and then start planning your Safari to South Africa while you are safely at home during this period.

What to pack for your safari

Fisrtly what does Safari mean? The word SAFARI originated from the Arabic word “safara”, meaning “journey / to travel”. It then made its way into East Africa with the Swahili revision of the verb “kusafiri” being converted to the noun “safari”, and it is believed that Sir Richard Francis Burton, the British explorer, introduced the word “safari” into the English language in 1860.

2. What should I wear on safari? On safari in South Africa you will need to wear comfortable, casual and semi-casual clothes. Nothing designer or fancy!

Please note that bright colours are not ideal for game-viewing,but the lodge will not stop you going on a safar if you are wearing bright colours - you will just "stick out"!. Also that game drives are conducted in the early morning and late afternoon - they can be cold, especially in winter. Wearing clothes in layers is the most practical way to cope with fluctuating day/night temperatures and cool evenings whilst on safari. As the day warms up you can peel off another layer. Then as it begins to cool toward evening, you can put them back on.

It is not necessary to take any expensive personal jewelry on safari. Be minimalist or take only those everyday items that you normally wear, like your wedding band, inexpensive earrings.

3. What should I pack?. Here are some packing suggestions:


  • Light cotton trousers
  • Cotton shorts
  • Light cotton shirts (long & short sleeved)
  • Comfortable closed walking shoes
  • Walking socks
  • Sandals
  • Light jersey/jacket
  • Waterproof rain jacket/windbreaker
  • Sunhat
  • Swimming costume.

For winter (May to September), pack these too:

  • Warm jacket
  • Woollen Hat
  • Scarf & gloves.

Other Items:

  • Insect repellent – available here in South Africa.
  • Suntan lotion/sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Camera (telephoto lens recommended)
  • Binoculars
  • Chargers for phones and batteries
  • International adapter - most lodges have them. Please note that our electricity in South Africa is 220 volts
  • Small torch

Sunscreen and an extensive range of branded safari wear can be bought from most lodge safari shops.

Some tips on how to pack your suit case:

  1. Prescription meds. Remember to put your prescription medications in your hand luggage (in case your check-in bag goes astray... it happens!)…and make sure you have enough of each type to last your entire safari.
  2. Put dirty shoes in shower caps. Use the complimentary hotel ones – they are handy for covering shoes to keep clothes clean.
  3. Raid the sewing tin. Keep earring studs together by pushing them through a button and prevent necklaces knotting by threading them through a flexible straw.
  4. Pack heavy items first. If you pack shoes and toiletries at the bottom of your trolley travel case near the wheels, it stops the bag from toppling over at the check-in counter and it’s much easier to pull.
  5. Settle your clothing. Close and drop your bag onto the floor from a height of about 10 centimetres a few times. Everything will shift into tighter spots and free up more packing room.
  6. Roll your clothes. It’s time consuming, but when tested, rolling your clothes rather than folding them does save space because the fabric is better compressed. It is also better at preventing creases
  7. All hail the almighty Ziploc. To compress even further, pack your rolled items into Ziploc bags (or individual zip organisers, much like a large toiletry bag). Even if you’re not concerned about space, big Ziploc freezer bags are great for stashing dirty washing and preventing odours spreading to clean clothes.
  8. Dip ear buds in essential oils. Lavender or my favourite, ylang ylang, work well. Place the buds between layers of packed clothes to keep them smelling fresh.
  9. Roll your belt into a formal shirt collar. This will keep the collar’s shape. Alternatively, snake the belt around the inside rim of your case to save space.
  10. Invest in thermal gear. This means you need only pack one bulky coat for winter travel rather than too many heavy jerseys, tracksuits and hoodies.
  11. Store information on Dropbox! It will give you digital access to vital documentation in the event of your things getting lost or stolen in any country. Include the serial numbers identifying your camera, laptop, smartphone and other digital items; a photocopy of your passport, airline tickets and other necessary info; plus a snap of your open suitcase so that you can identify your packed bag.

Hopefully, 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