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What to pack for an African Safari in Kenya and Tanzania

September 16, 2020

Don your khakis and pack the bug spray – East Africa is calling

Blushing sunsets over the Masai Mara, wildlife spotting from a pop-top 4x4 and fascinating ancient cultures – an East African safari is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. This part of the world is truly magnificent, blessed with sweeping savannahs and many of the world’s most endangered animals. But if safari conjures images of head-to-toe beige and hiking boots – fear not. As long as you pack the essentials, you don’t have to purchase a whole new wardrobe for the occasion.

A safari game drive with wild animals in view, Masai Mara Reserve.
A safari game drive with wild animals in view, Masai Mara Reserve.

Here, a packing guide for Kenya and Tanzania.

Weather

First thing’s first – the weather. Thanks to its proximity to the equator, East Africa is warm throughout much of the year, however, temperatures are affected by altitude and geography. If you’re planning a visit to coincide with the great migration in July and August, pack layers for chilly mornings and cool nights. If your trip is between March and May, pack a waterproof coat and prepare for the long rains.

A family on an African safari vacation enjoying views over Masai Mara.
A family on an African safari vacation enjoying views over Masai Mara.

Bag specifications

For all of our East African trips, soft-sided luggage is preferred, due to the nature of the trip and road conditions. We recommend packing only what you can carry, but a maximum of 20 kg is permitted. A daypack is also handy to store game drive supplies like sunscreen, water and a camera.

Female tourist on safari in Africa, watching wild animals in the savannah.
Female tourist on safari in Africa, watching wild animals in the savannah.

Clothing essentials

Lightweight long-sleeved shirts – opt for earthy colours like khaki and olive

Breathable loose pants – for comfort in high-humidity

Fleece – for cool mornings and nights

Light shell jacket

Neutral-toned T-shirts

Raincoat

Sturdy shoes and socks

Sandals

While you’re free to bring clothing in any colour, it’s best to avoid bright colours as they can deter animals. Heavy blacks can also get hot in the African sun, so neutral tones are your best option.

A happy tourist on a safari savannah.
A happy tourist on a safari savannah.

Accessories

Hat

UV protection sunglasses

Extras

Binoculars

Camera – if you’ve always wanted to invest in an SLR with a zoom lens, this is the perfect excuse

Portable power bank – for those long safari days

First aid kit – think antimalarials, plasters and – ahem – diarrhoea prevention medication

Torch

High SPF sunscreen

High DEET insect repellent – mosquitos are rife in East Africa, so repellant is essential

Tissues and wet wipes

Additional considerations

As tempting as booking a last-minute safari may be, travels through East Africa require more preparation than most. It’s recommended that you visit your GP at least eight weeks prior to departure for detailed medical advice. Some vaccinations are highly recommended for travel to the region, while others like Yellow Fever are a condition of entry.

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