What clothes to take
An important thing to do before packing anything is to lay out all of your clothes and accessories on your bed and see what pieces you can mix and match so you can create multiple outfits using a few of the same items of clothing. . Less is more, and I can assure you that you will never be upset about packing too little, just too much. There is no need to buy a new wardrobe for a safari. I only bought one or two new items and knew I would wear them again once I got home.
Good communication with your safari company or travel agent should give you an idea of the weather conditions and insect frequency for the time of year you will be traveling in Africa and the countries you will be visiting. This will help you decide which fabrics to choose and how many layers will be needed for each stopover. Our safari company, Travel to Africahave made packing easier with their own detailed packing list.
Earthy tones like tans, muted browns, light greens and blues will serve you well, not only in reflecting most visible wavelengths on a hot day, but they can also get dusty during those adventurous walks in jeep, so it’s nice to keep the wash load on. down. I also found it easier to find softer, lighter fabrics in these lighter colors.
Warmer clothing like fleeces, light jackets and sweaters will be essential for mornings, evenings and at higher altitudes. Leave your bulky sweaters and jeans at home. They take up too much space in your bag and you won’t need these heavier fabrics on safari. Be sure to pack a rain jacket just in case, because you never know what the elements might surprise you with each day. Do your best to be prepared, comfortable and protected at all times.
The right shoes can make or break a good vacation, so a little effort goes a long way in choosing shoes. I prefer knee-high boots, but that’s just a personal preference. Depending on your itinerary, unless you plan to head out to Mount Kilimanjaro, Ngorongoro Crater, or other challenging treks in Africa, most of your time will be spent in a 4×4 or relaxing around camp. So, most trail or day hiking shoes will suffice.
Socks are also a small but very important item to choose wisely. I prefer a wool or cotton blend and a sock that covers your ankles. If bugs are present, this seems to be the one place I get chewed out the most. A nice compression sock will maintain blood circulation if you sit for long hours. They are particularly important for long international flights. Wool socks lined with a cotton blend are a nice alternative if you are sensitive to wool.
Hats can be found in a range of styles, colors and fabrics, and I’ve switched between a breathable UV-protected hat with an adjustable chin strap, ideal for windy days, and a fedora-style packer hat. Beanies are also a great option, they are easy to pack and will keep you warm during chilly morning rides.
Scarves or bandanas are also useful as hair ties or face coverings when needed, and sunglasses should be worn not only for daily protection from the sun, but also for protection from the wind.
Ladies, one last suggestion, a quality sports bra. Yes, a sports bra. These safari jeeps aren’t doing us any favors with all the bouncing and wobbling, so good support is a must!