How to Pack for an African Safari



The Flight 001 crew has traveled pretty extensively, but recently we realized how woefully underrepresented Africa is as a destination in our office. So, as a first step toward rectifying that, we asked Sandy Salle, founder of Hills of Africa, to give us some of her best packing pointers. Here’s what she had to say.

Congratulations, you’ve booked a safari trip! Now all you have to do is pack for it. The challenge? Assembling pieces that are comfortable and stylish, yet will equip you to take on the natural elements. Contrary to what you may have heard, there’s no need to dress like Crocodile Dundee, so leave your safari hat and crocodile-skin vest at home. (Remember: you’re trying to view animals, not become one!)

Here are a few basic necessities to get you started:


What to carry:

It’s likely that you’ll take domestic flights throughout your trip, as some of the more remote safari and African bush regions are best accessed by air. A soft-sided carry-on or duffel is a good idea, as most African planes are small and can’t fit hard-sided luggage into the overhead bins or cargo area. Personal carry-on items are typically allowed on these aircrafts, but regulations on weight and size can vary between countries and plane types, so check with your airline or safari specialist in advance.

How to stay organized:

•If you’re going to live out of a duffle bag for up to two weeks, you’ll need something to compartmentalize your clothing and minimize bulk. The best way to do that is with the F1 Spacepak Clothes bag, which actually compresses your clothing so that you can fit even more. It also separates items so that you can easily find what you need without having to rip your bag apart.
• Herschel Duffle: As mentioned above, you will need a wheel-less duffle bag when flying on light aircrafts. We love Herschel’s carry-on duffle bags. They’re spacious, stylish, and even have a shoulder strap so you can go hands-free!
•Security is a breeze with transparent F1 Quart Bags.


What to bring:

When packing for a two-week African safari vacation, we recommend a blend of long pants and shorts, and both short- and long-sleeved tops. Make sure to include some that are moisture-wicking. Depending on when and where you go, you’ll also want to consider the following:
• Sweaters or a pashmina—evenings and mornings can be chilly!
• A rain jacket
• Hiking boots or sneakers are a given, but we actually love TOMS shoes, too! They’re comfortable and can be worn both on safari or for a casual walk in Cape Town.
• Bring at least one nice outfit that can be worn to dinner
• High socks

Most luxury accommodations throughout Africa provide basic toiletries such as soap, shampoo, and conditioner, so save the extra space in your bag and leave them behind! Do, however, bring your own sunscreen, bug spray, and wet wipes.


Good to know…

• Most universal adapters do not work in South Africa, so you may need to buy a specific adapter if you plan to visit.
• Keep the strong UV rays off your face with a baseball cap or safari hat. We love Tilley hats for their breathability.
• Canon 10 X 30 IS binoculars have fantastic image stabilization technology and are competitively priced.
• Passport (valid for at least another six months after travel) + passport holder. F1 Leather Passport Covers are a favorite!
• Vaccinations booklet & health insurance info. (We recommend storing these items in your passport holder.)

Happy packing!


About guest author Sandy Salle:

Sandy Salle is the founder and owner of Hills of Africa Travel, a luxury travel company, specializing in planning customized African safari vacations. A native of Zimbabwe, Sandy was born and raised in southern Africa. While she is now happily an American citizen, she does miss Africa—the smell of the first rains, the beautiful sunsets, and the magic of the people. Believing the next best thing to living in Africa is sharing it with others, Sandy takes great pride in providing a once-in-a-lifetime African experience her clients will remember forever. 

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