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What to Bring on Safari

Those who have yet to enjoy the adventure of a guided safari may need some suggestion on what to bring along. Even the most experienced safari veteran may also need a reminder on certain specifics for each new destination they visit on his or her quest to discover its extraordinary wildlife. This blog provides you with a general checklist of what to pack on most wildlife, birding and photography tours, rather than specifics for a particular destination.


We often joke that, as long as you remember your binoculars and passport, that will suffice. However, you will feel a lot more comfortable if you also bring several other items along. Please be mindful and considerate of the fact that space in the vehicle may be limited, but we understand that wildlife experiences do need lots of equipment! There will also be a few opportunities for laundry enroute.


NOTE 1: There may be a restriction on luggage limits on your safari – please ensure that you have the details from your agent according to your itinerary and ask your agent ahead of time if you would like details on the feasibility and costs of taking excess luggage with you on any of these restricted luggage safaris. In addition, please remember that should you be undertaking domestic flights during your tour, the airlines often have lower weight allowances (20 – 23 kgs) for both checked luggage and carry-on baggage than for international flights. So, do check with us whether this may be an issue for you, and we can help with some suggestion to solve the problem.


NOTE 2: Bright colours and white are not advisable whilst on safari. Camouflage clothing is not recommended for travel in African countries.


Below is a List of Items you should not forget:

  • Binoculars

  • Passport and, if required, visas

  • Mammal and bird field guides, or apps on your phone

  • Photography equipment – some people may bring a point-and-shoot camera while others may want to bring their larger DSLR or mirrorless cameras and lenses, as well as video equipment

  • A spotting scope and tripod or window mount (optional, especially since our guide almost always has one for the group)

  • Any other equipment – SD Cards, chargers, adapters

  • Spare batteries for photographic gear, headtorches and other gear

  • Flashlight/torch/headlamp, preferably rechargeable, or with spare batteries

  • Toiletries

  • Personal medication (where applicable include anti-malaria drugs). We recommend packing important medication in your hand luggage in the unlikely event of lost luggage

  • Pack a change of clothes in your hand luggage in the unlikely event of lost luggage

  • Some countries might require a valid Yellow Fever Certificate (or waiver if your doctor or travel clinic advises that you do not get the vaccination). We advise that you visit a travel clinic or your family doctor and perusing the Centers for Disease Control website travellers’ health section

  • Long-sleeved tops and long-legged pants as a precaution against biting insects

  • Hiking boots, a comfortable pair of walking shoes (sneakers), and sandals

  • Rain gear

  • Wind breaker

  • Good sunglasses

  • Cap/hat

  • Beanie for cold weather

  • Swimming gear

  • A buff for sun protection around your neck and ears

  • A scarf or neck warmer for the cold weather

  • A plastic bag for any wet or muddy clothing

  • Sunscreen and lip sun protection – SPF 30 or higher recommended

  • Moisturising cream

  • Wet wipes and tissues

  • Alarm clock

  • Copies of your passport, medical insurance policies, and other important documents. These can also be left with the Sustain Safaris office (we can store electronic documents of anything you want us to, if you send it to us in advance) or at your home

  • Cash for visas, drinks, gifts, tips (although tips at restaurants for meals during the tour are included. Generally, around US$10 per trip participant per day is the standard, erring on the higher side for more senior staff members), items of a personal nature, etc. Traveler’s checks are rarely, if ever, used any more, but Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted (Amex less so) and can be used for drawing local currency at ATMs. However, it is essential to always have cash as a backup at all times

  • Insect repellent for body application, e.g. Tabard, Rid, Jungle Juice, etc. It is not necessary to spray profuse amounts before going into the field, unless you are hiking in tick-borne areas. Animals will pick up the scent and may move away.

  • Basic medical kit (aspirins, plasters, antiseptic cream, antihistamine cream and tablets, anti-diarrhoea tablets, anti-nausea tablets, etc.)


Including all of these items in your luggage, in addition to the regular items (underwear, pyjamas etc.), should ensure that you never find yourself saying “I wish I had remembered to pack...”

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