If you are going on a trip to Africa in the near (or far) future, be sure to pin this list and print below for your reference:
hopping on our puddle jumper once in Africa – small bags only!
A few weeks ago I shared a list of the main essentials for a safari. Going on a safari drive is a packing list in itself because there are such specific things that you need and don’t need. Layer on top of that the need for the additional items for you remaining week or two in Tanzania and it is easy to get overwhelmed! Lucky for you, I took inventory on what I wore, what I did not wear and what I wish I had packed and combined it all together into a monster list of items that you will need for a trip to Tanzania. Note that we visited in August which is their “Spring” so we had weather that was cool in the morning, hot in the daytime and dry all around.
The key here is to pack layers and to pack specific colors. You want to stick to tans, greens, grays, whites and black. Our guides told us that bright colors scare off the animals and red is known to attract mosquitoes. I think it goes without saying to avoid animal prints like zebra, leopard, etc. No need to confuse the animals into thinking you’re prey! I recommend taking 2-3 of everything. We were on safari for 6 days and I took 3 full outfits that I rotated through. It is also helpful to try on each outfit prior to packing so that you have a solid idea of each outfit. When it’s 5am and you’re tired, the last thing you’ll want to do is try to put together an outfit.
Necessary clothing items:
safari pants / tanks / tees / long-sleeved tops / light jacket / fleece (great for cool nights and relaxing by the fire) / sports bra (it’s pretty dusty and sweaty so I was more comfortable in these) / bandana and/or scarf / PJs / socks (at least 1 pair for each day) / sneakers / sandals (for shower / pool) / lounge clothing (I wore my black LuLu pants on safari one day and then to lounge another day).
Travel Tip: Most camps offer laundry services – I highly recommend this. This allows you to pack less and also is so needed as each day you get covered in dust and bug spray. We washed items every day and I hand washed our undergarments as well.
Accessories + Gear
This is the part that was pretty challenging and has to be well thought out. I used my trusty packing cubes to help keep most of my accessories separate from my clothes. We split the medicine between our carry on and our checked bags just in case something was lost. What a disaster that would be!
Necessary accessories + gear:
hat (a beanie for the cold and a brimmed hat for the sun) / sun screen /sunglasses / bug spray / reusable water bottle (our lodge kindly provided us with one that we could refill every morning) / snacks (for travel and in case you get hungry during off hours. We packed nuts, dried fruit, protein bars) / Go Pro / camera / portable chargers / backup cords / universal plug / toiletries / medicine
Travel Tip: When you get your shots a couple of months prior to departure, ask your doctor what medications they recommend. We essentially took a travel pack of medicine for each type of illness (headache, stomachache, indigestion, allergy, cold/sinus, etc). They prescribed some location specific medicine as well – better safe than sorry!
This list is totally optional but having been to Africa twice now, we learned a little bit more each time we went about how we can make a positive impact on the community. It is important to remember that most of these people are living in poverty and what may seem like an everyday item to you or I could be life changing to them. Donation items we brought include gifts for the kids (coloring books, markers, crayons, books, toys) and gifts for adults (toothbrush, clothing, hats, pencils, books, playing cards). We also made sure to have adequate cash on us so that we would never fall short on a tip. You can check with your travel agency to see if you will have the option to stop by a local school or orphanage to drop off donations. We gave ours to the lodge general managers to pass along to the local community.
Travel Tip: What is truly most important to bring a great attitude and a sense of adventure. Every single day in the bush brings something new and you can be in tense situations with brand new people. You will feel close to them by the end!
What to leave at home
Trust me when I say you will not need these things. Any of them. Even if you use them in your everyday life, I promise you that they are unnecessary for Africa. For starters, leave all jewelry at home (for safety and practicality). I also never used any hair products (except shampoo and my brush) or makeup (except chapstick). It may seem obvious but go ahead and leave your high heels at home as well. Comfort and practicality is key while in Africa.