Heading on a safari vacation? While there are plenty of packing lists filled with items to bring along, here is what not to pack on a safari.
When going on a safari, it’s important to pack wisely and avoid bringing unnecessary items that may add weight or take up valuable space. Like all trips (especially bucket list vacations like a safair), it’s important to check the specific requirements and recommendations of your safari operator or lodge as they may have additional guidelines for your trip.
Here are some items you should consider leaving behind when preparing for your safari…
What Not To Pack For Safari
Bulky and heavy clothing: Unless you’re visiting during the colder months or high-altitude areas, bulky winter clothing is generally unnecessary. Pack lightweight, breathable clothing suitable for the climate and time of year.
Formal attire: Safaris are typically casual and focused on outdoor activities. Leave formal wear or fancy outfits at home, as they are unlikely to be needed during your safari adventure.
Excessive electronics: While it’s important to have a camera or smartphone to capture your safari memories, try to avoid packing unnecessary electronics. Leave behind bulky items like laptops or gaming consoles unless you have a specific need for them.
Jewelry and valuable items: It’s best to leave expensive jewelry, watches, or other valuable items at home. Wearing flashy or expensive accessories can attract unwanted attention and may increase the risk of theft.
Excessive toiletries: Most safari lodges and camps provide basic toiletries, so you don’t need to pack large quantities. Bring travel-sized or sample-sized toiletries and consider the environmental impact of the products you choose.
Multiple pairs of shoes: Unless you have specific requirements, such as hiking boots for additional activities, one pair of comfortable closed-toe shoes or sneakers should suffice. Avoid carrying a collection of shoes that you won’t need. I typically pack a pair of sandals for going to/from the pool (some lodges have them, some do not) and/or wear them with socks for longer drives.
Unnecessary camping gear: If you’re staying at a lodge or camp, they will likely provide everything you need for sleeping, especially if it’s a luxury lodge. Camping equipment such as tents, sleeping bags, and cooking utensils should only be packed if you’re planning a self-supported camping expedition.
Large guidebooks or maps: Instead of carrying heavy guidebooks or maps, consider using digital alternatives like smartphone apps or e-books for reference. They are lightweight and convenient to use. Plus, most guides are an extraordinary wealth of knowledge
Plastic bags: There are many African countries that have plastic bag bans that are extremely strict. If you’re trying to sort clothing in a duffel bag, consider packing cubes.
Drones: Like plastic bags, drones are illegal in many African countries.
Hard-side suitcase: Most camps and lodges are only accessible by bush plane and bush planes have requirements when it comes to luggage. During one of our trips to Kenya a couple traveling with a hard-side suitcase were not able to board, because their bag did not meet the requirements. Make sure you do your research prior to traveling! We love The North Face packs.