Written by Lauren Maker
You have booked and are ready to pack for your South African safari! Not sure what to toss in your luggage? Don’t worry – we have compiled a list of our personal must haves to bring along.
Picture yourself hopping into a game drive vehicle and traversing across the grassy plains as the sun rises over the horizon, with birds all around and wild animals carrying on with their day. Being on safari is one of the most incredible African experiences you will enjoy!
Here is our list for the top 8 things to remember to pack for a South African safari:
1. Light, neutral coloured clothing
A travel goes, it is helpful to pack comfortable, casual clothing that can be washed and dried easily. Pack clothes that are lightweight and well-ventilated as the temperature can be hot when the sun is at its peak. Neutral colours are always the best on safari, such as khaki, beige, light browns or green are best for game viewing. To avoid looking like a safari novice, avoid bright red, yellow, purple, and white (white also gets dirty quickly which can happen easily in the bush)
Explorer Safari Travel tip: Always remember the potential luggage regulations. If you are taking small flights or traveling in safari vehicles, you will be limited to one bag of 20kgs. Also please note that only soft bags may be permitted. No hard bags will be allowed. Soft smaller bags are easier to fit into light aircrafts that will take you from one camp to the next.
2. Pack smart, always dress in layers
On safari you will experience early morning and early evening game drives. At dawn, the air can be chilly as the sun starts to warm up the landscape. However, as the sun gets higher you will get warmer, therefore starting to take off your layers of clothing, and putting on your sunblock.
We suggest you always take a jacket and layer up to stay warm. Airy, long-sleeved shirts give you protection from the sun as well as the chill! For the daytime after your morning game drive, shorts and t-shirts are perfect! Bring your costume as you will have time to read a book at the pool.
Explorer Safari Travel Tip: As the season at Kruger National Park can become quite cold in the early mornings and evenings during winter (May/June to August/September) Remember to always be well prepared, by bringing a jersey or jacket to keep you warm. But you do not want to overpack, as many of the camps give you blankets to keep you warm too.
3. A Waterproof lightweight jacket
Summer always brings unbelievable rainstorms that can last for just 20 minutes, so we highly recommend you bring a very lightweight rain jacket. Most lodges offer ponchos when it rains but it’s always better to be well prepared.
4. Protection against the hot African sun
The African sun is hot and must never be underestimated. Therefore, we cannot emphasize how important it is to bring sun protection, for example 50+ SPF sunscreen, sunglasses, a cap, or hat (wide-brimmed hat for extra care) and soothing lip-balm are non-negotiable for your safari trip.
5. Comfortable walking shoes
Closed sneakers, or comfy walking shoes are perfect for your walking safaris. You do not need to buy hiking boots, if your shoes are closed and comfortable this is your best bet. Comfortable walking shoes are the best for exploring your lodge. Remember to pack a pair of sandals for the daytime, while you are sitting at the waterhole or lazing around the pool on a hot summer day.
6. Camera, lenses, extra batteries, and memory cards
When you come across an exciting sighting, the first thing everyone does is click, click, and click away! We understand, it’s exciting coming across a leopard cub giving her mum attention – it’s natural to want to capture these once-in-a-lifetime moments. We highly recommend you make sure your battery is fully charged, you have back up batteries that are fully charged and one more spare, just in case! Sounds a bit over the top, but you will see so much in the bush, your camera will be working overtime. Bring your lenses and a few memory cards.
Explorer Safari Travel Tip: While taking photographs of everything you see, be sure to put your camera down and take a moment to pause and take in the absolute beauty that the bush has to offer! Memories are great to have but absorb the bush while you are physically in it!
7. Bring your own medical pack
We all know what travelling brings, it’s a lot of rich delicious food and wines, it’s early mornings, and late evenings, getting accustomed to a new bed, headaches, and just general non-emergency extras. We also suggest you pack your preferred medication for nausea, diarrhea, pain killers and anything you would have at home just in case. This is a back-up plan, so it does not need to be a separate bag, but a small bag that has everything you need. Do note that your lodge will have a supply of the basics in case you need it.
8. All your important documents
And then to end off our list, we recommend you keep your documents such as your passports, visas, travel insurance, medical forms and all your emergency contact information in a folder as a hard copy, as well as on your phone or iPad. Rather be safe than sorry.
A South African safari is sensational, it brings adventure and excitement at every turn. If you follow the above packing list, you will be ready for the wild adventure that follows.
You will be indulged for choice in this magnificent country! Please remember your travel planner will always ensure to remind you of all the above. But it is exciting to read and make notes, so you are well prepared for an incredible adventure! We look forward to welcoming you on a South African safari.