Safari Packing List- How to Pack Under 15 Kg
Have your safari itinerary down? Excellent, now on to the hard part - just kidding! Or am I? If you are taking a bush flight, you will be limited in what you can bring as most of them only allow 33 lbs (15 kgs) of luggage, including your personal bag (and yes, they will weight them). Packing for a safari trip was my biggest packing challenge yet, stuffing 50 lbs in a carry-on? Easy! Only packing 33 lbs - including your laptop, camera equipment, and electronics? Not so much. But it's possible, and here it is how I did it.
What's in my Safari trip luggage - Under 15KG
Personal Bag - About 5 Kg
Sony G 70 - 200 mm F4 + Zeiss 35 mm F2.8
Charger + Cables + SSD + Convertible etc.
GATTA Camera bag
Main Luggage - About 10 Kg
1 Long dress
2 Pair of Pants
2 Long sleeve top
2 Short sleeves top
2 Sleeveless top
1 Pair of Short
1 Pair of Flats + 1 Pair of Flip-Flops
3 Pair of socks
1 Hat + 1 Sunglasses
Toiletry + Makeup + Medical Kit
Packing List For AN African Safari
First, let's talk about safari suitcase. Like I mentioned on my Everything You Need To Know Before a Safari post, a soft-shell bag is highly recommended (and required in some airlines) when traveling on a bush plane - as the luggage storage tends to be small and uneven. Hard-shell suitcase makes it difficult to fit all the luggage, especially during high season.
On my Kenya and Tanzania safari trip, I decided to go for the North Face Face Base Camp 50L Duffel bag. It's very light, spacious, and incredibly durable - I didn't mind if people threw it around. I used Packing Cubes to keep everything organized.
- Size: Small
- Capacity: 50L
- Weights: 2 lbs
AWAY Carry On Luggage - Click here to get $20 OFF - The luggage I always use on my travels.
- Size: Carry-On
- Capacity: 39.8L
- Weights: 7.6 lbs
Other soft luggage recommendations for your safari suitcase
- 12ʺ H x 22ʺ L x 12ʺ W (measured at the base)
- 45-liter capacity
Most luxury lodges will have complimentary (or at least offer) laundry services, so no need to overpack! But do pack a few extra underwears as it's taboo for some African cultures to touch other's people undergarments.
If the lodge or camp you are staying at doesn't offer laundry services, you can get a Scrubba Wash Bag on Amazon. It's lightweight and washes better than by hand.
What to expect on an African Safari
You will start your day with a morning game drive at around 6 am and then return a few hours later for breakfast. After that, you will enjoy downtime where you get to relax and have lunch. At around 4 pm you go for your second game drive and return around sunset time. Then finish the day with dinner.
What to wear on a safari?
"Safari colors" is not just a fashion thing. There's a logical explanation behind the color palette. But with that in mind, you don't need special safari clothing and most likely what you have in your closet will do. If you don't, you can easily pick the safari color palette at any clothing store - sometimes they would come out with a Safari Collection and have all the tan, brown, beige, and green outfit you’ll need. Also, pick fabric that are breathable like cotton, rayon, or linen.
Earth-toned colors - Tan, browns, green, beige, etc. to blend in with the landscape.
Light, breathable fabrics - it can get scorching hot, so make sure to bring light and breathable clothes.
Casual clothes - Even if you are staying at a luxury lodge, you won't need to pack formal attire. I brought a nice scarf and used it on top of my outfit to add an elegant touch, but other than that, I dressed very casually.
Bright colors - as it can scare the animals away.
Black and blue colors - Tsetse Flies love these colors, unless you want their nasty bites, avoid at all cost.
White color - there’s nothing against wearing white, but keep in mind that white will soon turn yellow/brown from all the dust.
Camouflage pattern - camouflage is usually associated with the military, and it's illegal to wear in some countries.
SAfari Packing List
The roads are BUMPY, so if your girls are bigger than a small C, you will need a sports bra.
Morning and nights can get a bit chilly, and you will want to wear a jacket on your early game drives. I packed the Uniqlo Ultra Light Jacket , and I love it. The jacket is very lightweight, compact, and does a fantastic job at keeping you warm. It makes a great travel jacket!
I love a nice jumpsuit! For those days when you don’t want to overthink about your outfit, just wear a jumpsuit. I lived in them on my safari trip. At night, I pair it with a scarf to dress it up a bit.
Bring a pair of nicer flats that you can wear around the lodge. Although you may walk around in flip-flops, flats will be nice when you want to dress up a little. I packed a pair of Old Navy flats that were super comfortable and lightweight. I couldn't find the exact design, but I found these similar Old Navy sandals.
Unless you are doing a bush walk, you don't necessarily need a pair of boots and any close-toed shoes will do. But I found it convenient to wear a pair of boots as I ended up walking on gravel and dirt roads. They also protected my ankles - where most insects like to bite. And it matches all my outfits. These leather boots by Thursday are super cute and it's worth the investment becasue you won't want to takem off.
Brethable and Comfortable Clothing
Pack lightweight and breathable clothing for the hot afternoons. Although you may be tempted to wear nothing in the hot temperatures, I found it better to wear loose pants as it works as a barrier against the sun and insects. If you are planning to wear shot/sleeveless top, make sure to apply sunscreen and insect repellent.
It's bright in the desert! So pack a pair of sunnies.
You will need a day bag to bring all your essentials on your game drives. I brought my GATTA Camera Bag to keep all my camera essentials.
Wide Brim Hat
Don't underestimate the sun! Make sure to pack a wide brim hat with an under-chin strap - you don't want it to blow away by the wind.
This one from Amazon is super cute.
If your lodge has a pool, bring your swimsuit! Get a refreshing splash during your downtime in between game drives.
I always pack a pair of flip-flops wherever I travel as I use them to walk around the room or by the pool. I love the Old Navy flip-flops - they are comfortable, affordable, and cute!
For when it gets cold at night or when you would like to look more put together for dinner. I couldn't find my exact one but I love these ones from & Other Stories.
Other Safari Necessities
I always travel with a medicine kit that I've put together because you never know what can happen. In some countries, ibuprofen may not be available over the counter, or you may have a hard time finding what you need because of language barrier (speaking from experience), so it’s best to bring your own - especially in the African bush.
My medicine kit includes:
Malaria Pills - Contact your doctor to get all the proper vaccinations + Malaria pills for your trip.
Whether you are taking the malaria pills or got vaccinated, is never too safe to bring an insect repellent. Most people recommend bringing one that has at least 30% DEET, but 40% would be ideal. I bought this Insect repellent from Amazon.
Make sure to apply it everywhere as mosquitos can still bite you on a surface (the size of a dime) where you did not apply the repellent.
You can also apply insect repellent on your clothes (as double protection) but make sure to test it in a small area before spraying it all over.
Oh, don't be fooled into thinking that you will be in a car and not get any sun exposure. The sun is strong, so make sure to pack a good sunscreen!
Electronics and Camera gear
Make sure to pack a few SD Cards. You will need them! You will quickly go through them, and if one fails you, you will have a backup.
Kenya: Type G and the voltage is 240 V, 50 Hz frequency.
Tanzania: Type D and G, and the voltage is 220 V, 50 Hz frequency.
The standard voltage in the US is 120 V, that means that you will need a converter/adapter for your appliances. Some electronics may be compatible if it's labeled 'INPUT: 100-240V, 50/60 Hz'. For example, the latest Mac computers are compatible ( Line voltage: 100–240V AC, Frequency: 50Hz to 60Hz) Check the label of your electronics to see if it needs a converter too.
Don't forget to pack your camera! If you want to capture amazing photos, your phone won't cut it, so you may have to up your game with a Mirrorless camera or DSLR. But whatever camera you decide to take, make sure you know how to use it. I brought my trusty Sony 7a II mirrorless camera.
Tip: Set your camera to Continuous Shooting or Burst Mode (if it has it) - you can take several photos in quick succession by pressing the shutter button or holding it down. Depending on how fast your camera is, you can take 5-10 frames per second. It's handy for capturing fast moving animals.
What lens should I pack for an African Safari?
For the best African safari photography, you will need at least a 200mm zoom lens. If you are not planning on buying an expensive zoom lens, you can rent one instead. For my Kenya and Tanzania safari trip, I rented the Sony G-Master 70-200 mm F4 from Lens Rentals. It was much more affordable than buying a new lens. I also brought my 35 mm F2.8 for landscape shots.
Between game drives, you will have some downtime - perfect time to catch up on some reading! The Kindle is ideal as it doesn't take up much space and is lightweight. I bring mine everywhere. Bonus: The new Kindle Paper White is now waterproof.
A laptop is not necessary if you are traveling for pleasure and can disconnect from the world. But if you still have to do some work while abroad (like me) pack your laptop. And if you are a photographer, you can also use your computer to back up your photos. I brought my Macbook Air which is very lightweight.
You may get lucky if you get close to some animals, but most likely a few of them will be far away. Bring a binocular to spot them! Some luxury lodges will have one for you to use or rent. Ask your lodge before packing one.
Things you won't need
I wanted to bring my tripod for night shoots, but even my super lightweight tripod was too heavy and had to take it out to meet the 15 Kg limit. Night shots would have been nice, but you won’t need a tripod to photograph animals.