What to pack for Africa: The only Africa packing list you’ll need
Planning to go for an African safari? Here is the ultimate Africa packing list with everything you’ll need to have a perfect safari.
So you’ve already planned your trip to Africa or even drawn out your Africa travel Itinerary, and booked your hotel and air ticket. (If you haven’t booked your hotel yet, book it from booking.com and you can also compare prices on flights with Skyscanner or Expedia.com to get the most out of your trip).
It’s undeniable that a trip to Africa is extremely exciting. From enjoying the continent’s undiscovered secrets to getting up close with the wildlife in some of Africa’s best national parks, a trip to Africa is a dream for so many.
But even with that excitement, it’s not guaranteed to know what to pack for Africa especially if you’re traveling to the continent for the first time.
So in this post, I’II be giving you the complete Africa packing list with everything you’ll need to have an amazing safari.
The ultimate Africa packing list
Here is everything you need to add to your Africa packing list!
African Safari Packing list: The luggage
Before you think of what to pack for an African safari, you got to have where to pack your items. And for the case of an African safari, it’s better to use an anti-theft travel backpack instead of a suitcase.
There are a number of backpacks on the market and what you buy depends on what you need as an individual. But as a backpacker, I’d recommend buying this osprey backpack.
It is a bit pricey but has a ton of functions compared to other backpacks. It has a full opening (like that of a suitcase), it is sturdy and has compartments which will help you keep your travel items organized.
There are other types of osprey backpacks you could opt for. Below are a few.
You can also check out a variety of backpacks from Amazon if the suggested ones above don’t suit your needs.
Related post: Best tips for backpacking Africa
As you enjoy the amazing wildlife or roam around the famous landmarks of Africa, you’ll need to carry a few day’s essentials and that’s why you’ll need a proper daypack.
I am a huge fan of Osprey bags because of their high quality. So as you might guess, I recommend taking this Osprey day pack for your trip to Africa.
Packing cubes are a game-changer when it comes to packing for Africa. They will help you stay organized and if you need something from your backpack, you won’t have to unpack everything to locate just that one pair of missing socks.
The best way to use them is to allocate say bottoms to one cube, tops to another, gadgets to another, and so on. And on top of keeping your stuff organized, packing cubes will help you pack light while traveling.
This 4 set packing cubes work really great but if you personally need more, you can grab the 5 piece packing cubes or these 6 pieces cubes.
We all know that security is paramount regardless of where you’re traveling to and a trip to Africa is no exception. Carry this small Pac safe to keep the essential in like your passport, extra money, and other valuable items you might have traveled with.
If the hotel or hostel you are sleeping in doesn’t provide a security locker, the Pacsafe comes with a wire that you can fasten around the hotel fixtures like a bed or chair, in that even if your room is broken into, your valuables will stay safe.
Although, it is unlikely that your hotel room will be broken into, be the smart tourist that takes precaution.
You can also take an anti-theft daypack to stay prone to street thefts and pickpockets while going about your sightseeing adventures.
Travel Pouch/ Passport holder
This is like a small cross bag that hangs around your neck to safely keep not only your passport but also your phone, money, credit cards, and some other small items you might want to carry everywhere you go.
This Travel neck pouch will guarantee the safety of your travel items while traveling through Africa so make sure that you add it to your backpacking Africa packing list.
Travel electronic organizer
This might not be one of the most essential things to pack for Africa but it comes in handy if you want all your gadgets to be organized in one place while on your African safari.
You actually don’t need an expensive one, this one will do the job perfectly well.
What to pack for Africa: The Gadgets
If I were you, a camera would be the first thing in my backpack. I mean with all the beauty in Africa, who would want to miss capturing all the amazing scenery and wildlife!
Yeah, I know things have changed and phones can capture nice pictures but I am talking about perfect professional photos of something you’ve never captured before. So yes, a nice camera gotta be on your Africa safari packing list.
If you don,t know which camera to buy, I wrote a complete post about the best cameras for travelers. I am sure it will help you decide on the type of camera to buy.
Extra Memory cards and batteries
Imagine the disappointment of your camera going off because it wasn’t charged fully or you can’t take more photos because your memory is full.
That can be a really heartbreaking experience if you were still enjoying the safari. So adding some extra memory cards and batteries to your African packing list will be prudent.
You can either buy this SanDisk ultra memory card or this Samsung Evo memory card to make sure that you have enough space for your wildlife photos.
A binocular is one of the most important things you should add to your Africa packing list. In fact, an African safari is not complete without them.
I am sure you’ve seen so many photos of tourists in Africa with binoculars. It is not just for style but rather to get a closer look at the beauty that reigns in Africa.
So to get a closer look at faraway animals and birds, you’ll need a pair of nice and high-quality binoculars like these ones.
Related post: Best African safari tips for first timers
Universal travel adapter
If you have been to different countries, you’ve probably realized that some countries have different kinds of sockets compared to your those in home country.
Since you are not very familiar with the African country you’re traveling to, carry this universal travel adapter as that particular country might be using a different kind of socket compared to your home country.
And it also saves you from buying a different travel adapter for each country you travel to.
I know we always want to stay connected with the rest of the world especially with our family back home.
And since power blackouts are common in some parts of Africa, carrying a Portable Power Bank like this one will help you stay connected even when the power goes off.
Solar portable charger
If you are planning to travel to one of those off the beaten paths in Africa, this #1 best seller solar portable charger on Amazon is a must-have.
For all those obvious reasons when the power goes off or when the place you’re touring strictly has no electricity, a solar portable charger will come in handy.
You don’t want to be left in total darkness when the electricity goes off especially in the night, which is highly likely in some African countries. That is why a flashlight is one of the things to add to your packing list for an African safari.
Whether you went camping or found yourself still on a hiking trail when night falls, you’ll need a good flashlight.
This Headlamp from Amazon or this one will help overcome the darkness while in Africa.
Even though there is so much beauty to see in Africa, time will come when you just want to chill in a chair and read a good book.
However, that doesn’t mean carrying a number of heavy books. Just carry this Kindle E-reader where you’ll be able to access a number of books on the go.
Noise canceling Earphone
Every now and then, every one of us just wants their “personal” space even in the most crowded places.
The “alone” time might not mean laying on the beach barefooted but rather listening to something on your phone.
So to make sure that you do that while keeping away all the noise, grab yourself these noise-canceling earphones.
They’re also great on the plane – which is like killing 2 birds with one stone.
Africa packing list: The safety items
If you are traveling to East African countries, getting medication from public or private hospitals can be easy and relatively cheap for minor issues.
But imagine, God, forbid something big were to happen to you in a very remote area and you have to be rushed to an expensive hospital, you would end up falling in high debt.
This makes travel insurance very essential and I highly recommend World Nomads since you can buy or renew your coverage online. And the biggest plus is that it is accessible in over 160 countries.
First Aid Kit
Accidents are inevitable while traveling to Africa or even any other part of the world. Though we can’t control them sometimes, it’s better to be prepared for such cases and that’s why you should add a first aid kit to the list of things to pack for Africa.
Your First Aid Kit should at least have painkillers, plasters, malaria tablets, vitamins, and other medicines that you might need on your travels.
This first aid kit has all the things mentioned above and it is small enough to fit in any kind of backpack.
TSA Approved locks
On your trip to Africa, don’t forget to pack a lock to safely keep your property.
And to be able to pass through airport security, make sure that you buy one that is TSA Approved. This TSA Approved lock will be great for Africa.
Personal Travel Water filter
Even up to now, clean water might be a luxury in some parts of Africa. Even though there is still a controversy among some people whether the travel water filters are 100% effective in killing germs from the water or not, it is still better to carry one for just those really remote areas where the word ”clean water” sounds far-fetched.
Pro tip* It is not safe to drink water directly from the tap in Africa like it is in Europe or America, so this travel water filter will be very efficient when hiking or backpacking through Africa.
Oh yeah, we have many of those guys “mosquitos” in Africa, or at least in many African countries.
They say that prevention is better than cure, so carry this Insect repellent not to catch malaria.
Note* Most hotels provide mosquito nets but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Things to bring to Africa: Other essentials
There are no better camping sites in the world than in Africa. You would definitely want to experience camping on this great continent. Aside from having a camping experience, a tent can be very useful if you are traveling on a budget.
In countries like Botswana, hotels can be really expensive but if you have your own tent, you can pay a few dollars to camp in the hotel gardens. If you don’t have a camping tent already, you can buy this one as it is waterproof, and lightweight which means you can carry it wherever you go.
Smartphone waterproof case.
Africa is not only safaris and wildlife but also beautiful beaches. So if you want to get that African perfect picture in the water, a smartphone waterproof case would be very useful.
Let’s face it, most of the hotels/ hostels you’re going to stay at are likely not to have a washer and dryer. And who wants to mix clean clothes with dirty ones? So pack your small laundry bag while you head out to Africa.
Micro Fiber Towel
The best towel to travel with to Africa is an OGI MiBcrofiber Travel Sports Towel. It is small to easily fit in your safari backpack, dries quickly, and is also antibacterial.
I am sure you might be knowing this but I will say it again. Carry your Sun Bum Original Moisturizing Sunscreen Lotion. The weather and the sun are all fun and cool until your skin starts to react. And if you are traveling to countries like Egypt, sunscreen is a must-have.
After a long safari in the heat of the day, or after taking a really long city walk, you might find your feet really dry or even cracked and that’s where the O’Keeffe’s Healthy Feet Foot Cream will come into play to do wonders for you.
This might seem so obvious, but since you have to make a checklist, I had to add it to the packing list for Africa.
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Facial wipes
- Body cream
So now that you know all of the essential items that should be on your packing list for Africa, you might be wondering what the best African safari outfits are.
What to wear on an African safari| Safari outfit
The safari clothing differs from country to country though most of them have things in common. So let’s look at what clothes should be in your safari luggage.
Pro tip * Since most of the hotels or hostels you are going stay at won’t have washing machines, you might want to pack clothes that you can easily wash on your own.
Safari clothes for men.
- Pack some jeans and T-shirts or a safari shirt. The number depends on the days your trip will be.
- Since it gets really hot in some places, you might want to pack some shorts.
- Don’t forget your safari shoes. These might be your normal sports shoes or jungle shoes. They all work perfectly
- Hat- Who wouldn’t want to rock an African safari with a hat?
- Jackets- For when it gets cold at night.
- Lightweight clothes like vests
- Flip flops
safari outfits for women.
There are no designated clothes to wear on an African safari but I suggest you wear something you can be completely comfortable in as long as it’s decent.
- safari dresses
- tops or t-shirts
- safari shoes – sneakers or boots
- swimming costumes to hit the beach.
- sunglasses. – The sun can be really intense and you don’t want to punish your eyes.
- Hat- protect your head from the scorching by adding a hat to your packing list for Africa.
- open shoes
What not to pack for an African safari?
Don’t carry all your valuables to Africa.
Just pack only those valuable items that are essential to your trip. There is always some kind of theft in some parts of Africa, so if you scream rich, you are attracting thieves.
Don’t carry too much luggage.
Though some tourists from Europe and other parts of the world think that Africa is like one of those places in the middle of nowhere, that is a myth. You don’t need to literally pack your entire house in a suitcase. You can always purchase some items from Africa.
Don’t carry a lot of cash on you.
You don’t want to risk being mugged and left with nothing. Just carry a reasonable amount of cash and a Visa or Credit card. There are so many ATM machines spread around in almost all African countries that you can easily access your money.
Ladies, don’t pack high heels.
By all means, high-heeled shoes gotta stay at home. They shouldn’t take up any space in your safari backpack.
Have you been to Africa? Tell me what you think of this packing list for Africa. What would you add or remove? Share with me in the comments section.
Do you want to learn more about Africa before you get there, read these books to get more inspiration
I always store my valuables and cash in different places. On my person, in my handbag and deep in my backpack. So far I have been lucky and nothing has been stolen. But I imagine even if someone took some part of my luggage I would still have a credit card and some cash in a different place.
Great packing list by the way.
You have smart packing tips Lena! There is definitely no way anyone could take all your money at once and it’s good to know you’ve never be robbed, i hope it stays that way!!
Very useful list of accessories needed for an African experience. Especially water filler and solar chargers must be very useful. Thanks for sharing.
Africa is one of those places where you really need to be prepared, so it’s good to have such a comprehensive packing list before you leave. Thanks for sharing.
Well, that’s quite a list you got there, and probably some folks wouldn’t have thought about half of it. As someone not relying on electronics, a nice paper guidebook always comes in handy.
This is certainly a useful shopping list for anyone joining a safari. What is your experience with these water filters? I never really trust them and do buy bottled water – which, of course, is not good for the environment. And is there really someone packing high heels for a safari?!
Hhaha just a pro tip for people who are addicted to carrying heels every where.
The good quality water filters actually work.
Really comprehensive suggestions. I also recently started using SPF chapstick and they have been pretty great for the outdoors too! Camping tents, do you think they can be rented from the major cities for those who dont have one?
Yes, they can be rented, mostly at hotels that provide camping sites.
I haven’t been to any African country yet, but this seems to be quite a comprehensive list of suggestions! I didn’t even know you can bring your own tent to sleep in a safari – is it safe or are there specific places to do that? (in terms of animals, not humans)
It is safe to camp in Africa since there are normally designated areas for camping. And in some instances, you can talk with the hotel management and be allowed to camp in their hotel gardens.
Great list although I pack most of this stuff except the camping gear when I travel normally! LOL! Binoculars, that is one thing I wouldn’t have thought of brining so that’s such a useful tip. Camera wise, we always bring everything and this is no exception although I’d probably try and hire a super zoom lens just for the trip.
Thanks for that tip about the super zoom lens, Amy
Very extensive and complete list of items needed. Going to Africa and on safari is on our bucket list- high up there. Glad I read this article and will keep it for when I need to pack up!
I am glad you found the list comprehensive . I hope you have an amazing safari when you decide to travel to Africa
Great List, didn’t realize I need these things if I’m going to Safari. Binoculars is a must, cause I usually just have my bag and cam, but not sure if I have a heart to camp though haha.
Haha camping is fun but can be a bit scary the first time.
And yes binoculars are super important on an African safari
This is a great list, and all of these items are very useful on a safari. The safari backpack is a clever idea. I travel with backpacks, depending on the location, and the ones you recommend have really cool features and pockets.
Thank you, i am glad you like my recommendations. A back back is ideal if you plan to move around often rather than staying in one place
The one about heels reminds me how sometimes when I’m waiting to go through airport security, I see a lot of women in heels. Why??? I rarely wear them anymore, just for special occasions in my everyday life, let alone while travelling! Seriously, you should see my mum’s feet after she’d been wearing heels for 20 years.
Hahaha i can imagine the way they be struggling with heels!!
My problem would be over-packing! I wonder if I ever will grow out of it. But I guess if I bought a backpack I could only fill it.
I also had the issue of over packing, but i am slowly learning to just pack the essentials.
Incredibly thorough packing list! I love that you have to say to leave the high heels home! Gosh I would hope no one brought their high heels on an African safari!
Yeah, that would be the craziest thing to carry on an African safari!