26 September 2016


There’s nothing quite like the embarrassment of posing like a Kardashian in front of your light aircraft en route to your safari, only to be directed to unpack your bag because it’s over weight! Over-packing for a safari is common, but not surprising as the International luggage allowance is ten times more generous than the average safari charter flight.

To save you the embarrassment, we’ve put together a list of essentials that you will thank us for! And if you have been on safari before, but you’re just a compulsive over-packer, this list will undoubtedly enlighten you.

1. Passports and travel documents

They don’t weigh anything worth mentioning, but they need to be on the list!

2. Bags

Only soft bags, weighing no more than 15-20kg per person are allowed on light aircraft - and that’s including your hand luggage and other paraphernalia! Having said that, luggage weights differ from region to region and the pilot ultimately has the final say. My advice as a woman would be to convince your partner to give up some of his allocation for you - he will only regret it if he doesn’t!

3. Clothing

Just because you’re visiting the bush doesn’t mean you need to dress like a leopard! Light (preferably cotton) fabrics are best in hot climates, although some of the high-tech safari synthetics are also effective. Depending on the time of year temperatures can vary greatly, so the secret is to layer. Short sleeved t-shirts, long sleeved t-shirts and a good jacket should stand you in good stead (and keep you from evening insect bites for fear of arriving home looking like an allergic city slicker)! Neutral colours work best, with the exception of white for obvious reasons. Interestingly red, blue and black have been known to attract Tsetse flies so avoid those colours if you can.

4. Sarong

These always come in handy and can be used to keep you cool you during the day and keep you snug at night.

5. Shoes

Unless you are doing a walking safari, there is no need to spend your entire Christmas bonus on Bear Grills hiking boots. A good pair of walking shoes is all you need and your sandals for wandering round the lodge during the day, of course. It’s also wise to wear new shoes in before you leave home.

6. Sun protection

The African sun is strong so wear a wide brimmed hat to protect the back of your neck and don’t forget your sunglasses and sunscreen! Lip balm and moisturiser are good too if you can squeeze them in.

7. Camera

Most remember to pack their camera but your charger, memory cards and binoculars are just as crucial on safari.

8. Bathing suit

Whether you’re into speedos or boxers, you need something at the pool for everyone else’s sake should your camp or lodge have one guest swimming pool.

9. First aid kit

All of our preferred lodges and camps have basic medical kits, but we would advise you to pack a small medical kit of your own. First and foremost any chronic medications (enough for the trip), insect repellent and pain killers etc.

10. Book

And lastly, pack a juicy novel or travel book and a pinch of patience. Remember, you are going somewhere remote to relax so it’s never a bad thing to slow yourself down into bush-baby mode and embrace African time.

Picture supplied by Singita

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