Your flights are booked, the lodges chosen, you have checked your visa requirements and got all the necessary jabs. Now if only you could get that packing list sorted, you would be ready to wing your way to the vast open plains and waiting herds.
Packing for an East Africa safari can be daunting. You want to prepare for every eventuality during those dusty days out on game drives and evenings in elegant lodges, yet if you are taking charter flights (and chances are you will be) you are restricted to a single, soft-sided bag weighing a maximum of 15 kg.
Don’t stress! Simply use these recommendations as a guide and you will have everything you need for an unforgettable safari.
Pack in a soft-sided bag
As mentioned above, if you’re travelling on charter flights between reserves you’ll need to pack in a soft-sided bag. These planes have limited luggage space so bags get squashed into the hold or even behind the rear seats on very small planes.
And yes, that 15 kg luggage limit is strictly adhered to! If your bag is too heavy, you might be forced to repack and leave some items behind or have your bag flown on another plane at your own expense – and it is indeed a considerable expense!
You are also allowed one piece of carry-on luggage, which must be small enough to fit on your lap. It’s recommended a daypack which can then also be taken in the game drive vehicles and packed with items you might need on your safari: your camera, binoculars, sunblock and a warm top.
Since you’ll be spending hours on a game drive vehicle pack loose-fitting, comfortable clothing and don’t worry too much about evening attire as even luxury lodges and tented camps have a casual dress code.
You also don’t need that many clothes on safari as most lodges have a next-day laundry service so you can wash and wear items numerous times.
When travelling around East Africa, light aircraft are widely used for transfers between reserves – although this welcoming committee is quite unique!
Extra batteries and chargers
Lodges and camps are sure to take credit cards but always bring cash too to so you can tip your safari guide and driver or do a bit of souvenir shopping at the local markets and villages.
And that’s it, ready to go!