A safari is an essential element to a memorable holiday to South Africa. Make sure that you are packing correctly to get the most out of your adventure. The experts at Africa Travel have been sending people on African adventures for 30 years. They have shared their advice so that you know what to bring, what not to bring, and what to bring back.
The type of clothing to take on your safari holiday will depend on the time of year and what type of safari you are going on. Nevertheless, there are some essential tips that are universal.
What to Wear on Safari
- The best way to get close to the wildlife is to blend in with your surroundings as much as possible by going neutral. Wear greens, browns, and khakis so as to not attract unnecessary attention. For South Africa, khaki is the recommended colour
- Light-weight, breathable fabrics minimize noise when walking. Layers are a great way to pack light but stay warm. Temperatures can be cool on morning game drives, hot in the afternoon and cold at night. Layers allow you to remove clothing to make yourself comfortable as temperatures fluctuate
- Airy, long-sleeved shirts with a collar will keep the sun off your arms and neck
- Combat trousers are the perfect with plenty of pockets to store your camera, sunscreen, and binoculars
- A light jacket or fleece is great for an extra layer of warmth in case you need it. Fleece is great because it dries quickly too
- Comfortable trainers are suitable for most safaris, even walking safaris. You can expect to be climbing in and out of the safari vehicle frequently and some light walking around the bush
- Hats are a fantastic way to protect your head and face from the sun in an open-top safari vehicle and they have the added benefit of reducing glare for better game viewing
- Sunglasses should be worn to block out harmful rays and polarized glasses will cut through the glare to make sure you don’t miss a thing
- Don’t forget to bring a swimsuit if your lodge has a pool
- For your evening meal, light colours are recommended so as to not attract mosquitoes. Linen trousers are the perfect way to look smart, stay cool, and prevent mosquito bites
What NOT to Wear on Safari
- Don’t bring bright-coloured clothing or busy patterns. This will draw attention to you and scare off the wildlife
- Avoid camouflage clothing as some African countries reserve this pattern for military personnel only
- Dark colours attract Tsetse flies, so stay away from dark blue or black clothing – they have a painful bite!
- White coloured clothing will quickly show dirt and dust, so try to go neutral instead
- Formal wear is not necessary as most lodges and camps have a relaxed dress code. Bring a smart, clean outfit to wear to dinner, but there is no need to go too formal
- Heavy hiking boots take up too much room in your suitcase and aren’t necessary for most safaris unless you have been told that your itinerary includes walking through the rainforest or harsh terrain
- Too much clothing! Pack light – most safari lodges offer laundry facilities. You can also save space with convertible clothing like zip off trousers that turn into shorts or a zip off fleece that turns into a gilet
Now that you know what to wear, make sure you know how to pack. Most safari operators will ask that you only bring one suitcase, one overnight duffle bag, and one day pack. You might think you need more, but you won’t. Less is more on safari and you won’t even feel like you are roughing it – you will be well looked after at your lodge. If you are on a fly-in safari, you must pack in a soft-sided bag. Large, rigid suitcases don’t easily fit on the light aircraft, which means that your luggage could be refused or delayed. Limit the risk of your luggage going missing by packing essentials and one safari outfit into your daypack, which you can bring as hand luggage on the flight or ground transfer to your safari lodge or camp.
The last thing to remember when packing is to leave extra space in your luggage for souvenirs. South Africa offers so many wonderful mementoes for you to remember your trip, you don’t want to have to worry about how to bring them home.
What to Bring Back
- South Africa is famous for wines, so will want to bring back some to enjoy once you get back home. Some wineries allow you to blend your own wine, create your own labels, or cork your own sparkling wine. Most countries allow you to bring back two bottles of wine per person, but it is best to check with your local authorities.
- Brandy lovers will be spoiled for choice in South Africa. Brandy is the largest selling spirit in South Africa and is subject to the most stringent production regulations in the world. It is aged for at least 3 years in French oak casks to produce the unique flavour.
- Amarula cream liqueur is also a popular souvenir because it has a wide appeal and features an elephant on the bottle.
- Ostrich eggs, intricately carved and turned into lamps are quite durable and very unique.
- Various wood carvings in the form of sculptures, bowls, and masks are great keepsakes and make unusual gifts.
Contact one of our experts for more information and to plan your perfect safari itinerary by calling 020 7843 3500 or enquire here.