Safari Packing List
Every African Safari is tailor made to your personal requirements, so lists vary according to where you are going and what you are doing. Here we have tried to give you an idea of what to take. Perhaps the most important thing to bear in mind is that you don't need to go wild here. Remember, you should spend your money on your trip, not the shirt. The chances are you have what you need in your own cupboard and in your camera bag. Weight however is an issue. Make sure that what you take works for the safari, the flight out and home, and your beach vacation. So in other words, make sure that your under T shirts can be worn on the beach over swimming shorts, and that you can have dinner in your beach lodge in the same style of shirt that your wore day in day out on safari.
This is the only really important bit. You don't need to be wearing disruptive pattern material (indeed avoid all militray camouflages) but wearing white or blue can be a problem. Colour: Most animals are colour blind, but a white shirt in the dark bush can show up very strongly- so this is not reccomended especially for walking safaris. In addition, flowing white trousers last 30 seconds in the African bush.
As I found out to my cost, dark blues and black are also a big no no. Tetse flies seem to love the dark blue/black.
It is cold in the highlands of Tanzania so you'll need a windjacket or windproof. A light Goretex or similar waterproof is fine.
You will need a fleece or woolen jumper for the early mornings and the evenings.
The most important part of your clothing is your shirt. I generally go on safari with a khaki or green polo shirt that I bought from target in Boston. The African sun beats down on everything you own and mostly, that is your shirt. Alot of companies such as rohan or columbia or LL Bean make amazing looking lightweight shirst that have all these features that the salesman sells you. But he or she has probably never been to Africa and these shirts, while looking great, are not very tough. A well made shirt from T M lewin in a non solid blue (ie any other colour) will be much tougher and comfortable than these shirts.
So a good shirt from a standard shop in a dull (not blue) colour is perfect. If you want to go all tactical, then you could wear a blackhawk green or sand coloured shirt. Now I confess that I wore these black hawk shirsts for years in Africa and they took a beating; I still have them and they are in superb condition. But I lived in africa, under the sun every day, and I bought the shirts for a reason. To last. If you buy a blackhawk or Orvis or similar shirt, then you can wear it back home for ages to come.
For pants or trousers, do not bring jeans. Do not travel in jeans. Leave them at home. They are heavy and impractical. You'll wear them on the aircraft and that will be the end of that. Avoid them.
I wear 511 apex trousers all year long in Europe. I just like them. They are smart, and flexible and do not look tactical. If I need to look really smart I war chinos and a jacket, and if I am invited to the reform club or Travellers, I wear a pinstripe suit. When its really cold, and I am out shooting in wales, I sometimes wear 511 TDU pants, but these are really heavy. Perhaps some of this is a hangover from my Africa days, but I wear practical clothing. For your africa safari chinos or cargo pants will be fine. Beware of looking like you are on the set of "Hatari". You only need to get through 5 -10 days in the bush and a few more days on the beach. Dull poloshirts and chinos and shorts are great.
To give you an example of how tough normal clothes are, when I drove across africa the last time (in a 12 ton truck) I wore a pair of marks and spencers chinos. By the time the trip was over, they were worn and faded. But they made it 3 months accross africa and were still wearable.
Always bring shorts, medium length 511 shorts or dickies/carhart work shorts are fine. That way you can put your passport in the side pocket and wallet in the back pocket. In addition bring lightweight swimming style shorts. You will live in your shorts during the day.
A thermal shirt or wicking T shirt is helpful. Always bring cotton T shirts and whatever underwear you feel is necesary. Socks as you would at home
You will need to have a set of sandals or good flip flops.
For the bush and walking safaris. (walking is often available last minute) you should wear a high leg hiking boot. Either a leather one that you would climb up a scottish munro, or lightweight merrel type affairs that would work in the high sierras. Some people opt for a tough walking shoe, and this is fine, but I prefer the ankle protection for the very occasional chance of meeting a snake.
Africa is great for runners, (as long as you are no-where near an animal) and so do bring trainers or sneakers and ask your guides where it is safe to run. I remember many an idyllic run along the edge of villages on the high savannah in Kenya.
This list is not exhaustive but may help:
map of Tanzania
mask and snorkel
good camera (see the photography page)
film / memory cards
charger / spare batteries
note book and pencil
wide brimed sunhat (tilley hat excellent)
2 pairs of reasonable sun glasses.
Please contact us for detailed quote.