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Sports sandals, fine for safari use.
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Safari glossary
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Planning your safari:
Luggage list for safaris
The list below, split into Clothes and Other items, shows what you may need to bring for a safari in Kenya or Tanzania, staying in hotels, lodges or tented camps.

For camping safaris or expeditions, you need additional items, and should receive an appropriate luggage list from your travel company or tour operator.

Clothes
 
Underwear Normal quantities.
Socks Mainly for use during cool mornings and evenings.
  Tsetse flies, found in some parks, have a painful bite and may transfer sleeping sickness when biting. Your best protection is covering your skin. A pair of thick socks may protect your feet from bites. Bring them in your daypack, and put them on if needed.
T-shirts, tank tops Good for daywear in the hot climate.
Shirts At least one or two with long sleeves, for malaria and sun protection.
Warm sweater, windproof jacket For early morning game drives, when the air is cool, and for stays at high altitude, for example the Ngorongoro Crater rim, Mount Kenya or the Aberdares. Rarely needed on the coast.
Shorts, skirts Good for daywear in the hot climate.
Trousers,
light dresses
For eveningwear. Bring comfortable items, dressy clothes are rarely needed.
 

Trousers may also be good for walks in grass and thorny vegetation.

Sandals

Sandals allow your feet to breathe, and are easy to take on and off.

Shoes

Sandals give poor protection from insects and thorns, and you may wear sneakers, canvas shoes etc instead. Dressy shoes are not really needed. Some restaurants may expect you to wear proper shoes, i.e. not sandals, for dinner.

  For serious walking, you may want a pair of boots. A pair of sneakers is fine for lighter walking, but don't give the same support or protection from thorns etc.
Hat

To protect you from the sun. A wide-brimmed hat is a good choice. Such are available from souvenir shops along the road (but if you like to dress smart, you may want to buy one at home before going). Baseball caps also work fine on safaris by road, where you are not exposed to the sun all days. A scarf may protect long hair when travelling on dusty roads.

 

Don't bring a tropic helmet, no matter how cool or useful you find it. The helmet has a colonial touch and may cause offence.

Swimwear For swimming pools in your hotels, lodges or tented camps.
Other items
 
Flight tickets

E-tickets are becoming more and more common. If you have one, make sure to bring the actual e-ticket, not just a confirmation of your booking.

Booking confirmation and tour itinerary

Check that there is contact information, so that you can get in touch with the local tour operator in case of problems such as flight delays.

Passport and visa

Citizens of most countries need a visa to visit Kenya or Tanzania. All visitors need a passport.

 

More about visas and passports

Money, traveller's cheques and bank/credit cards

More about money and currency

Travel insurance

 

Pair of binoculars The most important tool for game viewing. Having a pair of your own is recommended.
  More about binoculars
Camera, film and memory cards Your choice of camera (if you want to bring one at all) should be guided by your interest and knowledge in photography.
  More about cameras
Spare batteries or charger for the camera  
Wall outlet adaptor

Tanzania and Kenya have wall outlets for British 3-pin plugs with rectangular pins. Most rooms in hotels and lodges, and tents in some tented camps, have wall outlets. If there are none, you may charge batteries in the bar or reception. The voltage in Kenya and Tanzania is 220–240 V, 50 Hz.

Sunglasses Sunglasses don't only protect you from sunlight, but also from dust and insects when standing up during game drives. A sunglass strap is handy, as you may find yourself taking off and putting on your sunglasses a lot when using your binoculars or camera.
Alarm clock You may also use your mobile phone or order wakeup calls from reception.
Flashlight/Electric torch For safer walking in the lodge or camp area at night. Many lodges and camps don't run their power generator in the middle of the night, so you may need a flashlight/torch to find your way to the bathroom.
  If you have a powerful flashlight/torch, you may use it to look for animals around the lodge or camp at night. You may see nocturnal species rarely seen in daylight, for example genets.
Pocket knife For fixing things. You don't have to arm yourself against wild animals.
Toiletries Everything you normally use. Some toiletries may be available in the lodge and camp shops, but the selection is usually poor.
Medical kit

Pills etc against malaria, stomach and sleeping problems, headaches. Cuts and grazes may infect quickly, so a disinfectant can be useful.

Sun block The sun is strong, and you'll burn if exposed without using a sun block. Due to reflection, you're exposed even when in the shade.
  We have noted that Piz Buin sun block seems to have an effect on tsetse flies; the flies don't bite where the block is applied. (Please contact us if you note the same result from other brands.)
Mosquito repellent An important part of your malaria protection.
Plastic bags For laundry, messy sun block bottles etc.
Wet wipes or
alco-gel
For hand hygiene, especially in connection with meals.
Something to read  
 

Optional items 

The following items are not essential, but you may bring them if they seem usable to you.

 
Telescope Mainly for bird watchers. Don't buy one for the safari only.
 

More about telescopes

Video camera Bring all equipment you need from home, including tapes.
Tripod For use with telescopes or cameras with long tele lenses. Tripods can't be used in safari vehicles, but are mainly for use when on foot, for example at observation points or in lodge or camp areas. Don't bring one if you don't use one at home.
  More about tripods
Bean bag To stabilize your tele lens camera (or even telescope) in the safari vehicle. You put the bag on the roof or in an open window, and put your camera on top. A godsend for sharper pictures.
  More about bean bags
Maps and compass

If you like to keep track of where you are and the layout of the landscape. Country maps, regional maps and park maps may be found in book or map stores at home, but usually cost less on location, where you may also find more recent maps.

  More about maps
MP3-player or tape recorder To record sounds from animals, birds etc.
Dictation machine To collect facts, animal names etc for your safari diary. Because of the bumpy roads, using the machine is much more practical than taking notes on paper.
Pillow For improved comfort in the safari vehicle.
Toothpicks May come in handy after picnic lunches.
Flyswatter For getting rid of tsetse flies in the vehicle.
Brush or rag For dusting clothes and bags.
Books on wildlife, birds etc

There are good books on African mammals, birds, reptiles etc.

  More about books on wildlife and nature
Swahili phrase book You'll do fine speaking English, but it may be fun trying some Swahili, too. Lonely Planet has a handy phrase book, Swahili Phrasebook, ISBN 0-86442-509-0.
Notepad and pen For notes and your safari diary. You need a pen to fill out arrival and departure forms at the airports.
Drawing paper and crayons If you travel with children, who are usually inspired by what they experience during the safari.
Toilet paper If there is no paper in roadside toilets, or if you need to use the big bush toilet.
Earplugs Against noise on flights and night sounds in the bush.
Chocolate, biscuits, nuts, chewing gum

For extra energy on long days in the bush, especially days when you are having a picnic for lunch. Just remember that opened packs may attract ants, so you may not want to store them in your room.

 

Chocolates, biscuits and nuts may be sold in the lodge or camp shop.

Tobacco

Cigarettes are usually sold in the lodge or camp bar.

Bird imitator A device for attracting birds. If you don't already have one, you probably don't want one.
Washing powder

For minor laundry in your room.

 

More about laundry

Mosquito net For a spare, should the net in your room or tent be in poor condition.
Whistle For attracting attention in emergencies.
 

Don't bring 

You don't need to bring the following.

 
Umbrella, rainwear

Usually not needed. In case of rain, you close roof hatches and windows in safari vehicles. In many lodges and camps, you'll find an umbrella in your room or tent.

  Rainwear may be recommended if you're going for a walking safari, especially during wet season (April to May, and November).
Safari suit Bring your normal clothes instead and save the money.
Beach towel Towels are usually provided for free or for a small charge if there is a swimming pool in your hotel, lodge or tented camp.
 
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Page updated 18 February 2009