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What to pack for your small group safari holiday

Getting ready for a safari trip? Here's our handy safari holiday packing list to ensure you take everything that you need to enjoy and make the most of your upcoming safari adventure.
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Comfortable clothing

Light-weight, long-sleeved shirts and trousers are the best clothing combo for a safari holiday. Not only will you protect your skin from sunburn, you'll also help prevent insect bites. Choose layers that are breathable and wick moisture away from your skin. UV-protected materials are also good. We recommend wearing neutral colours that blend in with the environment such as khaki, beige and green; though this isn't essential. Avoid white where possible, as this may spook the animals, while black and blue can attract tsetse flies. You'll also need some warm layers, such as a fleece or lightweight jacket, for when you head out at dawn in the hope of spotting spot black rhino in Mkhaya Game Reserve. Or when trying to get a glimpse of big cats roaming their territory as the sun sets over the vast saline desert of Namibia's Etosha National Park.

Sturdy footwear

There is a fair amount of walking and travelling on our small group safari tours, so having a sturdy and comfortable pair of shoes to wear is really important. Breathable trainers or some hardy walking sandals are good options. Some of the terrain may be loose and sandy, so make sure the soles of your shoes have a good grip too. A pair of lightweight walking boots are also recommended if you're heading out on walking safaris, like on our South Africa Lodge Safari.

Day Pack

Bring a small bag or rucksack of about 20-30 litres in size to carry all of your essential items on day trips into the bush. Choose a pack that is lightweight yet big enough to carry a water bottle, camera, extra clothing, sun cream and some snacks. Just be careful not to overload yourself with too much as you'll have to carry everything that you need for the day.

Insect repellent

Protect yourself from insect bites with a good quality repellent spray or lotion. While mosquito bites can bring about the risk of malaria and dengue fever, they are usually no more than an itchy annoyance that can be avoided with proper protection (such as anti-malarials which your doctor can recommend before you travel). Keep replenishing your insect repellent throughout the day, especially on boat safaris such as our Botswana Wildlife Safari and make sure your vaccinations are up to date before you travel.

Sun protection

Whatever time of day you are out on your safari drive, the sun can be incredibly strong in the vast open plains of Africa. Protect yourself from sunburn and heatstroke with plenty of high-factor suncream and a wide-brimmed hat. UV-filtered sunglasses will protect your eyes from bright sunlight, as well as dirt, while a lightweight bandana or tube scarf can be useful to protect your neck, as well as cover your mouth when it gets dusty.

Water Bottle

It's important to stay hydrated on your search for the Big Five. Africa's climate is very hot, especially in exposed areas, so you'll likely need to drink more than usual to keep your water levels replenished. Avoid buying bottled water and help us to eliminate single-use plastic on our safari tours by bringing a reusable bottle or two. You may also need a water filtration system to remove contaminants from the local water source. We recommend the Water-to-go bottle, which filters out 99.9% of all the nasties to make the water safe to drink. Plus, you can get 15% off as an Explore customer.

Camera

Have your camera ready to capture the moment vast herds of wildebeest, zebra and gazelle gallop through the northern plains of Tanzania on our Serengeti Safari Tour, or the second a lion wakes from his slumber and yawns to show off his dazzling set of teeth on our Botswana Premium Safari. And don't forget your charger, extra batteries and lots of memory cards as they're likely to fill up quickly! We also recommend transporting your camera in a good quality case that will protect it from all of the dirt and dust and a waterproof cover to keep it dry during rain squalls. A lens hood will help to prevent lenses from getting scratched too.

Binoculars

Although your local guide will get you as close to the animals as possible, you may still be some distance from the herd, so pack some good quality binoculars for your safari trip. You'll also need a case and lens covers to protect your binoculars from all of the sand and dust.

Torch or head torch

Out in the remote wilderness of Africa, there is minimal light pollution so the skies are inky-black and the campsites very dark. Take a lightweight torch to help guide you back to your lodge after an evening of sharing stories around the campfire on our Kruger National Park Safari. Head torches are a great way to see whilst moving around camp hands-free.

 

Ready to pack? Check your trip notes.

The kit that you need for your small group safari holiday will vary depending on where you decide to go. We provide detailed packing lists on the individual trip notes so please refer to these before travelling. Or if, you've yet to book but excited to go, then check out our safari trips below.
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