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What to take on a safari holiday

You’ve booked a safari trip – how exciting! Let us help with your packing, with our tips on what to wear and what to take with you. Our advice will help you stay safe and comfortable whilst you watch the abundance of wildlife on show.
1. Long-sleeved shirts and long trousers

Wondering what to wear on safari? You may think you’ll want to be in shorts and t-shirt at all times, but light-weight long-sleeve shirts and trousers are recommended to protect your skin from the sun and from annoying insects. Look out for clothing made from breathable and UV-protected materials, as these will wick away moisture and keep you cool.

When it comes to the colours of your safari clothing, it’s advisable to wear neutral-coloured clothing to blend in to the surroundings, but don’t go out of your way to buy it. Colours like beige and green are good. Try to avoid white as this attracts the animals’ attention the most and is likely to get dusty. We'd also advise against black and blue as these colours can attract Tsetse flies.

2. Insect repellent

Insects can be a real annoyance on safari, and can result in irritating and itchy bites. Take some insect repellent with you and apply it regularly throughout the day and evening. This will be particularly important when you’re out on boat safaris or by rivers or lakes, as there will be more insects near the water. If you’re prone to bad insect bites it’s also worth packing some bite cream.

Before you leave for your trip check whether there is a malaria risk in the areas you’ll visit, as you may need some anti-malaria medication. In most of our accommodation you’ll be supplied with mosquito nets over your bed if they’re required, but check your trip notes to make sure.

Sunset over a lake on safari

3. Warm clothing

You may think of a safari destination as being hot all the time, however this often isn’t the case. It can get cool, particularly early in the mornings and in the evenings. You’ll likely be getting up early to see the animals at dawn, before the crowds arrive. At this time you’ll need some warm layers, like a warm jacket or fleece.

4. A water bottle

The water in your safari destination is likely to be risky to drink, to be sure to fill your bottle from a safe source. Whilst it can be tempting to buy bottled water, please think about the environment. Help us reduce single-use plastic on our tours by taking a bottle with a filtration system. We recommend Water-to-Go reusable bottles, which filter out 99.9% of contaminants, making them perfect for travelling. Explore customers benefit from 15% off Water-to-Go.

Visit the Water-to-Go website

5. Hat and sun protection

The sun can be incredibly strong on safari, particularly if you’re out on dusty plains in an open-topped jeep. Take a brimmed hat with you and plenty of high-factor sun cream, which you’ll need to top up throughout the day.

People wearing safari hats

6. Sunglasses and a bandana – dust protection

Sunglasses not only shield your eyes from the sun and make it easier to see the amazing wildlife, they will also protect them from dust. Out on safari, dust can be really irritating, particularly in the dry season. A light-weight bandana or tube scarf is also useful to wear around your neck – when the dust blows you can quickly pull it up to cover your face. Plus, it stops you getting a sunburnt neck – win win!

7. Binoculars and camera

It’s a safari – of course you’re going to pack a camera! But don’t forget the essentials to go with it. You’ll need spare batteries and memory cards because the chances are you’ll be taking a lot of photographs. Also you’ll need a case to put it in, because as we’ve mentioned, that pesky dust can get everywhere! Take a lens cloth and wipe your lens often to keep it clean. And attach your lens hood too to shield the glass of the lens.

If you can afford it, we’d definitely recommend taking a telephoto lens with you, or hiring one. On our safari trips our guides will get you as close to the animals as possible, but on most occasions you’ll still be some distance. A long lens can also double as binoculars, or you may want to take a separate pair of binoculars with you. Whatever kit you take, don’t forgot to insure it.

Taking photos on safari of zebra

8. Torch or head torch

Out on safari there will be far less light-population, so it’s extremely dark at night. Don’t forget to take a torch or head torch with you, particularly if you’re on a camping trip or in safari lodges.

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