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What To Pack for an African Safari in Tanzania

Knowing what to pack and what not to pack on our Africa Culinary tour & Safari can make the difference between a relaxing, all-inclusive vacation to Tanzania and Zanzibar, and a stressful, difficult trip where you are clearly carrying too much luggage on your safari.

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Note that I am writing this with specific reference to our African Culinary tour, but this is applicable to any African Safari. Many African airlines have small weight limits so try not to overpack.

Packing for a safari

Let’s talk about packing safari clothes, the right toiletries for your safari, and what other sundries you may need separately.

Clothes for a safari

suitcase with clothes
  • Do not wear any black or blue clothes on safari, as tsetse flies are attracted to blue. Also avoid red since that signal a wounded animal. (Psychic wounds don’t count).
  • Neutral colors like tan, khaki, olive, etc. help you blend in better.
  • Plan to wear long pants and a light and airy long shirt. If you prefer not to wear long shirts, plan to spray your arms with Deet spray.
  • Tank tops under long sleeve shirts will keep you from burning up.
  • You won’t be allowed to exit the Jeep, but people do tend to stand on the seats to take pictures. So don’t wear heels or anything that will either tear through a seat or land you on your butt. Walking sandals that you can slip off easily are good, as are tennis shoes with socks, especially if you can slip off the shoes easily. If you wear sandals, you will need to spray your feet with insect repellant.
  • Know that as long as you are staying in a hotel for more than one night, you can wash clothes. The dry heat allows your clothes to dry quite quickly. In our case, this will be in the Serengeti on Day 4.
  • Although the Jeeps are covered, they have a lifted roof, and the safari areas tend to be dusty. Between that and the sun, it’s best to wear a hat to cover your hair and eyes. But in any case, accept that you will probably need to wash your hair daily while on safari.
  • For wearing in town, women should plan on dresses, skirts, or pants. You won’t see a lot of local women wearing shorts. Please do not wear tank tops or sleeveless tops in town.
  • For men, long cargo shorts are acceptable in town but leave your hottie tightie shorts at home.
  • Shorts are totally acceptable in Zanzibar on and around the beach, for both men and women. So now you know the answer to, Can I wear shorts while on safari? is a definite no. But you can wear them on and around beach towns.
  • Modest swimwear is advised. Even though we’d love to see you guys in your Speedos and all you beautiful women in thongs, let’s save those for a different trip.

Sample Packing List for a Safari for women

On our African Culinary tour, I will be gone for 14 days. This is my packing list.

  • 4 short sleeves tops
  • 2 sleeveless tops
  • 1 safari shirt
  • 1 dressy shirt
  • 4 pairs of pants 
  • 2 pairs of shorts
  • 1 jacket
  • 1 light wrap/jacket. It gets chilly at night
  • 2 pair PJs
  • 3 bras
  • 6 panties
  • Tennis shoes
  • Dressy flats
  • Sandals for beach/walking
  • 2 pair socks
  • Scarf or hat
  • Swimstuit
  • Swimsuit coverup

Toiletries to pack for a Safari

My list is specific to our safari but it will likely apply to any luxury safari tour.

  • All of the hotels provide beautiful shampoos and body washes. One place didn’t provide a conditioner so you may want to carry a leave-in conditioner.
  • All but one hotel provide hair dryers so you may not want to carry a hair dryer.
  • Please bring sunscreen from home
  • Please bring DEET spray from home. There are few to no opportunities to shop for these things once we are there.
  • All of the bathrooms provide toilet paper so no need to carry that.
  • Any specialty hair care you use
  • Your favorite facial moisturizer since it’s pretty dry there.

Other things to pack for your African safari

  • Sunglasses
  • Hat
  • Passport
  • Photocopy of passport saved in a different location
  • Credit cards. Call your credit card company to let them know you will be in a different country.
  • Printed visa
  • Printed e-tickets
  • Printed itinerary
  • Extra phone battery pack since you will run out of juice on the safari
  • $500+ in cash if you don’t make it to an ATM. $1 is currently 2332 Tanzanian shillings.
  • Face mask, small hand sanitizer
  • Lip balm
  • Power adaptor. Tanzania is on 230 volts. Prepare for type D and type G sockets
  • Anti-malaria pills
  • Small first aid medical kit including pain relievers, electrolyte packets, colostrum-based diarrhea meds, cold and allergy pills, itch medication, band-aids, stomach ache remedy, antibiotic cream, diarrhea medicine, and your prescription medications.
  • Photos of your prescription meds bottles if you’ve put the pills in some other container.
  • Not a packing item, but don’t forget to put your mail on hold while you are gone and to set your thermostat on vacation mode.

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