Safari Packing Checklist

When packing for a safari, the most important thing is moderation. While there is no need to go minimalist, you also don’t want to carry an abundance of unnecessary luggage across Africa with you. Remember, travelers on safari will move with their luggage in the safari vehicle throughout the tour. For the days spent in the same hotel or lodge, of course you will leave your bags back in your room. Hence, if you bring too much luggage it could be an inconvenience or even a hindrance wildlife viewing.

We have created a packing list, based on years of leading excellent safaris, to help you pack just the right items (but not too much!) for you incredible African safari in Tanzania:

The Maasai African Guides Safari Packing List.

Remember that you will spend a great deal of time in the safari car, viewing wildlife. However, you may participate in walking safaris or cultural tours throughout your safari, so you should have practical, comfortable and sturdy walking shoes. Please leave high heels, fashion sneakers and platforms for other occasions.

Weather in Tanzania can vary depending on the altitude and time of day. It is wise to bring layers for added warmth, especially in the early mornings and late nights.

Safari Packing List:

  • 1 -2 long sleeved shirts;
  • warm sweater or light jacket (the temperature in the Ngorongoro falls to 0 degrees Celcius in the evening and in the morning);
  • Regular, light shirts or T-shirts (preferably 1 pc for every day of safari);
  • 1-2 pairs of light cotton trousers;
  • Shorts or a loose skirt, for the ladies;
  • swimsuit / trunks (most lodges offer a swimming pool);
  • A hat, for the sun (visor or other cap is also acceptable).

You may note that many travelers on safari wear khaki or neutral colors, and avoid bright whites or florescent colors. There are several reasons for this: firstly, you will blend in with nature better by wearing neutral tones, whether you are walking or seated in the car; secondly, some areas of Tanzania are very dusty and khaki-colored items are less likely to show discoloration from the dust of the safari than white garments.

What medications should you take on safari?

Keep in mind, every safari vehicle is stocked with a basic first-aid kit. If you have prescription medications or special needs, please come prepared with your necessary medications.

  • antimalarial drugs (such as Malarone, Lariam);
  • tablets from motion sickness, if you are susceptible;
  • antihistamines for allergies (Claritin, Loratadine, Azelastine), which can be difficult to purchase in Tanzania;
  • Inhaler for asthma remedy, as the dust may aggravate athsmatic symptoms;
  • Any prescription medications you may require.

It is also recommended to bring insect repellents. These pesky insects are only active in the early morning and evening, likely when you are already back at your accomodations for the evening. Alternatively, wearing a long-sleeved shirt can help deter mosquitoes, as well.

Do not forget the sunscreen! The equatorial sun is strong in Tanzania, and you are likely to be at a higher elevation throughout your Tanzanian safari, especially when in Ngorongoro or the highlands. Choose a product with SPF 40 protection or higher to protect your skin.

Other important tips

Most of our partner hotels and lodges provide full room and board for our guests, meaning 3-full meals are provided each day. However, the excitement and fresh air of a safari are known for building up quite an appetite!

Just in case, you may consider packing:

  • biscuits, chips, cookies or other packaged snacks;
  • fruit (pre-washed or dried varieties;
  • chocolate bars;
  • Various mixtures of nuts.

Some fruits (such as bananas), or nuts (like cashews or peanuts) may easily be purchased locally as you drive through local Tanzanian villages.

Necessary Items

Even if the weather forecast guarantees the lack of sun, don’t hurry up to lay out protective glasses. They will help protect your eyes from wind, dust and small insects while you pop out of the window or through the open roof of the running speed car in search of objects for observation. Put in your backpack:

First of all, you may leave your binoculars at home – every Altezza car provides a pair of binoculars for our guest’s convenience. We also have charging stations in each of our vehicles so your devices will never lose power during a safari.

Here are the items we recommend you bring:

  • Sunglasses;
  • Bandana or handkerchief in case of dust;
  • Adapter for electric plugs (Tanzania uses three-pronged plugs, similar to England);
  • Photocopies of your passport and other necessary travel documents;
  • Camera and all photo equipment;
  • Hand sanitizer or disinfectant;
  • Personal hygiene items (including sunscreen and insect repellant);
  • Notebook and pen.

What to pack for gorilla tracking.

 

1: Hiking Boots.

One of the most important items that should be included in your gorilla trekking gear are hiking boots. Gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National park and Volcanoes National Park involves trekking/hiking in search for the endangered mountain gorillas. Because of the nature of the forest plus the altitude and terrain, you need light weight hiking boots for this activity. Hiking boots are must as you decide on what to pack for your gorilla trekking adventure in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Rwanda’s volcanoes National Park.

2: Garden Gloves.

You will be required gloves to protect you hands during your gorilla trek. As you move in this forest, remember that it can get slippery and somehow you need to hold on something just in case such happens. If you happen to touch some itching plants, trees or even climbing trees, you may be harmed. These gloves will therefore protect you from germs and other items that may scratch your hands. Consider including Garden Gloves in your gorilla trekking packing list.

3: Rain Jacket.

Consider including a rain jacket or poncho in your gorilla trekking packing list as it is very crucial in as far as gorilla trekking gear is concerned.  Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a tropical rain forest and as such, rain is received through out the whole year. You will never tell when it is going to rain so you need a rain jacket in order to be protected from rain. Many clients prefer traveling in drier months of June, July, August and beginning of September and try to avoid rainy seasons of March, April and May but being a tropical rain forest, it can rain any time. When deciding on what to pack for your gorilla trek in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Volcanoes National Park, a Rain jacket or Poncho should be included.

4: Long Sleeved Shirts/Blouse.

You are required to have long sleeved trousers/shirts/blouse for your gorilla trekking. Please ensure that you tack in your trousers in your hiking boots to avoid insects such as safari ants entering your trousers. Jeans and Kachi trousers can do this better.

5: Energy Giving snacks.

Gorilla trekking can take from 30 minutes to eight or so hours and that’s why a certain level of fitness is required. To add on that, we advise that you carry some energy giving snacks as supplements. Before departing from your lodge, you need to carry your packed lunch and lots of drinking water as you never know when you will return. Energy giving foods contact your guide he/she can assist you with this.

6: Cameras and extra batteries.

Photography is an important component of your safari and thus make sure that you have your camera ready, charge your batteries very well and if necessary, carry extra batteries as you will need to take as many photographs in the one hour you will have with the gorillas. Please make sure that you switch off your flash while taking gorilla photographs.

7: Hat and Sun Glasses.

If it is hot, please carry a hat to protect you from the strong sun rays. You may also need to carry some sun glasses too. These are extra optionals.

8: Pair of Binoculars.

Don’t forget that you are on safari and you want to have clear views of everything. Bwindi Impenetrable National park is home to over 350 birds, chimpanzees, black and white colubus monkeys among other primates, forest elephants and buffaloes so during your trek in search for the rare mountain gorillas, you will have a chance to spot some of the above.

8: Porters for your gorilla trek.

This is an extra optional item and we advise all our clients to take a porter for their gorilla trekking. As earlier noted, gorilla trekking can be strenuous and thus you will need someone to give you a push or a pull on the way to the gorillas. These porters go for a fee but it is worth it. Remember that these porters are actually school going students either in their vacation or have been chased out of school due to school fees. By paying some money to have a porter with you, you will have contributed to community development indirectly.

You are responsible for bringing personal gear and equipment while communal equipment (tents, food, cooking items, etc.) is provided. Below is a gear list of required, recommended and optional items to bring on your climb.

Technical Clothing
1 – Waterproof Jacket, breathable with hood
1 – Insulated Jacket, synthetic or down, warm
1 – Soft Jacket, fleece or soft-shell
3 – Long Sleeve Shirt, light-weight, moisture-wicking fabric
1 – Short Sleeve Shirt, light-weight, moisture-wicking fabric
1 – Waterproof Pants, breathable (side zipper recommended)
2 – Hiking Pants
1 – Fleece Pants
1 – Shorts (optional)
1 – Long Underwear, moisture-wicking fabric
4 – Underwear, moisture-wicking fabric recommended
3 – Sport Bra (women)
Headwear
1 – Brimmed Hat, for sun protection
1 – Knit Hat, for warmth
1 – Balaclava or Buff (recommended)

Handwear
1 – Gloves, warm (waterproof recommended)
1 – Gloves, light

Footwear
1 – Hiking Boots or Shoes, warm, waterproof
4 – Socks, wool or synthetic
1 – Gaiters, waterproof (optional)

Accessories
1 – Sunglasses Sunglasses or Goggles
1 – Backpack Cover, waterproof (optional)
1 – Water Bottle (Nalgene, 32 oz.)
1 – Water Bladder (Camelback type, 3 liters)
1 – Towel, lightweight, quick-dry (optional)
1 – Pee Bottle, to avoid leaving tent at night (recommended)
Stuff Sacks, Dry Bags or “Ziploc”-Type Plastic Bags, to keep gear dry and separate. Note that there is a general ban on plastic bags in Tanzania, however Ziploc-type bags for toiletries are permitted for tourists.

Equipment
1 – Sleeping Bag, warm, four seasons*

1 – Camp Pillow, inflatable (optional)
1 – Trekking Poles, collapsable (highly recommended)*
1 – Head Lamp, with extra batteries
1 – Duffel Bag, 70L-90L capacity, for porters to carry your equipment
1 – Daypack, 30-35L capacity, for you to carry your personal gear

*may be rented on location

Other
Toiletries
Prescriptions
Sunscreen
Lip Balm
Insect Repellent, containing DEET
First Aid Kit
Face Mask (REQUIRED)
Hand Sanitizer (REQUIRED)
Toilet Paper
Wet Wipes (recommended)
Snacks, light-weight, high calorie, high energy (optional)
Electrolytes, powder or tablets (optional)
Camera, with extra batteries (optional)

Paperwork
Trip Receipt
Passport
Visa (available at JRO)
Immunization Papers
Insurance Documents