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What to pack for an African safari: The essential safari packing list

How to pack for an African safari

Heading out on a safari soon? Congratulations, you’re about to have an incredible time! When we booked our trip, I was clueless about what to pack for an African safari and may or may not have spent quite a bit of time googling about what to bring. Packing for a safari can seem a bit daunting at first, but there’s no need to be stressed. As usual, my past google search has become my latest blog post, so I hope I can save you some time figuring out what should go on your African safari packing list!

In this blog post you’ll find information about safari clothing, safari outfits, what to wear on safari, and what to take on safari. We went on a seven day organized safari with Viva Safaris in Kruger, but you can also choose a self-drive Kruger safari.

what to pack for an african safari

Hungry for more South Africa travel tips? Check out these other posts:

What to bring on an African safari: The clothes

To be honest, I was way more worried about what to wear on our African safari than I needed to be. I thought I’d need to wear a safari explorer outfit, but in reality, that wasn’t at all necessary – safari clothing is actually pretty basic!

There was only one morning that we went on a bushwalk – and honestly, that is the only time that what you wear actually matters. The rest of our safari was spent in a covered truck, so I’m really glad I didn’t over invest in a bunch of khaki colored clothing that I’d probably never end up wearing again. I also wore flip-flops during our long drives through Kruger Park, which was completely fine. Don’t overspend on your wardrobe unless you know you’re going to really be out of the safari truck – or unless you have the budget to afford a fabulous Out of Africa look.

A light button-up shirt

You’ll need some type of light blouse for a couple of uses. The first use for a blouse like this is to keep the sun off of your skin while your on a long day of safari. Although it was 40+ degrees (celsius) I wore this Roxy shirt nearly the entire day to keep from getting burned. Complete your safari outfit with a cute lightweight button up like this.

The other maybe not-so-obvious usage (if you’ve never been on safari), is to keep some of the dust off of you. Driving around on safari roads all day you will get very dusty, so wearing a shirt like this can help keep a bit of the grime off.

An olive/army green t-shirt

This item is most necessary if you’re doing a bushwalk. The bushwalk is the time when you want to be careful about  what you wear. After all, you wouldn’t want to be drawing the wrong type of attention, right? The colors to wear on safari can range a bit from location to location, but the goal is to fit into the background – no bright colors, no blacks, no dark blues. Just neutral earth tones.

Most important on a bushwalk is that you blend in to your environment, wearing the most neutral colors possible. For our trip to Kruger, wearing an olive colored t-shirt helped solve this problem easily.

I’m a sucker for Uniqlo, so I’d recommend this cotton tee that I wore on our bushwalk. An olive colored shirt is one of the best items of African safari clothes.

Long pants or tights for your bushwalk

When you’re out on a bushwalk you need to make sure that you won’t have your legs exposed – first of all, for protection from the sun, and secondly so that your skin is protected against any sharp bushes.

One of the most important lessons you’ll probably learn on your bushwalk is that you should avoid getting cut at all costs – getting cut could lead to bleeding, and when blood is on the bushes, it could be potentially dangerous for others on a bushwalk days later since predators will be drawn to the smell of blood.

Anyway, definitely DON’T get cut, and to avoid doing so, bring long pants.

If you want a traditional safari look, then go for the khakis – I like these more than traditional safari pants because I think you could actually get use out of them after your safari. Safari wear is actually pretty easy, right?

Closed shoes/sneakers

Again this is most important for a buskwalk if you’ll do one. On all of our game drives I actually ended up wearing my flip-flops – hey, I live in Holland at the moment and there are few times I can actually wear sandals, so I take every chance I can!

Your best bet is to bring a pair of black sneakers – you probably already have these at home, so no need to buy a new pair. These will get you through your bushwalk just fine.

African safari packing list: the gadgets


Wondering what to bring on safari? Then, please, please, please, do not forget to buy binoculars before your safari! There are going to be many times that your guide will spot animals at a distance, and you’re going to want to see them up close and personal. Buying binoculars was our best pre-safari purchase (besides my DSLR which I already had).

A good set of binoculars come in handy on a lot of other trips as well. If I would have had them already, I would have gotten good use out of the when we visited Iceland as well for puffin spotting!

I recommend the  Bushnell Perma Focus 7x 50mm Wide Angle Binocular

You’ll want at least 7x50mm for a good view of the animals, or consider 10x50mm for an even better zoom. You really won’t be able to see animals well without binoculars so ensure to add this to your safari packing list.

iceland packing list

 A great DSLR camera

An African safari is definitely not the trip where you want to use your iPhone camera! Having a good quality DSLR camera is definitely the way to go. I recommend buying the camera body and the lens separately.

My camera/travel companion is the  Nikon D5300 24.2 MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera with Built-in Wi-Fi and GPS Body Only (Black) and Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED Vibration Reduction Zoom Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras.

  • The built-in WiFi and GPS are must-haves for me. If you download the Nikon app, you can  use it to remotely take photos, and to download your best snaps to your phone. This is ideal for anyone who won’t be traveling with a laptop and wants to send images to their phone — I’m looking at y’all who do it for the ‘gram.
  • GPS makes sorting through your pictures on Google photos so much easier, therefore I’d strongly recommend a camera with GPS!

Lens wipes for your camera

I can’t tell you how freaking dusty my camera got after long days out on safari. You’ll be dusty, and everything you bring with you on safari will also be dusty!

Be sure to clean your camera lens properly, with wipe specifically designed for camera lenses – you wouldn’t want to damage your camera lens. Camera lens wipes are really some of the best things to take on safari, and something that I tend to forget before traveling, but they are so useful. 

A power adapter

A power adapter is one of the items I almost ALWAYS forget! While we were en route to our safari I actually picked one up at a road side stop. In many of the hotels you stay in (in South Africa at least), there may already be a European power adapter, which worked fine for us, but still, many hotels just only had South African power outlets. This is a definite must have on your safari packing list.

Be sure to buy a power adapter ahead of time so you won’t find yourself rushing off to buy one before you head out on safari – once you’re out there, it might be pretty tough to find anything you are missing!

A flashlight

Admittedly, we didn’t need one as our safari camp was lit, but you should definitely pack a flashlight just in case there will be a long walk to your tent at night – especially if your camp is open, you’re going to want to know if there are any eyes watching you 😉 It might seem strange, but I found a flashlight super handy to add to my safari packing list. 

How to pack for an African safari: the basics

No packing list would be complete without a short list of the basics that we all tend to forget while we’re packing our bags.

Insect repellant

Normally I’m not a fan of DEET, but any time you are in an area with a potential malaria risk, you’re going to need to get insect repellant with DEET. Since Kruger Park is technically in a malaria zone, you’re going to need insect repellant with DEET. Don’t head out on your safari without adding bug repellant to your safari packing list.


Chances are that when you’re on safari, you’ll be in a covered vehicle, but that doesn’t mean the African sun won’t still find its way to burning your skin! You definitely need to add sunblock to your safari packing list. Safari days are long, and you might be outside for 6-7 hours. Be sure to pack a strong sunblock – my favorite is always 50spf #fearofwrinkles

I’d recommend Sun Bum because it spreads like lotion and has the smell of vacation 🙂

Malaria pills

This is one you’re going to need to go to your doctor for. Check ahead of time to find out if the area you are visiting is a malaria zone and plan accordingly! If you take malarone, don’t forget to start your tablets before you leave, and to finish your 7 days of tablets after you leave the malaria zone. Always read the instructions carefully and follow doctor’s orders 😉

Did I miss anything? If so, let me know in the comments below and I will add it into this post!

Did this help figure out what to pack for an African safari? Let me know as well!

Looking for more adventures in South Africa? Consider these other outdoor activities:

Disclosure: some of the links on this page are affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click-through and make a purchase.

Hike the Robberg Peninsula on the beautiful Garden Route

Hike the Robberg Peninsula

We love hiking. Going somewhere where hiking is possible is practically a prerequisite for choosing where we are going on vacation next (I’m looking at you Iceland and the Lake District). South Africa, of course, was no exception. Most people know it for its incredible wildlife, but it also boasts some of the most beautiful hikes I’ve ever taken.

Hiking the Robberg Peninsula in Plettenberg Bay is a must do if you are driving the Garden Route – it was one of the highlights during our three weeks in South Africa, and certainly one of our favorite South Africa hikes!

robberg peninsula

There are three lengths of hikes you can choose between on the Robberg Peninsula – 2km 4km hike, or the 9km hike (more on the shorter ones later). The 9km hike takes you completely around the peninsula, which I recommend doing. It will take you about four hours in total to do the hike (well, that includes if you stop for lunch), hiking at a fairly moderate pace.

In this blog post you’ll find a guide to hiking the Robberg Peninsula, what to bring when you hike South Africa, and find out why this is one of the best hikes in South Africa.

I should warn you before you read on – if you’re afraid of heights, this hike most likely isn’t for you. Just take that into consideration before committing to the 9k trek. And you need to be physically fit, this isn’t an easy stroll. There are sections where you need to pull yourself up a very steep ascent over boulders – you will have to scramble with both your arms and your legs and will need to be able to pull yourself up.

robberg peninsula

Looking for more incredible outdoor adventures in South Africa? Check out these posts:

Before you hike the Robberg Peninsula, make sure you’ve got the right gear

  • Water! It get very hot in South Africa, so definitely bring water, and consider buying a water reservoir before you go so you can easily carry water on the go
  • A good day pack: make sure you’ve got a comfortable backpack to wear, especially when you’re on a hike this long where you’re gonna want to bring food
  • Sturdy hiking boots: this hike can be pretty hairy sometimes, so make sure you’ve got a good pair of hiking boots.
  • A guide book: you know, I’m always a huge fan of Lonely Planets, and never go anywhere without one! Check out Lonely Planet South Africa for more travel tips
  • Lunch or snacks: this is a long hike, so you’re gonna get hungry!

Pssst: if you’re looking for more hiking must haves, check out this post

Starting from the parking lot you’ll start the Robberg Nature Reserve hike with gorgeous views of Plettenberg Bay, first walking along a boardwalk – this is the busiest part since many visitors just go to this section and turn around. Don’t let the crowd discourage you, and keep on.

The colors of the water are absolutely stunning on this hike… I couldn’t stop taking pictures! Hiking the Robberg Peninsula is definitely one of the best things to do in Plettenberg Bay, and is one of the best hikes in South Africa.

robberg peninsula

robberg peninsula

As you continue to hike the Robberg Peninsula, you’ll reach farther and farther until you beat the crowds, and start walking along a (pretty) narrow path. You might also notice a distinct smell coming from below… if you’re not afraid of heights, look down and see the seal colony sunbathing on the rocks below, splashing in the water and playing.

You’ll also pass through the Witsand Sand Dune, which seems somewhat other worldly after walking along the dramatic coast line. South Africa climbing is such a treat.

robberg peninsula
No idea why I point my fingers when I take these pictures… I need to stop doing that

robberg peninsula robberg peninsula

Walking along the path on the edge of the peninsula, there’s not a lot of room for error – i.e., don’t lose your footing. It’s not exactly a sheer drop on the other side, but just about. So just keep your wits about you and you’ll be fine. Honestly, although the sign in the parking lot shows a skull and cross bones on the other side of the peninsula, I thought this was one of the most dangerous parts.

Reaching the tip of the peninsula is the perfect place to stop and have lunch – just watch out for all of the ANTS! Ants, everywhere, biting you! I was so annoyed at this point from all the ants crawling over my ankles and constantly biting me. I probably looked like an idiot to the locals, but hey, I’m not used to aggressive ants!

As you turn to the other side of the peninsula, you’ll probably notice one major change – the wind picks up! Or at least it was incredibly windy on the day that we hiked there. That side is unprotected, so hold on to your hat. Make sure from here on out you look out for the green seal signs which indicate the route. Sometimes it can be unclear where to go next, and you need to be cautious to follow them since this side of the peninsula can be especially dangerous at high tide.

robberg peninsula

robberg peninsula

It was when we hiked the Robberg Peninsula that I realized that when South Africans call something a hike, they really mean it. When I looked up the steep rocky ascent and realized I’d need to pull myself up, I couldn’t help but think that this could be very dangerous if you’re not strong enough to pull yourself up – it’s also a bit intimidating to look up the sharp ascent and think crap, I have to get up there somehow.

If you’re up for it, it’s a great challenge and is really rewarding to finish this hike.

robberg peninsula

As you get toward the end of the hike, after you’ve passed by the most tricky parts, you’ll come to the Island which extends from the sandy strip that you’ve seen at the beginning of your hike. Shortly before you get there, you’ll also notice a small house called the Fountain Shack. If you book in advance you can actually STAY HERE! We didn’t, but stopped and talked to a couple of guys who were renting it – there’s no electricity, and no running water – just views of the ocean. You’ll have to book pretty far in advance, but it seemed like the perfect place to disconnect.

robberg peninsula
Views from the Island back toward Plettenberg Bay

robberg peninsula

What if you don’t want to hike the whole 9k?

No problem, there are shorter routes.

  • The Gap: This 2k hike takes you to (you guessed it) a gap between the rocky formations on the peninsula. Much of this hike is on a boardwalk
  • Witsand Sand Dune and the Island and back: This hike is 4k will take you to the picturesque Witsand Sand Dune and the beautiful Island – two of the main highlights of the hike
  • The Point: this is the hike mentioned here. As far as I’ve read, its 9k, though some sites quote 11k. Either way, you’ll be in for about four hours of hiking.

Plettenberg Bay accommodation

We stayed at the beautiful Sea Breeze Beach House, which is conveniently just a short drive from both the Robberg Peninsula hike and from the center of the town where you’ll find the restaurants. The hotel is also just a short walk from the beach. This was one of our favorite accommodations from our 3 weeks in South Africa. There are tons of cute touches in the hotel (I loved the door pulls in the shape of animal heads… but hey, I’d just come from safari so maybe I was a bit biased!), the towels are fluffy, the beds are comfortable and the breakfast is delicious!

Sea Breeze was ideal for our stay in Plett, and we’d definitely stay there again if we go back.

Looking for more tips on South Africa? Check out these posts:

The definitive 7 day Garden Route itinerary

How to hike Cape Town’s Table Mountain

The guide to winetasting in Stellenbosch

Have you hiked the Robberg Peninsula? Let me know about your experience in the comments below!

Disclosure: some of the links on this page are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.