There are so many websites out there and every tour guide will send you their packing list of what to bring and there are probably lots of bloggers who are going to try and get you to plonk down money on their affiliate sales telling you what you need to bring. If you haven’t been to Africa then it could be a little daunting thought / debate – what will you need? Will I need a machete? Besides the fact that the airline probably won’t let you bring it on board… If you’re traveling to any of the more tourist developed / friendly locals that we rattled off in our where to start, then you can expect that the hotels you’re going to stay at are probably going to take care of the basics for you and have everything you need.
Here are some quick pointers and suggestions, these are flexible depending upon how long you are going for and where exactly you’re going and at what time of year.
Pack comfortably. Jeans are great. Chino pants also very good. Loose clothing, not too tight. Pack layers, temperatures can swing wildly throughout the day no matter where you are. In the afternoon the Serengeti can hit the mid-90’s by the evening it can drop down to the low 60’s no problem. A nice wool sweater, a jacket (one that actually repels rain). Good hiking shoes or boots, don’t go overboard on super fancy boots, you don’t need them. A pair of flip flops, cheap ones. Unless you’re planning on staying at the Mount Nelson in Cape Town, everywhere you go is going to be relatively informal, no need for heels or anything fancy footwear, sneakers are fine too. Women, a black dress that looks okay rumpled, men, a sport jacket that looks good rumpled.
Bag, make sure it’s light and squishy, make sure its got handles and shoulder straps, don’t use a heavy bag to pack your stuff, from a purely practical standpoint if you are on a small plane or even in a jeep, that bag needs to be able to fit into small spaces easily – hard case luggage is a strict no-no, wheelie luggage over rocks and dirt paths, don’t even think about it.
Try not to wear white anything, it will get filthy with dust and mud and no matter how good the laundry service is at any hotel you are at or any camp you stay in, they won’t be able to make it look clean.
Good baseball hat or something like that is a must.
The basic idea is, keep it simple, keep it comfortable, don’t worry too much (or at all about style), don’t bring clothes that you care so much about that you would hate to throw away if they got ruined. More than likely you will not have access to dry cleaning, even if the hotel claims they have it, they probably don’t.
Have fun, enjoy, don’t sweat it. It’ll be easy.