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Essential Packing Tips for Your Photographic Safari Adventure

Updated: Jun 20


Are you planning an unforgettable African safari adventure? If so, you're probably wondering what to pack. Packing for an African safari can be tricky, as you need to be prepared for a variety of climates and activities. But don't worry, we've got you covered!


In this blog article, we'll provide you with the ultimate safari packing tips for your African safari. We'll cover everything from essential clothing and gear to toiletries and medications. By the end of this article, you'll be sure to pack everything you need to have a safe and enjoyable photo safari experience.



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What Tips to Consider When Packing for Your African Safari

Before you start throwing everything into your suitcase, there are a few things you need to consider when packing for your African safari. These include:

  • The climate: Africa is a large continent with a variety of climates. Be sure to research the climate of the specific countries you will be visiting so you can pack accordingly.


  • The activities: Are you going on game drives, bush walks, or boat safaris? The activities you'll be participating in will help you determine what kind of clothing and gear you need to pack.


  • The culture: When packing for your African safari, it's important to be respectful of the local culture. Avoid packing clothing that is too revealing or culturally insensitive.


Essential Clothing and Gear for Your African Safari

The rumble of the safari vehicle, the untamed beauty of the savanna, and the heart-stopping sight of a majestic lioness in the golden light - a photographic safari is a dream for many nature and wildlife enthusiasts. But before you embark on this unforgettable adventure, here's some crucial information to ensure you're prepared to not only witness but also capture the magic.


Packing for the Perfect Shot (and the Elements):

  • Clothing: Pack for comfort and practicality. Opt for neutral-coloured, breathable clothing (khaki, greens, browns) that blends into the environment. Long sleeves and pants will protect you from the sun, insects, and brush. Evenings can get chilly, so include a light fleece or jacket. Don't forget a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and comfortable walking shoes.


  • Medications and Vaccinations: Consult your doctor well in advance to discuss necessary vaccinations and medications for your safari destination. Malaria prophylaxis are highly recommended as all our destinations are in malaria zones. Pack any prescription medications you rely on, along with basic over-the-counter drugs for headaches, upset stomachs, and insect bites.


  • Toiletries: Pack all of your essential toiletries, including shampoo, conditioner, soap, and toothpaste.


  • Insect Repellent: Protect yourself from mosquito-borne illnesses by using a DEET-based insect repellent and wearing long sleeves and pants during dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.


  • Water bottle or hydration backpack: Packing a water bottle or hydration backpack is always a great idea for safaris. The African climate in summer is usually very hot and dry, therefore the risk of dehydration is high. We recommend you pack a water bottle that can hold at least 1 litre of water, of a hydration backpack such as a Camelbak. By bringing your own bottle, you will help the environment by not using plastic single use bottles too.


  • Travel Insurance: A comprehensive travel insurance policy is vital. Ensure it covers medical emergencies, trip cancellations, and loss or damage to your camera equipment. If you are stuck on which cover to get, please contact us and we can help!


  • Luggage:  A soft-sided duffel bag is ideal for safari vehicles and charter aircraft. Hard cases are not suitable for charter aircraft and will not be allowed onboard. Soft bags allow for easier manoeuvring in tight spaces compared to hard suitcases. Remember, prioritize lightweight packing; focus on versatile pieces you can mix and match. If you require some suggestions on suitable soft duffel bags, please contact us and we can help!


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Your camera is your key to capturing the essence of the safari. Here's what to bring:


  • Camera Body and Lenses: A DSLR or mirrorless camera with a good zoom lens (ideally 200-400mm for full-frame, 300mm for APS-C) is essential. Consider a wider lens (24-70mm) for capturing landscapes and camp settings. A camera with good low-light performance and fast autofocus capabilities is ideal.


  • Extra Batteries and Memory Cards: Pack more than you think you'll need. Early mornings and evenings, prime wildlife viewing times, often have lower light conditions. Spare batteries and extra memory cards will ensure you don't miss a shot.


  • Tripod/Monopod and/or Beanbag:  A sturdy tripod or monopod will provide much-needed stability for capturing sharp images, especially in low-light situations. A beanbag can also be a helpful stabilizer when resting your camera on the safari vehicle.


  • Camera Cleaning Supplies: Dust and dirt are common on safari and get into and onto everything. Pack a lens cleaning pen, microfiber cloth, and blower to keep your gear in top condition.



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Other Important Items to Pack

In addition to the essential clothing and gear listed above, there are a few other important items you should pack for your African safari:

  • Cash: While credit cards may be accepted at some lodges and camps, it's always a good idea to bring some cash in USD for tipping guides, purchasing souvenirs, or paying for any unexpected expenses.


  • Universal adapter: If you're traveling from outside of Africa, you'll likely need a universal adapter to charge your electronic devices.


  • Power bank: A portable power bank can be a lifesaver for keeping your phone and other devices charged on long journeys.


  • First-aid kit: Pack a basic first-aid kit that includes bandages, antiseptic wipes, pain relievers, and any other medications you may need.


  • Ziplock bags: Ziplock bags are a versatile item that can be used for everything from storing snacks to protecting your camera from dust.


Optional Items to Consider

  • Swimsuit: If your safari includes any time spent near water, you may want to pack a swimsuit.


  • Binoculars: Binoculars are a must-have for any safari. They will allow you to get a closer look at the wildlife you see.


  • Journal and pen: Pack a journal and pen to document your safari experiences and memories.


  • Guidebook: A guidebook to the specific countries you will be visiting can be a helpful resource for learning about the local culture, wildlife, and history.


Bonus Tips:

  • Research your destination: Familiarize yourself with the wildlife you're likely to encounter. Understanding their behaviour will help you anticipate photo opportunities. Our photography and safari guides will be able to help you as much or as little as you require.


  • Learn about camera settings: Master aperture, shutter speed, and ISO to adjust for different lighting conditions. Our photography guides will be on hand on every excursion you participate in to help you when you need it.


  • Respect the wildlife: Maintain a safe distance from animals and follow your photography & safari guide's instructions.


  • Stay Flexible: Wildlife sightings can be unpredictable. Be patient, stay alert, and embrace the unexpected moments that make each safari unique.


By being prepared with the right clothing, medication, and camera gear, you'll be well on your way to capturing breathtaking images and unforgettable memories on your photographic safari adventure. Remember, the focus is on enjoying the experience while letting your camera document the magic of the wild.


With careful planning and the right gear, you're all set to embark on a photographic safari that will bring you face-to-face with nature's wonders and capture breathtaking memories that will last a lifetime. Remember, respect the wildlife and their habitat, and always follow your guide's instructions for a safe and successful safari adventure.


Thanks for reading our article we really appreciate it. If you would like more information and to browse our photo safari tours, check them out here!



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