What to Pack for Kenya and Tanzania

An African Safari is a dream, a bucket list, and a once-in-a-lifetime trip. You can’t imagine the magic Africa holds, or how much it’ll speak to your soul. A photography wonderland, an experience you’ll never forget, and an education that’ll surprise you.

We’ve been to Africa so many times over the years, we’re here to help you with the only packing list you’ll need for a Kenya and Tanzania Safari.

It can be a massive pain to pack for, however. Especially if your trip limits you to a 33lb backpack only, it’s a little tricky. If your trip is mostly game drives, plan on wearing safari gear most of the time, but some trips are at the beach or in cities for a few days at a time. Check your itinerary and the weather for the area and the timeframe you’ll be there and plan accordingly.

On game drives, wear neutral colors such as brown, khaki, and beige. You can also get away with yellows, grays, and muted pinks too. No black, White, or blue clothing for Tanzania, this is for the tse-tse flies that are attracted to those colors and bite, ouch!

What to Pack

Clothing:

  • Travel backpack, take daily on game drives
  • 12 Pairs of Socks
  • Boots always on game drives
  • Flip flops or sandals around the hotel
  • Plastic bags for shoes that get dirty
  • 8 Safari tops and bottoms- Do as much linen and cotton as possible, folds nice and small and doesn’t weigh as much as jeans- not recommended for Tanzania, because the color blue attracts tse-tse flies, and their bites are awful.
  • Light jacket for sunrise and sunset
  • Scarf
  • 1 Pair of Pajamas that are warm and thin for packing
  • 4 bras & 8 pairs of underwear

Accessories:

  • Cheap Sunglasses, 2 pair
  • Safari hat
  • Normal daily toiletries and medications
  • Bug protection(because it’s a real thing): Pretreat clothes with Permethrin, then apply Picaridin lotion in the am, then carry a travel size Deet spray with you during the day to apply as needed.
  • Sunscreen, apply in the am and carry a small one to reapply as needed
  • Probiotics, activated charcoal, and Imodium for diarrhea, again, do not get the water in your mouth! You don’t want to leave the trip early because you’re sick. Take a bottle of water in the shower as a reminder if needed.
  • If you’re afflicted with that very special experience of travel constipation, pack a laxative
  • B complex vitamin and Electrolytes, I love I.V. Hydration packets if you don’t get I.V. Hydration or equivalent, you’ll want some B-complex with breakfast every day, the jet lag is rough, especially when you get in from night game drives and need to be packed, out of your room/tent, and ready at 5 am for breakfast!
  • Jetlag pills from Amazon are amazing, they really help, start them the night before your trip and continue them the whole way through. Another thing that helps the jet lag- have an I.V. Hydration pack before your feet even hit the floor in the morning, the B-vitamin kick is awesome!

Consider these too:

  • Monocular or Binoculars are a must for wildlife viewing
  • Long-range lens for photography, this is very necessary for the best pictures
  • Bring pencils, pens, paper, and crayons to gift the kids
  • Protein bars for snacks between breakfast and lunch, these saved my life a few times
  • No water bottle was needed, if you take every water bottle offered or available to purchase for next to nothing, grab ’em up while you can and you’ll have no problem staying hydrated. Here’s another reminder: Do not drink the tap or shower water, use bottled water to brush your teeth.
  • Travel size Downy Wrinkle Release for the linen clothes

Some Things to Keep in Mind

  • There aren’t many laundry places, or time for laundry, look very closely at your itinerary, there may not be time to do sink laundry either, when you’re only allowed 33 lbs. You may only stay one night at each hotel/camp, not much time to do any type of laundry when you unpack, shower, and repack every day.
  • Tips for driver/guide, restaurant staff, porters, and housekeeping, call ahead and ask what they recommend for each of these at each place, it varies. When tipping porters, it’s a buck a bag, and make it fun for them and you, ask their names, if they have siblings or family nearby, etc.
  • Due to the dusty road conditions, I recommend a plastic bag to protect camera equipment, you can use a scarf most of the time, but if you have a really nice camera, better safe than sorry. Scuba camera rigs are the best dust protection on the planet, but I have no experience with them, but might be worth a little research if you’re really into photography and protecting your expensive gear is necessary.
  • A day pack for an African Safari is necessary. Wear comfortable walking shoes, clothes you can layer, and an all-weather jacket. You’ll be adding and taking clothes off all day. Especially the drives that start at 5am and when visiting the Ngorongoro crater, you might need every layer you have!

Day pack contents:

  • Travel size deet to reapply around sunset
  • Travel size sunscreen
  • Hat
  • Monocular/binocular
  • Camera and telescopic lens
  • Travel TP and Hand sanitizer
  • Travel kleenex
  • A small meds kit, advil, B-vitamins, Immodium (getting stuck on a game drive with diarrhea would be a nightmare!)
  • Protein bars
  • 2-3 bottles of water
  • A few pencils, pens, paper, or crayons to give out to the kids
  • Whatever layers you’ll need: scarf, jacket, etc.

Things I didn’t use:

  • Swimsuit
  • Swimsuit Coverup
  • Cocktail dress or romper, just wear linen business casual to dinner and rotate the same 2 outfits for dinner for the whole week, but your trip may require it.
  • High-Tea Dress Clothes
  • Dress shoes – have cute flip flops that were ok for business casual
  • Comfortable sundress for the hotel or shopping