Preparation can make or break your safari experience. You won’t be able to fully enjoy the beauty of the wild animals if you have heat stroke because you didn’t pack a hat. Nor will you enjoy gazing at the beautiful night sky, if you are too busy swatting mosquitoes away.
Just like many things in life, you need to prepare for your safari experience if you want it to be an amazing one. Remember, you are going out of your comfort zone to a place where not only the weather is different, but the way of life. The adjustment required on your behalf should not be underestimated.
Simply put, what you pack for your safari will greatly influence your experience.
Baggage and Sleeping (not relevant for lodge or cabin safaris)
- Large suitcase; this will carry everything you will be using on the safari.
- Day sack should be a soft malleable bag (with no wheels)! This is for everyday personal use while on safari; you want to place items such as water, gloves, sweater, binoculars etc. If you will be walking for long periods of time continuously consider getting a waterproof rucksack.
- Sleeping bag; it should be able to handle -10C- -15C if you are planning on climbing Kilimanjaro. If it is for Safari purposes only then -5C should be fine.
- Sweater or fleece pullover
- Lightweight waterproof hiking shoes or boots.
- Waterproof sandals
- 2-3 shirts (golf or T-shirts)
- 2 lightweight long-sleeved shirts
- 2-3 pairs of shorts
- 2 pairs of long pants
- Undergarments and socks; women might contemplate carrying some a sports bra (for bouncy jeeps).
- Thermal underwear (for the colder winter months of May -September) but might not be necessary.
- Warm coat (for the cold winter months of May- September)
- Rain gear (for wet season; November- May)
- Toothbrush, toothpaste and deodorant.
- Travel wipes, or something similar for personal hygiene on the mountain.
- Tissues in plastic travel pouches or toilet paper.
- Hairbrush / comb
- Sanitary pads
- Lip balm with UV protection
- Vaseline; for lips and blisters
- Malaria tablets; this is optional but highly recommended. Talk to your general practitioner if you decide to take them.
- Small first aid kit
- Pain killers
- Tape and small scissors
- Competed blister pads
- Anti-diarrhea tablets
- Any medication you normally use
- Rehydration salts packs
- Passport (make sure it doesn’t expire for at least 6 months after trip return date)
- Tanzanian Entry Visa
- Air Travel Documents; itinerary
- Cash (whatever currency you use, always change your money to TZS)
- Credit Cards (Visa and MasterCard are most widely accepted)
- Traveler’s Cheques are not recommend as they are subject to extremely poor conversion rates in Arusha
- Travel Insurance Documents
- Vaccination Certificates (where applicable)
- Camera; don’t forget, film, spare memory cards, as well as batteries and chargers.
- Sunglasses with UV-filter lenses
- High-energy snacks (Protein bars, dried fruit and nuts). You will also be able to buy cheaper fruit here to carry with you daily.
- Spare contact lenses and contact solution.
- Head torch with spare batteries.
- Water bottles
- Water purification tablets
- Ear plugs
- Plastic bags (for dirty washing, used wrappers, etc.)
- Telescopic walking poles (voluntary – for use on active safaris & climbs only)
- Mobile phone; there is signal reception in most of the national parks and safari areas. Unlock your phone from your home country and purchase a local SIM card; you will save much more money by doing this.
Every great adventure begins with preparation
This may appear to be overwhelming but it really is not. Once you have committed to a safari, the earlier you begin packing and planning, the less stress you will have when you are actually there.
Remember, your safari should be the time to enjoy yourself rather than worry about the quality of your sleeping bag! So make sure to plan beforehand, consult the list above as you pack and do more research if you may need any extra items.
As we like to say here in Tanzania, safari njema; have a good journey!