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Preparing & Packing for an African Adventure: The Ultimate Guide

Planning, packing and preparing for an African overland tour is a lot different to that of a normal trip. This is because Africa is about adventure! You’ll find yourself doing extraordinary things that’ll demand appropriate clothing, travel gear and accessories; and you’ll need to consider the travel requirements of certain countries.

If you’re unsure of how to prepare for your trip, don’t fret! We have all the information you need, right here!

The ultimate guide to packing and preparing for an African Safari

1. Find out whether or not you’ll need a visa

Most African countries do not require prior visa arrangements from American, British or South African passport holders. Most African countries issue visas on arrival; typically: Tanzania, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Zambia.

There are some African countries who do not require any visa at all from American, British or South African passport holders. These countries include: South Africa, Botswana and Namibia.

If you do not hold the above passports, it’s best you research whether or not you’ll need a visa to enter into the African countries listed in your tour.

2. Consider vaccinations for specific African countries

In countries such as Kenya, Zanzibar and Malawi, it is compulsory to present a yellow fever vaccination certificate on arrival. If you plan to travel to either of these countries make sure you get vaccinated. Kenya, and a few other areas are also high malaria zones. Although tents are covered with mosquito nets; and mosquito repellents keep the mosquitos at bay, it’s still advised that you take malaria tablets.

We also recommend that you consult your travel doctor on: typhoid, tetanus, hepatitis A&B, meningitis, cholera and polio.

Vaccinations should be done 4-6 weeks prior to your trip.

3. Get travel insurance

Travel insurance is compulsory on all overland tours, and needs to be presented upon booking.

Pay close attention to what type of cover you need, as most travel insurance policies do not include cover for adrenaline sports and activities, including: white-water rafting, skydiving and bungee jumping.

It is also recommended that your travel insurance includes cancellation and curtailment insurance. Take a look at WorldNomads Insurance – they offer adventure travel insurance as well as cancellation insurance.

Why is travel insurance important?

4. Pack the right clothes, toiletries and necessary medication

NB! No hard suitcases – only flexible, soft shell bags are accommodated on tour.

With regards to clothing, it’s important to steer away from bright colours, especially if you’re going on a safari. The best colours to go for are: tan, beige, khaki and brown. If you wear black clothing, bugs and flies think it is shade (so we generally recommend you don’t wear black).

What clothes do you need:

  • 3-4 short sleeved shirts or T-shirts to protect you from the sun
  • Trousers – try not to pack jeans as they take a long time to dry
  • ¾ pants
  • Warm sweater or fleece top
  • Rain jacket
  • Shorts
  • Tracksuit pants
  • Light sweater or sweatshirt (can also be used as an additional pillow)
  • Underwear and socks
  • Hat/peak cap/bandana
  • Gloves
  • Scarves
  • Water/wind-proof jacket
  • Boots or sturdy trainers

Tips: Pack as light as possible – you can always wash items and wear items again. To avoid heavy creasing of clothing, roll your clothes and tightly pack them in your travel bag.


  • Swimsuit
  • Sunglasses
  • Beach towel and/or sarong
  • Sandals or thongs (need to be waterproof if you want to go white-water rafting)


  • Personal toiletries, but no electric shavers
  • Hand sanitiser/wipes (waterless sanitisers are convenient)
  • Tissues
  • Moisturiser
  • Sunscreen/lip balm


  • Pyjamas
  • Travel pillow
  • Spare pillowcase (you can put a jersey/  jumper in it for an additional pillow)
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Fleece blanket

Medication/first aid kit:

  • Prescription medication
  • Antihistamine cream or tablets
  • Antiseptic cream
  • Water purifying tablets (you will be able to buy water every couple days)
  • Pain killers
  • Diarrhea medication
  • Dehydration salts
  • Elastoplasts/band aids
  • Insect repellent (NB)
  • Sterile dressings

Important Extras:

  • Money (cash and traveller cheques. See our money matters page)
  • Water bottle
  • Book
  • Binoculars
  • Extra memory/film for your camera
  • Head torch
  • Zip-lock bags (medium sized for cameras, snacks, trash etc.)
  • Extra batteries
  • Travel power strip ( a compact three-plug unit that includes two USB connections. With just one wall plug you can charge five gadgets) Buy on Amazon

If you are trekking Kilimanjaro, see our list of things to pack here.

Don’t forget to bring along your adventurous spirit!

About Leandra Slabbert

I don't think God intended for any of us to just be ordinary
Article by: Leandra Slabbert
on June 18, 2018
Filed under  Africa Blog • Travel Articles 
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