What to Pack and Wear on a Safari (Overland)?

Embarking on a safari is an exciting adventure that immerses you in the natural world like no other experience. To fully enjoy the journey and ensure comfort and safety, it’s crucial to pack appropriately. This guide will help you prepare effectively, covering everything from essential clothing to practical accessories.

Packing sensibly is essential for your Africa trip. One backpack and one daypack are needed and these can weigh no more than 25kg. It is compulsory you take a backpack (and not a suitcase) as the trucks store then in lockers or under the carriage (the locker dimensions vary so please ask your consultant). The airlines implement a 20kg per person limit on international flights for your luggage (your main bag) and a further 5 kg for carry-on luggage (your day bag). A good idea is to include a spare bag for curios that you may purchase, but don’t forget to include this in your weight for your trip home.

Baggage allowed on tour

Clothing Essentials

When packing for a safari, choosing the right clothing is critical for both comfort and protection. This involves selecting suitable fabrics and specific types of clothing that are tailored to the demanding environment of a safari.

Choosing the Right Fabrics

For a comfortable safari experience, the choice of fabric is crucial. Breathable, lightweight materials such as cotton or linen are highly recommended. These fabrics offer excellent ventilation, helping to keep your body cool as temperatures climb during the day. Moreover, they are soft against the skin, minimizing discomfort during long hours of wear. Besides their cooling properties, these materials are also sufficiently robust to offer protection from the sun’s harsh rays and minor scrapes from brushes with vegetation.

Essential Clothing Items


Long-sleeved shirts are a must on any safari checklist. They serve multiple purposes: protecting your skin from the sun’s UV rays and providing a barrier against mosquitoes and other biting insects, which are prevalent in many safari locations. When choosing the color of your shirts, opt for neutral hues such as khaki, olive, or light brown. These colors are less likely to startle wildlife, blending more naturally into the surroundings, and they are less attractive to insects. Fabrics that wick moisture away from the body can add an extra level of comfort, keeping you dry and cool.


Convertible cargo pants are highly recommended for their versatility and practicality. These pants typically come with zippers at the knees, allowing them to be transformed into shorts if the temperature becomes too warm. The multiple pockets are also useful for carrying essentials like a map, snacks, or a small camera within easy reach. Choose pants made from durable materials that can withstand rough terrain and protect you from thorns, insect bites, and other natural elements.


No safari packing list is complete without a sturdy, water-resistant jacket. Even if you’re traveling in the dry season, unexpected rain showers can occur, and evenings can be surprisingly cool, especially in open vehicles during game drives. A good jacket will not only keep you warm but also dry. Look for jackets with several pockets for convenience, and consider those with a detachable lining which can be added for warmth as needed.

See how Joao and Margarida from Nomadplot packed for their trip to Africa to get some ideas for yourself.


Proper footwear is essential on a safari due to the varied terrain and long hours spent walking or standing during wildlife viewing excursions. Here’s what to consider when choosing your safari footwear:

Types of Shoes

Durable, Comfortable Hiking Boots

For most safari adventures, a sturdy pair of hiking boots is indispensable. These boots should be durable enough to withstand rough terrain, such as rocky paths, thorny undergrowth, and uneven surfaces commonly encountered in the wild. Look for boots made with strong, high-quality materials that can offer protection against snake bites or sharp objects.

The boots should also be comfortable. Since you’ll be wearing them for long periods, they need to fit well and support your feet. Features like a padded collar, cushioned insole, and ample ankle support can significantly enhance comfort and reduce the risk of blisters and foot fatigue.

It’s also important to ensure that your hiking boots are well-suited to the climate of your safari destination. For hot climates, choose boots that are breathable to keep your feet cool. For wetter areas, opt for waterproof boots to keep your feet dry during rainy conditions or when walking through dew-covered grass.

Breaking in Your Boots

Before embarking on your trip, it’s essential to break in your new hiking boots to avoid discomfort and blisters. Start by wearing your boots around the house for a few hours at a time, then gradually increase wearing them on short walks or during everyday activities. Pay attention to any areas where the boots might rub or pinch, as these issues can become painful over longer distances. If necessary, consider using hiking socks or insoles to improve the fit and comfort of the boots.

What to Pack for your Overland Safari

Accessories to Bring Along on Safari

Proper accessories can significantly enhance your comfort and enjoyment during a safari. They protect you from the elements, help carry your necessities, and ensure you capture all your memories. Here are some essential items to include:

Hats and Sunglasses

A wide-brimmed hat is invaluable on a safari. It provides extensive coverage, shielding your face, ears, and neck from the intense sun. The wide brim is preferable over a standard baseball cap as it offers more comprehensive sun protection. Materials like canvas or breathable synthetic fabrics are ideal as they are light yet offer substantial protection. Pairing your hat with UV-protective sunglasses is crucial for eye protection. Sunglasses should offer 100% UV protection to safeguard your eyes from harmful rays. Polarized lenses are an excellent choice as they reduce glare, making it easier to see and enjoy the vibrant landscapes and wildlife.

Bags and Backpacks

Choosing the right bag is essential for carrying your supplies and equipment on excursions. A comfortable, durable backpack is ideal for day trips. Look for backpacks with padded straps for comfort and support, especially if you’ll be carrying it for long periods. An ergonomic design that distributes weight evenly across your back can prevent strain. It’s beneficial to select a backpack with multiple compartments to help organize items like water bottles, sunscreen, and cameras. Materials that are dust and water-resistant are advantageous, as they can withstand the rugged conditions of a safari environment.

Binoculars and Cameras

To fully appreciate the distant wildlife and ensure you don’t miss any action, a good pair of binoculars is a must. Opt for a model that is lightweight and durable, ideally with a magnification of 8x to 10x, which offers a good balance between size and zoom capability. Weatherproof features such as fog and waterproofing enhance their usability in various conditions. Alongside binoculars, a quality camera is vital for capturing the moments that make a safari memorable. Depending on your interest and expertise, this could range from a high-end DSLR to a more compact point-and-shoot camera. Ensure you have extra batteries and memory cards, as charging facilities may be limited, and you’ll likely be taking many photos.

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