A Guide to Preparing for an African Safari

African Safari Guide: Checklist

Here are some things to pack for your safari:

  • Camera – Choose a good camera and practice shooting with it before you go. Don't forget to take plenty of extra memory cards and batteries. You don't want to run out of space early in your trip – and batteries can be expensive abroad.
  • Paperwork – Your passport, visa, tickets and immunization records need to be accessible but safe. Don't pack these in your checked luggage, and make sure you always know where they are.
  • Sunscreen and bug repellant – Since Africa is close to the equator, the sun's rays are strong, and a bad burn can ruin your trip. Choose sunscreen with a high SPF (15 or higher). Even if bugs don't bite you normally, take insect repellant to keep mosquitoes at bay to prevent malaria.
  • Lip balm and eye drops -- The sun and wind will play havoc with your lips and eyes.
  • Clothing – Depending on the time of year, temperatures can vary. Pack comfortable clothing that you can layer when it's chilly and peel off during the hottest part of the day. Stick with neutral colors, since bright colors and white can scare off animals [source: Morgan-Shott]. Women should wear comfortable pants or long skirts and T-shirts, not tank tops, if they'll be traveling to Muslim countries.
  • Hat and Sunglasses – That strong sun I talked about before? It's serious business. Cover up!
  • AC/DC Converter – If you're bringing electronics, you may need a converter to charge them. Check if you need an adaptor for your plugs as well.
  • Comfortable Shoes – Sneakers might be OK but hiking boots might be better depending on where you'll be walking.
  • Rain Gear – Traveling during the rainy season? Pack a slicker and make sure that your hiking boots are waterproof.
  • Guide Book and Phrase Book – Extra knowledge is a good thing.
  • Medical Supplies – It might feel like overkill, but take malaria tablets, iodine tablets (to purify drinking water), anti-diarrheal medication, motion sickness medication, and rehydration salts [source: Fama]. If you do get sick, you'll be glad you did!