What to Pack on Safari
Want to dress like Indiana Jones?
It’s really not necessary to worry too much about what to wear and what to bring…. but there are some practicalities which you may wish to take heed of, and these are designed to just make you comfortable.
Even as an adventurer, Indian Jones would stand out like a sore thumb here on safari… however, aside from a whip, in many ways, he’s actually got it right. Read below for our recommendations.
The point about Indiana Jones is that he dresses comfortably…. and thats the main thing to consider when coming on safari to Botswana. You are not really going to be “roughing it” and your trip will be quite comfortable either staying in a Lodge or in a Mobile Tented Camp.
Firstly you do not have to go out and spend a fortune on a new wardrobe of specialist safari clothing to come out to the bush. Look through your wardrobe and use common sense, a pair of jeans and tee shirts are more than adequate for your trip. This could save you a good deal of money, which may be better spent on something like a pair of binoculars…which will last you a lifetime and better serve you on your trip. Besides… the bush can be quite hard on clothing so your brand new really expensive jacket may well not look so new when you get home.
There are generally only two seasons to consider on safari…. summer and winter. Whatever you wear, try and bring muted colours, such as greens, browns and yes even denim blues are ok… lurid pinks, reds, bright yellows etc. stand out too much where you would rather blend in.
The key here is to try and dress in thin layers… this is how skiers do it and the same principle works in the bush. The ability to strip off or add a layer helps adjust your temperature perfectly and is practical.
And remember one thing… space and weight on a mobile safari are really important. The easier and lighter things are to pack will make a big difference to your luggage dimensions.
Cotton is the best material, so consider packing both long and short sleeve shirts with pockets plus the good old Tee-shirt which is perfect. Collared shirts are better though as they keep the sun of your neck. The more modern materials such as nylon and polyester are fine and can offer UV protection and quick drying properties…. but honestly, we live in the bush here and no-one here really wears this, and cotton is just fine.
Again cotton is best. The cargo style trousers or shorts offer the practicality of an array pockets for odds and ends. The newer style half-zipped trousers that convert into shorts are also very practical and do help you convert from a cold morning to hot afternoon.
Long trousers for the evening are a very good choice in warding of the bugs such as mosquito’s.
The best all round footwear is a tougher style training shoe or walking boots… this will be of great general use in the bush and will be a necessity if you go on a walking trail etc.… It is often better to bring what you already have as you don’t really want to be “breaking in” a brand new and expensive pair of solid boots which you may be wearing all day!
Feel free to bring some open toed sandals or “strops” (flip flops). These will be great whilst around camp and will free up your feet to some much needed air. Please though try and bring some with tougher soles, as the bush camping ground can be very thorny…. The thorns from a Camel Thorn Tree are extremely pointy and many centimeters long!!
You may look great with the latest branded baseball cap on your head, but the very best head-wear you can bring is a wide brimmed hat. Anything like a floppy Tilley style hat is perfect… as is a sturdier Fedora style, but please remember that its function is to keep the sun off you.
A baseball cap is fine but doesn’t offer you the protection of the others.
In winter, a beanie hat is a great option, one that can cover the ears
We would always say that you should bring a fleece. This is essential in winter as it can get freezing at times, and in summer it is better to be safe than sorry. A full sleeved quality fleece with a full zipped front is the most practical option especially in winter and especially one that acts like a windbreaker. In summer you can probably get away with a lighter pullover style fleece.
Firstly, in winter, a jacket is extremely recommended. Do not underestimate how cold it can get on an early morning game drive, on which there may be a slight wind chill factor to take into consideration.
In summer you need to consider rain…. And it can really rain. But remember that it is usually very warm here in the rainy season…. So try and bring the most waterproof “paklite” you can, this will help with the principle of bringing layered clothing. You need not spend a huge amount of money on the newest Gore-Tex jacket… just make sure you can pack it away easily on a vehicle when you don’t need it
Dont forget SWIMWEAR
Particularly in summer you may have the opportunity to have a dip in a swim spot, which will be a welcome relief from the hot sun. Although you can happily have your dip fully clothed, it doesn’t hurt to bring some swimwear with you. Most lodges also have pools.
Try at all times to bring soft luggage…. On any sort of safari, hard luggage or cases don’t really work out very well. If your safari includes any short or “bush” flights, you may be limited to something like 20kilos of weight so please check on your chosen safari listing for any of these limitations.
Please click below to go directly to our “Luggage Restrictions” page.
These are not an absolute essential, but if are not in possession of one then try and beg, steal or borrow. You will be in one of the most visually stunning regions on earth filled with an amazing array of mammals and birds, your experienced will be massively enhanced with the use of binoculars so try hard to source one per person.
We would consider this an essential piece of equipment as they will help you greatly in camp at night, either spotting the eyes of a loitering hyena or just avoiding tree stumps and guide ropes. A head torch is also a very useful item particularly if you are taking part in a participation safari where you may be preparing food at night etc…
Again.. like binoculars, bring what you can. There will be many memories you will want to take away with you from your safari so bring the best camera possible together with spare batteries, charger, memory cards etc. One thing is important though… whatever camera you bring, make sure you are comfortable using it so practice at home first.
A pair with good quality lenses is essential as the sun here is intense, even in winter. Remember…. sunglasses also make you look very cool…!
Sunblock & Creams
Essential… Please realize that the African sun is miles more intense than you are used to at home, ensure that you bring an adequate amount of protection for your trip… the higher the factor the better.
Together with this it is also very useful to have some lip salv, moisturiser, insect repellent and possibly even bug bite cream (anti histamine) with you.
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