How to Prepare
So you have booked a trip for a Tanzania safari – congratulations!! You are going to have an amazing time enjoying the beauty and wonder of Tanzania. Now that you have all the details regarding your trip planned, I’m sure you are wondering – What do I need? What should I leave at home? What are the must need items for the Tanzania safari ? Don’t worry – we at Off the Beaten Path Safaris have you covered! Please see our article below, that provides a well tuned safari packing list for your safari in Tanzania.
One important thing to keep in mind pack light if you are taking a charter flight to transport you between parks within Tanzania. Most small planes have a strict weight limit of 15-20 kg (33-44 pounds) and 14.5” X 27” (36cm x 68 cm) dimensions for luggage. Soft sided luggage is advised, as more rigid suitcases may not fit as some carriers don’t allow them. Please check with your travel agent or tour company for specifics. If you have a longer trip planned, additional luggage can likely get stored at a base hotel or at our office while you are on safari in Tanzania.
A typical day on a Tanzania safari starts early and ends late, often with a midday break when the animals tend to be quietest. Early could mean starting just before the break of dawn in order to get the best views for sunrise and late means arriving around sunset. Because of location near the equator, the sun rises and sets around the same time (6am and 6:30pm) year-round. It can be chilly at the beginning or end of day when the sun is below the horizon. It will be quite warm midday. Dressing in layers is recommended. Otherwise, most of the time is spent in the car with an open roof, open windows and cool breeze as you travel through the parks. As such – comfort is key.
It is strongly advised that you pack a pair of underwear and change of clothing in your carryon luggage, in the event that your luggage is delayed on arrival to Tanzania – there is nothing worse than arriving for safari to missing luggage – trust that your Tanzania safari company will hunt down your bags and get them to you as soon possible, but having something extra in carry on luggage can ease one’s mind in the interim.
Safari Packing List – General Packing Tips:
Note that most camps and lodges will provide laundry services while you are there, so pack light and make use of this service when needed. Lightweight quick drying fabrics are advised, as dryers are not common and your clothes may still be damp when returning from laundry..
Clothing should be light in color and neutral. Avoid black and navy blue – these colors tends to attract bugs, particularly the tsetse fly. For this reason, blue jeans are not recommended – they are too heavy and the color attracts bugs. Bright colors should be avoided so as not to distract. Camouflage and any military-themed clothing should be strictly avoided. Tanzania safari is quite casual – meals at the lodges and camps are casual – there is no need to bring anything fancy on your trip in the bush!
Most lodging will provide soap, shampoo, and conditioners. If you aren’t picky, save space and use what is provided. Allow your hair to air dry on safari – it’s going to be a windy ride – taking time to dry and or style your hair may be for naught! And many lodges electrical circuits cannot withstand the voltage needed to power a hair dryer.
Safari Packing List – Clothing / shoes to pack for a 7 day Tanzania safari
- A light jacket (for early mornings and evenings). A thin fleece works nicely! If you are traveling during the rainy season, a waterproof jacket with a hood could be useful instead.
- Two to three short sleeved shirts.
- Two to three long sleeved shirts – a button down shirt to layer over t-shirts is useful for layering as the temperature will vary throughout the day and depending upon your location.
- Two to three pairs of lightweight long pants – if you can find the zip-off safari pants these are really useful and ideal for changing temperature throughout the day.
- Two pairs of lightweight shorts
- Lightweight pajamas
- Sunglasses and a wide brimmed hat is useful to both block excess sun on your head through the open top and windows. These often have chin straps which help to prevent them from blowing off and away when scrambling to get to a game sighting.
- One pair comfortable walking shoes +/- 1 pair of sandals. Most safaris don’t involve hiking or extensive time out of the car, so really bring what is comfortable.
- Three to four pairs of socks
- Underwear – note this is the one thing that is typically taboo for others to wash so bring enough for the trip or wash yourself in your room. Women- a sports bra is advised for the bumpy terrain. Trust me!
- A bandana, scarf or ‘buff’ neck gaiter to protect your nose and mouth during the dry season – it can get really dusty out there!
- Limited toiletries and makeup.
- Remember to bring basic first aid medications – antihistamines (diphenhydramine), anti-inflammatory medications (ibuprofen, Tylenol, etc), nausea medication (prescription antibiotic for traveler’s diarrhea, antacids, Pepto Bismol or TUMS), motion sickness medication for small planes if you are prone to issues.
- Sunblock and lip balm, especially if using the open vehicle.
- Get appropriate vaccinations prior to travel (bring proof of vaccination) and anti-malarial medication if appropriate (it almost always is appropriate)
- Bug spray – you should bring a DEET-based bug lotion/spray for the trip. If traveling during high mosquito season, pretreating your clothing prior to travel with a permethrin-based spray will really reduce exposure to these pests.
- Cameras – smart phones can take great photos and videos, but the reach of the zoom may not be sufficient. A high quality DLR with zoom lens (typically 100-400mm) with plenty of memory cards (I recommend several smaller cards rather than one large card, in case the card becomes corrupt, this way you don’t lose your entire trip!) and an extra battery is best for those who love photography. There are places that rent cameras and/or lens at fair prices, if you want to look into this prior to travel. Charging stations are provided in our cars.
- Binoculars – we provide 1-2 pair per car, but if you have several people in your party, a good pair of 10X binoculars can come in handy.
- Electrical adapter: Tanzania uses the same electrical adapter as Great Britain (Type G).
We hope that this safari packing list put together by the team at Off the Beaten Path Safaris provide you with guidance for packing, relieves some anxiety, and allows you to sit back and relax and enjoy your safari in Tanzania.