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Our Little Engine That Could

Packing List for Traveling in South Africa

Here is a list of what we packed (and should have packed) for South Africa. We went casual all the way, which fit in well with the local scene.

  • Passports and copies of passports
  • Copies of Children’s Birth Certificates (we did not pack these which was a HUGE mistake)
  • Road Map (another thing we should have packed!)
  • Print outs of Itineraries and Reservations
  • Dry Shampoo (in case of water shortage)
  • Baby/Hand Wipes (ditto, also good for car trips)
  • Usual Toiletries
  • Mosquito Lotion – We used Picaridin lotion, but Deet is best.
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Leave Jewelry at Home
  • Hiking Pants – quick dry
  • Hiking Shorts – quick dry
  • Jeans
  • Casual Wear Shorts
  • Leggings or Sweats for comfort wear
  • T-shirts – quick dry and normal
  • Long sleeve t-shirts for layering
  • Sweatshirt or sweater
  • Mid-weight Jacket
  • Rain Jacket
  • Sun Hat
  • Knit Hat (if traveling in the mountains or open air, early morning safari drives)
  • Warm Gloves (ditto)
  • Hiking Shoes or Sneakers with treads
  • Hiking socks and regular socks
  • Flip flops for community showers and beach
  • Bathing Suit
  • PJs
  • Underclothes

I pre-sprayed our safari clothing with Picaridin clothing spray a few days before our trip, giving them time to air out before packing. The stuff works well!

A view of the Crocodile River at the Melane Gate. Photo by Karen Gough

I also read you shouldn’t wear red clothing (it attracts animals) nor white clothing (it startles animals). Neutral colors are best.

  • Binoculars (get good ones!)
  • Wildlife Field Guide and Travel Books
  • Cameras and extra SD Cards
  • Camera and Phone Chargers
  • Cell Phones (but take them away from your kids!)
  • Playing Cards
  • Journals/Pens
  • Books
  • Drawing/Coloring Books

You don’t need to wear “safari clothes” on safari. You will be staying in your car so wear comfortable clothing. Layers are always a good idea.

Hope this helps!

Female Greater Kudu, photo by Chris Gough

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