Packing For Your Safari

When going to Africa on safari, preparation is very important. We at Tailormade Safaris will help you through this, as once you get to Africa shopping opportunities may be rare. LIsted here are a few points that you need to pay particular attention to. Please feel free to contact us may you require any further information.


Cameras & Binoculars

Having a good camera and pair of binoculars will make a world of difference if you are intending on capturing quality wildlife images and memories during your travels. Humphrey Gumpo, a keen photographer himself highly recommends a good SLR with a versatile telephoto lens ranging from 100-400mm and a wide-angle lens of about 17-85 mm. If you intend to capture sharp images in low light conditions, a lens with an aperture as low as F2.8 is recommended. Fixed lenses (300, 400, 500 etc.) may come at great cost but for those that are venturing on special photography safaris at least one is recommended per party. To find out what camera equipment is most suited for your safari, please click here.

The digital point and shoot cameras have also come a long way and those around the 6-7 million-pixel ranges capture very good images.

For binoculars Humphrey recommends a pair in the range of 8 x 32 to 10×42 as these give good magnification and allow for good clarity in low light conditions yet providing the necessary stability to enjoy the sight. Night vision monocular and binoculars are becoming more popular on safaris and a pair/set between a small party of travellers would offer a unique opportunity of following the action on night activities.

Digital versus Film:

The arrival and rapid development of digital technology in photography has positively changed and added ease to the lives of many photographers. The quality has fast caught up with film and slide and difficulty is standard in trying to differentiate between digital and slide shots even after they have been enlarged. Easy downloading, less risk when going through the x-ray machines and harsh African temperatures and being able to see your pictures without having to wait till you get back home are amongst the advantages of digital cameras. For those that are shooting film we are more than happy to help you ensure that your film is stored in the right conditions and temperatures. Please ensure you have more film and batteries than you estimate to use on your safari, as good quality film is hard to come by in Africa. A cleaning kit and air blower will come in handy as in most areas the cameras are exposed to dusty conditions.

Clothes, Shoes & Baggage

Light, quick drying, neutral coloured clothes are ideal in the African climate. A couple of cotton shirts, t-shirts and a long sleeved shirt for sunny days are good for the day and for those unexpectedly chilly nights a jumper, fleece or windbreaker should also be taken on safari regardless of time of the year. One of the most practical items of clothing in changing weather and environments is a pair of zip off pants. 2 of these backed up by a pair of formal longs for the town hotels should suffice. We will inform you if you`re going to be traveling though any particularly cold or hot areas.

A good pair of closed hiking boots or neutral coloured tackees and a pair of open sandals should keep you comfortable and safe. A pair of light sandals is also recommended for ladies for the more casual times during your safari together with a skirt or dress.

Luggage must be packed in a soft carry on type bag not exceeding 80cm x 30cm in dimension. Most charter companies only allow a total weight of 12kg including camera and hand luggage.This is in accordance with the air charter company’s safety regulations and must be followed. If you have luggage or camera gear in excess of the above regulations please let us know so we can ensure that there is space and avoid any inconveniences and possible luggage delays.

Health & Medication


Most of the remote destinations in Southern Africa are malaria areas. Although there are less towns and villages to make it a high-risk area, we strongly recommend that you take precautions to ensure that you do not get malaria. 90% of malaria cases occur after dark when the female anopheles mosquito is active and the two best ways of preventing malaria are to ensure that mosquitoes do not bite you and to take prophylactic medication. See your physician before you travel for the type most suited for you.

Please remember the following tips:

  • keep your tent zips and room doors closed in the evening to prevent unwanted mosquitoes and insects from entering.
  • spray the tent/room with the aerosol insecticide supplied, and close your tent prior to going for dinner.
  • put an effective insect repellant on at night.
  • wear long sleeved shirts and long trousers at night.
  • keep taking your malaria tablets for at least two weeks after arriving back home (the actual duration depends on each and particular tablet type).
  • If within a few weeks of your return you feel nauseous, weak especially in the joints, headaches on and off and fever please advise you doctor that you have traveled through a malaria area, as these are the likely signs and symptoms.

Please carry extras of any medication you may be taking at your time of travel and make sue you take this as carry on. We also recommend you travel with a small medical kit with you on safari and the following is a guideline.

  • Insect repellent – spray or roll on
  • Imodium
  • Valoid for nausea and vomiting
  • Aspirin, Paracetamol Codeine and an Anti-inflammatory.
  • Sun cream lotion or roll-on
  • A good pair of sunglasses and a spare pair of prescription glasses.
  • More contact lenses than you require for the duration and just in case of a reaction to dust a pair of prescription glasses.
  • Any current contraceptives
  • One course of general antibiotics
  • Antiseptic cream
  • Antihistamine cream
  • Plaster bandages
  • Band Aid strips

Recommended Reading

It is a good investment to be well informed about what to expect about the culture and wildlife in the continent trailing way behind the first world in civilisation. Listed below are a few guidebooks that are most referred to. Most of the camps that we travel through have libraries so no need to carry the whole collection but be sure to bring one in your area of interest.

  • Birds of Africa south of the Sahara: Ian Sinclair and Peter Ryan
  • The Wildlife of Southern Africa: Vincent Carruthers
  • Birds of Southern Africa: Kenneth Newman
  • The Safari Companion guide to watching African mammals: Richard D. Estes
  • A complete guide to the Freshwater fishes of Southern Africa: Paul Skelton
  • Tracks and signs of Southern and East African wildlife: Chris and Tilde Stuart