What to Pack for Safari
An African safari can be one of the highlights of your life. Here’s what to pack, what to wear, and what to leave behind.
Packing for a trip to Africa can be a tricky task – especially if you’re a first timer. Here’s your checklist of what you’ll need… and what you won’t.
What To Pack
- Binoculars: After several millennia of natural selection, Africa’s wild animals have learned how to blend into the bush. A good pair of binoculars will help you spot them, hidden among the vegetation.
- Camera: Madikwe Game Reserve is a nature photographer’s paradise – and even if you’re not on the National Geographic shortlist, you’ll want to take some pictures of your safari adventure. Your smartphone camera will only take you so far, though: an SLR with a good zoom lens will add a whole new dimension to your images.
- Prescription Medication: There are no pharmacies (drug stores) in Madikwe Game Reserve, so while emergency medical treatment and medical evacuation procedures are in place at all safari lodges in the reserve, access to medication will be limited. Be sure to pack yours ahead of time.
- Day Bag: Whether you’re walking or sitting in a vehicle, a small bag will help you keep your bits and pieces easily organised and accessible. Most safari lodges will provide you with a water bottle on arrival. Remember to take it along on safari game drives and bush walks.
- Sun Protection: Hat? Sunglasses? Sun cream? You’ll need them all to shield yourself from the harsh African sun – even in the winter months.
If you do forget something at home, don’t worry: if a replacement is not available in the safari lodge’s curio shop, the helpful staff are always available to help you track down anything you need.
What To Wear
- Comfortable Clothing: You’ll be sitting (or walking) for a few hours, so be sure to wear clothes that make you feel at home.
- Layers: While Madikwe Game Reserve is in Africa (and, specifically, near the Kalahari Desert), it’s not hot and sunny all year round. The mid-year winter season can be very chilly in the nights and early mornings – which is exactly the right time for safari game drives! So pack layered clothing that you can take off or put on as the temperature changes.
- Neutral Shades: Blend in with your surroundings – especially if you’re on a walking safari. Go for natural tones like greens, olives, light browns, tans and khakhis; and avoid whites (which show up the dust!) and bright primary colours when you’re out on safari game drives.
- Lightweight Fabric: You can’t go wrong with simple cotton, or with a quality synthetic material that lets your clothes breathe while providing much-needed protection from the elements.
- Trousers & Sleeves: In keeping with the layered approach, opt for long-sleeved shirts that can be rolled up or down as the temperature changes. Trousers have the added benefit of protecting you from both the sun and (at night) from insects.
- Sturdy Footwear: Specialised boots aren’t necessary for standard safari game drives. You will be climbing in and out of the vehicle and possibly taking a few short walks in the bush, though, so wear comfortable shoes that cover your ankles and provide protection from bushveld vegetation.
- Hat and Sunglasses: A wide-brimmed hat will protect you from the sun, while shielding your eyes from the glare and giving you better wildlife spotting opportunities.
What To Leave Behind
- Bulky Coats: Many of Madikwe Game Reserve’s safari lodges provide blankets for winter safari game drives – so if it does get chilly, you’ll be OK. Layered clothing is far preferable to a single, heavy jacket.
- Bright Clothing: You’ll look great in your Insta shots, but the animals will see you coming from miles away. The trick to spotting wildlife is to blend into your surroundings.
- High Heels: The ground along the reserve’s pathways can be uneven, especially if you’re out on a safari game drive. Rather wear shoes that are easy to walk in, and which won’t lead to a rolled ankle.
- Single-use Plastics: If you have to use it, keep it to a minimum. Madikwe Game Reserve is, after all, a natural wilderness area with a commitment to sustainable living and environmental preservation.
Madikwe Game Reserve safari lodges that offer on-site curio shops: