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A gentleman’s guide to packing for safari

A gentleman’s guide to packing for safari

Raised in South Africa, Leora Rothschild has always felt a special affinity for her homeland. Founding Rothschild Safaris in 1998, she has since been able to share her love with like-minded travellers and adventurers wanting to experience the magic of Africa for themselves.

The niche travel company has an intense passion for planning custom African safaris. Every one of its travel consultants has personally travelled to the destinations they specialise in, often spending weeks at a time driving particular routes and staying at off-grid properties in order to find the undiscovered gems that make a bespoke Rothschild Safari so unique.

Of course, packing for a safari is a little different from any other trip, and who better to design a packing list for gentlemen heading to this vast and vibrant continent than a company founded by a local so passionate about Africa she made it her life’s work?

Neutral colours are best

There will be dust – more so in certain seasons and places. Contrary to popular belief, which bestows the gift of colour vision on wild creatures, dust is the reason why neutral colours are recommended for safaris; they simply do not show dust as easily as bright shades. Heed the no blue or black rule as these colours have been scientifically proven to be more attractive to the tsetse fly.

Layering is essential

Temperatures vary wildly, not only from one season or country to the next but also over a single day. In addition, the strict restrictions on packing for light aircraft transfers require careful consideration. In this regard, layers are essential. Almost all properties will offer an excellent laundry service, so there is no need to worry that you haven’t packed enough clothes to last you every single day.

A balance between casual and flair

As a rule of thumb, a safari is casual. Having said that, Africa accepts flair and in your beautiful surroundings, you will not look out of place if you choose to add a bright patterned shirt, a pocket square, or you decide to wear a kikoy wrap instead of pants at night.

Ensure that your clothes are loose-fitting, lightweight and will cover as much skin as possible in the evening

Comprehensive packing checklist

Clothes and accessories

  • 4x T-shirt
  • 2x sweatshirt or fleece
  • Rainproof jacket with a hood
  • Comfortable shorts
  • 2x cotton trousers/pants
  • 3x socks
  • 4x underwear
  • Bandana
  • Pyjamas
  • UV sunglasses
  • Hat – a Panama hat that can be rolled and reformed easily is always a winner
  • Beanie
  • Swimsuit
  • Lightweight, durable walking shoes or hiking boots
  • Sandals for wearing around camp

Toiletries and first aid

  • Personal toiletries
  • Sunscreen (minimum SPF 30+)
  • After-sun cream
  • Antiseptic gel
  • Mosquito repellent (ones containing DEET are the most effective)
  • Antihistamines
  • Painkillers
  • Eye drops
  • Nasal spray
  • Cold and flu medicines
  • Diarrhoea medication
  • Antiseptic cream
  • Band-Aids
  • Prescription medicines
  • A spare pair of glasses for when it is too dusty to wear contact lenses
  • Blister plasters
  • Tweezers
  • Earplugs
  • Eye mask

Electronic devices

  • DSLR camera
  • If you want to bring extra lenses, choose a wide-angle and a zoom lens
  • Back up with a small camera that can take a good photo quickly
  • Spare memory cards
  • Spare camera battery
  • Lens filters – a UV, a circular polariser and colour warming
  • A grey card for white balance
  • Lens cap attachment strings
  • Air blower for your camera
  • Lens wipes
  • Binoculars – image stabilising if possible
  • Spare AA and AAA batteries
  • Electrical multi-plug adaptor
  • Small torch