Safari trips are amazing adventures! And so was our Masai Mara safari in Kenya. However, in order to fully enjoy your African holidays, it’s important to know what to wear on safari to feel comfortable. Below you can find the necessary safari packing list, that will help you decide on what to pack for safari in Kenya (or any other African country).
Items that you pack for safari in Kenya can greatly help on your trip. Good safari clothes will protect you from the sun, red African dust and the coldness of the mornings/afternoons, at the same time helping you to blend in with nature. Safari accessories let you capture all the amazing African safari animals, that you can see and not worry about anything else.
What to pack for safari in Kenya?
What to wear on safari – clothes to pack for the safari in Kenya
The best clothes to wear on a safari should be light, breathable and in neutral colours. They also need to be adjustable for both cold and hot temperatures, as those can change quite rapidly in Africa.
The temperatures on the safari in Kenya can be hot during the day and then quite chilly and even cold during the night/early morning/evening. During our hot air balloon safari in Masai Mara, we needed to wake up very early around 3 am and drive to the starting point. Man, it was chilly. I was wearing a jumper, a Gore-tex jacket, a scarf, and a hat and gloves and I was so glad I had them all. Layers are a great way to keep your luggage light but allow you to stay warm.
The colours of the African safari clothes would preferably need to be neutral. The best way to get close to wildlife is to blend in as much as possible. Go for the earthy colours like brown, khaki, beige. Do not wear too light coloured clothes like white, as they can quickly get dirty due to the red African dust. Avoid also very bright red colours and dark blue, which can attract the Tsetse fly. For the evening clothes, if you stay inside of your camp or resort, focus on the light-coloured fabrics to not to attract the mosquitoes.
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#1 Long-sleeved shirt
Long-sleeved shirts are the best items to wear on safari! I was using my long-sleeved shirts all-the-time. I do not normally wear them at home, but as safari clothing, they were perfect. Especially in the earthy, khaki colours. They are usually light and airy, so they can protect you from the sun, and also warm you up when it is a bit chilly and protect from insect bites. Check types and prices of long-sleeved shirts here.
#2 Long airy pants
For the same reason as for a long-sleeved shirt, long, loose and comfortable pants are great to have in Africa. I loved my thin jumpsuit and some loose pants that I got from my previous trips to Asia.
#3 A fleece and a light jacketa fleece and a light jacket, like this one.
#4 A few safari shirts or t-shirts
The best are short-sleeved T-shirts, so you have your shoulders covered from the sun. If you like vests (I do!), you can always cover your shoulders and neck with a scarf. The button-down tops made from breathable material (try microfibre or linen) are good too.
#5 Safari pants – shorts or convertible trousersconvertible trousers are the best option. They are also perfect for any walking safaris, or hikes in the jungle, that we did on Madagascar. Check the recommended type of convertible trousers for safari.
#6 Safari shoes – comfortable trainers or sport sandalssports sandals. The best are the ones with the supportive sole. It’s useful for a bushwalk and helps not to slip in the car when you stand in the driving vehicle to see more (which I kept doing ;)). In any case, the shoes need to be comfortable!
#7 Wide-brim hat
Even though you spend most of the time on the safari in the vehicle, the sun can peek through the roof and shine directly on you. The wide-brim hat is perfect to protect you from the sun and to cover your neck in order to avoid any burns. It’s also a necessity for any walking safaris. Check for safari wide-brim hat here.
Sun in Africa can be very strong, so protect your eyes and get proper sunglasses! A good idea is to take two pairs, in case one of them breaks. Polarized sunglasses like those ones with leopard pattern will help you to protect your eyes more and stay in the animal fashion theme. Check the safari sunglasses on Amazon.
#9 A scarf
Always useful – for protection from cold, for covering shoulders from the sun or from mosquitoes.
Other items to pack for safari in Kenya (or any other African country)
#1 Camera with a zoom lens
For our Masai Mara safari trip, I took my Fuji X-E1 mirrorless camera with Fuji zoom lens 50-230 mm, F 4.5-6.7 Zoom lens is a necessity because even though you get pretty close to the animals, there are still several meters that are between you and them. I also took my Samyang 12 mm lens in order to get wider shots, very useful for catching the size of the Great Migration and hot air balloon safari.
#2 Good sunscreen
I usually take a separate suncream for my face and another one for the body. My face suncream has been always been Anthelios from La Roche Posay, I really like Anthelios Dermo Kids, but I also wanted to try Anthelios Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid. They are both very light, easily applicable and they don’t make my mixed skin any more problematic – rather otherwise.
For the body, I like to use minimum SPF 30, for example, Anthelios Cooling Water-Lotion Sunscreen 30, but even 50 is good for Africa if you have delicate skin.
#3 Mosquito sprayThis one is the strongest I’ve seen with 100% DEET, but there are also lighter options.
A good idea is also to take the insect treatment for gear and clothing. You can spray it on your shoes or around the ankles, hands or neck to protect them from bites.
#4 Camera accessoriesseveral memory cards (you don’t want to run out of space during the animal encounter!) tripod for the photos of the night sky and long exposure, and a charger. I recommend taking several memory cards of different sizes instead of one bigger one. This is in case something happens to the card – it’s better to at least have another one and save part of the photos rather than lose everything. I also love the SD card reader, which lets you immediately transfer photos from your camera to your phone. Great for backing up the photos and sharing them with the world instantly! Check the SD card reader that I use, here. You can check what camera accessories I use here.
#5 Travel adapter“all in one” travel adapter, that can be used around the world. I use one like this and it’s a lifesaver, especially if you visit several countries with different plugs in one trip (as we did during our East African trip, covering Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda!). Check the universal travel adapter for 180 countries here.
#6 Powerbanksmall power bank is a must. A flashlight is also useful at night if you stay in the tented accommodation, as it can be dark in places. Check the power bank with the flashlight here.
#7 First aid kitNairobi National Park in Kenya. Normally, you would be living in quite remote areas for several days. Take all your prescribed medications with you and add some extra. Take the regular first aid kit items, including the Malaria prevention medications, diarrhea, and allergy medication. For the example of my ultimate light carry on packing list have a look here.
Take and drink plenty of water during the safari in Africa. It’s very easy to forget about it when you are busy admiring the animals, but it’s very important. You can bring one of the environmentally friendly insulated water bottles with you that keep the water nice and cool for a long time. Check for the best-insulated water bottles here.
I also really like the filter bottles – they filter out bacteria, viruses, and metals, so you can drink water almost from anywhere (depending on the type of bottle). They save you money on buying water and are also environmentally friendly. I use bottle Water-to-Go, but LifeStraw is also very popular (it doesn’t filter out the viruses though)
What else would you pack for safari in Kenya? Do you have any recommendations on what to wear on safari? Let me know in the comments!
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