Safari Packing List

What to pack and wear while on Safari in Africa

Bringing the right clothing and personal items on your East Africa Safari not only keeps you safe and comfortable, but also increases your enjoyment of the many adventurous activities available during your travels. 

As a general rule, you should pack lightly and make wise choices in what types of clothing you bring. Unless you have a special event to attend, formal clothing is not necessary, and can even be burdensome while in Tanzania. 

Loose fitting garments that can be worn in layers will ensure your comfort day and night, and you should bring only clothing that you do not mind getting soiled. Some safari accommodations in Tanzania offer next day laundry services (generally at a cost) subject to appropriate weather conditions, so you do not need to bring a large quantity of clothing.

Avoid bright colors, white and dark colors, and instead bring clothes of neutral colors, such as khaki, light bark or mid-tone brown, beige, olive and green, the typical colors used for safari clothing. 

Mosquitoes are a concern in Tanzania, as are tsetse flies, and you are best shielded against these insects by wearing long pants, long-sleeved shirts, socks and shoes. Insect repellant is also highly recommended, if not binding in most locations. 

Wearing appropriate shoes for your Tanzania activities protect your feet from blisters, as well as thorns and stones. 

Because your safari activities vary in intensity and terrain, appropriate waterproof shoes are recommended dependent on your itinerary such as hiking boots or walking safari shoes for long hikes or on Tanzania game walks; waterproof sneakers shoes are most appropriate for game drives only itineraries but we generally recommend walking shoes for utmost comfort due to the rugged ground exposure in Tanzania, and sandals for beach extensions. 

You may also want to bring a pair of lightweight flip-flops for in-room use including during showers.

When you travel in Tanzania, you should respect the local customs and beliefs. Tanzanians have very strong beliefs about morality, including proper ways to dress and show respect.

 When you are visiting local markets, bazaars and other attractions, you should wear either long trousers or knee-length shorts with a polo shirt. Tank tops, shorts or skirts above the knee and other types of clothing that reveal the shoulders or thighs should be avoided. 

Religious sites, such as mosques, temples, synagogues and churches, require even stricter dress requirements and you may be asked to leave by one of the guards if you are dressed inappropriately based on the local culture and people’s expectations.

A combination of appropriate shirts, pants and outerwear helps keep every man and woman comfortable in Tanzania. As minimum requirement for each person on a 3 days to 7 days safari itinerary with Cross To Africa Safaris while doing laundry in Tanzania, bring four t-shirts and two long-sleeved shirts, and for your trouser khakis, bring one pair of comfortable shorts and two pairs of cotton trousers, two light cargo outdoor pants and five pairs of socks. Undergarments should include five pairs of cotton menswear, and any safari preference for the ladies including five pairs of cotton womenswear and four sports bras that will provide adequate support on very uneven roads. To help you sleep comfortably, warm flannel pajamas are recommended too as it does get cold at night in the highlands. Outerwear should include one sweatshirt or fleece jacket for early morning and evening wear, sunglasses, safari hat with a chin belt that withstands winds, a swimsuit if your camp or lodge has a pool and a very thin waterproof raincoat, especially if you are traveling during the rainy season. You should also bring a pair of lightweight, durable, waterproof shoes dependent on your activity and flip flops or sandals for use around the camp or in the shower. If your weight allowance is not maxed out, bring extra clothing to avoid laundry while on safari.

You will need visas for entry to Kenya and Tanzania. Though you can get these in Africa, your travel will go smoother if you get them in advance through the respective embassies. You should always keep copies of your travel documents with you while in Tanzania, at least two of them — one in your checked luggage and one in your hand luggage. You should also keep digital copies of your passport pages and other travel documents on your smartphone or tablet. The most important document that you should always be prepared to show to immigration and customs officials is your passport, and your stamped visa if applied prior to arrival. Other documents include your return tickets, trip itinerary, medical insurance papers, next of kin details and personal medical and dental insurance cards. Most major credit cards are accepted in metropolitan Tanzania, and Visa and MasterCard are the most widely-accepted only in urban cities but with a hefty bank transaction fee and high exchange rate. Very few camps and lodges accept credit card. When carrying cash during your trip, we recommend you bring US dollars. The bills must be the updated design, issued in 2006 or later, perfect and crisp, and completely free of any rip or markings.

Basic first aid kits are available in Tanzania, but you should always have one with you should an emergency arise. Your first aid kit should include mosquito repellent and malarial prophylactics, as well as your SPF preferred category sunscreen, antihistamine and an over-the-counter pain relieving medication, such as Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Panadol or Tylenol. You may also need to weatherproof and protect your valuables while out on game drives and other activities, and a few zip-lock bags can be included in your first aid kit for this purpose. Bring larger zip-locks for protecting your bagged camera and lenses too from dust and water where required e.g. canoeing or boating safari. Women should also bring adequate quantities of feminine hygiene products, such as tampons, pads and panty liners. Panty liners are also useful for trickle drying after urinating in the bush. Other items for your first aid kit are antiseptic gel, anti-diarrhea medication, antacid tablets for indigestion, band-aids with antiseptic cream, prescription medications and spare eyeglasses even if you wear contact lenses. You should also pack travel-size deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste and other basic toiletries. Camps and lodges supply shampoo, conditioner and soap but if you prefer your own, feel free to bringing it on board in small size travel bottles.

Although you may desire to escape completely from the modern world and its technology, some gadgets are recommended for your tour. You will need a converter plug for your mobile devices, cameras and personal appliances. Electricity in Tanzania is 220 to 240 volts and 50 hertz and the sockets are British-type with three rectangular blade pins. You should also bring a small flashlight to help you move around your tent at night as some camps have minimal lighting at night. Tanzania offers excellent photographic opportunities, and a zoom lens is recommended, although you will need to adhere to any weight restrictions for your flights. Also, bring extra memory cards and batteries for your camera. Shared binocular is available from your safari guide, but having your own set ensures that you never miss seeing a kilimanjaro or rare bird in the distance. You may also want to bring a mobile tablet or smartphone to keep you organized and in contact with friends and family back home. The highly enthused Cross to Africa Safari guests also bring in night vision equipment for nocturnal activity around the campgrounds and waterholes, and also for use on select itineraries that include night game drives.

Your safari baggage weight restriction on most internal safari flights within Tanzania is 33 pounds or 15 kilograms, per person. If your bag exceeds this limit, you will be charged an additional fee for excess baggage. Most safari flights in Tanzania can be fully booked as the small to large safari aircrafts are allocated based on passenger load for each sector, so to ensure that your excess baggage is allowed on your flight, you should pre-pay the additional fee. If your Tanzania safari portion does not include any air portion which is not normally the case, you are free to bring in additional luggage up to 44 pounds (20 kg) in soft sturdy bags rather than hard sided suitcases. Excess luggage can also be securely stored at an Cross To Africa Safaris Team office or even your hotel in Arusha, Dar es Salaam or Zanzibar while you are on your safari.

In addition to the guidelines already outlined, you should also follow some general recommendations when packing for your trip to Tanzania. Soft-sided bags are much easier to store and load, so this is preferred over hard-sided luggage. Since you may need to handle your bags at certain exit and entry airport points during your journey, the lightweight nature of soft-sided luggage makes this task easier for you as well. You should pack any critical items in your carry-on bag instead of packing it in your checked baggage. This should include, at a minimum, your travel documents, money, medications and other important items. You should lock your baggage at all times and use only TSA-approved locks. The African bush is no place for expensive jewelry, and wearing these items only invites trouble. Leave sentimental and expensive jewelry at home where you know it is safe! When traveling, never keep all of your cash in one place. Distribute it to minimize any potential loss. Cameras and other equipment should be protected during your tour activities, and water-resistant day packs are the perfect solution! Lastly, and most importantly, keep it simple and straightforward. Your Tanzania travel is an adventurous, high-paced, once-in a lifetime experience, that takes you into some of the most pristine wilderness in the world. Please do not bring hair dryers, irons, excessive clothing and unnecessary beauty toiletries. You simply will not need them during your discerning Cross To Africa Safaris experience in Tanzania’s natural settings.

Gratuities in the Tanzanian tourism industry generally follow the North American system. Tourists are expected to tip their safari staff and staff working at most restaurants and hotels. The following information provides a guide to tipping in while on safari. The information is a collection of tipping recommendations from guidebooks as well as our company’s experience with tipping in Tanzania.

Safari Tipping Guidelines
Driver/Guide: US $15 – US $30 per day per guide
Chef: US $8 – US $20 per day per chef (adventure camping safari only)
Please note that the tip is per guide per day, not per traveller per day. For example, if you are in a group of four travellers that would like to tip the driver $20/day, each traveller would contribute $5/day to the tip kitty. The guide’s total tip at the end of a seven day safari would be US $140. It is best to tip at the end of the safari.

Hotels and Restaurants
Tips are expected at high-end luxury hotels and lodges. While tips are also expected at moderately priced safari lodges, not all patrons tip. Tips are not expected at restaurants and hotels frequented by locals. Most tourist lodges and hotels will have tip boxes at the reception desk. You can tip hotel staff individually, place a tip for all hotel staff in the tip box, or do both. Tips can be made in local currency, USD, Euros, or Sterling.

Trekking Tipping Guidelines
Generally, you should budget between 10% and 15% of your total climb cost for tips. If you are traveling in a small group, you should contribute more per person to the tip kitty. We provide a list of your crew as well as jobs performed on the day you begin your climb. Please use this list to write down tip amounts for each staff member. When distributing tips, please call the crew together and announce tip amounts to everyone. Those who accompany you to Uhuru Peak are considered assistant guides.

  • Toothbrush, toothpaste & deodorant
  • Flat packed Wet Ones, travel wipes, or similar for personal hygiene on the mountain.
  • Kleenex tissues in plastic travel pouches or toilet paper
  • Hairbrush/comb
  • Sanitary products
  • Lip salve with UV protection
  • Vaseline, to prevent chafing skin and heel friction blisters
  • Malaria Tablets – please seek advice from your family or travel doctor, note: some anti-malarial courses need to commence several weeks before departure
  • Sun cream – note: some argue that most sun creams are carcinogenic and either organic sun barriers or loose fitting clothes that cover the skin are regarded by many as preferable.
  • Passport – with additional 6 months’ validity after proposed trip return date
  • Tanzanian Entry Visa – If flying to Nairobi and taking the bus to Arusha, Kenyan visas can be bought on arrival at Nairobi airport
  • Air Travel Documents
  • Cash in US dollars in denominations of $10 and $20 (tipping allowance and local purchases, taxis, meals, etc)
  • Credit Cards – recommended for eventualities only & obtaining extra cash from ATMs
  • Traveller’s Cheques are not recommend as they are subject to extremely poor conversion rates in Arusha.
  • Travel Insurance Documents
  • Vaccination Certificates (where applicable)

Camera and film or Digital Camera and spare memory cards & batteries & charger
Sunglasses with UV-filter lenses
High energy snacks – Cereal bars, dried fruit and nuts
Spare Contact Lenses and fluid, if worn
Head torch with spare batteries
Water bottles & Camelbak (3 litres carrying capacity if climbing)
Water Purification Tablets / Iodine drops
Ear Plugs – in the event of attempting to sleep near barking dogs or snoring travellers
Plastic bags – for dirty washing, used wrappers, etc.
Telescopic walking poles – optional – and for use on active safaris & climbs only
Mobile phone – there is signal reception in much of the national parks and safari areas. Note: It is a very good idea to unlock your phone before you come out so that a local SIM card can be used. This will make calls home very inexpensive