Smart safari packing

YPA’s Nick and Ashley recently returned from a 3-month trip in Africa. We thought it would be great for them to share their top packing must-haves to help you save time, effort (and excess luggage) before you embark on your own trip:


  • Travel-sized toiletries. Don’t waste space in your luggage with full-sized bottles.
  • Power adapters. We give every client one because charging your cameras and phones is essential.
  • A reusable water bottle. Useful for refilling at airport filling stations and at your lodge before you head out for the day.
  • Zip ties or luggage locks to keep your checked luggage safe and secure.
  • A tote bag or small backpack. Handy for keeping sunscreen, an extra shirt, baby wipes etc. close by while you’re out and about. This is not an essential, especially because some camps give guests a bag to use during their stay, but it’s certainly a nice-to-have.
  • Binoculars – one pair of binos for every two people works great. If you are a family of an odd number, round down (5 people, 2 binos). You won’t use binos that much but there are moments when they really come in handy. Your guide will also have a pair that they will happily share. Swarovski is “the brand” and considered the best of the best but they are pricey. Consider buying the EL 8×42 or 10X42. The 10×42 can be more challenging to stabilize since the magnification is strong so 8×42 is good all around and more user friendly. Brands that are great with lower price tags are Nikon Monarch 7 and Zeiss.


  • Packing cubes. These are a great investment to make packing (and unpacking) easier.
  • Noise canceling headphones. Light aircraft flights can be noisy. If you’re trying to listen to a podcast or audiobook, you’ll have a hard time hearing without noise canceling or over-the-ear headphones.
  • It’s easy to get dehydrated when you’re traveling. We love LMNT electrolytes and they are easy to toss in a bag.
  • A new phone. Unless you’re an avid photographer, you’ll use your phone more often than a large camera. Invest in the newest technology and you’ll easily capture amazing pictures and videos.
  • Tip: Get a good phone case and screen cover. Phones can easily fall out of game vehicles on bumpy terrain if they’re not well secured.


  • Pack less than you think you should, and if in doubt, leave those items you think you might need behind. Most camps include laundry services and traveling with an abundance of luggage wastes time.
  • Hair styling tools, hair dryers and garment steamers. Keep your routine as simple and natural as possible. Game drives often start early in the morning and the chances are good that you’ll just pop a hat on before you go and be content with a slightly creased shirt.

Extra tips:

  • Stay within one simple color palate.
  • When choosing clothes, remember that comfort is key since you’ll be sitting for several hours a day.

For more packing tips from Nick & Ashley read here.

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