What to bring on Safari
1. Passport, itinerary, travel insurance docs and eTickets
It may be obvious but it still needs to be on the list.
2. Prescription meds/Other Medications and things
Please make sure that you bring enough of your prescription medication or any medication that you may need for the duration of your stay as you may not be able to get the same medication in Zimbabwe. A good insect repellent is an absolute must as well as lots of sun screen. Anti-Malarials are also necessary in most areas in Zimbabwe. Get advice from your local GP and make sure your start them before you arrive if you need to. Most lodges have first aid kits that stock the basics, ie. Headache tablets but we suggest you bring your own anyway.
3. Prescription glasses (sunglasses, hat, sunblock et al)
A second pair of prescription glasses if you wear them just in case they get lost or broken. Sunglasses and a good hat are an absolute necessity as well as sunblock and lipbalm.
4. Camera, video and binoculars
You’ll definitely want a camera for those photos of the big five and we have fantastic landscapes in Zimbabwe and don’t forget Victoria Falls. If you don’t have one go out and buy one, you won’t regret it. Mobile phones do the job but you’ll want to get some really good shots!
A good pair of binoculars would be an added bonus for you to see things up close and personal. They will make a huge difference to what you can see and identify.
5. Clothes and toiletries
Most commercial airlines will restrict your check-in luggage to about 20KGs but if you are planning to take any flights on light aircraft they will only allow about 15KGS. Check with your booking agent when you confirm your reservation just how much you can take.
MOST IMPORTANT: Put all valuables in your hand luggage!
Most camps and lodges offer a laundry service sometimes for a fee sometimes included in the daily rate so you can get laundry done.
Casual but comfortable
It’s really not necessary to buy a whole new wardrobe just because you’re going on Safari, unless you want to of course.
You’ll need casual, comfortable clothing in light colours (not white and black gets really hot). A good pair of walking boots/shoes is recommended. We don’t recommend vest type t shirts as you’ll get burnt to crisp even though they are cooler in the really hot weather. Natural fabrics and the new quick drying fabrics are good as they ‘breathe’ and you’ll be hot and sweaty enough without wearing nylon! A good hat is an absolute must. A swimming costume is also a good choice.
Layering is key
There can be huge temperature fluctuations in one day and we suggest layering clothes because then the jacket and trousers you wore on an early morning game drive can be taken off once the sun’s up and it’s starting to hot up. Evenings can be cool especially on the back of a safari vehicle. . Here’s our suggested “must-haves” to pack for your safari:
- T-shirt, shirt or blouse – long sleeves and collars help to protect from the sun and mosquitoes
- A pair of safari trousers – those that zip off at the knees are very handy, too
- Comfortable walking shoes (or boots) and socks
- Bandanna or cotton scarf and a sarong
- Maybe a pair of open sports sandals for general daytime use in warmer months
- Swimsuit – most lodges have swimming pools
- An elegantly casual outfit for dinner at the smarter hotels
- A light, compact raincoat if it is likely you will encounter rain (Victoria Falls)
- And, of course, your undergarments
Dull and/or neutral colors are more suitable for safari, white and/or bright colours are not Check the weather
Ask your booking agent (or check online) and find out what the weather will be like where you are going. Zimbabwe sometimes has extreme weather changes so although you may be travelling in October which is the hottest month, temperatures may drop significantly overnight so you will need jackets. Alternatively, if you are going anywhere in winter where the temperature drops dramatically when the sun goes down, you may need gloves, a scarf, a thick jacket and a beanie! Places like Hwange National Park are freezing in the early morning and late evening during the winter months (June through August) and this is magnified by a significant wind-chill factor that you’ll feel when on the back of an open game-drive vehicle.
6. Phone, music, tablet or laptop
What you must pack for your safari are your phone, music, tablet or laptop – and their respective chargers, country-specific adaptor plugs. Zimbabwe is on 220v. Make sure you bring extra memory cards and batteries for your phones and cameras.
7. Preventative pharmaceuticals
Medication you need, just in case the worst happens: diarrhea, headaches, heartburn, insect repellent, hand sanitizer, bites (antihistamine), indigestion, sore throat (lozenges), eye drops, and most important – anti-malarial tablets and sun screen.
8. Odds & ends
A good torch (flashlight) is a must. It can be pitch black in the bush or in your tent in the middle of the night. Most camps will provide a torch, or will walk you back to your tent as required, but being self-sufficient is always a good idea. REMEMBER THERE ARE WILD ANIMALS OUT THERE!
A good book. You never know when you are going to be delayed at the airport or fall victim to Africa time! And for those rainy days!
A travel diary or journal comes highly recommended to record your journey. Bird and animal lists are also great. Most lodges have bird, mammal and/or tree reference books but you can always bring your own, luggage permitting. Phone aps. are good but there are many places where you have no signal, perhaps only wifi in camp.
9. Hand luggage
Try to limit your hand luggage to one bag, it just makes it easier to keep track of. Check with your airline how many pieces you are allowed and remember if you’re taking charter flights at any time, they have strict luggage allowances.
If you are a photographer, try and bring a bag that can double as a handbag, camera bag and has enough space for travel documents, your prescription medication and/or glasses, binoculars and even a change of clothes.
Restrictions on what can and cannot be taken on board an aircraft are still in place – including for liquids, flammables and sharp objects. The rules change frequently, so please double check!
Zimbabwe’s currency is United States Dollars or Zimbabwe Bond Note although many places will accept South African Rand. Please make sure you bring enough CASH with you and declare it on entering the country.
You may find some places that will accept International Credit/Debit Cards but most places no longer take them. Use cash. Do not change any currency on the streets it is illegal and although you will be promised wonderful rates many a traveller has been scammed and got a bundle of paper for their hard earned currency! Should you wish to change currency ask your guide or lodge manager to help you.
11. Finally, don’t forget your sense of humour, patience and some common sense!
Just a little warning:
We don’t recommend taking any expensive jewellery on safari. Take your every day jewellery, watch, earrings, wedding rings.
We suggest you have one or two locks to secure your luggage and also shrink wrapping at the airport if you can. AGAIN, DON’T PUT EXPENSIVE ITEMS IN YOUR CHECK IN LUGGAGE. Some airports are notorious for luggage tampering.
NO CAMOUFLAGE OR COMBAT GEAR – VERY VERY IMPORTANT!
Please don’t bring any camouflage or combat type gear or clothing whether the genuine item or fashion items. IT IS A SERIOUS OFFENCE IN ZIMBABWE AND ONLY ARMED FORCES ARE ALLOWED TO WEAR IT! BRING IT AT YOUR OWN PERIL!