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What to take with me?

Travel Forums Africa and The Middle East What to take with me?

1. Posted by NiuMei84 (Full Member 113 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

We are off for a safari tour that starts from Nairobi Kenya and ends to Jo'Burgh,the safari goes for 45 days and we will be visiting in the following countries:Kenya,Tanzania,Malawi,Zambia,Zimbabwe,Botswana and South Africa.What would you guys recommend to pack to the backpack?I wanna take as less as possible because don't wanna carry too much stuff with me..what are the most important things,what would you leave home and what to take with you??

Tips welcome!


2. Posted by Nicip (Full Member 112 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Hi there

I went on safari in kenya in Tanzania.
Definately take a pair of binoculars for the safari...they lived around my neck the whole time, cus sometimes the animals will be faw away from you, even if they're not, they're handy just 2 have that closer look!

Definately take a pair of sunglasses, not only for the sun but to protect ure eyes from the dust. the dust is unbelievable when ure driving from A to B, u will be plastered from the stuff coming into the vehicle.

I took spare camera memory cards and spare (fully charged) batteries. Cus we camped in the Masai Mara with no electricity so they came in handy cus if i hadnt of had a spare battery wth me to see me through i wouldnt of been able to take any more photos. And then when i got back to Nairobi i managed to put my photos onto CD and re-charge batteries.

Definately paracetamals, the eight hour journys on those bumbpy tracks, enough to give anyone a headache!

Ummmmm apart from the obvious those are the things which really came in handy for me.

How are u carrying your money about? thats something u gotta be really careful of


3. Posted by NiuMei84 (Full Member 113 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Actually we haven't decided yet..what would you recommend? How about clothing..have you got any tips?Yeah,got binoculars and those extra memorycards..:)

4. Posted by Nicip (Full Member 112 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

I was really nervous about the money thing when i went as i had to carry £1000 cash with me (obviously that went down as time weny by).

I ended up buying a pouch thing on a peice of string and carrying it round my neck. It had different zip compartments so my money was in there and also my camera. On safari, the pouch never left my neck. In Zanzibar, I would leave all my money in the hotel room safe and just take money out with me that i needed for the day.

A lot of the locals in Stone Town were saying it was very stupid to have it round my neck because criminals will just pull it off and they also said about money belt things as well. but y'know it worked for me, i found it extremely handy.

Definately just take light clothing. Lots of people get the idea that because its ''safari'' that u need big boots n stuff. Unless ure going on a walking safari, then ure gunna be in the vehicle THE WHOLE time. I wore flip flops for the entire time,kept me cool.

Before i went i bought a pair of light three-quater-length trousers, and on purpose i bought them two sizes to big for me. I just wanted something baggy that i knew i would be confortable in. So i wore them most of the time and hell i love them. I wear them 2 lounge round the house in now! So yeah clothing = light and confortable.

Iv just thought, also take spare paddlelocks. When we camped, there were no way to lock our tents so we used our spare paddle locks to lock the zips together. That was a relief.

Both mine and my friends backpacks got broken into at Nairobi airport. We waited for them and they took longer than everyone elses to come through and when they did, both locks were trashed to peices and open so good job we had spare locks to use form then! (nothing was stolen by the way).

If u go to Zanzibar and security want to look through your careful and keep and eye on them. The woman tried pinching my friends flip flops. My friend saw her and waid what are you doing and the security woman said ''They're nice i want them''


5. Posted by soupatrvlr (Respected Member 385 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

i've done a couple of overlands and i agree, taking less is better. besides, chances are you'll bungee jump or something and want a t-shirt to commemorate the experience! I took a pair of hiking boots and a pair of sandles. a couple of tshirts, couple of tanks, a light, loose long sleeve shirt which i would wear in the evenings to avoid mosquito bites. a light raincoat. 1 fleece jacket, which i stuffed with a tshirt and used as a pillow when camping. a fleece vest. two pairs of shorts/1 pair of pants/jeans. and 1 pair of zip-off pants. i also always travel with two sarongs. oh and don't forget a bathing suit and i would recommend a good quality pack towel. you'll want a hat as well. and don't skimp on the binoculars. get the best pair you can afford and don't bother with the small ones. you'll be so happy you got a decent pair. in fact, you'll have a hard time keeping them to yourself as everyone will want to borrow them. bring some washing powder as well to wash along the way. hope that helps! : )

6. Posted by Mel. (Travel Guru 4567 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Hello NiuMei84:)

I would take 2 outfits, made up of layers of clothing.
A packet of washing powder(hand wash at night the outfit u wore that day).
Hiking boots and socks.
Bathing suit.
Wide brimmed hat.
A couple of bottles of least factor 30 suncream.
A first aid kit.
Water bottle.
Malaria prevention medication, and malaria treatment medication.
Mosquito repellant with DEET.
Soap, toothpaste, shampoo and all toileteries u consider necessary.
Sleeping bag.
Mosquito net.
Swiss army knife, if u have one. Otherwise a sissors and a paring knife.
Needle and thread, for repairing clothes.


7. Posted by NiuMei84 (Full Member 113 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Thanks guys for the good tips!3 months or so to go and I'm getting more excited everyday.:) Thanks Nicip for the tips about padlocks..have to buy some!:) How about with the currency? Our travel agency recommended us to take USD and some pounds aswell.Which ones you found more handy?I guess credit cards are not good to take or??

Cheers again,


8. Posted by Nicip (Full Member 112 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Yes definately USD. you should be able to have a rough idea of how much USD you will need cus ure safari company should specify what needs to be paid in USD. On my safari, i had to pay a local payment which was 250 USD so i knew that straight away. The hotel i stayed in in Nairobi before embarking on safari was USD as well so i took that and then i just took a bit extra as well just incase.A lot of places give you the option of what u want to pay in. I then split the rest into Kenyan shillings and tanzanian shillings. As i hopped from one country to another, i just echanged any currency left over to the other.

Cant say i ever needed any english pounds anywhere???
A friend of mine said before went that the Africans love nothing more than an english pound and will exchange souvineers for one, but i never got asked.

I did however exhange one of my teeshirts for a gift. It was a ''Bacardi'' teeshirt. In exchange this really kind guy gave me a wooden giraffe which id just watched him carve.

Thats a point, i know we have all recommended that you trave lightly, but if u can fit in a few ''western style'' teeshirts which you wouldnt mind swapping and making the day of a local then i recommend it.... it was fun.

9. Posted by Travelper (Budding Member 8 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Hi NiuMei84, :)

Every one has been spot right on what to take with you. I assure you, u'll have an exciting time but in all, a safari is what you make it.

Another thing not to forget is a spotlight (Flash light) and a string of good batteries.

A spare camera is a definite! You'll love the memory of it!

For clothing, keep it cotton. You'll thank your lucky stars for the comfort of it; otherwise everything else will tend to uncomfortably stick to the body.

Money is a tricky issue. Always just take enough. Get a pouch that you can strap to your body and wear it inside you t-shirt. That way you will be sure it is safe. I know you can use your credit card comfortably in Nairobi & Jo’Burg. In between the two point there is no certainty.


10. Posted by soupatrvlr (Respected Member 385 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Minna, I have found that whenever i travel to africa, I take clothes that i don't care about or rarely wear and then at the end of the trip, i usually trade everything for curios...african handicrafts. i also only used USD, and not just b/c i'm american. however, in recent years, i've also seen euros being traded as well. i've never seen english pounds. for the children, i will take something small to pass out like stickers or temporary tattoos which are inexpensive and easy to carry. i have also traded or given away any older jewelry i have that i no longer wear and pass it along to the ladies. that's another small thing to carry in your pack. they have LOVED that! you can also buy biscuits and little treats along the way for the kids as well, which they seem to love when you take their picture. but beware of opening a bag of treats in a big group of kids. only let them know you're giving treats away AFTER the picture or you could cause a riot! good luck!