A well-orchestrated Kenyan safari begins the moment you start packing for the trip.

Your safari checklist can be the difference between a harried, disorganized trip and an enjoyable excursion.

Tourists on safari in Kenya

So, what is the magic formula when it comes to what to take on your safari?

This article discusses the dos and don'ts to consider when packing for safari, the essential items to carry, and what to exclude.

Safari Essentials That Every Tourist Must Carry

1. Baggage

Going into the Kenyan wild requires comfortable, breathable clothing.

The colors you go for mustn't scare away the animals or attract insects such as tsetse flies, who are generally drawn to blue and white stripes.

But what do we mean by appropriate colors?

Well, if you are keen on going into the savanna, tan/ khaki and green colors are most advised.

Why? Because warm colors such as red tend to scare away the animals, and what good is a safari if there are no animals for you to see?

2 Man on safari

While still on the subject of the clothes to carry, try and pack light. Too much baggage might be cumbersome and expensive to haul around.

Bear in mind that the local flights have a baggage allowance ranging between 15- 20 kgs, and anything above that allowance will incur an extra charge.

It is therefore imperative that you pack strategically to ensure maximum comfort even with minimal baggage.
  • Some of the essential clothes to include are light cargo pants and sun hats.
  • Since Kenya gets pretty warm during daytime and chilly most evenings, remember to include a couple of lightweight, breathable T-shirts, warm but light jackets, and a scarf or pashmina.
  • A pair of smart casual clothing is advisable if you intend to attend a semi-formal dinner while on safari.
  • If not, you can leave that out and concentrate on pure safari wear. To combat the heat during day game drives, including a bandana is a great move.
  • The idea here is to dampen the bandana and tie it around your neck for a cooling effect during those sweltering game drives.
  • It is always a smart idea to throw in a bikini as well, just if the urge to take a dip in the camp/ lodge pool tickles your fancy.

Also, remember to choose the right kind of shoes. Hiking boots or sneakers are ideal and are guaranteed to protect your feet adequately.

3. A pair of sturdy boots are a staple on safari

If a beach safari is on your itinerary, also remember to include sandals to wear on those beach walks and marine safaris.

Closely related to this is that for snorkeling enthusiasts, the boat operators usually provide snorkeling goggles and masks.

However, if you would feel more comfortable wearing your own, you can bring those along.

Other essentials

Other smaller items that may be essential to you include telephone/ laptop/ electronic chargers of up to 220v (the capacity of most camps’/ lodges’ electrical outlets).

Bags: In keeping with the baggage recommendations while maximizing your load capacity, it is best to carry a duffel bag. That is because it weighs less than a suitcase (especially the wheeled variety).

With a duffel bag, you are therefore able to carry more stuff.

Hot Tip: When deciding on what to carry on a Kenyan safari, always remember to bring along an extra empty bag with which to carry your souvenirs on your way back!

Kenyans have incredible artworks such as paintings, carvings, ornaments, and jewelry to choose from.

What Not to Carry

Most of what would be considered security items in the western world are disallowed in Kenya.

For that reason, you cannot bring in guns/ firearms (unless licensed- subject to security protocols at the point of entry)

You are also not allowed to carry pepper spray or such items.

Also, please note that polythene bags are banned in Kenya, and carrying items in polythene bags might land you in trouble with the law.

Instead, go for reusable bags. These are readily available in Kenya as well.

Checklist Summary

Aside from your baggage, below is a quick checklist of your Kenyan safari must-haves.

Some of these items are personal, and their importance may vary from one individual to the next.
  • Medication: This includes any prescribed medication you are under. Also, note to carry antihistamines (in case of unexpected allergies), pain medication, and antacids.
  • Travel documents: Your passport, plane tickets, and entry Visas fall under this category.
  • Toiletries: Body lotions, toothbrushes, sunscreen, hairbrushes, face towels, and underwear.
  • Insurance Documents: Should you have travel insurance, please remember to carry the necessary documentation with you.
  • Vaccine certificates: Yellow fever vaccination and COVID-19 health certificates.
  • Credit cards: Most establishments in Kenya accept all the major credit cards.

To wrap up:

In the unfortunate event that you forget one or two items, it is not the end of the world; you can still purchase them upon landing.

Kenya’s tour operators not only pick you from the airport but offer guidance on the best places to shop for personal items.