You’ve watched Lion King as a kid and your favorite party trick is impersonating Sir David Attenborough because you watch a lot of National Geographic. But, are you ready for a Kenyan safari?
Kenya is more than just a safari game drive. This country offers a vast array of experiences, from wildlife-filled savannas to dancing alongside the people of the Masai tribe. So, it’s understandable that you may be a little stressed about what to pack for this trip.
In this guide, we’ve put together a safari packing list that will help you be prepared and feel comfortable. We’ll make packing for safari less of a logistical nightmare and more like a sunset ending from your wildest dreams.
What to Wear on Safari
As a general rule of thumb, it is imperative to bring comfortable and casual clothing that you can wash and wear while on safari. Good safari clothes should protect you from the sun, the dusty fields, and the bitter cold of the mornings and evenings.
Your Kenya safari clothing must have muted colors, as this is best for game viewing. If you plan to stay inside of your camp or resort, focus on the light-colored fabrics so as not to attract mosquitoes.
Your Kenya Packing List
Once you land in Kenya, getting into the wilderness generally requires transit via a jet plane. The weight restrictions are to be taken seriously. On safari, your limit is a 15kg bag (33 lbs), and that includes both your checked bag and your hand luggage. The ideal checked bag is a soft-sided duffel that can fit into the luggage hold of the plane and can be transported in open safari vehicles on the ground.
Long-sleeved shirts are the best items to wear on safari. They should be light and airy so that they can protect you from the sun but are also easy to layer when the sun begins to set.
T-shirts are great on safari to protect your shoulders from the rays of the sun. A great t-shirt option to consider is a button-down that is made from breathable material. Try microfiber or linen.
In the early mornings out in the wilderness, it can be quite cold. However, as the sun rises it will start to heat up. That’s why convertible trousers are best. These keep you warm in the mornings and allow you the flexibility to ‘change’ speedily while you are out exploring.
Jackets and Sweaters
It might shock a few people but it does get cold in Kenya, in the evenings and early mornings at least. If you were stumped on what to pack for safari, a light jacket and sweaters are essentials you shouldn’t leave at home.
Protect your eyes with a pair of UV protected polarized sunglasses. A good idea is to take two pairs, in case one of them breaks. Polarized sunglasses reduce bright reflection and unwanted glare from looking at a lake, for instance, where the sunshine tends to bounce off. Polarized lenses also help improve vision clarity in bright situations.
Even though you spend most of the safari in the vehicle, the sun is powerful enough to shoot through the roof and shine directly on you. A wide-brim hat is perfect to protect you from the sun and to cover your neck in order to prevent sun damage to your skin. It’s also a necessity for any walking safaris you partake in.
This should already be in your arsenal at home but it is definitely a safari essential – especially on the savanna. It is also important to note that the roofs of the safari jeeps are open, there is no shade to protect you from the sun, so be protected.
We recommend that you purchase a sunscreen that has a high enough SPF that can target both face and body. But, be sure it is only 100ml, if not checked in.
Comfortable Walking Shoes
Trainers or hiking boots are the perfect safari shoes for Kenya. But if you want to let your feet breathe on a hot African day, you can also bring sport sandals along. The best are the ones with a supportive sole. These can be useful for bushwalks.
Kenya is a Malaria zone, so it is very important to prevent mosquito bites. Mosquito biting is dependent on where you stay, the time of year and the weather. But of course, it is better to be safe than sorry. A good idea is to bring along an insect treatment for gear and clothing as well. You can spray it on your shoes or around the ankles, hands or neck to protect them from bites.
Binoculars and Camera Equipment
It would be remiss not to add a camera or binoculars on your safari gear list. We all want to have beautiful photos that will keep our memories alive. A packing list for African safari would be incomplete without them. In the safari vehicle, there isn’t a lot of space to get the perfect angles, especially if you are sharing with other people.
Cameras with zoom lenses are a necessity because even though you get pretty close to the animals, there are still several meters between you and them. Binoculars are equally important for spotting events like the Great Migration or when you’re in a hot air balloon and you’re dying to get a little closer to the action.
Final Thoughts on What to Wear in Kenya
A safari is definitely a grand adventure. But dressing for this adventure requires a good bit of thought and practicality. Hopefully, when you go on your wildlife safari, you’ll not only look good but feel great and protected from the elements. Follow these rules and you’ll be a certified Dora the Explorer.