Pack smart: What to bring on safari

Take as little as possible! We usually tend to over-pack when going on holiday so here is our suggested packing list for you to use so that you have a good idea about what to bring on safari!

Main list

  • 2 light long trousers (kaki, brown, beige, green) - lightweight is best
  • 2 light (cream or green coloured) shorts - again, no need for army-thick types of shorts
  • 2 long-sleeved shirts or blouses (kaki, brown, beige, green are best) - you will want to protect yourself from the heat and/or sun
  • 2 short-sleeve shirts - something light to wear in your room or outside
  • 2 skirts/dresses/smart outfit for diner/outings Yes, a safari holiday is also the occasion to dine in style with your friends or partner, sometimes! but it is not compulsory, lodges don't have particular dress codes
  • 1 jumper or fleece - it can get chilly on game drives!
  • 1 lightweight rain coat if travelling during the rainy season - lodges will have some, but you might be more comfortable having your own
  • 1 swimsuit - most lodges have a pool but none will sell swimsuits in Luangwa unfortunately! No need to bring a towel though, lodges/camps have them
  • 1 sarong/kikoi (to use as a scarf, shawl, skirt, cooling device etc) - Always super handy, for men and women! Put it in the fridge prior to activities and wrap it around your neck to cool down!
  • 1 wide-brimmed hat or cap - definitely a must, although many places will sell them if you don't want to bring one
  • 1 pair of sunglasses - a must, to protect yourself from the sun but also from the dust!
  • At least a pair per day of cotton underwear and socks - obviously!
  • 1 pyjamas - something lightweight and comfortable please! 
  • 1 pair of walking shoes - any closed shoes, running shoes are okay 
  • 1 light footwear or flip-flops - definitely handy to hang out in the village or by the bar or meal areas in-between activities


  • Toothpaste, toothbrush, soap, shampoo etc - most lodges will have some but better to be prepared. The mini versions are great!
  • Baby wipes for long journeys - very handy during flights or at the airport, for toilet stops in the bush and/or to freshen up after a game drive 
  • Malaria tablets - check with your doctor first. Depending on where you go you may need them or not. In Zambia the best medicine to cure malaria is called COARTEM and is easily found in the local chemists and/or at Johannesburg airport.
  • Insect repellent - lodges have some but pack your own if you are sensitive to insect bites 
  • Antiseptic/antihistamine cream - better to have your own
  • Sun lotion - if you are sensitive to sunlight pack some on each game drive
  • Band-aids - always handy
  • Antihistamine tablets - you are travelling to a new country, you don't always know how you may react to the dust, atmosphere, pollen etc
  • Diarrhoea medicine - although rare, you might develop a stomach bug and to avoid being sick for too long and wasting your entire holiday in bed, pack some of those as they will help
  • Rehydration sachets/salts - lodges will have some but always better to have your own.It is recommended to drink some before long flights and before and after any long activity during which might not drink enough water
  • Constipation medicine - it may happen that your stomach does not agree with the change of diet. You will eat a lot during your holiday and may sample food you're never had before. Just in case you need a little help, pack some dulcolax or something similar

Luangwa Wildlife Magazine tip: 5 must-have essential oils for your safari

Simply mix one or two drops of the following oils with a carrier oil (olive, coconut or argent oil) and use as directed.  

Tee tree oil: This powerful antiseptic and a great natural hand-sanitiser. Its anti-microbial properties makes it the perfect remedy to treat small cuts, scratches, bumps and sores (put on the wound three times a say until it heals)  but also great for toothaches (put mixture on sore area twice a day) and earaches (pour one drop behind the ear and massage gently). (Do not ingest)

Lavender oil: Anti-fungal, antiseptic and anti-microbial, it is perfect to treat minor infections (apply three times a day) and is also a powerful insect repellent (put a few drops behind your earlobes). It will also help if you have a splinter in your hand or foot (one drop on the area five times a day). For a good night sleep simply massage one or two drops on your wrists at night. (Do not ingest)

- Peppermint oil: This is a fantastic remedy for headaches (rub on your temples gently for two minutes), nausea or motion sickness (rub on the stomach area) and even minor burns (apply  three times a day). It is also great for sore muscles or neck sprains (simply massage  on painful area twice a day). You can also smell some to relieve stress or mix some with oil and apply under the arms as a natural antiperspirant. (Should not ingest)

- Citrus oil: Citrus, but also lemon or lemongrass are all amazing room deodorisers and can give any car/space/bedroom/bathroom a fresh, welcoming smell. One single drop added to a litre of water also makes a very refreshing drink. Mixed to your usual lotion and applied on arms and legs it will also help repel mosquitoes. 

- Frankincense: This oil, applied on the body, will help relieve dry skin associated with windburn or sunburn. It is also a great immune booster (place a drop under your tongue) to use after a long flight for example or if you feel you are getting a cold. It also soothes fatigue, relieves headaches and helps alleviate stress (smell it or massage a drop or two on your wrists). 


  • Don't forget all your camera, chargers, adapters - you can check what adaptor you need online. Zambia usually uses the 3 round South African plugs or the 3 square plugs
  • Water bottle - bring your own even though most lodges will offer you one to. Aluminium is best to keep the water cold longer
  • Binoculars - Lodges rarely rent binoculars in Zambia so pack your own
  • A journal and pen - You may prefer to write on paper or in your phone or computer, choose whatever suits you best but don't forget your favourite way of recording the memories you will make on this safari holiday!
  • Leatherman or swiss knife - This is not necessary but can come in very handy when, say, the lock on your luggage refuses to open for example!

For kids     

  • Hats (a cap and a wide-brimmed hat) - keep kids out of the sun if you can, African sunshine is very strong
  • Activity books or ipad - animal colouring books for the little ones, books, toys will help distract them when you want to also take a rest! 
  • Sweets - for helping relieve ear pressure on flights and if you wish, to give to the local children
  • Wildlife spotting guide - older kids may enjoy acting like a guide. Most guides will play that game with them and test them on what they see etc. You can find such spotting guides for sale on Amazon. 
  • Camera? - If you child is between 8 and 16 and has showed an interest in photography we suggest you get him or her a cheap model they can have fun with and practice. A safari holiday may very well spark a real passion for the wilderness!

For local kids, if you wish, you can visit the local schools and donate:

  • Pens
  • books
  • paper
  • colouring books
  • toys
  • calculators, rulers etc
  • clothes

Article written by Luangwa Wildlife Magazine editor-in-chief and wildlife journalist Mahina Mahina Allkemya Zulu. Pictures: Contributions (articles and/or pictures) are welcome and can be sent to For advertising enquiries, email us at