What to pack for a trip to Africa

As the second largest continent in the word, both in terms of land mass and population, Africa can be utterly bewildering and totally overwhelming but also awe-inspiring, breathtaking and extremely diverse. It is important to remember that, because of its sheer size, it is impossible to make generalisations about Africa as a whole – it is an amalgamation of cultures, climates, geographical locations, and therefore also of course, trips. What you bring on a trip to Africa will depend on where you go and what your itinerary involves. However, most trips will involve a safari and possibly end with a spot of relaxation on one of the continent’s tropical islands in the Indian Ocean. However, you could also be climbing one of Africa’s hundreds of mountains, enjoying some retail therapy in a local market, kayaking down a mighty river, hiking through the jungle, or visiting the magnificent pyramids.

Below is a travel checklist to help with preparation for your trip to Africa but it also wise to check with a travel clinic, your country’s foreign office and your travel agent.

The Highlands, where most safaris take place, can dramatically drop in temperature overnight so it is wise to bring warm clothes for the evening and for early morning starts in an open-top jeep. We advise the following:

  • Cotton polo shirts
  • Durable khaki trousers
  • Durable khaki shorts
  • Jeans
  • Thin jacket (ideal for late afternoon when the temperature starts to drop but it is still fairly warm)
  • Hiking boots or trainers
  • Smart-casual clothing for dinner
  • Swimwear (some lodges have safe watering holes or swimming pools)

Like any beach holiday, pack plenty of swimwear, shorts, t-shirts and cotton dresses. Be aware that topless sunbathing is illegal on East African beaches and if you plan on visiting towns and historic places, modest dress is recommended – women should always cover their knees, chest and shoulders.

Whether you’re tackling the mammoth Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania or trekking in the Atlas Mountains in Morocco, you’ll need some specialist gear. Some you’ll be able to hire when you get there but if you don’t want to risk it, here are some basic essentials:

  • Warm windproof and waterproof jacket with hood
  • Walking trousers
  • Warm underwear
  • Hiking boots
  • Waterproof gloves, hat, scarf
  • Sleeping bag

Along with the above, there are a few general essentials you really shouldn’t forget:

  • Plane tickets
  • Passports (including any visas you need)
  • Money, travellers cheques and credit cards
  • Travel insurance
  • Camera
  • Sunglasses
  • First aid kit
  • Insect repellant
  • Malaria tablets
  • Vaccination certificates

Don’t forget to visit a travel clinic at least six months before you intend to travel as some vaccinations need to be administered over a period of several months. Always carry vaccination certificates with you as some countries require proof at the border, especially for the Yellow Fever vaccination.

Lastly, the most important advice is to have a fantastic time, always smile (things may go wrong but you’re on the adventure of a lifetime so don’t sweat the small stuff), and take loads of photos!

We are T-minus 2-days people =)

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