So you have a trip to Buffelsdrift Game Lodge planned? Whether this is your first experience of a luxury safari lodge, or you’re simply looking for new insider tips, we have the expertise you need to ensure this is the best safari ever. Here’s our top tips for packing for a safari in Africa, no matter the season
Don’t forget your toothbrush!
Most guests get all the big packing done well- but forget those little things we use day-to-day and can’t pre-pack. Think about daily medications, cellphones (and more often, their chargers), contact lenses, cases, and cleaners, and all the little things. Yes, including toothbrushes! Passports, tickets, and other important travel items often get left behind by mistake too.
While our beautiful corner of Africa still has well stocked shops and Western pharmacies, you don’t want to spoil your trip trying to track down your doctor to confirm your prescription, or find a compatible cellphone charger. We suggest making a checklist of these items while you pack the rest of your luggage, ensuring you’ll have an aide memoire to pack them in the last minute rush.
How to dress on safari
Africa’s hot, but even in summer dawn and dusk can be chilly. In winter, especially in a semi-desert area like the Karoo, it can get downright icy, yet midday will probably get warm. You won’t need a full puffer coat, but you will want to pack some light, cosy layers to make sure you don’t miss out on the wonders of your safari because all you can think of is how cold your toes are. We recommended light and breathable layers, so you can take them on and off as you need and don’t feel bulky.
Choose neutral colours and darker pastels so you don’t attract animal attention. And don’t worry- you can leave the full safari suit at home! Casual and comfortable will be perfect. Most places and people in Southern Africa do not have issues with bare shoulders or shorts. Do pack comfy, broken-in shoes, though. We’d recommend a walking shoe, hiking boot, or well fitted sneaker for the best blend of comfort and practicality.
Try to avoid camouflage gear. You’ll see tours further north in Africa mention that this can be a big faux pas for local governments, and can even get you in political trouble. South Africa doesn’t have this worry- but it will make you look very gauche and inexperienced (rather like that safari suit). You don’t need to pack for luxury dining unless you have specific plans- neat and comfortable is fine for our restaurant. Our luxury safari lodge can even help with laundry, so don’t feel you have to pack for deepest Africa.
Add a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses to the mix, and don’t forget to pack an eco-friendly sunscreen so you don’t get burned! We have a high UV rating most of the year, so sun precautions are always wise.
Bring the camera
Some of your most exciting wildlife encounters will be beautiful photo-ops, too, so don’t forget the camera, charger, and spare SD cards. Binoculars will ensure you get the very best views, too! Add your toiletry basics, and don’t forget to check your airline restrictions regarding these. Add some mod-cons too- your journal, a good book, whatever you enjoy. We do suggest limiting the amount of expensive jewellery and flashy electronics you bring, however. While the lodge itself is safe, these items attract attention and can make you a target for crime when travelling. Many tourists forget that they may be on holiday, but the people around them aren’t, and the safer the better. Plus, you’re going to be so busy enjoying your activities you don’t want a ton of expensive stuff to worry about!
And there you have it! Packing for safari isn’t as hard as you may have thought. Remember, it’s always a good idea to pack light, especially as most Karoo game lodges can help you with spare bits and pieces, or where to buy them close by, and will have services like laundry available. Dragging luggage around is a great way to spoil the trip, so pack light and enjoy instead!