Pack lightly! That’s the best bit of advice you can get! Most safari camps and lodges can launder clothes any place you’re staying at least 2 nights, but even if not, East and southern Africa is usually a dry heat and you’ll soon get used to a bit of dust!
Many safaris have a flight by light aircraft where the weight limit is 15 to 20 kgs in total, including hand luggage. Check beforehand and remember that safaris are very informal – there’s no need to dress for dinner and you really can re-wear clothing – no one else will mind! Neutral, khaki-coloured clothing is the norm and whilst not critical unless you’re on a walking safari, it all adds to the feeling of being ‘on safari’. Those light aircraft flights don’t take hard suitcases so use soft-sided duffle-type luggage and leave your valuables at home.
You’ll want loose fitting light clothing to wear in the evenings and the amount of warm clothes will depend on where you’re going and when: staying at a camp 9000 feet up in the Ngorongoro Highlands is cold at any time of year after dark, and in the winter of southern Africa, from June to August, the temperature can be freezing, literally, when the sun goes down. Warm hats, gloves and windproof jackets are essential at that time of the year.
Most people on safari bring a camera but for me the most important single item is your binoculars. Unless you want to fight with your partner you need a pair each and something like an 8 or 10 x 42 magnification is best. You need a pair you’re comfortable holding for extended periods of time – they’re your eyes on safari! So tiny, pocket-sized binos are not good, they have too small a field of view and are too small to hold comfortably, but similarly the huge ship-type binoculars are too big – there’s plenty of choice on the market at reasonable prices.
Hope that helps – enjoy your safari!
For more information on safaris, including a recommended luggage list for safaris, see http://www.journeyintoafrica.com or contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org