This packing list should be used as a guide to help you with your preparation. Adapt this list according to your destination(s), weather and length of your trip. You can visit our Safari Planning Resource Guide by clicking here to find, among other things, the average weather conditions during your anticipated safari dates.
While traveling, I strongly recommend that you carry all valuables, essentials (such as medications) and at least one change of clothing in your carry on luggage in case your luggage is delayed or lost. You can visit our Laws & Regulations for Hunters Traveling with Firearms and Ammunition or Bows and Arrows and look up the TSA guidelines for carry on items by clicking here.
In most cases laundry is done on a daily basis so packing should be done with this in mind. The color of your hunting clothes from hats to boots including your backpack should be green, brown, khaki, olive, or neutral. Avoid light shades of any color and clothing that makes noise. Depending upon the time of the year, the country and area where you will be hunting, darker colored clothing might be recommended such as darker greens or khaki.
I recommend layering clothing since temperature changes from dawn to dusk can be significant year round in most parts of Africa. You should test your layers before your trip, your outer layer should fit easily over the inside one(s) without binding and bunching up. Do not bring clothing items that you care too much about, the African bush is unforgiving.
Should you be traveling to a damp area or during the rainy season it is best to have at least some fast drying synthetic clothing that maintains its warmth when wet, because if cotton becomes wet it can drain your body heat and most camps or lodges have no clothes dryer. Let the house staff or your PH know if you have fast drying synthetic clothes as they might be ruined by ironing.
tip A few large garbage bags can be useful to put your dirty or damp clothing or boots in to protect your other belongings and suitcase.
WARNING: Camouflage is strictly illegal in some African countries, while other countries do allow the use of camouflage clothing during the actual hunt. Even if camouflage gear is legal I would advise that it only be worn during the hunt and not in town or for travel. Do not pack any camouflage items if the country does not permit it. This information is available in the Hunting Info by Country section of the site, click here and select the country that you intend traveling to.
- Long pants, pants should be comfortably fitting and made of a sturdy fabric, the thicker and tighter the weave the stronger and more impenetrable to thorns and insects. I suggest cotton; it is great in warm weather. Cargo pants with zip off bottoms and lots of pockets are a great functional piece of clothing. Make sure to tell the staff not to melt the zippers of your zip off pants.
- Shorts, some hunters are comfortable wearing shorts for hunting in warm climates which is fine but there can be drawbacks. I usually advise against wearing shorts for hunting due to the abundance of sharp thorns, twigs and nasty grass which can be hard on your legs. I strongly advise against wearing shorts in areas where malaria is present as most malaria carrying mosquitoes are found within two feet of the ground. A pair of shorts for camp or travel may be good to bring if the weather is hot, but the choice to wear them while hunting is yours.
Long sleeved shirts for hunting will protect you from the sun and the bush to some degree. I suggest cotton; it is great in warm weather.
- A light waterproof, breathable jacket, for wind or rain
- Casual clothing for relaxing at camp and traveling
I suggest wearing long pants for the evenings especially in areas where malaria is present, most malaria carrying mosquitoes are found within two feet of the ground.
Cold Weather Clothing
- Warm jacket or heavy weight fleece
- Warm wool sweater(s) or mid weight fleece
- Mid weight long underwear
- Warm hat, one that covers your ears can serve a dual purpose
- Warm gloves
- Hunting boots, you should bring two pairs of well broken-in hunting boots or one pair of hunting boots and one pair of trail shoes. Your footwear should be comfortable, light weight, preferably leather, darker in color and have the advantage of a quiet sole for stalking or tracking. To learn more about Choosing the Right Hunting Boots & Socks click here.
- Extra shoe laces for your hunting boots
- Casual shoes for relaxing in camp and traveling
- Sandals, for wearing around camp when the weather is suitable.
tip Plastic sandals can also double as foot protection in the shower.
- Sock liners
tip High quality socks are a good idea and will help minimize the risk of blisters. To learn more about socks, liners and preventing blisters click here.
- Gloves, that are functional for hunting,preferably leather and dark in color.
tip Fingerless gloves used for biking or weightlifting are ideally suited for shooting and reloading and at the same time they will protect you hands if crawling through the bush.
- Hat, a suitably colored baseball cap and/or wide brimmed safari hat for added sun protection for your neck and ears.
- Bandana, a great multi-purpose item, sun protection (head or neck), wet it will cool you off, handkerchieve, dust mask, etc.
- Simple head net, for some areas in Africa, one that easily folds to fit into your pocket. Will help protect you from insect bites such as mosquitoes and tsetse flies.
- Insect garments, for some areas in Africa. Check out Bug Tamer insect protection garments at www.bugtamer.com.
- Gaiters in leather or canvas, above the ankle to keep your boots and socks free of nuisances such as sand, prickly seeds and sharp grass or to the knee to offer added protection from nuisances, such as bush, sharp weeds, snakes, etc.