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7 Packing Tips for an African Safari with Kids

by Ashley Rosa

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What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of an adventurous vacation? We bet its an African safari! Riding in open-top jeeps, watching elephants chase off hippos, waiting for the wildebeest migration; seeing nature in its full glory can give you an intense adrenaline rush. However, to enjoy all this and more, you need to ensure that you’ve packed right for the trip, particularly if you are traveling with kids.

Packing for a family safari adventure in Africa can be stressful, and we know you are bound to forget one thing or the other. Therefore, we have narrowed down 7 packing tips for you to make it as stress-free as possible. Start taking notes!

1. Assemble a medicine kit

First Aid Kit

Medicine tops the list of essentials for a safari trip, especially with kids around. The basics include first-aid kid, malaria pills, pain medications, and antibiotics. In addition to that, we suggest you pack antihistamines for kids and other anti-allergy medicines that are not easily available in Africa. If any of your family members have a special medical condition, don’t forget to keep their medications on hand and ask your family doctor for travel advice.

Store all your medications in a small pouch or box, away from bug sprays. If possible keep extra medicines for at least a week in advance and keep them in a separate pouch. This is a precautionary measure - in case you lose one pouch, you’ll have a backup option.

2. Pick the right clothes

warm clothes

Selecting the right clothes for your kids can be a bit tricky.

  • You can’t go with bold-colored clothes, especially red; they will frighten the animals. Plus, the weather is usually hot in those areas, so light and muted colors and linen or cotton clothing will make you feel cool.
  • To protect yourself from the sun, mosquitoes, and insects, pack long pants and full-sleeved shirts. Convertible pants are also recommended for the trip and are comfortable in hot weather.

In short, shop for clothes that are lightweight, comfortable, and dry fast. Even if you have to spend little extra money to find the right type of clothes, don’t hesitate to do so - they will be worth the money.

3. Don’t forget the shoes

hiking boots

Imagine you are in a jeep, in the middle of the savannah, waiting for the majestic animals to show themselves. And after some time a lion passes by, but all you can think about is the itching in your feet. You wouldn’t want that happening to you! Your footwear can enhance your safari trip experience.

Purchase leather hiking shoes, by leatherskinshop, of the best quality and fit. Also, make sure that they are waterproof as you never know where your trip might take you. We recommend that you purchase them early so that your kids have enough time to break them at home. If you experience any problem, you can replace them without wasting any time.


4. Gear up for sun protection

Hat and sunglasses

The African sun can be brutal. So you need to take every possible precautionary measure against it. The three main things that will protect you against the sun are sunglasses, sunscreen, and sunhats.

  • Sunglasses serve the dual purpose of guarding against the sun and dust.
  • Get a sunscreen of SPF 30 or above.
  • Sunhats will not only protect you against the bright sun, but most of them are also waterproof as well. They float on water, so it’d be pretty hard for you to lose them.


5. Insect repellent is a must!

mosquito repellent

We encourage you to pack enough insect repellent that can last for your family throughout the trip and then some. You will have to spray yourself, on both clothes and skin, before you set off in the safari vehicle and during the journey every few hours.

With kids in the picture, packing insect repellent becomes extremely crucial as children are more susceptible to insect and mosquito bites.

6. Carrying electronics?

Camera equipment

You wouldn’t want to go to a safari and not take any pictures of your adventure! Almost everyone brings a camera. And when you have one, you can’t forget its cords, memory card, battery bank, and if you’re a photography enthusiast, a tripod. Keep all your electronic items in a separate bag so that they don’t mix with other stuff. And while you are at it, don’t forget to pack in your phone (or iPad or tablet) charger.

7. Pack it up in a waterproof bag

back pack

Pack all your essentials in a waterproof bag so that if you happen to experience rainy weather, your stuff will stay safe. If you are carrying a camera and other electronic items, make sure your waterproof bag is big enough to accommodate them.

Other essentials to pack

Here are some other essentials that you should pack for your safari trip:

  • Binoculars; your kids will have a lot of fun observing flora and fauna during the trip.
  • If anyone in your family has prescription glasses, carry an extra pair for them. Avoid wearing contact lenses; as it will be very dusty.
  • Card games or small toys to keep your kids occupied in the free time.
  • A few educational books related to African wildlife, so your kids can identify what they are seeing.
  • Toiletries for the entire family including soap, sanitizers, travel-size shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, and moisturizer.

Pack for a Purpose

Several safari lodges and camps support the community initiatives around the reserves, concession areas, and wildlife parks. You can make a positive change through your African safari trip by packing supplies that can help these projects. These supplies may include medications, school supplies, or clothes. If you want to find out which items that are most meaningful for the initiative, visit Pack for a Purpose and see the specific requests from communities around Africa.

Now that you know what you need for your African safari, you’ll have an easy time packing stuff. So, what are you waiting for? Start packing!

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