by Matthew Sterne on June 14, 2013
5 min read

Many travellers to Africa aren’t sure about what to expect. One African adventure can include beach, safari and city destinations, making packing a nightmare! Of course a good sense of humour and patience is a good idea on any trip, especially when long-haul flights and border crossings are involved, but there are some essentials that will make things more comfortable for you. Since Rhino Africa houses some of the top experts in the business, here are our top picks of what to pack:

1. Camera

Our resident photographer and videographer, Ryan Rapaport, suggests his favourite camera to ensure you go home to jealous friends and family: “The Canon 7D  offers a cropped sensor extending the zoom on any lens by 1.6x and bringing you even closer to the action!”

For the techies, here’s why this camera offers that little bit extra: It has 18.0 Megapixels, 3.0” LCD, HD Video Recording, Dust & Weather Resistant, 100% Viewfinder, High Sensitivity (ISO 12800), 8fps Burst Mode. Don’t forget to bring lots of memory.

The Canon EF 100-400mm is the most versatile lens for game viewing, with image stabilisation built in. You can get right up close to the action.

Tip: An underwater camera is great for beach and island holidays too. Binoculars are also a good idea if you have your own pair, otherwise your guide on safari will no doubt have a pair to lend you.

Canon 7D Mark 3 will meet all your travel needs

2. The Perfect Playlist

An African holiday can include a lot of travelling time. Whether by air or by road you’ll wish you brought along that iPod preloaded with your favourite songs. Rihanna or Justin Bieber may be the tunes that take your fancy but make sure you add the essential theme tunes to the Lion King and some classic sounds of Africa to set the mood!

3. Safari Clothes

We all know what we like to pack for a holiday in the city but safaris can be a bit more tricky. There is no need to buy out the entire camping store or be enticed to purchase those trousers which cheekily transform into shorts with a quick zip. Jeans and a t-shirt  in neutral colours are more than acceptable options for even the most luxurious safari goer. A good wind breaker jacket from The North Face is also a great addition to any packing list. Leave it to the rangers to dress up in khaki. For more clothing options, read our blog.

The Northface Jacket for warm and windproof comfort

4. Medical Supplies

Most luxury lodges and hotels will have medical supplies to provide you with but it’s best to be prepared:

  • Sunscreen
  • Lip Balm
  • Malaria Tablets (if travelling in Malaria zones)
  • Bug Spray
  • Plasters (you may do a bit of walking)
  • Eye Drops (your eyes can suffer from the wind and the dust on safari)

5. The Best Accommodation

Rhino Africa is an expert on accommodation in Africa and we know better than anyone else that the perfect place to rest your head can make your holiday… or break it if you make the wrong choice for you. There is something for everybody. Take a look at some of our African favourites!

Singita Tented in Tanzania

6. A Good Book

Of course there are the Jilly Coopers of the world to keep you entertained on holiday. However, why not have a peek at some great books about Africa to set the scene for your adventure. Take a look at our blog, Top 25 Books About Africa.

7. Swimsuit

Wherever you are in Africa it’s likely you’ll go for a dip at some point. It may be swimming over reefs, venturing into the icy waters of the Atlantic or in your own private plunge pool!

At Londolozi in the Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve

8. Star Gazing App

Game Reserves offer the perfect opportunity to indulge in a little star gazing. Low light pollution means star visibility is at its highest and visitors from the North can spot constellations they will have never seen before. Why not surprise your guide by downloading the Star Walk App? Just point your phone or Ipad at the sky and it will tell you exactly which stars and constellations are before you. Pretty cool if you ask me!

Read here to see Rhino Africa’s Star Gazing Hot Spots.

9. Navigation App

If you’re self-driving, a good GPS will make life easier. We recommend downloading the TomTom App for South Africa, Namibia or Botswana to ensure you keep your friends and family safe on your self-drive holidays. From easy contact options to local hospitals and police stations, you’ll have everything to ensure you arrive at your destination safe and sound.

10. Bird Guide App

Ok, so it’s not considered the coolest hobby but I have to admit, I’m quite the birder. First time safari goers look for the Big 5 but for those lucky enough to return time and time again, we start to look for the smaller things. With Africa’s abundance of birdlife, the Sasol Southern Africa Bird Guide App is the perfect companion to help spot anything from an LBJ (Little Brown Job) to an eagle overhead. Read our blog on birding for more info.

Travel Apps for Ipad and Iphone

Packing 101

Now that you have all your travel essentials, how do you make it all fit? Here are some top tips our experts have learnt over the years…

  • Roll, don’t fold – you will actually fit in more clothes if you roll them up very tightly and then tightly pack into your case.
  • Make a list – before you even contemplate reaching for suitcase, plan what you will wear by day and what can go with what and stick to it!
  • Don’t be last minute – the optimum time is at least two days before your holiday.
  • Plan to wash – it’s really easy to wash some of your items mid holiday (or easier still, ask your hotel to launder your clothes).
  • Heavy items at the bottom – and keep lighter items that tend to get creased at the top.
  • Make use of shoes – stuff footwear with rolled up underwear, socks, jewellery, and even toiletries. Place footwear around the outside of the case.
  • Buy when you get there – you can buy some consumable items when you get there – saving you even more space!
  • Wear your bulkiest items – if you’re really struggling to pack everything wear it! Layer up.
  • Fragile items – pack any electricals in the centre of your case, cocooned by soft clothes.

Tips from

To learn more about packing for Africa read our blogs: