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Tanzania Packing List

Kassandra on Safari - Serengeti National Park
Kassandra on Safari - Serengeti National Park
Travelers often ask me for a packing list when they go on safari.  To some degree, packing is a bit personal, so here is my personal packing list for my Tanzania safari plus some important commentary: 

* Tilley Airflo Hat  - always comes with me to Africa
* Sunglasses - needs no explanation
* Scarf/wrap - I usually bring along a lightweight cloth that I can either wrap around my hair, drape over my shoulders for warmth, use as a towel, sarong, etc.  This weighs almost nothing and I have always found a use for it, even if I just need to use it as a rag to clean up a mess.  

Upper Body:
* 2-3 sleeved t-shirts and a 2-3 sleeveless shirts.  Nicer tanks can be paired with a casual skirt for dinner or going out in a city.  I run hot all the time, so I typically wear layers on safari, with the understanding that by the middle of the day, I'll be glad I have a lightweight layer underneath.  
* 2-3 long-sleeved safari shirts in neutral colors.  I wear this on top of my short sleeve layer.
* 1 lightweight fleece/windbreaker.  Full zip.  It gets cold in Africa at night, especially during the dry season.  During the dry season, the "lightweight" turns into a "midweight" fleece  It's not as big of an issue in Tanzania, where you are traveling in a Land Rover with a pop-top, but in an open Landie, you especially want to dress warm for morning and evening drives.  Just throw it in your day bag for game drives.
* Rain jacket -- maybe?  I brought one for Tanzania because I was traveling in December, but the rains never came and I never needed it.  That's something I would not pack again.  Every lodge had umbrellas.
* A couple of shirts/blouses to wear for dinners, around the lodge, etc. Shirts that aren't getting dusty and dirty, to change into after game drives.

Lower Body:
* 2 pairs of shorts.  It's nice to have something cool to wear when it gets hot.
* 2 pairs of hiking-type pants for wearing when it's not as hot out, especially nice for bushwalks.  
* Comfortable pants to wear on the plane 
* Skirt - I usually bring a casual skirt that I wear with a black sleeveless top and my flats.  Sometimes it feels good to wear something nicer to dinner, especially if you are staying at a fancy lodge or spend some time in a city.

Shoes: 1 pair running shoes, 1 pair comfortable flats, 1 pair Birkenstocks. This combo hits just about every situation I find myself in.  Please see note on footwear below.  

Day bag: Whether you’re out on safari or cruising the islands of Zanzibar, you’ll need a daypack to carry everything you need including sunscreen, a water bottle and your camera. Bring a secure bag that’s lightweight and waterproof, and go for one with lots of pockets to keep your things safe and organized. 
*Undergarments - to your personal specifications :)
* Something to sleep in
* Bathing Suit
* Socks
* Camera, lenses (you need a good telephoto for safari in Tanzania, since you mostly can't drive off road)
* Headlamp/flashlight (I brought one, but never needed it.  Regardless, I never travel without a headlamp. You never know when the lodge is going to lose power
* Sunscreen and bug spray (most of the lodges will have spray and a can will be in your safari vehicle.  Just bring one more bottle in case - see note below on Tsetse flies).
* Binoculars - good ones.  You can't drive off road in national parks, so you want good binos to check out the leopard up the tree.
* Personal toiletries 
* Power adapter to fit the UK style electrical socket (I forgot about this and had to buy two in the airport on the way.  Most lodges ended up having USB charging ports, but the few times I needed them, I was glad I had them.  Only needed to buy one, though).

Notes on clothing color: don't wear blue clothes.  All my clothes are blue and I've always warn them on safari to southern Africa before without any problem.  The Tsetse fly is attracted to blue and when it finds you, you'll wish you were wearing tan or dark green or anything but blue. Don't wear blue.  Tsetse fly bites are annoying and painful. 

Items I didn't pack, but should have:
* Flip flops.  Not every lodge includes slippers and I find flip flops to be the most comfortable option for loafing around in my tent.  
* A lightweight robe. Again, nice for relaxing in your tent/room or going to/from the lodge swimming pool. 

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