Must Haves for an African Safari

three days in livingstone zambia by victoria falls

So, if you're getting ready for a safari in Zambia for June or July, you might be like me - wonder what are your must haves for an African safari?! I was packing for an African safari in what we know as summer here in the US, and what the Southern Hemisphere knows as winter. Well, this had me worried about what to pack! Luckily, I was able to talk with my cousin, do some research and figure out exactly what I needed to pack for an African safari in June or July. Here is my packing list plus some tips that helped me decide what to pack.

Want to hear more about my trip? Click here to read about how I spent 3 days around Victoria Falls!

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, when you make a purchase I get a small commission that helps me continue to run my blog. Thanks in advance for reading this post!

Before you go:

  • Check with the CDC (or your country's health agency) for guidelines on medications and shots. I was in Botswana and Zambia so it was recommended I take malaria medication, have Hep C, yellow fever, and others.
  • Reach out to your tour company to see what is included on your safari - Will they have water readily available? Bathrooms? This will help you make your packing list.
  • Check visa regulations. Every country has different rules with different numbers of entries allowed and movement between countries. As a general rule, you should always have 6 months of validity on your passport and take a picture of your passport incase it is lost or stolen.
  • Get travel insurance. I started buying travel insurance after I almost had to go to a hospital in Peru because of a very bad allergic reaction. It would have cost me thousands to get proper medical care. This is something I always recommend to people, even if you're on a budget!
  • Exchange money if possible before leaving or stop at an ATM when you arrive. There are places at the airport but it can take a long time to get through. ATMs when you arrive are also a good option if you find they are available. The Livingstone Airport has a reliable ATM that we easily used to get cash when we arrived. Make sure you talk with your tour company about any money you may need for your trip.

Essentials:

  • binoculars (I wish I had brought some so bad!)
  • water bottle
  • zoom lens and camera (DSLR is best!)
  • hair ties
  • lotion and chapstick (it's windy and dry this time of year)
  • 100% deer bug spray (the mosquitos are serious)
  • GoPro (as a back up camera)
  • First aid kit
  • Allergy medication (it is dry season in June - July so there is lots of dust floating around which made my allergies flare up pretty badly!)

What to wear:

In Zambia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, and South Africa this time of year it is colder (55-65 degrees Fahrenheit) in the mornings and evenings. During the day it can still get up to warmer temperatures (70-75 degrees Fahrenheit), this means you need to be prepared for both. Knowing this, I wanted to pack outfits I could wear in both temperatures.

Also know that June and July in this part of Africa is dry season. There's lots of dust and things flying around in general. With all the dust and stuff flying around, you will get dirty and generally feel grimy at the end of the day. Don't bring fancy clothes, instead wear outdoor gear that is made for wear and tear.

You want to blend in with surroundings because of the animals. Animals can see you in bright colors. Try making sure you blend in so that you can get closer to animals by wearing camels, grays, and generally neutral tones that blend in with surroundings.

  • Comfortable sturdy tennis shoes (You want close-toed shoes as you'll be hopping in and out in the bush which can have lots of creatures.)
  • Long sleeve shirt and pants that are breathable. I wore my Colombia dry fit pants and an ExOfficio safari shirt. The key here is to wear long sleeves that rolled up to quarter sleeves. If I was hot, I could roll up both my pants and shirt to make them shorter. This was perfect considering the cold temperatures in the morning and hot in the afternoon.
  • ExOfficio Vest I brought this vest with me to Machu Picchu and it was pretty much the best decision ever so I knew I had to bring it on my safari. Since I had my vest, I was able to pack all my essentials on my person and didn't even have to carry a bag during the day which was perfect. I could just grab my things out of my pockets. Plus, all pockets were secure on my person so I didn't worry about losing any of my things. Highly recommend it!
  • Hat (I didn't bring a hat and really regretted it!)
  • Sunglasses (You don't want to be squinting at animals and miss something! The sun is strong here.)

I hope this post has helped you plan what to pack for an African safari in June or July! Hope you are able to have tons of fun on your African safari too!

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  • Shibani Sharma

    These are some amazing tips, and especially about the weather and the clothing. Safari tour can get us different terms, and you’ve included your first hand experience here.

    • Thank you! Yes, each safari tour can be different. I feel like the more sources you have, the better prepared you will be!

  • Michelle Chumbley

    This is so helpful! We haven’t done a safari yet but I’ll keep this handy for the future!

  • Leah Jones

    So thorough! I love all the recommendations. Checking with the CDC? I mean, just not something I would immediately think about doing but such a necessary step. I’m sorry you forgot a hat… oops!

  • Kate

    Another one in my bucketlist is to go on safari in Africa! Thanks for sharing these tips! I like how straightforward this post with everything that is necassary for the trip. 🙂

    • You are so welcome! A safari is a blast and I definitely think you have to be straightforward with packing lists!