Wondering what to pack for a Kenya safari? Here you’ll find the essentials from what to wear to gear to use for photos! You’ll also find the items you’ll need when you’re not out on safari, like those chilly camping nights!
A quick note that my luggage got lost in transit and I didn’t have most of my items, but these are things I saw and wish I had, and would recommend! You’ll also see the items I did end up wearing as well!
You’ve probably seen photos of all-khaki safari outfits, which is great for not scaring or disturbing animals, but you can be a little flexible since you’ll be in a loud safari vehicle anyway.
The key is also to remember you’ll go from hot, to cool, to cold throughout the day, and there will be a lot of sun, dirt, and sweat! Your safari car also won’t have a lot of space for luggage, so try to pack light if you can!
All of the outfits below are clicked and linked to their purchasing pages!
Here’s what I’d recommend for a 3-4 day Kenya safari!
2-3 “Safari Outfits”
You can stick to the traditional khaki, or add some patterns and color, but the trick is to be versatile with mixing and matching! I love jumpers because they’re easy to wear and pack, and can be accessorized or added with a t-shirt for a different look!
Loose clothing works best because of the heat, but if you opt for a skirt, keep in mind you’ll be getting in and out of the vehicle, and standing up inside of it to view the animals!
1 Pair of Thermals
It can get really cold at night and in the mornings, which can be super uncomfortable during early game drives. Most mornings I would put on my Safari outfit first, then put the thermals over it! (Or under the skirt).
1 Packable Jacket
These things are genius…and also life savers! They’re light down jackets that can fold up to the size of your palm! They’re super handy for those cold mornings to pull over your safari outfit, and also for camp at night!
1-2 Pairs of Shoes
Your feet will get really hot and dirty, so sandals for me were ideal. But back at camp and sometimes on the long drives I preferred these breathable “jelly” close-toed shoes, especially at night! You can also opt for sneakers, however you don’t do much walking since you’re not allowed out of the safari vehicle!
5-10 Pairs of Underwear
I’m not going to link or show a photo of what type of underwear I use since everyone is different (and that would be slightly awkward). But whatever your undie style…I’d recommend cotton fabric! Also, I have a strong belief that you can’t over-pack underwear.
Pro-Tip: If you’ve been traveling for a while/run out of clean undies, use a maxi pad/panty liner and voila. Fresh-ish undies!
To shield you from the sun and because your hair is going to look like a hot mess while you’re whipping around in the open-top safari vehicle!
You definitely need a pair of sunglasses to protect your eyes from the strong equatorial sun! I brought a pair of cheap aviators since I knew there was a good chance they’d get dirty, ruined, or lost (definitely left them in the safari vehicle but my guide brought them back).
A scarf is also in my opinion essential and really handy; It can protect your shoulders from the sun, keep you warm, double as a dust-guard (there’s a lot of dust that you don’t want to inhale!), head scarf, and sweat rag. It can also dress up those neutral outfits!
Random Helpful Items
This is basically a safari survival kit in a nutshell: wipes for when you get dirty, an insulated water bottle for when you get hot and thirsty, sunscreen because the equatorial sun is BRUTAL, and binoculars to see animals (or for cute photos, since your camera probably has a zoom).
Cameras & Accessories
These days your smartphone’s camera is usually enough for anyone to be an amateur photographer. I don’t have a DSLR so I used my new iPhone X most of the time which actually shot some pretty awesome video footage. I also bought it unlocked so I could use a Kenya SIM card!
For action and “selfie” video footage I used the new GoPro Hero 6 although the stick/tripod I usually use I think is discontinued! I put an alternative and will be coming up with my own design soon!
I also played around with a 360 camera which I haven’t mastered yet, but kind of got some cool footage from it. I also saw some other people’s DSLR pics (not gunna lie, they were really good with that zoom), so if I had to recommend one, it would be this one, although again, I don’t own one….doesn’t fit in my bag that I live out of.
Like I said, my luggage got lost in transit on my way to Kenya, so all I literally had was this foldable backpack and my purse. Luckily though these were more than enough for my 4 day safari, and made it easier to travel with! The backpack holds way more than it looks, and the secret to packing it is using those compression bags to squish your clothes down, then roll it up and put it in the bag.
The purse is made of seatbelts and is slashproof, dirtproof, and water resistant, AKA perfect for your important items and camera gear!
Jumpers proved to be very comfortable on my safari (and were pretty much all I packed), and these cute ones are from TrendyRompers.com! I’ve been told the shade of blue in the second one attracts a certain type of annoying bug, but I didn’t get bit by anything.
Loose pants, tank top, scarf, hat
Have any questions about packing for a safari? The best way to get ahold of me is by commenting below or on a recent post on my Instagram!
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Alyssa is a full time solo adventure traveler who turned her love for traveling and writing into a self-made career as a travel blogger and social media influencer. She's been to 70 countries and 6 continents so far, as well as all 7 New World Wonders, and 7 Wonders of Nature. Alyssa believes she has mastered the art of chasing waterfalls, traveling solo, packing light, wine drinking, and making budget-traveling look good. Curious to know how she started this career? Check out the About section above!