What You Need to Know Before Your African Safari

With over 200 national parks and game reserves, Africa remains the world’s number one safari destination. People from all over the world are attracted to this remarkable destination, known for its majestic wildlife, breathtaking landscapes, and diverse cultures. African safaris can introduce visitors to wealth of adventures such as searching for the African big five, the thrilling wildebeest migration, tree-climbing lions, crocodile-infested rivers, impressive prides of lions, large herds of elephants, and rare sightings of elusive wildlife such as wild dogs.

Once you start planning your African safari adventure, you’ll need to follow a few guidelines. Lots of safari tour operators will share their official guidelines, which includes the dos and dont’s on an African Safari. We have prepared a handy list of African safari tips to help you make well-informed choices.

Things to Consider When Packing For an African Safari

  • Consider packing light for your African safari and check the weather at your time of travel to help with your clothes planning. Avoid taking hard-shell bags and suitcases. Instead, pack your belongings in soft-sided duffel bags. This is very important on the local charter flights as the planes can be small and tight on space. Visitors flying in and out of Africa for their 3-10 days safari should pack around 2-3 sets of comfortable neutral coloured clothes. Many camps will have a laundry service which helps.
  • Africa is a humid continent so consider packing clothes that are breathable and dry faster. Avoid camouflage clothing as in many countries they are prohibited. Choose casual and comfortable clothing that you can layer in the chillier months. It is a good idea to take one set of smarter clothing for evening meals, if you are staying in a nice lodge or hotel.
  • To be as comfortable as possible, plan in advance for a game drive. Some game drives are concluded within an hour or two, while others take an entire day. So, pack jackets/fleece, hat, sunglasses, bandana, which are all useful items, depending on the weather. Don’t forget to take lip balm and sunscreen as well as camera equipment of course (don’t forget extra batteries), binoculars and water bottle..
  • Pack a good pair of binoculars to use on your game drives. If travelling with children, binoculars will keep your kids engaged and entertained as they spot wildlife from the safety of the jeep.
  • Those who want to capture stunning images of the African savanna and its wildlife should pack a professional camera that has a telephoto 200mm lens. For a hack on how to take amazing pictures on your African Safari, refer to our curated photography hacks. Also, pack extra memory cards and batteries for your gadgets.
  • Visitors carrying gadgets such as smartphones, tablets, laptops, and cameras should find out what electrical adapters/plugs they need to pack. The following table contains information about electrical plug/adapters for each country. It will help you figure out which one to pack for your African safari.
Country Plug Voltage
Botswana M, G, D 230 V
Kenya G 240 V
Mozambique C, F, M 220 V
Namibia M, D 220 V
Seychelles G 240 V
South Africa C, D, M, N 230 V
Tanzania D, G 230 V
Zambia C, D, G 230 V
Zimbabwe D, G 220 V


  • Pack a torch/flashlight and a headtorch/headlamp can come in handy during night activities as well as for reading in the dark.
  • It is always a good idea to travel with USD cash and it’s advisable to organise this before you leave home, rather than getting it in your destination country. All African countries accept payment in newer US dollar bills. Visitors can use their cards in the cities at certain shops and accommodations, but the exchange rate might vary.

Malaria Precautions

Based on World Health Organization’s data, only some African countries are completely malaria-free. The list includes Algeria, Lesotho, Mauritius and Seychelles. Visitors planning a trip to Africa should visit a general practitioner and get an anti-malaria prescription before they leave. Also, take precautions such as packing a strong mosquito repellent. All safari accommodation should provide mosquito nets, you can always double check with your safari organiser  You can pack lightweight and collapsible mosquito nets if necessary.

Things to Remember on an African Wildlife Safari

  • Always be highly respectful of wild animals. As a guest visiting their natural habitat, you should observe and not interfere. Make sure you never litter, take it back to your accommodation to dispose of there.
  • In some safari destinations visitors can choose to participate in organised night game drives to view Africa’s nocturnal wildlife. Visitors aren’t allowed to self-drive themselves in parks at night. With unfamiliar roads and deserted patches of roads, visitors should avoid driving at night altogether.
  • Taking pictures of wildlife at night is tricky, so settle in the vehicle and enjoy the silence of the African wilderness in the evening, looking out for nocturnal wildlife.
  • A special part of an African safari experience is an alfresco meal and sundowners in the heart of the African savanna, often with superb views of the wilderness. Look for safari packages that include these special additions.
  • Make the most of every moment of your safari. This is especially true for visitors who are in Africa for only a few days. In Africa, every day is an adventure and there is so much to experience: game drives, walking safaris, bird watching, balloon safaris, biking, canoeing and so much more.
  • During a game drive, pay attention to your surroundings. Stay alert so that you don’t miss spotting the wildlife. Listen to your tour guide, lean on their experience, and you’ll have a great time on your safari.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask your guide questions, but keep your voice low. Sudden noises are bound to scare animals, and some might even go on the offence. Ask the guide to stop the vehicle if you see something and to take in the beautiful surroundings.
  • Self-drivers should always stick to the rules and follow the marked safari routes. Keep the windows closed or roll them up if a safari animal gets too close to the vehicle.
  • Available in some places, walking safaris are led by experienced local guides. You should only ever go on a bushwalk if you are with a guide or, in some cases,  you have checked with the camp manager or your tour guide if there’s a low-key nature walk for you to do on your own.

Where to go on Safari

The Serengeti-Masai annual wildlife migration is iconic and should be on your bucket list for things to do in Africa. Depending when you visit, you might have the chance to see part of the migration. If you visit Tanzania in July you could see the treacherous river crossings, while in August the migration are grazing in the Masai Mara in Kenya.  During the calving season from January to March, the wildebeest are in Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Conservation Area giving birth. Discover the complete timeline of Africa’s wildebeest migration with our detailed guide.

South Africa, Tanzania, and Botswana are the best places to see the African big five animals.  The big five are just one highlight on an African safari and there is so much more to offer. Africa has a number of endangered species, such as the Ethiopian wolf, African wild dog, pangolin, addax, and hooded vulture. Don’t forget to ask your guide and look out for these threatened animals.

Apart from its wildlife safaris, Africa is also known for its numerous beach holiday destinations. After a thrilling adventure in the bush, spend your days relaxing on any of Africa’s iconic sandy beaches along the coasts of South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique as well as the beaches on the islands of Zanzibar, Madagascar and Seychelles.

Below are a Few More African Safari Resources

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