If you are planning your first family safari to South Africa, it may be tempting to bring multiple changes of clothing for everyone in your family. But the important thing to remember about packing for a family safari to South Africa is that there are weight restrictions in place on not only the flights that you may take from one destination to another within Africa, but also on the game drive vehicles. The challenge is separating the essential travel items from the items that your children think that they need to bring on a long trip (do they really need to bring every stuffed animal and book on their vacation?). Not to mention, you will want to bring home souvenirs from your trip to Africa, so not overpacking is key!

DSA Vacations has compiled this list of essential items to bring on a family safari to South Africa based on recommendations from family travel bloggers and experts at our safari lodge accommodations.


Most lodges, such as Kariega Game Reserve, offer laundry facilities. We suggest packing light and taking advantage of on-site laundry. “Pack clothes that are in natural colours, except for white, which can be spotted by game a long ways off,” Mark Nolting tells USA Today in an interview about safari packing tips. Make sure all families members have broken in their shoes before your vacation – game walks are not the time for blisters or sore feet.

  • 1 X comfortable closed-toe walking shoes
  • 1 X sandals
  • 1 X rain jacket
  • 1 X wide-brimmed hat that shades your neck
  • 4 X socks and underwear (all experts agree that extra socks that go past your ankles are a must)
  • 2 X shorts
  • 3 X t-shirts
  • 1 X pyjamas
  • 1 X swimsuits
  • 2 X lightweight pants
  • 1 X long sleeve shirt or sweater
  • formal wear (if required for dinner at the safari lodge you are staying at)


Bring your preferred brands of toothbrushes, toothpaste, razors, shaving cream, soaps and shampoos to Africa. The toiletries available in Africa can be very expensive and not of the same quality as what you would buy in North America. Many of the lodges that DSA Vacations guest stay at do have small shops where you can buy toiletries in emergencies, but keep in mind that they only take South African currency. In addition to your personal toiletries, bring:

  • insect repellant containing Deet
  • sunscreen with a high SPF level
  • medications, including anti-malaria pills if required
  • anti-naseau medication
  • anti-diarherrai medication


Leave your contact lenses at home. The sand and dry air in Africa makes putting in and taking out contact lenses uncomfortable.

  • head lamp or flashlight with spare batteries
  • luggage scale
  • camera, spare batteries, memory cards and charging cables
  • zip lock bags to store toiletries while on game drives (game drives are very sandy)
  • sunglasses
  • wall plug compatible with South Africa voltage
  • lightweight backpacks for all family members
  • micro fibre towel
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