Going on a safari in Tanzania is an unforgettable experience. The country is a breathtaking travel destination where you will surely create memories to last a lifetime! However, if you do not pack wisely for a safari, you will spend your precious and limited time in Tanzania searching for items locally. Or unfortunately, since items can be limited in Tanzania, you may be without certain necessities throughout your trip.
While a list of safari items can be endless, below are some essentials to help make your trip much more adventurous and comfortable.
General travel items
First aid kit
On safari, you will spend a lot of time outdoors, so a proper first aid kit is important. A first aid kit will prepare you for unexpected events such as bites, blisters, and scrapes, which are common in the wilderness. Due to packing and size limitations, a simple first aid kit should be sufficient. Preparing a simple kit with basic first aid items to keep on you at all times is preferred.
Rest assured, Wild Root Safaris will also provide safety kits on safari and additional medical attention can be sought for more serious issues.
Quality binoculars are important. Without them, you may miss out on precious wildlife viewing opportunities. Since safaris are centered around wildlife drives and hikes, having your own a quality set of binoculars is advised. If binoculars are not provided in your booking, we recommend bringing a pair along since they can be quite expensive in Tanzania.
Besides airport travel, roller bags are not recommended when traveling on safari. We recommend bringing a sensible daypack to carry the items you need throughout the day. Choose a brand that makes strong, comfortable, and durable bags – they are well worth the money. Pockets can be very useful and foldable bags that can be stored while not in use can be very convenient to help save on space while not in use.
Fanny packs can be very useful for keeping small items accessible during safari. Sometimes, you need quick access to items and fumbling around in a daypack during safari can make you miss many brief, once-in-a-lifetime moments.
A neck wallet is useful to keep your most important belongings safe and close throughout your trip. Although Tanzania is generally safe, pickpockets are an issue in any country, and it is advisable to make sure your valuables are stored in a safe place at all times. Neck wallets are helpful for storing your passport, cell phone, and bank cards.
Tanzania is known for sunshine, however, when it rains, it pours. Rain often comes and goes in Tanzania without any warning. It is advisable to always have a packable and easy-to-carry waterproof jacket (or poncho) prepared. You can find many lightweight and easily packable options online. We advise choosing one with breathable material since despite the rain, the weather is often still warm.
During the beginning and end of the year, Tanzania often experiences a rainy and sometimes very windy season. If you travel during these times, we advise bringing a windproof, compact umbrella. We don’t want a little unexpected weather to stop you from enjoying your trip!
Travel towels are quick-drying compact towels that resists odor. They come in handy for water sports, hiking, game drives, and sunbathing. Having one in your daypack is helpful when the temperatures are high or if you decide to go for a quick dip.
A full day of outdoor safari adventures can often be a hot and sweaty experience. Deodorant wipes come in handy when you are out on safari and cannot rinse off until returning to your accommodations. We recommend choosing individually wrapped options to save on space and weight, tucking a few in your daypack for refreshing while out on safari.
A safari in Tanzania will undoubtedly expose you to the sun. Pack your preferred sunblock regardless if it’s wet or dry season in Tanzania. A good sunblock will help prevent sunburns and an excruciating experience after a long day outdoors. When combined with a sun hat, sunblock does a great job keeping your face safe from harsh UV rays. We also recommend packing moisturizers and after-sun gels to soothe your skin after a long, hot safari day.
It is recommended that you bring your preferred toiletries as you may not be able to find standard brands from your home country in Tanzania. You can pack things such as moisturizers and shampoos into travel bottles to save space in your travel bag. We recommend only bringing necessary items. Remember, you are on safari and the experience should be simple and enjoyable!
You will encounter various types of insects in the great outdoors. It is recommended that you pack your preferred repellent option to help guard against unnecessary bites and stings. If you bring full-size bottles, be sure to check airport requirements and pack in your checked luggage, if required. You can bring a small travel bottle to fill and take with you on your daily safari, saving on space and weight.
Mosquito wristbands help protect you against pesky insects. They are easy to use, and most of the time, you forget you are even wearing one! Luckily, most safari accommodations in Tanzania place mosquito nets over your bed while you sleep. If you choose to camp, make sure you are properly protected against mosquitoes.
Electrolytes and hydration are important while traveling. They can help with stomach issues due to long hours of travel and help prevent dehydration, which can be an issue in hot weather climates such as Tanzania. They replenish your body and enable you to recover fast, so we recommend consuming proper amounts of water and electrolytes throughout your trip. Many companies now make powder electrolyte packs that are easy to travel with and mix into bottled water or any beverage of your choice.
Power adapter for Tanzania
When visiting Tanzania, we recommend bringing a power adapter from your home country. Our outlets may be different from yours and you will need a power adapter to properly charge your phone, camera, laptop, and any other electrical equipment you may bring. You can also purchase a universal power adapter that has options for multiple countries. This is helpful in case you have layovers in other countries before arriving in Tanzania.
Portable travel charger
On safari in Tanzania, you will be away from accommodations most of the time. Having a portable travel charger will help to ensure your camera or phone makes it through the day. If you cannot capture stunning moments due to a low battery, you may end up frustrated and not enjoy your full safari experience.
Virtual Private Network (VPN)
We recommend using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) on your connected devices while in Tanzania. Although not required, using a foreign IP address locks you out of several entertainment sites. Besides that, it can put your financial information and private data at risk. VPN shields you from online predators while traveling and unlocks accessibility to various sites and content.
A safari in Tanzania will keep you very busy, however, there are days when people choose to relax and enjoy some personal entertainment, especially when it’s too hot to go outside. Some people bring along games, drawing materials, magazines or a book (e-readers help save space). A good set of headphones is also recommended if you are sensitive to sounds or want to enjoy some good music while lounging around.
There are more than 120 languages spoken in Tanzania. However, Swahili is the official language of Tanzania, and we recommend trying to learn at least a few words and phrases before traveling here. Basic greetings are a good place to start:
Jambo = Hello
Kwaheri = Goodbye
Tafadhali = Please
Asante = Thank you
Carrying a Swahili phrasebook is a great idea to help you understand conversations when mingling with locals. Nowadays, there are many translation apps that can help you save space when traveling and can even translate your conversation with a local in real time.
There is nothing more that a culture appreciates than visitors making an attempt to understand them in their local language. Even if you make a mistake, it’s worth the effort and can make for an unforgettable bonding experience!
What to wear in Tanzania
Knowing what to wear in Tanzania is important. The main thing is to avoid dark-colored clothing. We recommend choosing khaki and/or neutral colors. Apart from absorbing heat, dark colors tend to attract Tsetse flies, which are common in Tanzania.
Traditionally, women in Tanzania wear skirts, but they have started wearing trousers, leggings, and shorter skirts in the past few decades. Avoid clothes that will show too much skin since the locals tend to be quite modest and conservative.
To help you pack, here are some of the things you may wear while on a Tanzania safari:
Being a hot weather country, you should pack a sun/safari hat to protect your face from direct sun rays. An appropriate hat should have a wide brim to cover your face without obstructing your vision. Make sure your hat is breathable and made of lighter materials because heavy sun hats can be uncomfortable and cause you to sweat.
A lightweight scarf is an essential travel accessory, and you shouldn’t go on a safari without one. After sunset in Tanzania, temperatures can drop, making a scarf ideal to have. Scarves are also useful for keeping the dust off your face and shielding against the sun and other elements.
Tanzanian sunshine can be quite bright and can cause you to squint when outside, sometimes hindering your safari experience. We recommend bringing along good-quality polarized sunglasses to protect your eyes against glare and dust.
T-shirts are the most common thing you will wear in Tanzania. Make sure you bring light-colored, lightweight, and short-sleeved options. Safaris are most enjoyable during the day when the sun is bright, which means you will be exposed to hot weather. You can sometimes get a bit sweaty on safari and light, breathable clothes are highly recommended.
Long-sleeve, breathable shirts can protect your arms from the sun during the day. They also come in handy as an extra layer when it gets a little chilly. Sometimes, the weather is unpredictable in Tanzania, so having a long-sleeved shirt available to layer on as the temperatures change is advised.
A packable jacket is highly recommended on safari. A jacket will come in handy for colder days. Many brands make options that fold down into their own pockets, keeping travel weight and space to a minimum.
Not all parts of Tanzania are hot. Some have seasonal temperatures that change significantly throughout the day. Some days may have cold mornings, hot afternoons, and chilly evenings. We also recommend layering clothes, allowing you to add/remove items throughout the day depending on comfort level.
Loose shorts are one of the most useful items on a Tanzanian safari packing list. You can wear them most days and enjoy the comfort and breathability of loose-fitting clothes.
Leggings or comfy trousers
Leggings are a comfortable option when sitting in a safari jeep all day. Most trips are long, and tight clothes can be a bit of an annoyance. Avoid heavy leggings at all costs, except for nights and chilly mornings.
Many people bring along sensible attire to wear for evening dinners. Sometimes, it’s nice to dress up a little bit and celebrate in the evening after a dusty day in the wilderness. For women, a sensible maxi dress will allow for a great look for attending outdoor dining activities, however, please note that this is not always required.
You should bring along one high-quality pair of hiking shoes or boots on safari. Unless you are scheduling a walking safari, you will not be walking great distances, but you still need quality protective boots to enjoy and protect yourself in the wilderness.
While flip-flops are not essential, they do make it easy when relaxing around your accommodations, enjoying swimming pools or even in shared accommodation spaces.
Most camps and lodges have swimming pools, so go ahead and bring your bikini! Bikinis are perfectly acceptable when at the pool or beaches in Tanzania.
Modesty is important in Tanzania, so if you bring a swimsuit on your trip, we suggest that you pack a cover-up to use when not in the water.
What NOT to take to Tanzania
Do not bring dark-colored clothes to Tanzania, including black and dark blue items. Dark colors attract Tsetse flies, which puts you at risk. We recommend packing neutral-colored items such as khaki and other light colors. Besides helping you remain safe and cool, these colors also help you seamlessly blend into the wilderness.
Although it can be tempting, we recommend not bringing animal print clothing on safari. In fact most zoos and game parks have recently banned tourists from wearing animal prints because they can confuse some animals. You do not want to wear something that makes you look like a predator or worse yet, a meal – safety is always the priority!
If you must bring jeans on your trip, opt light materials and colors. Avoid heavy options as they are likely to be uncomfortable. Also, as mentioned previously, dark colors (such as black and blue) can attract Tsetse flies, putting you at risk.
Tanzanians are reserved people who believe in modesty. Women are not allowed to wear revealing clothes such as short skirts and shorts. Strappy tops can also be found offensive to many locals. The most sensible way to dress in Tanzania is a pair of longer shorts or trousers and long or knee-length skirts or dresses. Wear tops that cover the shoulders, giving you an acceptable look while also protecting your skin against harsh sun rays.
Safaris are meant to help you relax and have an unforgettable experience in Tanzania. We recommend avoiding tight clothes while on safari and opting for more comfortable options. Stick to casual attire such as comfy shorts, trousers, leggings, and light pants.
Leave your stylish shoes at home and pack the most comfortable options for safari. Hiking boots and light walking shoes will serve you well throughout the trip. Open-toe shoes are also not recommended. Tanzania is very dusty with uneven pavement, and some towns have heavy pedestrian traffic where you can easily hurt your feet. Covered shoes also help to protect your feet from insects and other animals.
We recommended not bringing expensive jewelry or other valuable items along on safari. You will not need such items since you will be spending most of your time hiking and on game drives. It also helps you to blend in with the local culture and not attract attention to yourself when in Tanzania. Although Tanzania is generally a safe country, you do not want to invite unwanted issues.
Before you land in Tanzania, you should discard any plastic bags. Tanzania and most East-African countries are plastic-free zones. If you are found with plastic bags on Tanzanian streets, you can risk being fined. Some plastics, however, are allowed and airport attendants can help you know what is acceptable and what to dispose of.
Tanzania does not allow or condone drug use. If found in possession of any illegal substances upon arrival or within Tanzania, you risk being arrested and even sent to prison. Avoid bringing any and all drugs (besides approved prescription medications). Even if you come from a country or state that allows the use of marijuana, it is an illegal drug in Tanzania.
In Tanzania, the law firmly protects local fauna and wildlife. Avoid bringing any wildlife products into the country. The same rules apply when leaving the country after a safari; you must get a permit from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism to take any wildlife products outside of the country. If you bring or try to leave Tanzania with such items, you risk delays, questioning, and may even be detained in the airport.
Packing for your safari in Tanzania
Hopefully, our guide helps you pick and pack the right options for an enjoyable trip to Tanzania. Always remember, it is advisable to bring only the things that you need, packing lightly for an enjoyable experience.
If you are planning to go on a trek up Kilimanjaro in addition to your safari, please check out our separate packing list – climbing the highest mountain in Africa requires some special gear!
We look forward to seeing you in Tanzania!