Packing for any trip is never easy, especially when going on an African Safari. Am I taking too little or too much? Should I use a suitcase or a backpack? Could these nice shoes come in handy? Will there be varying degrees of temperature? All very important questions – but even more so when you’re hoping to prepare a green traveler’s packing list.
When it comes to going on a safari for the first time, the packing task can get even harder, because it’s hard to know what to expect and what you’ll need in a situation that you’ve never been in before.
What’s more, you’re going on a safari to feel close to nature and animals, so your impact on the environment is likely to be an issue in your mind as well. And yes, the way you pack can make a huge difference.
Considering all these confusing issues and questions, let’s take a look at the essentials on a green traveler’s packing list for going on a safari.
My initial advice would be to simply call your tour operator or travel agency to ask which items they will already have with them. What is in their first aid kit? Do they furnish sleeping bags? Safari binoculars?
The answers to these questions are essential to help you pack only what’s needed. And that’s important because the keyword for any green traveler is LIGHT.
Having a light pack is not only practical for you, but it also reduces the carbon emissions of your plane and of every transport you’re likely to take. Whether you take a suitcase or a backpack is up to you, but remember that wheels are not the most practical idea in the African bush, so be sure you’re able to carry whatever you bring.
Another big environmental issue on a safari is soap and laundry. There’s a big chance that most of the water you use will be released right back into the soil, so the components of the products you bring with you should be looked at with a lot of care.
The best is to go for an openly vegan brand or take simple products that can be used in a lot of situations, such as Castile Soap or Marseille Soap. You can even do laundry with those. It will also guarantee that your products have not been tested on animals, which is a good habit to take.
You’re certainly not going to drink tap water in the African bush, and plastic bottles are the worst enemy of the green traveler. There are two solutions here: a water bottle with water-purification tablets, or a water bottle with a built-in filter.
Before buying your water bottle, take a look at the components, too. Most plastic bottles contain BPA, which is not a good thing for your health, especially in the African heat. Stainless-steel bottles are the most respectful of the environment and will keep the water as cool as possible.
It’s always practical to have a few plastic bags with you to be able to store muddy shoes or wet towels. They will also be a good way to dispose of anything you want to throw out, rather than leave those things behind.
A flashlight is on any Safari packing list or even any regular travel packing list, for that matter. Choose a dyno torch! They’re resistant, waterproof, will last a lifetime, are always working when you need them and, of course, they don’t need batteries. This means no carrying extra batteries in your suitcase and, best of all, no batteries in the garbage bag!
Thank you for helping to preserve this amazing environment!