JAMBO! Hello from Africa! I’ve been in Tanzania for the past week and I can’t wait to share this journey with you soon. I hope you have been following along on Instagram (especially Instagram Stories) as I have been sharing a lot of beautiful animals from our incredible photo safari. Before you go, let me share my Africa packing list as well as some tips to help make this trip easy.
Holy moly, it’s OCTOBER! How did that happen? I have been oblivious to what day it is, what time it is and certainly what’s going on in the world. I haven’t turned on a TV in 10 days. My entertainment has been the beautiful Serengeti National Park, the Grumeti Reserve and all the majestic animals it has to offer. I can’t even put into words how beautiful all the creatures are that we are seeing daily on our photo safari game drives. I will have two travel blog posts coming soon to tell you the exact details to all the incredible properties we stayed at (4 different Singita Luxury properties) and about the Grumeti Fund conservation project we helped with. This girls trip was all made possible by my good friend Ruth M. and I am grateful to be included!
This is my first trop to Africa. Yep, it was always on my bucket list and I highly recommend that you start planning a trip now. I’m trying to figure out when I can come back and I’m still here! Before you go, there are some great packing list suggestions and tips I can offer to make this go smoothly. I am so glad that Ruth reviewed all of this with me about a month before our departure. Her suggestions made my first trip seamless.
Know before you go:
- Book your trip as you will need your departure and return travel dates for the rest of this list.
- You will need a visa to most countries in Africa. Check here for the country you plan to visit and plan ahead to get your travel Visa in time.
- Register with STEP before you leave the country (Smart Traveler Enrollment Program).
- Make sure your passport is valid for AT LEAST 6 months from your travel dates.
- Buy travel insurance and a medevac (medical evacuation) plan. In case anything happens, you need to get out of the country and get medical treatment quickly.
- You will absolutely need shots and medication. This is a great place to make an appointment and get everything you need. Don’t wait until the last minute. Some of these shots are a 2 shot series. I got the following to visit Tanzania (you will get a yellow vaccination record):
- Hepatitis A & B
- Yellow Fever
- Tdap (Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis)
- Colera (suggested)
- Malaria medication prescription
- Antibiotic prescription
Also, I purchased over the counter medicine for anything I thought might come up. If you have a sensitive digestion system or do not adjust well to long flights and different cuisine, you need to be prepared. Be sure to bring any other prescription medicine you take on a daily basis. DO NOT drink the water in Tanzania (or anywhere in Africa). When water is served, make sure you see it coming out of a bottle.
When you travel to Africa, you will want to pack ONE large duffel bag and ONE carry on bag. Yep, that’s it! The duffel bag can weight 33 lbs. and your carry on bag can weigh 11 lbs. That’s because you will have several small planes to get where you are going, especially if you are visiting more that one place. Soft sided duffel bags work best. I got this Patagonia dufflebag and a back pack from Saint Bernard and they are perfect. Use packing cubes to organized everything you need in your duffel bag. For photo safaris, you need to be dressed in neutral colors and blend in with nature. No bright colors! I have linked everything below for you. Also, dress in layers. Tanzania is near the equator and really warm year-round but it gets a bit chilly at night and in the morning. This jacket served me well and I just took it off when it warmed up. I got it in olive green.
Heads up: You need lots of sunscreen and bug spray! I purchased clothes that had insect repellent in the fabric IN ADDITION to using the resorts bug spray. When you are in the bush for game drives, wear boots and socks. I LOVE this pair from Sorel and they fit true to size (they also come in black and burro). You will see me wear them back home with jeans too. There are a million insects, tsetse flies, bugs, ticks and critters. Wear a hat for sun cover as well keeping your hair out of your face as you drive in vehicle for game drives.Yes, I am sleeping in a bed with a mosquito net at every resort. Protect yourself!
Packing tips and helpful hints: This is not a beach vacation! Bring practical clothes that are easy to layer. Leave your make-up at home and bring only the necessities! These bras and underwear from Soma were so comfortable. I had 5 of everything (pants, shirts, t-shirts, socks…) and had the resort wash my laundry so I never ran out of clean clothes. Wear comfortable clothes for the journey to Africa. Chances are you will have lots of connections and layovers. It took us 25 hours of travel time to get here. Also, Tanzania is 8 hours ahead of Dallas. Adjust yourself as quickly as you can.
WHEW! That’s a lot of information in one post and I haven’t even shown you a picture of an animal yet. Don’t worry, much more to come in the next Africa blog post. I hope you find this helpful! I can honestly say, everything I brought was used and I never got sick or bitten.
xoxo – Tanya
P.S. If you are picky about snacks and having something to nibble on during layovers, I suggest packing your own.
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photo: Audrie Dollins