The Sky’s the Limit | Packing Tips for your African safari

The following is a guest post from Lisa Marsden of XA! nini African Wildlife Safaris

Africa is vast with many national parks and game reserves located in remote wilderness areas. Often as with Botswana, the only way to reach them is with a small aircraft. Typically, aircraft are not airliners. They are relatively small and therefore always have strict luggage and weight restrictions. A variety of safety issues also dictate the luggage restrictions; from the small baggage stowage bays, length of runways to fuel limitiations, etc. Your safety in the air always comes first so beware, pilots will simply not fly when the plane is overweight!!

Tips & Guidelines

Here are some valuable guidelines when flying to a safari destination in Africa:

  • Maximum luggage weight is 20kg’s per person including carry-on luggage if more than one bag and camera equipment.
  • Check the baggage dimentions permitted by each airline. Airlines vary, however the average dimentions for soft bags should be: 25cm (10 inches) wide by 30 cm (12 inches) high & 62 cm (24 inches) long.
  • Remember not to keep all valuables including all camera equipment in your hand held luggage. Never place any valuables in your luggage. It will be stolen.
  • The colour of the bag is irrelevant so Luggage size and weight is important as long as its a SOFT BAG (all sides) with no rigid sides or wheels.
  • Bags need to be squashed and pushed into the often small storay pods under the aircraft. Your bags will not be kept clean!
  • Passengers weighing over 115 kg’s should advise in advance, as an extra seat might have to be costed into the package. This is purely for SAFETY reasons.
  • *Excess baggage can be stored at most international airports or with your touring company. (Please ensure this is pre arranged prior to departure)

The science to safari packing

Plan your packing list in advance and don’t pack things “just in case”.

  • Neutral tones of brown, khaki, olive, sand, taupe, grey, green, etc are preferable when on safari or walking in the bush.
  • Folding items individually into squares is the worst way to pack – its space inefficient and increases creasing. Instead, roll clothes into sausages placing them on top of each other.
  • Shoes are bulkiest – always wear the biggest / heaviest items of clothing / shoes on the plane.
  • 99% of the lodges and camps you will stay at offer or include a laundry service, however it’s advisable to bring with a small container of soap suds or liquid for delicates and smalls.


Safe travels!





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One Response to “The Sky’s the Limit | Packing Tips for your African safari”

  1. safaris in tanzania March 31, 2011 8:40 am

    Great safari tips. It is good to note that Hard Suitcases are not allowed by some small carriers. Duffel bags can be the best but one should be ready to pay extra for the extra Kilos..

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