If you are heading to Masai Mara, Kenya for a safari, there are a few things you need to consider packing, some of which are optional and depend on your personal preferences. Plenty of lists explain what to pack, yet many travelers still get it wrong. For example, international flights have an extra luggage allowance. Still, on many smaller planes and safari airlines, the amount of luggage you can bring is limited, and you can end up paying a lot for being overweight. I have listed a few items that I think are essential to make your trip smooth, effective, and enjoyable Safari in Africa.

Safari Hat

Pueblo Mens Fedora Mesh Cotton Outdoor Hat

Masai Mara is hot and sunny during the day, and you need to protect yourself from UV rays and sunburn from intense heat.

Siggi Womens Wide Brim Summer Sun Flap Cap Hat Neck Cover Cord Cotton UPF 50+ Coffee

Remember, you will be out in the park in sunny weather for almost 10 hours, so it’s not a good idea to underestimate the strength of the African sun. Therefore, choosing a hat is important—a hat that can help you from the sun and its glare and UV rays.

Scarf or Shemagh

Mato & Hash Military Shemagh Tactical 100% Cotton Scarf Head Wrap – Olive Drab

The Tactical Headwear is made of thick and soft material which protects your head and neck from sun, sand, wind, and dust. In addition, this scarf-type wrap provides protection from the early morning or late afternoon cold wind during the game drive in an open-top safari van.


Bushnell PowerView 20×50 Super High-Powered Surveillance Binoculars

I would recommend taking a high-end pair of binoculars for your safari. It is definitely okay without it, and you can still enjoy the safari to its fullest, but watching wildlife, particularly birds, makes it much more enjoyable. Many animals are shy and usually hide in the bushes, so a binocular certainly helps to isolate your subject from a distance, so the benefit is enormous.

Daypack / Backpack

Venture Pal 40L Lightweight Packable Travel Hiking Backpack Daypack

This backpack is made of high-quality tear and water-resistant nylon fabric, heavy-duty metal zippers, and enhanced by bar-tacks at major stress points, providing long-lasting durability against daily activities. In addition, the extra strength provided by the double-layer bottom piece makes it possible to carry more stuff.

Safari Vest

Shimmery Mens Outdoor Multi Pocket Safari, Travel Photography Jacket Vest

If you are a travel photographer then, in my opinion, this is one of the things you must carry. The multi pockets help me organize my small camera gears and protect them from dust and sun. African weather varies a lot, so it also helps to protect me from early morning and chilly evening weather. Check it out if this is right for your personal needs.

Safari Sack for Photographers

Kinesis SafariSack 4.2 (Black / PolyBead Filled)

This rugged bean bag is for supporting a DSLR, mirrorless, or video camera on a vehicle, particularly on a safari vehicle, car window, chair, table, tree limb, fence post, or on the ground. It is quicker to use than a tripod in a safari park where you are not allowed to step outside your van. The bag has a zippered compartment—filler, such as polyethylene beads, buckwheat hulls, rice, beans, etc., can be added w/o the need for a liner.

Mirrorless Camera 

Fujifilm X-T2 Mirrorless Digital Camera Body – Graphite Silver

This Fujifilm mirrorless camera is for photography enthusiasts who plan on taking many pictures without having to carry heavy gear and a small portable hard drive.

Perfect Zoom lens for Fuji Mirrorless camera

Fujinon XF55-200mmF3.5-4.8 R LM OIS

Masai Mara is hot and sunny during the day, and you need to protect yourself from UV rays and sunburn from intense heat.

High-End DSLR For Professional Grade Wildlife Photography

Nikon D850 FX-format Digital SLR Camera Body

If cost is not an issue, then Nikon D850 is the right camera that you need to bring for your once-in-a-lifetime wildlife photography in Masai Mara National Reserve.

Tele Zoom for Wildlife Photography

Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED Vibration Reduction Zoom Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras

A Tele zoom is all you need to capture great close-up wildlife pictures without stepping out of the safari van. It is definitely worth taking one with you. If you can’t afford to buy it, there are options to rent it for a week or two. Check out your local camera dealers

Hiking Shoe

Hi-Tec Women’s Wn Logan Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot, Charcoal/Cool Grey/Lichen, 9 M US

It’s important to know that for the safari in Masai Mara or any other game drive, you don’t need heavy-duty hiking boots as you will be restricted from stepping out of your safari van. A good durable pair of trainers is all that is needed.

Merrell Men’s Moab Ventilator Hiking Shoe

Perfect for hiking, jogging, hiking.

Travel Socks

Darn Tough Standard Issue Mid-Calf Light Socks

Masai Mara is hot and sunny during the day, and you need to protect yourself from UV rays and sunburn from intense heat.

Compression Socks for Flight and Travel

Compression Socks for Flight Travel and Running

Deep vein thrombosis, the formation of blood clots in deep veins, is a known risk of longer flights. Therefore, one of the recommendations is to wear compression stockings while traveling.

Mosquito, Tick and Insect Repellent

Ben’s 100% DEET Mosquito, Tick, and Insect Repellent, 3.4 Ounce Pump

If you are enjoying your dinner at a local restaurant or on a game drive in Masai Mara, you definitely need to apply insect repellent in Kenya. Do some research and buy the products that work best against mosquitoes and ticks.

Power Adapter for Safari

Power Adapter For African Safari

Consider getting one of these adapters: Universal Adapter with Dual USB Charging Ports for USA, EU, UK, and AUS; if you are traveling to South Africa, you may need to consider one of those unique South Africa adapters. Even the most luxurious camps have limited outlets in each guest tent; moreover, in Masai Mara, you may have electricity produced by a generator, so they are available during a certain time of the day/evening. Therefore charging your gear is going to be an ongoing challenge. 

Additional Camera Battery & Memory Cards

Memory Card for Camera

You will want to take lots of photographs, so make sure you take plenty of memory cards for your camera. Also, don’t forget to pack a charger and an extra battery.


Sunglasses For Travel

Packing a pair of sunglasses is a good idea as the glare from the sun during the middle of the day can hurt your eyes and give you a headache, especially if you are not used to it.

Shirts and Trousers

Long Sleeves Shirts & Trousers

Masai Mara is hot and sunny during the day, and you need to protect yourself from UV rays and sunburn from intense heat.

Malaria Prevention 

Most of the African national reserves are in a malaria risk area. I had to take anti-malaria drugs for 30 days. Please consult your doctor before your trip, and do not forget to take the preventive medication with you. 

Detergent for travel 

During your travel, you may end up in a situation where you need to hand wash your clothes. Small packs of Tide liquid detergent are enough to wash a few items in the sink when traveling. 

Trash Bags

The roads to Safari parks could be very much dusty, and also, while game drives, you will be going through unpaved dusty roads hour after hour, so it’s a good idea to keep a few trash bags to protect your gear, pack, or luggage. I used 50 gallons bags and 20-gallon plastic trash bags to protect smaller items.

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Hasan Mahmud

Traveler, Blogger, and Travel Photographer!

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