If you are heading to Masai Mara for a safari then there are a few things you definitely need to consider packing and a few things that are optional and depend on your personal preferences.  There are plenty of lists out there explaining what to pack and yet many travelers still get it wrong. International flights have an extra luggage allowance, but on many of the smaller planes and safari airlines the amount of luggage you can bring is limited, and you can end up paying a lot of money for being over-weight. I have listed a few items that I think is essential to make your trip smooth, effective and enjoyable. 

Safari Hats:

Pueblo Mens Fedora Mesh Cotton Outdoor Hat

Masai Mara is hot and sunny during the day and you definitely 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 not only help you from the sun but also from 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. 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 for watching wildlife particularly birds it makes it much more interesting. 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. 




Backpack or Daypack

Backpack Daypack Perfect for Hiking and Camping

A daypack or backpack is very handy during safari game drive. It also protects your sensitive items from dust and keeps your things organized on the bumpy roads. Usually, I have one and since the roads in the game park are so dusty I cover them with a plastic trash bag for extra protection. 


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 to organize my small camera gears and also protect them from dust and sun.

African weather varies a lot so it also helps to protect me from early morning and evening chilly 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 when you are in a safari park where you are not allowed to step outside of 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 gears, a small portable hard drive.  


Perfect Zoom lens for Fuji Mirrorless camera

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

Packing a Tele zoom lens is important for wildlife photography. Most of the time you will be in a location far away from our wildlife subject and this when your telecom will come in many.



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 a great close up pictures of wildlife without stepping out of the safari van. It is definitely worth to take one with you. If you can’t afford to buy it there are options to rent it for a week or two. Check out at 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 a heavy duty hiking boots as you will be restricted to step out of your safari van. A good durable pair of trainers is all that is needed.


Merrell Men’s Moab Ventilator Hiking Shoe






Travel Socks

Darn Tough Standard Issue Mid-Calf Light Socks

You definitely need to pack a few pairs of socks, it not only protects you from cold and dart but it also going to prevent you from getting mosquito bites.

Sometimes tucking your long trousers into the socks also helps fight the bites.



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. 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 in 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

Consider getting one of these adapters: Universal Adapter with Dual USB Charging Ports for USA EU UK AUS and if you are traveling to South Africa you may need to consider one of those unique South Africa Adapter. Even the most luxurious camps have a limited number of 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 gears is going to be an ongoing challenge. 

Additional Camera Battery and memory cards

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



It is a good idea to pack a pair of sunglasses 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.


Long Sleeves shirts and trousers 

Pack a couple of long-sleeved shirts and a pair of long trousers. The evenings can be chilly and they are also good for keeping mosquitoes and other insects at bay. 

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 preventive medication with you. 

Detergent for travel 

During your travel, you may end up in a situation when you need to hand wash your clothes. Small packs of Tide liquid detergent is 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 drive you will be going through unpaved dusty roads hours after an hour so it’s a good idea to keep few trash gags to protect your gears, pack or luggage. I used 50 gallons bad and to protect smaller items I used 20-gallon plastic trash bags.

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Hasan Mahmud

Traveler, Blogger, and Travel Photographer!

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