Kenya is known worldwide for its beautiful culture and impressive wildlife. It’s a destination to go on safari for years, which is the main highlight of most visitors. Don’t forget that Kenya has a tropical climate. A wide variety of conditions, including dust, wet, hot, and cold weather. If you are preparing for a safari trip, then you are probably thinking about these questions. What kind of clothes do you pack when you go on safari? Which items are even more useful, and how do you take it all with you?
Beware of Plastic Bags in Kenya
Since 2017 certain plastic bags are banned in Kenya, which includes Ziploc. Offenders can face a penalty if didn’t respect the rules. Make sure it doesn’t contain any plastic bag when preparing the luggage. I usually used Ziploc to pack everything, but I’m using reusable toiletry bags and transparent boxes this time.
Packing List for Safari
Packing for a safari is a different story. It is not like going on a beach holiday to Seychelles and Mauritius, which as easy as pie. Also, it depends on what you are going to do. We spent 17 days traveling around Kenya but spend most of our time on safari. We’ve also done some Campings but didn’t pack any equipment because we rented a vehicle that includes the outdoor gear needed for camping.
Items that should be on the suitcase
Some say don’t wear dark for safari because it attracts tsetse flies. I pack my stuff as I use to, packing dark colors. Tsetse flies have nothing to do with what color of clothes you wear; it has to do something with your blood. Our local driver has more trouble with the insect than we do.
Long pants: I take two pairs of trousers in light fabric. One of the pleasing parts covered your legs to prevent insect bites if sitting outside in the evening.
Short pants: I pack two pairs of shorts. The temperature during the day can sometimes be unbearable. They say don’t wear shorts when going on safari to avoid insect bites. But you’ll see more people in bare legs.
T-shirts: Pack light clothing made from fabrics such as linen and cotton. Don’t wear white color during the safari drive because it’ll turn grey from dust at the end of the day.
Long sleeves: The Kenyan mosquitoes are like a man-eater. Once the sun goes down, you feel them whirling, especially if sitting outside. Protect your legs and arm against the bite.
2 dresses: They can be worn any time of the day and evening, especially if going to a restaurant. Take a dress that goes below the knee for Kenya.
Cargo pants: This could be comfortable to wear if going for a hike or a safari drive. Choose a pant that can be zip-off lightweight and breathable fabric with moisture management to keep your body cool and fresh all day.
A pair of shoes: I also take a walking shoe. Kenya is more than just a safari. You can go for a hike or climb a mountain. However, running shoes are adequate.
Socks: breathable sock that absorbs sweat.
Flip Flop: I never leave on a trip without my flip Flop, as it represents comfort. And can be worn during the day, even inside your hotel room.
Waterproof or fleece jacket: It can rain anytime in Kenya. We were so lucky that it only rained once in December. But temperatures dropped below 10 degrees at night. Therefore you need a warm coat if going outside.
More essentials stuff
Money and credit cards: You can pay US dollars in Kenya. Take a small denomination as well with you, which helps to give as tips. Credit cards are acceptable in some hotels and bigger establishments but keep in mind additional charges applied in some places.
Towels: Certainly, bring towels if you plan on camping. I pack microfiber towels because they are lightweight and dry quickly.
Camera and memory cards: Kenya is a beautiful country, and digital photography is easy and allows you to take hundreds of photos. Certainly, bring extra memory cards.
Hat or baseball cap: You will be sitting most of the time inside the vehicle during the safari drive, yet protect your head from the heat and dust. However, you can easily purchase hats in Kenya. They are available in any souvenir shop at a low price.
Sunglasses: It shield your eyes from harmful sun and UV rays and dust during the safari drive.
Toiletries: Good to pack something from home. However, a lot of Western products are available in Kenya.
Flashlight or headlight: Whether you go camping or stay in a lodge, a torch is a must in Kenya. How further you go from bigger cities, how more troubles with power. Some four-star hotels have generators, but there weren’t backed-up at all if you’re staying in a budget hotel.
Day backpack: Keep your stuff away from dust during a safari drive. Also useful if going on a hike to hide your food and drinks from the monkeys.
More things needed for Kenya
Sunscreen: Don’t underestimate the African sun. It would be best to prepare for not getting a sunburn during the safari and other activities you’ll do in Kenya.
Insect repellent: an essential item in your luggage; never leave home without it. If you want undisturbed in the evening and enjoy the outdoors, a good insect spray is necessary.
Medicine: Besides the right vaccinations that can protect you from tropical diseases, it is highly recommended to take a Malaria tablet. Another essential medication I have in my luggage is pills against diarrhea. This comes in handy if you are in a remote area where no pharmacy nearby.
Some extra gadgets
A plug adapter: The first thing I have in mind when going on a trip. Kenyan socket is the same as Great Britain; they have a three-pole socket.
A power bank: A power bank is now an indispensable accessory for your mobile devices. It is handy to have a portable charger at hand, especially if using the phones for photography.
Lightning SD card camera reader: Unfortunately works with Apple devices only. A smarter way to download photos and videos from your digital camera directly on your iPhone or iPad with lightning connections. Inserted the SD memory card of your camera into this converter’s input, and you can view the pictures right away. A much better way to see larger images through a tablet.
An unlocked smartphone: Mobile phones are the easiest to take on a trip, whether used for taking pictures or the internet. Local sim cards are available at Nairobi airport for 9 euros, which includes 5 GB of data. And most hotel and camping in Kenya has free internet. For the best mobile network, purchase the Safaricom!
Binoculars: If you want to see the animals up close, you need good binoculars.
Country’s General Information
Traveling to Kenya needs to be planned as some vaccines are recommended. We were lucky to have the shots last year when traveling to India. However, traveling during the pandemic is a bit of a hassle. It was an exciting moment as we didn’t expect what the results might be. A negative PCR-based COVID-19 test is conducted within 96 hours before travel, which is costs 67 euros in Belgium.
And also, we need to fill up online the Travelers Health SurveillanceForm for the QR code. The code is mandatory and will be asked together with the negative PCR test during check-in and when arriving in Kenya.
Kenya Tourist Visa
It is easy to get an online tourist visa for Kenya. Check if you are eligible for an e-visa. A single-entry tourist e-visa for Kenya costs 51 US dollars. You need to create an online account first to this official tourist visa portal with a valid email address.
Be aware of a long process, seven pages you need to fill in online. And before you begin, you need all these requirements: air ticket booking, name of the hotel where you stay in Kenya, ID photo, a copy of your passport cover, and lastly, a credit card for the payment.
It takes a day to approve the visa. You must log-in to your account, and there you see if your visa is granted because you don’t get a notification. Then print out the document as you will need it at the immigration in Kenya.
Getting Around Kenya
The first thing we did when planning the trip we came to a question about how we get around? Traveling by public transport is out of the way as we have three weeks only. Thus, it leaves us with two options; hiring a vehicle or book a tour. But after comparing the price and we will be doing most of the safari, we decided to rent a jeep with a driver. It is not cheap, but the most convenient way of traveling around the country.
Online Vehicle Booking
Searching online for jeep rental isn’t easy, as there were enough to choose from. As we’re planning to do some campings in Kenya, I searched for a company that will provide a whole camping gear. And I came to a company Roadtrip Africa. The online booking goes smoothly, and the emails were promptly replying. You can follow their route or made your own itinerary; it doesn’t cost you extra. We pay 2490 euros for 16 days with a driver, which includes camping gear.