Packing List for Travelling to Africa

The size of Africa should not be understated; it is big, very big. The UK could fit into Africa over 120 times, and the continent is home to 54 different countries. Africa is split down the middle by the equator; however, because of the bulge of the West African countries, the majority of the land mass sits above the equator. This colossal size and unique geographic position make the continent somewhat challenging to make a general packing list for. You could just as easily be exploring the boutiques of South Africa as you could be skiing in Morocco!


One of the simplest but hardest things to get right with travel is the choice of clothes you bring with you. Often we can find ourselves with way too many clothes, occasionally with too few and all too often with not the right ones. Common perceptions of African countries can be misleading, with many travellers thinking they have to pack the kitchen sink; however, this often isn’t the case. With some of the less developed countries it can be more difficult to find toiletries and other essentials. However, most of the larger cities and more developed countries are better set up for tourism so can accommodate for a new can of deodorant here or there!

Visiting Africa is less of a holiday and more of an experience, and should be packed for accordingly. Functional items should take priority over fashionable ones. We’ve put together a sample list of some of the things you’ll want to consider for a week travelling in Africa. If you’re travelling longterm around the continent, these things can easily be washed or replaced so a week’s worth of clothes is all you should really need.

4-5 vests/tank tops/t-shirts – ideally made of lightweight and breathable material.

1-2 Long sleeve t-shirts/shirts – suitable for travelling in more conservative countries or in colder climates.

Durable sandals/flip flops – make sure these are comfortable for walking.

Hiking Boots – if you’re trekking or walking longer distances, these are vital!

One pair of comfortable everyday shoes – these will be your go-to footwear, emphasis on comfort.

Variety of socks such as trainer, hiking and regular socks

Lightweight dress/long skirt (women)

Plenty of underwear, at least a week’s worth

One regular and one sports bra at the least (women)

A rain jacket to suit activities – lightweight for everyday use or heavier if you’ll be trekking and heading to the mountains.

Several pairs of lightweight trousers

2-3 pairs of shorts

1-2 swimming costumes

A hat to cover face and neck from the sun

This is a very rough outline of what we suggest you pack in your bag for your African adventure. Make sure to leave a little room in your bag for replacements or additionals if required!.

Other Essentials: First Aid, Toiletries, Bags

Choosing the right selection of bags is important as this will govern your carrying capacity and your comfort while travelling. Bringing more than one bag will allow you to manage how much you’re carrying at any particular time. For example, you don’t want to just have one main rucksack as this will mean using it for absolutely everything, not ideal! Bringing a smaller daypack will mean you can only carry the essentials while you’re out and about and not have to worry about lugging your whole life on your back. We’d suggest checking out bags that come with RFID protection, as this is what could be used to steal money from credit cards using the contactless functionality.

Toiletries, although important, should be kept to a minimal number. Luxuries that you can afford to live without, have no room on a trip to Africa, besides many other of your fellow travellers will be in the same boat. Make sure you pack plenty of sun-care products such as sunscreen and aftersun, these will be vital as the African sun can be intense.

A basic first aid kit will be enough to get you by for sure. Plasters, paracetamol and Imodium (or similar), along with some other basic medical products, won’t take up much room and give you peace of mind while travelling around.

Although we’ve tried to touch all bases in this list, there’s likely to be some items missed off, so we’re always open to suggestions! Let us know what you packed for exploring the great continent by getting in touch on Facebook and Twitter! If you think Africa is the perfect place for your next adventure, why not check out our desert experience in Morocco or our selection of Ethiopia tours?

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