We all know that you can’t shoot from the hip when hunting in Africa, that’s why careful planning is essential to a successful hunting expedition.
For the first-time visitor, packing your bags can be tricky with so many things to consider – like the season, weather forecast, type of terrain, species you’ll be hunting and facilities at the camp to name a few.
Thankfully, with many miles under our boots, many successful hunts and many satisfied hunters, we have some sound advice…
The best thing you can do is to check with your hunting outfitter.
Your outfitter or agent can provide you with all the requirements and also give some inside info on what to expect.
•• Pack light! Most lodges and camps offer a daily laundry service, just double check with your agent.
•• Three complete outfit changes should be enough.
•• Try avoid bright and dark colors. Khaki, camel, light brown and olive colors are best suited for the African bush. Insects are drawn to bright, dark colors, and you want to avoid bug bites.
•• Camouflage is legal in South Africa and Namibia, but follow up with your outfitter about wearing camo in other African countries.
•• Don’t forget to pack something comfortable for campsite activities or down time.
•• Think layers – depending on the season and region, it can be cold in mornings and evenings with temperatures rising steeply during the day.
•• The sun almost always shines brightly in Africa, so don’t forget to pack accordingly.
You’ll do a lot of walking in the wide-open plains of Africa, so think comfort over style.
Don’t bring new boots! You don’t want blisters after the first walk-and-stalk. Make sure you have something with ankle support, but it’s not necessary for waterproof boots, although it can be an advantage during the rainy season.
•• Trail / Hiking Trainers:
There might be days where you can give your trusty boots a rest and a pair of comfy trainers will bring some welcome relief, especially around camp.
•• Sandals / Flip-flops:
Even though you might see the local African PHs hiking in sturdy leather sandals, we suggest you don’t. However, it makes sense to slip into something lighter and more comfortable when relaxing around camp.
Shorts or long pants? We suggest both. And remember, the more useful pockets you have, the better.
•• 3 Pairs of Long Pants (Trousers):
Think sunburnt calves, thorns and insect bites, especially from ticks. They like to crawl up to the more, erm, cozier parts. And a tick bite could mean a feverish end to your hunting trip.
•• 1 or 2 Pairs of Shorts:
It really depends on the region and time of year, although packing a pair of shorts won’t take up much space and can provide some respite in cases of extreme heat. Go for cargo shorts with extra pockets.
•• Bonus Tip:
Look for those long pants or trousers with the leg bottoms that can zip off to convert into shorts. Two for one!
Stick to neutral colors, nothing too dark or too light, and remember to layer.
•• 2 Long-Sleeve Shirts:
It’s a matter of preference if you choose button-up shirts or not, but it’s a matter of importance to select something that’s light and breathable.
•• 2 Short-Sleeve or T-shirts:
For the huntress, why not pack a tank top or three to use as undershirts?
•• 2 to 3 Sweaters or Jackets
Jackets and sweaters take up a lot of space in your bag, but if you’re going hunting in winter, pack one more piece of warm clothing just in case. One lightweight, one medium weight and one heavyweight item will do the job.
•• Bonus Tip:
Invest in a jacket that doubles up as a raincoat.
•• At least 1 Full-Brim Hat & 1 Baseball Cap for the campsite
•• 4 to 5 Sets of Underwear (thermals for winter)
•• 4 to 5 Pairs of Socks
•• Gators / Leggings
•• Sunglasses – preferably polarized lenses for cutting out glare when searching for game
•• Lightweight Gloves for winter
•• Scarf/Bandana and/or Beanie for winter
•• 2 sets of PJ's
•• Swimwear for summertime
•• Small backpack for daily use
•• And of course travel clothing – if you don’t want to travel in your camos.
For more on what equipment, documentation and personal items to pack for your African Hunting Safari, check out our other blog posts.
And remember, these are merely recommendations. We don’t recommend going shopping specifically for clothing for the African bush. First, check what you have in your wardrobe and go from there.