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35 Top Africa Packing List Items for 2024 + What to Wear & NOT to Bring

35 Top Africa Packing List Items for 2024 + What to Wear & NOT to Bring
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Many Westerners see Africa as an exotic, faraway land – one that’s so different that it’s hard to comprehend. Fortunately, more and more people are visiting Africa to see for themselves what it’s really like. From the fascinating history of Egypt, to the exceptional wildlife safaris of South Africa, to the rich culture of Senegal– you’ll find magic in every country of this beautiful continent.

To help prepare you for diverse landscapes and cultural etiquette, we’ve put together this packing list, including a section on what to wear in Africa, what NOT to bring., seasonal information, and FAQs.

35 Top Africa Packing List Items for 2024 + What to Wear & NOT to Bring
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What to Pack for Africa – 35 Essentials

  • 1. High-Quality Filtered Water Bottle

    Avoiding tap water is probably the #1 thing visitors should do to stay healthy in Africa. Out on safari or in less populated areas, bottled water may not be readily available, and you will appreciate having autonomy over your water supply. The Grayl filtered water bottle is our preferred option – it’s top-quality and filters out harmful bacteria, viruses, microplastics, sediment, chlorine, and more. It’s not cheap, but also not expensive considering you’ll pay more in health bills by gambling with e. Coli or Hepatitis A.

    High-Quality Filtered Water Bottle

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  • 2. Neck Wallet

    You’ll obviously need your passport to reach Africa. A passport pouch is useful for keeping your credit cards, cash, phones, plane tickets, and of course… passports — organized for the long international journey. It’s also smart when traversing crowded tourist attractions or busy marketplaces where pickpockets tend to hang out. This one is difficult for sticky hands to open and it can be worn discreetly under your shirt to prevent petty theft. It also has RFID-Blocking material, which means anyone scanning your bag from afar cannot steal your financial information.

    Available on with an exclusive 15% discount using the coupon code “HERO”.

    Neck Wallet

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  • 3. Virtual Private Network (VPN)

    Ransomware is rapidly growing in Africa and the country is digitally-evolving faster than the legislation can keep up with. This means there isn’t sufficient security around cyberattacks and you will need to protect yourself from any data breaches or online theft. You may not realize this, but if you go on any public or unsecured Wi-Fi such as at a restaurant, airport, or hotel – you are putting your passwords and credit cards at risk of being stolen. The last thing you want is to discover your bank account has been drained or your identity has been sold to the dark web! But a good provider like NordVPN makes it next to impossible for hackers to access your private info.

    Also, many African countries heavily censor the internet, which means you may be unable to check emails or stream your favorite shows on services like Netflix, YouTube, or HBO. If you plan on remaining connected on your journey, a reliable VPN is essential to prevent getting blocked. Get the VPN beforehand for discounted flight tickets since they can’t geolocate you, woo-hoo!


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  • 4. Power Adapter for Africa

    If you’re coming from North America, you’ll need a power adapter anywhere in Africa. There are several different types of plugs found throughout the continent, so a universal adapter is the way to go. This one is our favorite because it works in 100+ popular countries and can be used for future travel as well. The only African country this one won’t work for is South Africa, as that plug is a different kind entirely – we recommend this Type M adapter for South Africa.

    Power Adapter for Africa

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  • 5. Activated Charcoal (Food Poisoning Remedy)

    If you’re careful about what you eat and drink as you travel around Africa, hopefully, you can avoid getting sick. But there’s always some risk, so bring a bottle of activated charcoal to be prepared. If you get sick, it’ll stop diarrhea by absorbing whatever toxins are in your system, saving you a lot of time and distress by getting you back on your feet in no time!

    Activated Charcoal (Food Poisoning Remedy)

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  • 6. Travel Insurance for Africa

    Your domestic provider does not cover you overseas and you will need a travel-based form of insurance to protect yourself and your loved ones. For this region in particular, buying travel insurance is essential since you need to expect the unexpected on the vast plains of Africa. We had a friend break their arm overseas – thankfully, she had insured her trip and wasn’t forced to pay out-of-pocket for major surgery and treatment expenses.

    It costs a tiny fraction of your total trip cost and will cover you for common traveler issues like delays, theft, baggage loss, international hospital bills, and even the ability to cancel your trip “for any reason!” We use Faye because they simplify everything through their mobile app (I’ve avoided filling out insurance paperwork in the past because it was so daunting… but Faye made the claims process super easy and sent us funds when we needed them most). We love the peace of mind of knowing we’re covered, and it’s way more affordable than people think.

    Travel Insurance for Africa

    Get a quote in less than 60 seconds with Faye ➜

  • 7. Lipstick-Sized Portable Charger

    These days, keeping your devices charged while on the go is essential. Africa is no exception. Although the continent boasts a population of 1.2 billion people, almost 75% is uninhabited. This means you will be spending long days lost in the bush or deep in the Valley of Kings, with no power grid in sight. I can’t tell you how many times this lipstick-sized charger has saved us on our journey when our phones were almost out of batteries and we needed to look something up online, navigate somewhere, or call for a ride. If you plan on spending a lot of time off-grid, we highly suggest bringing a solar-powered power bank as well.

    Lipstick-Sized Charger

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  • 8. Packing Cubes

    Packing cubes are the secret to any organized suitcase or backpack. They come with three or five different-sized cubes (depending on which variety you choose), so you can organize your things and easily find them at your destination. They are well-ventilated to keep your clothes and other belongings smelling fresh. Label each cube “tops, pants, essentials, socks, etc.” and never lose anything on vacation again! There are even bonus laundry bags so that you can separate your dirty clothes from your clean ones.

    packing cubes

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  • 9. Jet Lag Relief

    These jet lag relief supplements are a must-have for our international travel days. If you’re an American traveler, direct flights to Africa can take 15+ hours and the time change is nearly 10 hours ahead. This is a recipe for disaster against your internal clock and can really throw off your first couple of days on vacation. These supplements are herbal and balance your circadian rhythm, giving you energy without the jitters or caffeine rush. They’re an absolute game-changer!

    jet lag relief

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  • 10. Quick-Dry Travel Towel

    Whether you go swimming, hiking, exploring ancient temples, on safari, or just lounging by the Mediterranean Sea – a travel towel will definitely come in handy. These quick-dry towels are much more compact than a regular towel (so you’re not lugging around bulky hotel towels everywhere), plus they dry 10x faster than typical cotton. It’s one of the most versatile items you can bring, doubling as a shawl, packing cushion, seat cover, changing curtain, and more.

    Quick-Dry Travel Towel

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  • 11. Hanging Toiletry Bag

    Bathrooms can be small or non-existent across the plains of Africa. If you’re staying at a resort or hotel, you will likely have a toilet and sink, but countertop space and storage are not guaranteed. We were elated to discover this hack – a hanging toiletry bag that takes all of your toiletry products and converts them into a shelf-like storage system. You’ll find that this noticeably ups your travel game and minimizes stress. It’s WAY better than sprawling products all over the place and creating utter chaos in your suite.

    Just hang this nifty case on any door, hook, shower pole, or branch if camping, and you can easily see everything at eye-level to avoid rummaging for that little lip balm or digging for cotton swabs. It has 4 spacious internal pockets with elastic bands to hold your bottles in place, and 3 external pockets which are perfect for smaller items like medicine and jewelry.

    hanging toiletry bag

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  • 12. Windproof Travel Umbrella

    If you plan to visit Africa, you’ll want to be aware of each country’s rainy season. Packing a small but sturdy travel umbrella would be a good idea so that you are prepared regardless of the weather forecast. It’s also great for blocking the sun while waiting in long lines. We’d recommend this travel umbrella in particular because it’s durable and has a lifetime replacement guarantee!

    travel umbrella

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  • 13. Discounted Tickets to African Attractions

    Get Your Guide is our favorite booking service for the best local tours that will completely enhance your trip. From ziplining in Tsitsikamma to safari in Nairobi, you’ll find no shortage of adventure in Africa! And there are so many ways to get around Africa – by dune buggy in the Sahara, by cruising down the Nile, or by camelback.

    Obviously, tourists are drawn to the Egyptian pyramids and popular spots like The Blue Town for a reason… They are amazing! But carve out some time for lesser-known experiences like cooking a traditional Morrocan meal, visiting the Ouzoud Waterfalls, marveling at wildlife on a Puebla safari, or hiking Paradise Valley.

    Discounted Tickets to African Attractions

    See all African attractions at ➜

  • 14. TSA-Approved Luggage Locks

    Crowded places like tourist attractions, public buses, and beaches can draw thieves. You’re also trusting your checked luggage to the airlines as it disappears out of sight for potentially dozens of hours. As someone who’s had things stolen out of their checked bag, I recommend these TSA-approved luggage locks that are harder to crack than traditional locks. Bring a couple of sets for your suitcase, backpack, locker, or anything else you need to secure.

    luggage locks

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  • 15. Luggage Straps

    Frankly, it’s a long journey to Africa and I wouldn’t feel safe sending my bags on that rough passage without attaching these luggage straps. Between the layovers and common mishandling of bags – things break. Actually, an average of 25+ million bags per year are damaged or lost by airlines. And the last thing you’ll want to deal with is a suitcase exploding open while it’s being thrown around from one conveyor belt to the next.

    They can withstand 700+ lbs of force tension, fit nearly any-sized case (hard-shell, soft-shell, children’s case, carry-on, etc.), and will ensure your items arrive in one piece. Another brilliant perk is the brightly-colored straps that you’ll spot from a mile away, even in a sea of bags that look all the same. And the built-in ID tags are a thoughtful touch in case anything gets temporarily lost.

    luggage straps

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  • 16. Motion Sickness Patches

    Between whale-watching in Cape Verde, busing on bumpy roads through Madagascar, or riding the roller-coaster of sand dunes in Namibia – these motion sickness patches will offer support against nausea. I used to get very sick on trains, planes, and cars, but this remedy has drastically improved my life. My favorite perk is that it’s more gentle than oral medication and doesn’t cause the typical drowsiness of products like Drammamine.

    Motion Sickness Patches

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  • 17. Cooling Towels

    The highest recorded temperature in Africa is 136°F. While it’s unlikely that temps will skyrocket during your visit, it could still be very hot. Just in case, we recommend bringing a set of cooling towels – these magical babies drop to 20-30 degrees colder than the outside temperature and stay frosty for up to an hour! Simply add water and you’ll be resilient against the harsh UV rays.

    towel pink

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  • 18. Ultralight Travel Backpack

    Day-to-day, a backpack will be the smartest way to carry all of your essentials (water bottle, camera, phone, wallet, etc.) while still remaining hands-free. This one by Venture Pal is designed for travel. It’s super lightweight, with tons of storage compartments and material that resists water, rips, and abrasions. If you were in an emergency, it also has a whistle attached to the front buckle to call for help.

    Ultralight Travel Backpack

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  • 19. Convertible Hiking Pants

    Convertible hiking pants will be perfect for safari and other outdoor excursions. You don’t want to wear jeans or anything overly-heavy that can cause heat stress. Not to mention, bright colors are a no-no since they can attract unwanted attention from wildlife. This option is neutral and practical because you can rip off the lower pant legs if they get wet or muddy, transitioning from pants to shorts with ease. They’re even designed with a silver fiber cooling system for built-in temperature regulation.

    Convertible Hiking Pants

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  • 20. Universal Waterproof Phone Cases

    Dive to depths of up to 75 feet to explore coral reefs and marine life in Zanzibar and capture it all on camera with this waterproof phone case. It will also keep pesky sand from collecting in the nooks and crannies of your phone while you traverse the Sahara desert on camelback. No matter where in Africa you choose to explore, a waterproof phone case will protect your lifeline from the elements.

    Universal Waterproof Phone Cases

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  • 21. Water-Resistant Crocs

    For daily walks through town, you’ll be more comfortable in protective shoes. You may also be moving through savannahs, the rainforest, and more, so having water-resistant Crocs is ideal since you can easily hose off any mud or dirt. They’re incredibly comfy, and I preferred having a slip-on pair than having to un-lace shoes every time I entered a home. Here’s a pair for men.

    Water-Resistant Crocs

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  • 22. Packable “Just in Case” Bag

    Africa will leave an imprint on your heart and you will likely feel called to bring back some stunning local goods! Use this “just in case” bag to do a little shopping on your getaway and bring home a piece of your memories. Between a multi-billion-dollar diamond empire, scrumptious tea exports, old-world wine, textiles, masks, jewelry, baskets, and vibrant artwork – you’ll find plenty of gifts for yourself and your loved ones. This bag can be easily stored under your plane seat on the trip home and counts as your personal item.

    Packable “Just in Case” Bag

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  • 23. Probiotics

    Many African nations don’t have the same sanitary standards that we’re used to in Western countries. Therefore, using these probiotics to keep your digestion and immunity strong is essential. I recommend taking them before your travels and especially during the trip. It will keep you regular and mitigate the risk of any harmful bacteria.


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  • 24. Female Urination Device

    Okay gals, hear me out. Africa has sprawling terrains that can lead you far off the beaten path. Sometimes a restroom is nowhere in sight or it’s a squat toilet (a hole in the ground). Sometimes you find one, but it’s absolutely atrocious… When you gotta go, this little device will allow you to enjoy the freedom that men are born with – being able to pee while standing up! Using a funnel design for no mess (and zero porta-potty trauma), I promise you won’t regret having it.

    urination cup

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  • 25. TSA-Approved Toiletry Bottles

    Speaking of things that will fit perfectly in your hanging toiletries bag – TSA will require all liquid bottles to be under 3.4 ounces/100 ml for flights. So don’t forget these leak-free travel bottles that work for both your checked suitcase and carry-on bag. You likely won’t find your favorite products in Africa, but you also don’t want to risk having to throw them away at the airport. These nifty cases will save space in your luggage and spare you from hauling heavy, full-sized bottles.

    TSA-Approved Toiletry Bottles

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  • 26. Rash Guard

    With almost 20,000 miles of coastline that spreads across 54 nations, Africa boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in the world! Madagascar has some of the largest coral reefs we’ve ever seen, and if you’re visiting the Northern or Eastern seaboard, you’ll definitely want to do some snorkeling. Bring along a rash guard because Africa’s sunrays are powerful! This top will prevent any nasty sunburns and cut down on the amount of reef-safe sunscreen you have to use.

    Rash Guard

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  • 27. Deodorant Wipes

    As you beat the heat, bring along a few natural deodorant wipes for a quick refresh. Since they control smell and sweat, I use them all over my arms and legs for a cool-off. They smell divine and are pocket-sized, so you can throw a handful in your purse or backpack. Maybe best of all, they leave behind ZERO white residue (which we can’t say about typical deodorant)!

    Deodorant Wipes

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  • 28. Lightweight Binoculars with Phone Adapter

    The otherworldly sights of Africa are part of what makes it so unique! As you spot lions and giraffes across the horizon, use travel binoculars to make your sights even more breathtaking. This set will give you cheetah vision with 12X magnification. It can even be connected to most smartphones for simplified sharing. You could invest in a top-notch pair like Vanguard, but these are a great value at a fraction of the cost!

    Lightweight Binoculars with Phone Adapter

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  • 29. Waterproof Pocket Blanket

    The landscapes of Africa can range greatly. From sandy beaches to lush forests to muddy plateaus – this pocket blanket is perfect for countless activities like picnics, morning meditations, or sitting in an area that may be less clean than you would like. With a durable waterproof material, it will ensure that no moisture seeps through or ruins your clothes. P.s. travel items are always better in pocket size!

    Waterproof Pocket Blanket

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  • 30. Electrolytes

    Electrolytes are unsung heroes. Not only do they literally save lives, but diarrhea or food poisoning (from food or water) can leave you seriously dehydrated. This is especially problematic in a hot climate. If you do get sick, mix these tablets with water to replenish the electrolytes you’re losing. Loaded with key nutrients and vitamins, electrolytes will help you combat dehydration and balance your fluid levels more quickly.


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  • 31. Headlamp

    For any outdoor activities, a headlamp is an effective way to keep your footing on uneven grounds and remain hands-free. If you need to find a restroom in the jungle or need to see in areas with no streetlights, this will keep you safe from accidents. I’ve tried to find a bathroom in the middle of nowhere and ended up in a horrific bed of spiders! Learn from my mistakes and keep this with you to navigate unpredictable areas.


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  • 32. Travel Toilet Paper

    Sadly, nationwide, there are reports that some African cities aren’t keeping up with the demand for basic toilets. While a resort will certainly have toilet paper, consider excursion days or times when you venture away from your accommodation. Toilet paper may not be available throughout your trip, so keep some on hand that is strong and absorbent. This brand is one of the only options we’ve found that doesn’t reek of harsh chemicals!

    Travel Toilet Paper

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  • 33. Mosquito-Repelling Wristbands

    Out of 600K malaria deaths in 2021, Africa was home to 95% of malaria cases. While this is an intimidating statistic, thankfully – malaria is easily preventable and treatable with medication. Still, you should be aware of the facts to be prepared. Pack plenty of mosquito spray and these wristbands that allow you to stay consistently protected. Extra caution should be taken in the warm summer months (December through March).

    Mosquito-Repelling Wristbands

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  • 34. Sun Hat with Mosquito Netting

    Along the same line of thinking, there are some areas where a netted hat would be wise to wear. This one will offer you mosquito and sun protection along with a built-in sweatband to wick away moisture. The netting can be adjusted, and you can choose to wear it in 3 ways – bucket hat, hat with a neck cover, or hat with a face cover. It’s waterproof, so it won’t be damaged by surprise downpours, and it will help you feel safer against mosquito-borne diseases.

    Sun Hat with Mosquito Netting

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  • 35. Stylish Jumpsuit

    Accra in Ghana, Club 57 in Lagos, The Summit Club in Johannesburg – you will have a plethora of awesome nightlife options, so you’ll obviously need a gorgeous outfit! This jumpsuit works for day or evening, flaring out at the waist for a classical dress-like silhouette. It suits the culture well, so you won’t stick out like a sore thumb, and the style is super flattering on many body types.

    Stylish Jumpsuit

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What to Wear in Africa?


Though it’s a large and diverse place, when it comes to clothes for Africa, there are three things I’ve found everywhere I’ve visited.

First, dress modestly – especially women, but definitely men as well. Covering shoulders and cleavage is important, and don’t expose too much leg either. Second, dress more nicely than you’d expect. Overly casual clothing is seen as disrespectful! And finally, avoid white clothing, as it’s almost impossible to keep clean.

What should WOMEN wear in Africa? – (Click to expand)
Below is a sample women’s clothing list. (All items link to for your convenience).

The general rule of thumb is to make sure that you have your shoulders and knees covered, but that doesn’t mean your sense of fashion needs to suffer. Knit capri pants can pair well with flowing t-shirts that can be cute for a day out and easily dressed up for an evening meal. For those who are planning on taking a safari, a simple cotton shirt paired with breathable cargo pants are the way to go.

Most resorts and major cities have a wide variety of nightlife options, so make sure to pack going-out outfits that are both fashionable and dance-able. Protection from the sun is also important, so polarized shades and a wide-rimmed hat are must-haves. Finally, a comfy-pair of shoes and a cute pair of sandals will keep you comfortable and stylish.

What should MEN wear in Africa? – (Click to expand)
Below is a sample men’s clothing list. (All items link to for your convenience).

Men should be following the same conservative rules as women when it comes to preparing their wardrobes. A quick-dry convertible shirt is convenient for safaris, while a loose-fitting causal button-down is ideal for the nights out. Don’t forget a classic t-shirt! Jersey t-shirts are great for keeping excessive sweating at bay. Cargo shorts are a safe bet for cruising around major cities, as well as the more remote areas that you may visit on safari. Pants that can be converted to shorts are perfect – you can wear them as pants when you need to be conservative, and transition them to shorts for the more casual areas.

Don’t be afraid to show off some personality; a colorful and fun shirt will be well-received and keep you from feeling boring! Finally, pack shoes that can last the long days. Some breathable sandals and a comfortable pair of sneakers will save you trouble and pain while exploring.

Packing for the Seasons in Africa


The climate throughout the huge continent spans many different types, so research is needed to see exactly what you are dealing with once you’ve booked your precise location. Seasons vary widely on each side of the equator, and rainy/dry seasons vary from each region. You’ll find more temperate-style spring, summer, fall, and winter in this north, but in most of Africa’s countries there are just two seasons: dry and wet. Try this website for more specific temperature estimates, or research the current and upcoming weather forecasts before your trip.

Dry Season – April, May, June, July, August, September, October:

Most regions in Africa – especially south of the equator – experience a dry period for about half of the year. This time of year is drier but can sport some intense heat. It’s a popular time of year to safari because scarcity of water forces animals to group around watering holes, which means they’re easier to see. Travel conditions are also a bit easier when it’s dry.

Layers are perfect here, as the temperature change can be dramatic from morning to night. A light jacket or fleece will do nicely. Convertible pants are also ideal, as you can adapt them to fit any weather. Be sure to pack good hiking shoes if you’ll be doing anything even remotely active – sneakers won’t cut it. Walking sandals are a great idea as well. If you plan to go out (most people find at least one occasion to do so) bring a knockout outfit and some comfortable but cute flats to dress up. Temperatures vary widely by region, but average between 65°F to 80°F (18°C to 27°C).

Wet Season – November, December, January, February, March:

The wet season is, predictably, wet. Rain and humidity dominate the forecast, though you’ll find that certain months have much less rain than others. Heat doesn’t let up – in fact, the humidity can intensify it so plan accordingly.

Quick-dry clothing is essential – think athletic tops, a breathable rain jacket, and convertible hiking pants. Waterproof hiking shoes are non-negotiables, along with a windproof travel umbrella. I also highly recommend bringing a water-resistant daybag to store your daily belongings in. Temperatures vary widely by region, but average between 65°F to 85°F (18°C to 29°C).

How to dress for activities in Africa – (Click to expand)

Safari, in Swahili, means “vacation” and it is the quintessential experience when visiting Africa. Your wardrobe will be contingent upon what season you visit, between rainy and dry seasons. For the rainy seasons, a downpour is never ruled-out so it is imperative that you bring quick-drying clothes and lightweight raingear, as well as hiking shoes that you are not afraid to get muddy. Nights during both the rainy and dry seasons can become chilly, so be sure to pack long sleeve shirts, sweaters, and pants. Layering is your friend, as layers can always be taken off as the day progresses and gets warmer. A daypack is also advised to keep valuables close to you while not obstructing movement or getting in the way.


The African coastline is a haven of beautiful beaches and resorts, from Zanzibar to South Africa. There are many beaches that lay in countries that practice Islam and Christianity, and so it’s best to plan to dress conservatively – even at the beach. One-piece bathing suits and swimsuit cover-ups are always a safe bet. Resorts usually have private beaches, in which case it is not necessary to be as conservative, but it’s always a good idea to ask the front desk if you have any doubts about how to dress appropriately.

Religious Sites

Africa as a continent is rich in beauty and culture, and religion is a major driving force behind those factors. The most prominent religions are Christianity and Islam, while more traditional African religions differ but have been strongly influenced by the two. When visiting mosques or any other traditional Islamic sites, it is important that you fully cover your shoulders and have garments that fall to at least your ankles. For women, it can also be necessary to wear a headscarf. Visiting churches requires less modesty, but it is still advised that you have a least your shoulders covered and pants/skirts that fall below the knees. For both mosques and churches, you should wear closed-toed shoes to not offend anyone. The severity of these traditions varies by location, so it is recommended that you consult with a local guide about what is appropriate before visiting any religious sites.

What NOT to Bring to Africa


    Short shorts or miniskirts. Revealing clothing is considered inappropriate in almost all parts of Africa. If it doesn’t cover your thighs and knees, leave it at home.


    Lots of cash. Most larger towns and cities throughout Africa have ATMs, so you can access local currency once you arrive. There’s no need to take a ton of cash with you and risk having it get lost or stolen.

  • 3.DON’T TAKE

    An Africa-wide guidebook. Some companies publish guidebooks to the whole continent, but with 54 countries to cover, they don’t provide enough information to be useful. Do your generic Africa research online, and then purchase guidebooks to the specific countries or regions you’re visiting.

  • 4.DON’T PACK

    More than one pair of jeans. You may want jeans for nights out, but limit yourself to one pair. They’re bulky and heavy, and they take forever to dry. In many parts of Africa, the hot, humid weather means you probably won’t want to wear jeans too often anyway.

  • 5.DON’T PACK

    Heavy books. Even one or two books will add serious weight to your luggage, and you’ll probably regret having to carry them around. Instead of physical books, I recommend investing in a Kindle and doing your reading that way.

  • 6.DON’T TAKE

    A mosquito net. This is an item I sometimes see on Africa packing lists, but it’s generally not worth bringing. Most accommodations will have a net if one is necessary, and it’s usually not possible to hang up your own anyway.


    A sleeping bag. I’ve also seen packing lists for Africa that include sleeping bags, but they’re big and bulky. There’s no need to bring one unless you’re planning on some serious camping and you’ll need your own gear.

  • 8.DON’T TAKE

    Unnecessary valuables. Things can get lost on the road, and there’s always some risk of theft while traveling in Africa. Other than things you’ll really need (like a camera), it’s just not worth bringing lots of valuables with you.

What NOT to wear in Africa – (Click to expand)
With Islam and Christianity being major influencers in Africa, spaghetti straps, halter tops, short skirts, and plunging necklines should be avoided for women. These garments could be worn around resorts during your downtime, but should not be worn visiting religious sites, taking public transportation, or strolling through markets and/or cities. Clothes that keep you overly warm should be left at home, but layering is always a great idea. A lot of walking will be done during your trips, so uncomfortable shoes that leave blisters and/or are not broken in completely should be left at home. Statement shirts should be avoided as well – it’s never a good idea to deliberately flaunt potentially offensive or inflammatory language or images.

FAQs About Travel in Africa

  • 1. Is it safe to travel to Africa?

    Is it safe to travel to Africa?

    There are risks involved with traveling to certain areas, but visiting Africa is in no way inherently unsafe. Remember that most countries are vastly different from how they’re portrayed in the media or pop culture. Over 65 million people from other continents visit Africa each year, and very few of them have any major problems. If you’re concerned about safety, it’s always best to check country-specific travel advisories while planning your trip.

  • 2. Is it safe for women to travel to Africa?

    Women are pretty safe in Africa. This huge continent contains a lot of countries (54, to be exact!) and so you may find that certain areas are a little less comfortable for females and solo travelers, but for the most part it’s about as safe as most other tourist destinations. Unlike many other parts of the world, however, Africa is a place to watch for travel warnings, as the political and social climates in African countries can be tumultuous at times. This isn’t unique to Africa, of course, but it’s always best to search for the countries you plan to visit on the US Department of State website to be sure there aren’t any out-of-the-ordinary threats to tourists at your time of travel.

  • 3. How can I stay healthy in Africa?

    How can I stay healthy in Africa?

    Vaccinations: Beyond making sure you’re up-to-date on basic vaccines – MMR (measles-mumps-rubella), Tdap (tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis), polio, chicken pox, hepatitis A, and hepatitis B – both yellow fever and typhoid vaccinations are recommended for travel to most African countries. The rabies vaccine is only needed for visitors planning to take extended trips to remote areas or come into contact with animals.

    Malaria prevention: Malaria prophylaxis is recommended in almost all African countries, and it’s a good idea to use insect repellent and to sleep under a mosquito net, as well.

    Food and drink: Tap water in Africa is generally not safe for Westerners, so be sure to only drink water that has been treated and to avoid beverages made with tap water or ice. Make sure your food, especially meat, is thoroughly cooked, and skip raw fruits or vegetables unless they can be peeled.

  • 4. What is the weather like?

    While large parts of Africa are stereotypically hot, the weather varies across the continent and throughout the year. For planning travel, one key thing to understand is that most of Africa doesn’t have four seasons, but instead has two: rainy and dry. The exact timing of the seasons varies by region, and some experience two rainy seasons and two dry seasons per year. An exception is Southern Africa, where the seasons more closely mimic those in Australia: summer is December-February, and winter is June-August.

  • 5. How much does it cost to travel in Africa?

    How much does it cost to travel in Africa?

    Africa is generally cheaper than Europe or North America, but it’s not an extreme budget destination. However, travel costs vary significantly by country and region, as well as by travel style. You can spend thousands of dollars per person on luxury safaris, or travel independently for around $50 a day. As in most places, living like a local makes travel quite affordable: stay at basic guesthouses, eat at local restaurants or markets, and use public transportation and shared taxis.

  • 6. How can I access cash or pay for things in Africa?

    While credit cards are accepted at major resorts, large safari companies, and some upscale restaurants, cash is definitely king in most parts of Africa, especially outside of Southern Africa. ATMs that dispense local currency and accept international debit cards are common in cities and large towns but don’t be surprised if you have to try a couple before you find one that’s working. Most cities also have forex bureaus where you can easily exchange cash.

  • 7. What kind of adapter will work in Africa?

    Several types of electrical outlets are found throughout Africa, but a universal adapter will work in most places. However, if you’re visiting Southern Africa, it’s a good idea to bring a South Africa-specific adapter in addition to the universal one (see #3 in the first section of this article).

  • 8. Where should I go on an African safari?

    Where should I go on an African safari?

    When people talk about safaris, they’re almost exclusively referring to East and Southern Africa. Kenya, Tanzania, and South Africa – home to the Maasai Mara, the Serengeti, and Kruger National Park, respectively – are the most popular destinations for safaris, but there are also many excellent safari options in Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

  • 9. What can I do in Africa besides go on a safari?

    There are plenty of things to do throughout Africa besides safaris, especially for adventure junkies. Many of the continent’s coastal nations and islands boast picture-perfect beaches and offer an array of water activities, including scuba diving, snorkeling, surfing, and kayaking. There are also hiking opportunities in most countries, including world-renowned hikes in Ethiopia, South Africa, Kenya, and Tanzania. Scenic helicopter, micro-light, and hot air balloon rides are available in a few places in East and Southern Africa, and there are even opportunities to skydive, bungee jump, and zipline. Beyond all the adventure activities, though, the chance to simply explore and experience the local culture is one of Africa’s biggest draws; visiting local markets, taking a walk through town, and talking to the people you meet might end up being some of your most memorable experiences.

  • 10. Which African airlines are the best?

    Which African airlines are the best?

    Among the continent’s major airlines, South African Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, and Kenya Airways are widely considered the most reputable and are known for operating at Western standards, though many smaller airlines are perfectly safe as well. I advise avoiding any airlines that are under European Union restrictions or that have an extensive list of recent incidents, which you can view on Wikipedia.

  • 11. Can I visit Africa if I only speak English?

    Yes! English-speaking visitors can get by in most parts of Africa, though it’s decidedly easier in the half of African countries that use English as an official language (mostly former British colonies). The average person you encounter on the street probably won’t be fluent in English, especially outside the cities, but many people working in tourism and hospitality do speak it. Compared to the rest of the continent, English is much more prevalent in East and Southern Africa.