Zambia is an exciting safari destination for anyone who wants to see African animals, the Victoria Falls and many great natural landscapes. In this article, we are going to look at what you should pack for a safari to Zambia.
Zambia has two major season - dry and wet. While some items could be skipped in a given season, we have put all the items which can work at all times.
Here is a summarized overview of Zambia's climate at different times of the year.
|1||Wet/Rainy Season||14-30 C (57-86 F)||November||April|
|2||Cold-Dry Season||6-26 C (43-79 F)||May||August|
|3||Hot-Dry Season||17-35 C (63-95 F)||September||November|
Most people visit Zambia in the Cold-Dry season from May to August, but you can still have a great time in any other season. Depending on when you intend to travel to Zambia, you should pack correctly such that you don't miss out on any item that is important or relevant.
Zambia Packing List
Let's break this extensive list into 4 sections for documents, clothing, health, and accessories.
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Documents are one of the important things you must carry on a trip-especially a faraway trip. Unlike many other things to pack, some documents can not be worked on in your destination country.
1. Valid Passport
To travel to any new country, you will most likely need to have a passport or an equal representation in terms of travel documents. Your passport should be valid for 6 months or more from your planned date of travel.
Having an expired passport can cause you some serious last-minute stress as you try to get everything in order. We advise you to prepare these several weeks or even months in advance.
Visitors to Zambia must purchase a tourist visa before they can officially be allowed in the country. While Visas can be purchased at the airports or border entry points, we think that the best and easiest way os to apply for the visa online and have it in advance.
While there is still the option of visa on arrival, it is better to have this part of your safari sorted in advance.
3. Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate
Like most African countries, Zambia requires a certificate for yellow fever vaccination from visitors who are from or travelled through Yellow Fever Transmitting countries.
Yellow fever vaccination is only done once and you never have to do it again. If you have ever been immunized against yellow fever, you just need to pack your immunization certificate/card.
4. Copy Of Your Itinerary
This is not an absolute necessity since you might have the information in your email or any other digital format. This physical copy is helpful in the unlikely event that your phone/laptop has no battery at the time of your arrival.
In case you are still finalizing your itinerary, here is our article on the 15 best places to visit in Zambia
5. Other Documents
Depending on your exact travel details, you might need to pack other documents. For example, you need documents for pets as well as cars/motorcycles you drive across the border.
If you are travelling with a child and you are not the parent/guardian, you also need a letter of permission.
These other documents depending on your travel company and the details of your intended activities.
These are some things you consider packing for the good of your health. Remember, your doctor's advice is the ultimate information you should follow.
Related article: Staying healthy on a safari
6. Regular Medication
If you have an on-going or regular medication that you often take, you will most likely need in on safari. You should visit your doctor and discuss this for a final professional recommendation.
Remember to carry enough dosage to last you the entire holiday. Check with your doctors to make sure your regular medicine is ACTUALLY allowed in Zambia.
7. Glasses (Spectacles)
You should carry your glasses even if you normally use contact lenses. This is because the roads you will use for safari are dusty.
Your glasses are also useful as backup incase you lose your contacts while in the national park.
Even in the cold months, Zambia still has a lot of sunshine and you need to protect yourself with sunscreen. While you might purchase sunscreen from the big supermarkets, this is not possible in rural areas. And you are not guaranteed to get your favourite brand.
It is recommended that you get a sunscreen rated around SPF20 and above and that you apply generously.
To make sure you go through your whole trip in good health, you doctor might advise taking anti-malarial treatment before, during or after your trip.
You shouldn't self medicate as malaria medicine can be strong and you might react in unexpected ways to it. Consult your doctor for professional recommendations.
10. Insect Repellant
Your journey into the wild to see animals will come accompanied with lots of insects. Insect repellant will help you keep those insects away from you and save you the uncomfortable bites.
11. Sanitary Products
This is often forgotten about yet it is very important yet menstruation happens every day - even when we travel. While sanitary products can be found in the towns all over Zambia, they can become tricky to get when you are already in the wilderness.
You are also not guaranteed of getting your exact brand. Carrying some sanitary products can give you peace of mind so that you focus on enjoying your safari.
As far as the clothing you should pack for Zambia, you should make sure that the colours are neutral such as brown, khaki and green. White clothes will get very dirty when driving in the dirt roads on the national parks.
Reminder: Camouflage and animal print clothing is not allowed in the national park.
12. Long-Sleeved Shirt/Blouse
A long-sleeved shirt will help to keep those insects away from you. Some will be more stubborn to the insect repellant, so this helps.
Besides, keeping the insects away, a long-sleeved shirt or blouse will offer further protection to your skin from the hot sun as well as the morning and evening chill. You can always fold the long-sleeved shirt/blouse when you need to.
T-shirts are probably the most obvious packing list item for any traveller. Your pick of T-shirts should be loose-fitting and breathable such that you stay comfortable even in the hot weather.
The recommended material is cotton or linen, and in the neutral colours talked about above.
14. Sports Bra
Women are advised to pack a sports bra or two to wear on safari game drives. The roads in rural areas as well as in the national park can be quite bumpy.
A pair of short is helpful for the times when you will be relaxing at your lodge or hotel. After a hot day in jeans or safari trousers, you will appreciate your pair of shorts after cleaning up.
Shorts are not recommended for going on game drives since they expose your legs to insect bites. Additionally, almost all men in Zambia wear trousers and rarely wear shorts out of the house.
16. Walking Shoes & Socks
For almost any safari, a good pair of walking shoes or trainers is highly recommended. Ideally, you should have worn the shoes before and sure that they are comfortable.
Since you can wear the shoes for a big part of your day, any slight discomfort is a big deal.
Even if you are to buy a new pair of shoes, we advise you to purchase them some weeks before your trip so that you can slowly break them in and get used to walking in them. If you plan to do a considerable amount of walking or hiking, the shoes should be able to support your ankles very well.
You should also pack at least two pairs of good breathable socks. If your trip is long, you might need to carry more socks.
17. Open Shoes
The open shoes are for your relaxing time at the lodge/hotel. Open shoes are not recommended on safari to prevent injuries and bites from insects and bugs.
Like with shorts, open shoes will feel like a gift for your feet after a long day in shoes.
18. Light Rain Jacket
Zambia experiences torrential afternoon rains that can happen without much warning. This is especially during the wet rainy season.
If your safari goes to Victoria Falls, the powerful waterfall will totally soak you in the mist within a few minutes. A light rain jacket will keep you dry and comfortable.
Many hotels and lodges have swimming pools and you might want to unwind your day with a dip. if you are visiting Victoria Falls, you might want to swim in the Devils Pool on top of victoria falls.
20. Jeans/Safari Trousers
Jeans or safari trousers are versatile and won't easily tear up when caught on a shrub, as would softer dress pants. The extra pockets are also good and safe storage for things like your extra camera battery or power bank.
Whether you chose to go with jeans or safari trousers, the pants should be loose and breathable since you will be wearing them for hours in hot weather.
The mornings and evenings can be quite chilly in Zambia. To make sure that you are not uncomfortable due to feeling cold during the morning and evning gamedrives, you should carry a fleece or sweater to keep you warm.
A light jacket can also keep you warm.
You can either pack a safari hat or any baseball cap you already have. The goal is to have a wide-brimmed hat that can shield you from the sun.
A Safari pat is preferable since it protects your face, neck and shoulder from the rays of the sun.
You should carry enough underwear to last you the trip. While lodges have laundry services, it is usually for other clothing except for underwear. This means you might need to carry quite a bit more than the other clothing.
If your trip is longer, you can always ask the lodge staff to guide you as far as you doing your laundry is concerned.
This is the part of your packing list that is about enhancing your experience while on safari. Depending on what you are going to be doing, some of these might be less relevant while others might be even more important.
Since there is a chance you could be reading this on your phone, we assume that mentioning a phone as something to pack is a redundant task. Here are the other accessories that you should pack for your safari.
Yes, your phone has a good camera but a dedicated camera always does an incredible job. For those who love taking photos and regular travellers, this is probably the thing you can never forget.
The pictures of your safari will serve to remind you of the wonderful time you had in Zambia.
Along with your camera or camera, you should carry extra memory cards and battery to make sure that you don't run out in the middle of the day when there is still so much to take pictures of.
25. Power Bank
A rechargeable power bank will help you keep your phone on especially when you are away from your lodge/residence. As it often happens, you might want to keep your online friends on social media up to date on the good things happening, and you will actually use your phone and the battery can run down faster than expected.
A power bank is always helpful on safari since your phone might easily run out of battery from taking many pictures and video.
You should get a power bank of at least 10,000 mAh should be enough to recharge and stay connected on your safari day in the wild. We really like this AUKLEY power bank on amazon.
A pair or two of sunglasses will help you to keep the dust from the dirt roads from your eyes. They also allow for better viewing of scenery especially when the sun could obstruct the view.
27. Travel Power Adapter
A power adapter saves you the headache of having to deal with power outless which are not compatible with the devices you have. Since Zambia uses 230V electricity, you might also need stepdown voltage converter.
28. Water Bottle
For Hydration while on safari. Zambia's climate is generally hot and given the amount of activity on safari, you will need to hydrate.
While you can very easily buy bottle water, we think water bottles are cool because they help reduce plastic pollution.
Since you will be having a safar hat, an unbrella is not necessary unless it rains in which case you have the light rain jacket you carried. If you are going to visit victoria falls and take pictures, an umbrella will keep you and your camera dry.
You could carry a small collapsible umbrella if you already have it at home. In case you forget, you can also easily buy an umbrella in Zambia and support the local businesses.
On safari, some animals are usually easily visible while other keep a significant distance. Animals such as leopard love their solitary nature.
Binoculars will help you in easily spotting the animals which are far away as well as birds. Birds are a less appreciated part of the experience and having binoculars will change how you look at birds.
31. Small Notebook
Well, you can choose to write in your phone or tablet. A small notebook is helpful in case you need to write down some insipred thoughts.
We think pen and paper is still a great way of getting ideas from your head properly. Plus, no need for charging and electricity.
32. Day Bag
A small day bag for carrying the things you will be moving with. A small sized backpack should work well in helping you carry the things you will be moving with.
Your days bag will have things like your powerbank, rain jacket, extra memory cards for the camera, extra lenses and maybe a snack. The bag should be light such that you don't end up suffering with it.
Some Activities will require more specialized items on the packing list. if you intend on camping, golfing or fishing, your list will have other activity related lists in addition to the above.
If you will be moving within Zambia with small local aircraft, you should know that the weight limit is 20 kilograms - including hand luggage. As you pack your luggage, make sure to keep the non-essentials out.
And there you have it - and extensive packing list for visiting Zambia.
Depending on the time of your trip, some things might be skipped while others will become very impoartant. Remember to get all the necessary documents in order so that your welcome is smooth and pleasant.
For things regarding your health, make sure you are following the advice of your doctor.
Have you been to Zambia? What item did we miss that you think is important to mention based on your personal experience.