Heading out on an African safari for your honeymoon is bound to be the adventure of a lifetime. But packing for one can be an adventure in and of itself. Knowing you’ll experience a wide range of temperatures, terrains, encounters, and, of course, photographs can make packing those safari-friendly bags quite the undertaking. Luckily, experts are here to help.
Thanks to the advice from the team at AdventureWoman, a woman-owned and women-run adventure travel company run by co-owner Judi Wineland and her two daughters, Erica and Nicole, here are some of the best recommendations based on their expert advice.
All you’ll need are three very different scarves and a few sweaters to make a simple black maxi look like a totally different dress each time. This high neck cotton maxi available at Nordstrom is not only super-affordable but a classic too. (High neck maxi dress, $28.80, Lush, available at Nordstrom)
If you’re a sucker for a good designer, even on safari, this maxi by Theory is available in both black and gray and is sure to become a staple in your post-safari wardrobe. (Bonus points for adding a leopard scarf or khaki green cargo jacket for the ultimate look for the occasion.) (Racer-back maxi dress, $114, Theory)
A pair of comfortable, supportive, yet fashionable pair of sandals can be difficult to come by, but they’re essential. Birkenstock’s classic two-strap Arizona Sandals are known for their comfort, and are neutral enough to add to any outfit (and back in style!). Opt for a dark, neutral color, like this pair in deep brown, to hide any dirt spots they may acquire. (Just be sure to break these in around the house before heading on your trip!) ("Arizona" two-strap sandals, $99.95, Birkenstock)
Another recommended comfy sandal are Rainbow’s leather flip flops. Their classic single-layer premium nubuck leather with arch support have nonslip bottoms for durable support. (Leather sandal, $54, Rainbow sandals)
Comfortable yet stylish, wrinkle-resistant pants will become your new best friend on safari. Opt for neutral colors like black, dark green, or charcoal gray to help hide any dirt or stains while still looking as chic as possible. Prana’s sage convertible pants are made with rip-stop fabric, are water repellant, and are quick-drying—all important features for an adventure. As an added bonus, they have the popular '90s feature of converting at the knee from pants to shorts for warmer days. (Convertible pant, $89, Prana)
Athleta’s Aspire Ankle Pant are another great option. With a tapered leg and made with the perfect amount of stretch, they’re breathable, packable, and offer UPF 50+ protection. ("Aspire" ankle pant, $79, Athleta)
The team at AdventureWoman advises that a trusty mascara is really the only makeup you’ll need, which is music to your toiletry bag. A cult favorite, Bobbi Brown’s No Smudge Mascara is long-wearing and waterproof, ensuring it will stay on during your excursions. The easy-to-apply brush makes it a breeze to get even the tiniest lashes, and it’s buildable—so you can still rock glam lashes in the heart of the jungle. ("No Smudge" mascara, $30, Bobbi Brown available at Nordstrom)
Even though you just got a sparkly new ring, it might be wise to leave it safe and secure at home, in a safe or in a safety deposit box. Instead, opt for some inexpensive yet quality statement jewelry, so you can still rock some trendy baubles without worrying about losing anything important.
Grab a pair of these cubic zirconia studs (top), a simple pendant necklace like this one from Kate Spade, and your favorite inexpensive bangle or bracelet to still feel accessorized. (Cubic zirconia stud earrings, $46, Nordstrom; gold-plated initial pendant necklace, $58, kate spade new york available at Macy's)
Sunglasses are a must—but you might want to save the expensive designer brands for a beach vacation. Pack a pair or two that you won’t have to worry about, such as these from Knockaround. Offering “quality shades that won’t break the bank,” these affordable plastic shades come in a variety of styles and colors sure to suit every traveler. One of their top sellers, the glossy tortoise shell/amber Mai Tais offer UV400 protection, and optional polarization. ("Mai Tais" glossy tortoise shell sunglasses, $20, Knockaround)
While daytime can be extremely warm, nighttime can be cool as the sun sets and temperatures drop. Thus, layering is key! Packing your perfect jacket or sweater is essential. Some of our favorites include Patagonia Women’s Better Sweater ¼-Zip Fleece ($99) for its deceptively lightweight warmth. ("Better Sweater" zip fleece, $99, Patagonia)
For a versatile layered-look, snag H&M’s Short Hooded Parka ($49.99). (Short hooded parka, $49.99, H&M)
And Lululemon’s Wrap It Up Sweater has it all, complete with thumbholes, zippered pockets and warm merino wool. ("Wrap It Up" sweater, $148, Lululemon)
A trusty carabiner is sure to come in handy. While you’ll undoubtedly need a swimsuit for safari, lugging a wet bathing suit around is not only annoying, but it’s also kind of gross. Remember to pack a carabiner, like this one from REI, so you can easily attach your wet suit to the outside of your bag, letting it dry while you’re in a safari vehicle heading to your next camp! ("RockLock" screwgate locking carabiner, $10.95, Black Diamond available at REI)
When it comes to photography, you’ll need to consider packing or purchasing a quality camera that is travel friendly and lightweight. After all, if you don’t post it—did it really happen?
Nicola Jooste, professional guide at Royal Malewane, a luxury safari lodge on a private game reserve in South Africa’s Greater Kruger National Park, shares the following advice.
“From a photographic point of view, bearing in mind all of my colleagues are professional photographers, the current DSLR cameras on the market are not the bulky heavy ones that people still believe are the best for wildlife photography.”
Instead, she recommends brands such as Canon, Nikon, and others that offer lightweight models that perform just as well as others on the market. A great option, this Nikon D3300 is considered ultra-compact and weighs in at a backpack-friendly 14.5 ounces. (D3300 camera, $449.95, Nikon)