I've tried my best to keep this packing list generalized but be sure to keep in mind the temperature for your specific trip and the accommodations you'll have! For my latest horseback safari, we went during the summer & chose to stay on a reserve with a lodge that included things such as fully enclosed living spaces (I will personally avoid a tent at all costs) and laundry services. Because we had laundry services, we knew we didn't need to pack as many clothes to last us the 15 days total of travel- having laundry available on any trip is so well worth it to me! *this blog post contains affiliate links, thank you for supporting!
*If you're doing a safari ride, be sure to pack neutral colors to blend in better with the bush, like khaki, green, brown, black, lighter shades of blue, and grey.
*Remember if you need to buy anything new for your horseback safari, consider buying second hand on Poshmark or Mercari.
Sun shirts- I love my Hannah Childs Lifestyle long sleeve sun shirts! They have the best safari friendly colors too
casual t shirts or tank tops
Long sleeve button down
Cozy sweater/sweatshirt/oversize flannel for cool evenings
wild rag or similar, to protect your face from dust
Sleep clothes- wear long sleeve & pants for extra protection from bugs
Underwear/bras/socks- don't forget tall socks for riding
Hairnet- my Ellsworth Ponytail Hairnet saved my life on my horseback safari!
Optional: helmet- I chose not to bring my own helmet, because I didn't want to pack it! Most companies will have helmets for you, especially if they require them
Riding boots- I opted to bring my Ariat paddock boots and half chaps because they're way easier to pack & travel with than tall boots.
Crocs or sandals
the usual necessities like toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, face wash, makeup, deodorant, hair brush, nail file, tweezers, etc.
Sunscreen- I love doing tinted sunscreen so I don't have to bring as much makeup with me
Lots of moisturizer, it's very dry in South Africa! I can't live without my Look Organics RESTORE moisturizer- I use it for my face, hands, lips, and even nostrils because I get chronic nose bleeds especially in dry climates
Charger cords for everything!
Camera & 70-200 lens (and SD cards, batteries, and battery charger)
Small camera cleaning kit
Other camera options that are easier to ride with: Canon G7x, GoPro, Insta 360
Optional: camera bag- on days that I rode horses where I needed 2 hands, I used this Think Tank sling bag
Copies of ID, Passport, travel insurance, any prescriptions
Reusable water bottle
medicine: zinc, vitamin c, cough drops, pepto tablets, imodium, tylenol/advil, allergy meds, motion sickness meds, prescription meds (talk to your dr about malaria meds), electrolyte packets
cash in the country's currency, get small bills for tips
luggage scale- lots of airlines are very strict about weight restrictions, even for personal items
a book or kindle to read for traveling or down times
Tips for those with a camera:
I brought a pillow case to put over my camera when I was riding, to reduce the amount of dust that could get into it
I can easily ride with one hand, so I personally preferred to hold my camera while riding- putting the strap diagonal across my body then holding the camera with my right arm/hand, with it resting on my hip. I also have a camera cage and handle on my camera; the extra handle was especially nice for riding.
When I rode horses that I knew I couldn't ride with just one hand, I used the Think Tank sling bag. Since you don't know what horse you'll be riding until you're there, it's a really good idea to bring this just in case! *I do have a Cotton Carrier harness as well but prefer the sling bag for riding if I do more than just walking.
Bring extra camera batteries in case you're not able to charge them as often as you'd like
BRING YOUR COMPUTER!! I didn't bring mine because I wanted to keep my backpack light, and I fully regretted not just packing it and dealing with the back pain later
General Travel Tips:
It's smart to pack a pair of riding clothes and anything you absolutely need in your carry on & wear your riding boots while traveling. This way if your checked luggage gets lost or delayed, you still have the necessities.
Put Apple AirTags in every piece of your luggage (checked bag, carry on bag, personal item) so in the off chance that something does get lost, it's much easier to find it!
Take a picture of the inside and outside of your checked luggage before your trip for insurance purposes. If your stuff gets lost, you can get a more accurate reimbursement if you have proof of your items. If your bag gets damaged in transit, the picture will prove it was the airline that damaged it and you can submit a claim to have them pay for a new suitcase.
Get a TSA friendly lock to lock your baggage if your suitcase doesn't already come with one!
If you take a prescription medication that is a controlled substance (like lorazepam or Adderall), be sure to contact the embassy (far in advance!) to ask if you're allowed to bring said prescription into the country.
Things I would NOT bring:
camouflage clothing is illegal in some countries, just be on the safe side and don't do camo print
hair dryers / curling irons / straighteners. A lot of lodges and camps can't support the electricity for them
plastic bags are banned in a lot of East African countries- be safe and use ziplock or reusable fabric bags for anything you need a bag for
drones aren't allowed in a lot of African countries, if you really want to bring it double check with your tour agent
be sure to check the baggage size, weight, and material restrictions for the specific flights you'll take to reach your destination. Some small aircrafts allow only soft sided bags without wheels (duffle bags or backpacks)
I personally like to leave any expensive jewelry at home while traveling, including my wedding rings
Are you planning a horseback safari and want to have it documented? I'd love to tag along to capture your adventure! Email me to chat about it.