The Complete Packing Checklist For Backpacking In Africa

Our staff here at tentree has taken numerous ten to twenty day trips to Africa, visiting our planting sites in Malawi, Madagascar, and Senegal.

Our staff here at tentree has taken numerous ten to twenty day trips to Africa, visiting our planting sites in Malawi, Madagascar, and Senegal. At first we did not know what to expect and were unable to find a comprehensive list of all the items necessary for us to pack. After becoming more comfortable with travel there, however, we thought it necessary to pass on this valuable information. This list is written with the focus on a short-term trip (a few weeks), but it can be adapted to suit your needs for however long you are backpacking in Africa. Whether staying at hotels in cities or tenting in small villages, keep in mind that your packing list should remain relatively consistent for your short-term stay.

Printed Itinerary: • Two copies of a detailed day by day itinerary with phone #’s and names. • Visa Acquisition (country dependent).

General Info: • Learn basics of the local language. • Learn cultural taboos. • Prepare for appropriate cultural dress (eg. West Africa has a large Muslim population).

Trip Goals: Having trip goals helps you make the most out of any trip, for example: • Get Photo – RAW format, landscape and portrait. • Get Video – RAW format, landscape. • Document conversations with locals (pack pen and notebook).

Tent (if you are camping): • MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2 Person (Red).

Sleeping Bag or Sleep Sack (Sleeping Bag Liner): • Outbound Down Mummy Pack. • MEC Silk Sleeping Bag Liner Mummy.

Backpack (Don’t Bring a Suitcase!): • Osprey Aether 60L BackPack. • Osprey Airporter 70L Large. • Sea to Summit 35L Drybag (great for protecting any valuables).

Food: • Energy Bars (one/day). • Meal Replacement Bars (two/day). • Water Purification Bottles. • LifeStraw.

Immunizations: • Call your local travel clinic for this.

Dress: Don’t overpack clothes, as you can always have them washed or do it yourself in a sink. • Hat. • Shorts. • Dresses. • Tank tops. • Lightweight or wicking t-shirts. • Pants (that undo to shorts are best). • Sweater / Hoodie.

Footwear: • Running shoes. • Hiking shoes. • Flip flops.

Other: • Hat. • Sunglasses. • Light raincoat. • Booties w/ hard bottom. • Camera. • Memory Cards. • Gloves.

Miscellaneous: • Pillow • Quick-dry or regular towel (Sea to Summit Pocket Towel). • Headlamp — get a good one, don’t cheap out. • Flashlight or battery operated lantern plus spare batteries. • Shatter-proof one litre water bottle — Nalgene are great.

Electronics: • The voltage in African countries is different so make sure you have an international adapter.

Swimwear: • Bathing suit.

Important Documents: • Obtain a free 30-day visa at the airport upon arrival (country dependant). • Passport. • Driver’s license. • Vaccination records. • Travel itinerary. • Copy of birth certificate. • Health insurance. • Two spare passport-sized pictures.

Medications and Supplies: • Your regular medications, both prescription as well as over the counter. • Anti-malaria medications. • Anti-diarrheal medications (i.e. bismuth subsalicylate or Pepto-Bismol, and loperamide or Immodium A-D). • Antibiotics for self-treatment of travelers’ diarrhea. • Decongestant medication such as Sudafed. • Motion sickness medication such as Dramamine. • Acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil) for pain and fever reduction. • Cough suppressant or expectorant such as Robitussin. • Throat lozenges. • Mild laxative. • Antacid such as Maalox or Tums. • Antifungal ointment or cream such as Clotrimazole. • Antibiotic ointment or cream such as Neosporin. • Hydrocortisone cream (1%). • We also recommend getting a prescription for Cipro from your doctor. This will fight travellers sickness.

Other Important Items: • Spare contact lens, solutions and glasses. • Basic first aid items such as band-aids, gauze, ace wrap, antiseptic, tweezers, scissors, cotton-tipped applicators, adhesive tape. • Insect repellent containing DEET (up to 50%). • Sunscreen with SPF 30 or greater. • Aloe gel for sunburns. • Digital thermometer. • Oral rehydration solution packets. • Antibacterial hand wipes or alcohol-based hand sanitizer. • Lubricating eye drops such as Natural Tears. • Lip balm.

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