Self-Drive Holiday: Safari BackPacking List

4x4 Rooftop tent car

A lot of people seem to think that you need to buy a whole new, safari-chic wardrobe in order to go on a safari, but that’s really not the case. The main thing to keep in mind when doing a self-drive in Uganda – Africa is comfort.

Luggage and travel bags for your self-drive safari


Whether you are on a self-drive safari, flying to remote destinations or have to put your bag in a locker in an overland truck there generally is not a lot of space so you need to have a soft bag (so no suitcases) that can fit into small spaces. So, a backpack is great for going on safari. While you don’t tend to walk around a lot with your bag on safari, we always travel with our backpacks. It’s large enough to fit everything in, even the things we need to bring when camping, it makes walking around a busy airport much easier and quicker.

Flight bag

You need a flight bag to protect it and make sure nothing can be taken from your pack.

Day pack

Next to your backpack you will need a day pack. Just like with our backpack we already have our Low Alpine day pack. It has a main compartment with its own zipper, a smaller compartment in front with its own zipper with an internal pocket and a hook, and side mesh pockets.

Photography gear for your self-drive safari

I advise a larger lens than the standard 15-55mm lens you often get with a camera, with photography gear it’s really about the budget that you have. And it doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with a small camera.


The canon EOS 1200D Digital SLR Camera is the replacement with a better photo and video resolution with a better photo and video resolution and EF-S 18-55mmf/3,5-5.6lll Lens and some renewed/ refurbished models are still available.

But if you want to go for a new camera you can start with the Canon EOS2000D DSLR Camera, which is the cheapest model. If you have a larger budget but want to stay under 1000 the Canon EOS 850Dd with an EF-S 18-55mmf/4-5.6 could also be an option. But if you want a larger lens your budget needs to be +1000.

Camera Lens

An 18-300mm F3.5-6.3 Macro lens that already works much better than the standard 15-55mm lenses you often get with a camera but would love to have an even bigger one of 400mm. A bigger lens is needed for wildlife safari trips; you can get the Sigma with a 18-300mm F3.5-6.3 Macro lens.

Camera bag

With the new lens, you will need a bigger camera bag and this Canon ES100 Bag is great. It’s still compact and can fit into your backpack.

SD card

You also need a backup SD card: You never want to run out of memory for all your great images. This San Disk with 64GB is compatible with SDHC/SDXC and SDHC-I/SDXC-I devices. If you need more there is also a 256GB version.

Backing up your photo’s

This Gibot USB Type C Micro USB SD Card Reader has a standard USB 2.0 plug (type A) and micro USB plug (type B) and USB C plug (Type C) so you will be able to back up your images.

Cleaning kit

You want to keep your camera and lenses clean and this Amazon Basics Cleaning Kit for DSLR Cameras is ideal because it has lens tissues, brushes, cleaning pas, air blower and cleaning cloths.

UV filter

This Amazon Basics UV Protection Filter – 72 mm is for UV protection of your lens and reduces ultraviolet light, helps eliminate bluish cast in images and protects your lens from dust, dirt, and scratches.


There is also the iGadgitz U4857 (PT310) Mini Lightweight Table Top Stand Tripod which is also a stabilizer grip for your trip.

Camera protection

This is a Navitech protector against sand and water. It’s not easy to get your camera but it helps your camera not to break.

Technology for your self-drive safari

Be sure to check what plugs you need to bring and other technology to have enough power as you don’t always have electricity in camps or only till a certain time of the day. Besides this we bring some tech for evening and airplane entertainment.


If you are traveling to Rwanda, you need a special plug as they are not part of universal plugs, but for Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya use the same plugs. If you have a lot of devices that need to be charged through USB it might be worth also taking a USB wall.

Power bank

You also take a power bank next to our chargers as not all campsites have electricity. This Anker Power Bank is only 495g and has 3 USB and 2 micro-USB ports.

Apple connector

Don’t think this is an official name but if you have an iPhone, iPad and a Mac Book you have different cables and know how annoying it can be that you have to bring different cables. With this UGREEN USB C to Lightning Cable, you can connect your iPhone with the other devices.

Other devices

You don’t need to bring and iPad or Mac Book for your safari but we tend to bring both. The iPad is for entertainment in the plane and for evenings. And we use the Mac Book to backup out photographs, not having Wi-Fi on safari definitely helps with this) but like to have it with me for the moments we do have Wi-Fi and there is something with one of my client projects. But if you do bring them an iPad protector like this felt sleeve to protect your devices is essential. It’s large enough to fit a 13-inch Mac Book Pro and a 12.9-inch iPad Pro and has an extra storage pouch for your cables


As much as I love real paper books, while traveling a Kobo is ideal.

Accessories for your self-drive safari

I have split this in general accessories that we think you need on any safari and equipment that you only need when you are going camping in the section underneath.


Because the animals don’t just wander along the roads and there is a large chance you need binoculars to make sure you are seeing for example a lion, leopard or a grey rock in the distance. If you want to keep the costs down this Uncle Hu is a great option. It has a 26mm eye lens and 50mm objective lens diameter and it has a special coat on the lenses for light reflection and to minimize the distortion.

Pocket knife

We always take a small Swiss army knife with us. Mostly used to open a bottle of wine or beer but can be used for other things as well.


When staying in camps, no matter if you camp or not, you always want to have a torch with you for walking in the camps at night. These ‎iToncs torches are great because they are USB rechargeable. So, no need for spare batteries and they are only 290g. But if you’re staying at a camp alongside a dry riverbed a large torch is better to spot animals especially for the night game drives.


We also use a solar-powered camping lantern for on our table. This solar-powered lantern comes in great on the dark nights by your tent for when you’re cooking or trying to plan your route for the next day. The fold up easily so they don’t take up a lot of space and you can just pop them on the dash of your car to charge while you’re driving around.

Quick dry towels

It’s not the best experience but we are all for packing light so lightweight and quick-drying towels are a must. These towels are lightweight, fold up very small, absorb water well and dry quickly. Just pin them between car doors & let the sun dry them in no time.

Travel sheets

This is a personal preference but we use travel sheets to line the rented sleeping bags with. It can also act as a sheet to lie under when it’s too warm for a sleeping bag.


Don’t expect to find a lot of facilities to wash your clothes while on safari. So, you will need to bring some laundry detergent to washing your clothes. If you wash your clothes, you also need to dry them and this clothesline is ideal because you don’t need pegs and can easily be hooked onto trees.

Mini bottles for personal toiletries

We always try to keep our bags as light as possible and don’t want to take full size bottles. So, this mini bottle set takes care of that and you can still bring your own products

Neck Pillow

You have this great fluffy neck pillow for on the plane but I don’t like having to walk around with them or adding so much volume to my pack so we use these inflatable neck pillows which also can do better.


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