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In case you are not accustomed to the idea of “overlanding,” it is mainly touring by means of an space over land, normally in a big purpose-built automobile. In Africa, overlanding is without doubt one of the greatest methods to actually expertise the continent’s unimaginable cultures and wildlife, because it means you are on the bottom truly seeing the whole lot.

I did a 3-week overland journey in 2016 with Acacia Africa, touring in an overland truck from Cape Town to Victoria Falls by means of the nations of Namibia and Botswana. (And some folks I used to be touring with have been persevering with on to Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda – you may truly overland the size of Africa all the best way up to Egypt!)

RELATED: Overlanding in Southern Africa: Everything You Need to Know

Before my journey, I spent hours Googling packing lists for safaris and overland journeys, wanting to make sure that I used to be leaving house as ready as attainable.

And, in order to assist contribute my very own ideas, I’ve determined to share my full packing checklist with you together with what I discovered about what you really want.

Packing checklist for an overland journey in Africa

I traveled by means of Southern Africa in May 2016 – the start of winter. The necessities will change barely based mostly on which nations you are touring by means of and what time of 12 months you are going, however listed below are all absolutely the must-haves.

What to pack for an overland trip in Africa

A soft-sided bag

Everyone is given a locker in your overland truck, and that is the place your entire possessions will stay for the period of your journey. Locker sizes depend upon the corporate you e-book with and the truck you are touring on, however usually they’re between 60 and 70 liters, not very tall however fairly deep. This signifies that a standard suitcase most likely will not match. It’s advisable that you simply deliver a backpack or different soft-sided bag like a duffel as a substitute.

I traveled with my 60L Osprey Sojourn, which is basically a backpack with wheels. It match fantastic into the locker on Acacia’s Kavango truck, although it was a squeeze to match each this bag AND my digital camera backpack into the identical locker. If you may pack lighter, I might go along with one thing just like the Kelty Redwing 44 or Osprey Farpoint 40.

A superb sleeping bag

Overlanding in Africa normally means tenting each evening. On my journey with Acacia Africa, we normally pitched our tents in established campsites, however another corporations take part in bush tenting (i.e. simply pulling over and establishing camp wherever). The overland firm you e-book with ought to present two-person tents, however you will want to deliver your personal sleeping bag.

I bought a Helio Sack from REI that was rated down to 55 levels F, and likewise a Sea to Summit Thermolite Reactor Plus liner, which is provides 15-20 levels of heat to a sleeping bag. I assumed this combo can be fantastic for winter in southern Africa, however both my inner nighttime temperature simply runs actually chilly, or I completely misjudged how chilly it could get in the desert at evening! I spent the primary two nights shivering in my tent.

I ended up buying an further blanket at a comfort retailer, which gave me sufficient added heat to be cozy each evening.

Africa sleeping bag
Me with my sleeping bag and inflatable pillow.

My sleeping bag + liner combo would have been fantastic in one other season, and would have additionally been good for Eastern/Northern Africa. But in the event you’re going to be overlanding throughout the winter months in Southern Africa, positively purchase a barely hotter sleeping bag (I might most likely get one rated down to freezing!).

*Also test whether or not you want to deliver your personal sleeping mat. Acacia Africa offers mats for all passengers, however different corporations would require you to deliver your personal if you would like one.

A pillow

Just as you will want to deliver your personal sleeping bag, you will additionally want a pillow. Many folks ended up buying full-sized pillows as soon as they received to Africa, however I truly discovered my small, inflatable Sea to Summit pillow to be simply fantastic (AND it took up much less room in my locker!).

Clothing you may layer

Speaking of temperatures, you positively need to deliver clothes which you could layer. It will get chilly at evening, however might be sizzling throughout the day.

You can discover my full checklist of clothes I packed additional down in this put up, however I positively suggest thermal layers for sleeping (this Terramar turtleneck and Cloud Nine pants are my favorites), a packable down coat for evenings and early mornings, after which the whole lot from hoodies to tank tops for layering throughout the day. I additionally introduced my trusty mosquito jacket with me.

Mokoro ride in the Okavango Delta
Me sporting a number of layers in the Okavango Delta.

A fast-dry towel

In Southern Africa, you will seemingly keep in campsites with actually good services – sizzling showers, flush bogs, even bars and swimming swimming pools! But because you normally solely spend one evening in every place, having a quick-dry towel is important; in any other case you find yourself stuffing a humid towel into your locker each morning.


A headlamp is an absolute MUST for any overland journey in Africa! You’ll seemingly be waking up earlier than daybreak on many days, and might be consuming dinner and preparing for mattress in the darkish throughout the winter months. You may deliver a daily flashlight with you, however these aren’t useful if you’re attempting to eat or use the restroom in the darkish. A headlamp is a a lot better funding. (And remember to pack a pair further batteries, too!)

Combination padlocks

I by no means journey wherever and not using a few wire-cable padlocks, however they’re particularly helpful on an overlanding journey since you will be accountable for securing your personal locker on the truck. Wire-cable locks are preferable as a result of they’re much less seemingly to snap as you bump over unpaved African roads.

Africa overland packing
Many of my must-haves, together with a packable day pack, a Buff, headlamp, journey adapter, inflatable pillow, Epic Wipes, earplugs, a wire mixture lock, an influence financial institution, and a dry bag.

The proper toiletries

First of all, pack a toiletry bag with a hook so you may cling it up if you go to take a bathe. You’ll additionally need to deliver some bathroom paper of your personal, some child wipes for all of the mud (or get some Epic Wipes, that are primarily towel-sized child wipes!), moisturizer (it will get SO DRY), sunscreen, mosquito repellent, and a primary assist equipment containing issues like band aids, ache killers, ginger chews (for upset tummies) and rehydration salts in case you get actually sick (although I had completely ZERO abdomen points on my journey).

*You’ll additionally need to test whether or not your journey could have you touring by means of any malaria zones. If so, be certain to see a health care provider and get an anti-malarial prescribed.

An influence financial institution

My final must-have is a beefy energy block so you may hold your telephone and different USB gadgets charged up. Many campsites could have just a few energy factors (or a minimum of one energy level that your information can hook an influence strip up to), however you typically might have to compete along with your fellow vacationers for a spot to plug in your digital camera or iPad.

I made certain to have a number of further digital camera batteries with me, and used my 20,000 mAh ZeroLemon energy financial institution to cost my telephone (and typically my GoPro) in my tent each evening. The ZeroLemon energy financial institution I used is not accessible, however this one is de facto related!

Elephant Sands in Botswana
My favourite journey sandals subsequent to some ELEPHANTS!

Sample overland packing checklist

Now that my must-haves, here is the complete checklist of what I packed for my overland journey in Africa:

The bag: Osprey Sojourn 60


  • 2 pairs of leggings
  • 1 pair of lengthy pants
  • 1 pair of capris
  • 1 pair of shorts
  • 2 tank tops
  • four t-shirts
  • 1 long-sleeved button-up shirt
  • 1 zip-up hoodie
  • 1 cropped sweater
  • 1 jersey gown
  • 1 mosquito jacket (I’ve used mine in the Amazon and Africa, and sure it WORKS!)
  • Thermal top and bottoms to sleep in
  • A packable down jacket
  • Breathable underwear (I like these by ExOfficio)
  • Swim swimsuit (most of the campsites we stayed at had swimming swimming pools!)


Africa overland packing shoes
The sneakers that explored Africa with me.

*Note: If your overland itinerary will embrace issues like trekking to see gorillas in Uganda or climbing Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, you will additionally need to pack a superb pair of climbing boots. My picks are these mid-height waterproof Merrells.


Amanda at Victoria Falls
My $Three poncho was nicely value it at Victoria Falls.

Camera gear

The digital camera bag: Pacsafe Camsafe V25

Amanda on Dune 45 in Namibia
A superb outfit for climbing Dune 45 in Namibia.

Travel insurance coverage

Another factor to “pack” for any overland journey is an efficient travel insurance policy. Many overland/safari corporations would require you to have insurance coverage cowl for your journey, since you simply by no means know what can occur.

Your private medical insurance would possibly cowl medical emergencies abroad (name to be certain), however you should still need to buy an insurance coverage plan to cowl issues like misplaced baggage, broken gear, or journey cancellation.

And in case your common insurance coverage would not cowl you outdoors of your house nation? Then you positively need to buy complete insurance coverage that can cowl medical prices (together with emergency evacuation!).

I like to recommend World Nomads, who supply a number of the most inexpensive fundamental journey insurance coverage on the market. (Just word, although, that you’re going to most likely need to get their “Explorer” protection, which incorporates cowl for journey actions like skydiving, shark cage diving, sizzling air ballooning, microlight flights, and snorkeling/SCUBA diving – all of which you’ll have the prospect to do in Africa.)

Elephant footprint in Botswana

Have you ever been on an overland journey? Are there another stuff you counsel packing?


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