Despite how tempting it seems to blindly squeeze half your wardrobe into a bag and hop on a plane, frantic excitement must be contained when choosing what to pack for Kenya. From savannahs to mountains to sea, Kenya is an incredibly diverse country with a range of climates that require careful consideration when packing. Not sure where to start? Get your safari hat at the ready for our list of the most essential things to pack for Kenya.

General Clothing

Before we delve into specifics, it’s good to keep in mind from the get-go that the general rule for clothing in Kenya is to dress conservatively to respect the culture. Some rural areas are more conservative than others, so a quick bit of research before arriving at each destination will go a long way in ensuring that you’re dressing appropriately.

  • Long, loose clothing – not only will this be in keeping with the country’s culture, but the extra fabric will protect you from the sun and insects
  • Dark clothing – this is paramount for safaris, as it will keep you camouflaged in your surroundings and increase your chances of spotting wildlife
  • Layers – although likely to be hot, the temperature can dip in the mornings and evenings, and in the mountains, so it’s good to come prepared with long-sleeved tops, trousers and a jacket
  • Scarf – great for extra warmth or modesty, and dipping it in water will cool you down when wrapped around your neck
  • Waterproof coat – Kenya has two rainy seasons, the first longer one running from April to June, and the second shorter one running from November to mid-December. A waterproof coat is essential for these months, and you may want to pack a more compact poncho for the dry seasons as there’s always the risk of a light shower
  • Sturdy walking boots – comfortable walking boots will protect your feet from scratches and bug bites when walking through the bush and grassland
  • Sandals – these will give your feet some air in the evenings as you stroll through camp and are easier to slip on and off than walking boots.

Other Items

Clothes are just the beginning of what to pack for Kenya. This next round-up of essentials contains things that may slip your mind but will make your trip that little bit more comfortable.

  • A Swahili phrasebook – you'll earn extra brownie points for learning a few phrases in the native language. Swahili is a fun language to learn, and even a simple ‘hello’ or ‘thank you’ is greatly appreciated by locals
  • Reusable water bottle – with Kenya being hot all year round, it’s essential to have a refreshing bottle of cool water to hand. Avoiding single use also helps with keeping this part of the world pristine
  • Sun protection – everyone wants that sun-kissed glow but burning is the last thing you want (not a good look in photos). Hats, suncream and sunglasses will keep you protected from the powerful UV rays (water resistant and high SPF suncreams are good to look out for)
  • Insect repellent – to help ward off mosquitoes and other insects
  • Binoculars – while the dream is to have wildlife approach close enough on safaris that you can see it with your naked eye, sometimes binoculars are needed if the animals are feeling a little shy that day
  • Camera – if you can bare to pull your eyes away from those binoculars, then a good quality camera is paramount for snapping unforgettable wildlife encounters
  • Torch – a no-brainer for camping and handy for electricity blackouts that can occur in rural areas
  • A lightweight day bag – to store all the above
  • Plug adaptor – if you’re travelling from anywhere other than the UK, you’ll need an adaptor to make sure those all-important gadgets don’t run out of juice
Contact one of our Kenya specialists