tanzania and zanzibar packing guide

If you’re looking for a Tanzania and Zanzibar packing guide, you’ve come to the right place! Take it from the girl who has been there four times, these are the items you’ll need and want to bring!

You’ll also find important tips throughout in regards to why I suggest certain things. For example, Zanzibar is a mostly-Muslim island, so you need to cover up! And also, evil biting flies on safaris are attracted to blue, so don’t wear it during those activities!

Also just to casually note, some items are from my shop! Purchasing through my shop greatly helps support my blog and my business, so I can keep offering free posts like these, and help you travel!

I’m going to break this into two parts in case you’re only planning on going to one or the other! Also, if you’re planning on doing Kilimanjaro, I have an extreme Kilimanjaro packing guide for that as well!

Tanzania Packing Guide

If you’re going to Tanzania, you’re likely doing safaris, staying at safari lodges, and visiting local villages. Here’s some packing suggestions for all of that!

Tanzania Safari Clothes

tanzania packing guide

Neutral clothing is usually recommended for safaris. I’ve been told that it’s not actually completely necessary, and there aren’t animals that are offended by certain colors though. There is however one color combo to avoid, which is navy blue and black. For some reason that’s what attracts those monstrous flies that bite you.

There’s plenty of options for neutral safari clothes though! From cargo jumpers to maxi dresses! BY THE WAY! If you want to wear a dress on safari, go for it, because you DO NOT get out of the safari vehicle! You may stand up and down inside of it (so maybe don’t wear a short dress), but there’s no intense hiking or anything that requires pants.

Safari Shoes

As I mentioned, you don’t really walk around a whole lot on safari. You’re literally not allowed to. So if you want to wear sandals, go for it. In fact, sometimes sandals are better, because some safari trucks allow you to stand up on the seats to look out of the pop-top, and this way you won’t get the seats dirty.

The ground is definitely dusty though, so if you don’t want to get your feet dirty during lunch, bathroom, or other breaks, feel free to wear safari boots or closed toes shoes.

Safari Hats

If you decide to bring a safari hat, make sure it has a strap to tighten under your chin. Otherwise you’ll end up like me, with a hat that flies out of the safari vehicle in the middle of a lion den.

Binoculars

Even though most of our phones have extreme zooms on the cameras these days, you may still want to bring some binoculars. Places like the Serengeti are far more vast than your phone will be able to zoom!

Your safari guide will likely have a pair of professional binoculars, but if you want to bring your own, go for it. I brought cute opera binoculars that worked pretty well, and then just borrowed my guide’s when necessary.

Safari Lodge Clothes

Staying at a safari lodge is a casual yet chic experience. Usually you are in the National Park, which is a real treat, because you can sometimes see animals right where you’re staying! You’ll have a nice dinner and time to hang out a well.

For safari lodge clothes, I’d recommend casual clothes like maxi dresses, or just pants and a nice shirt for guys. It gets cold at night so be sure to bring a sweater as well!

Local Village Visit Clothes

There’s a good chance you’ll get the opportunity to visit a Masai Mara village during your trip to Tanzania! It’s an amazing experience and great way to learn about the local culture, and also to support them.

For these visits I would recommend just wearing what you’d wear at the lodge, and your better-walking shoes! Bring cash to purchase their local handicrafts as well!

Cameras

Most people just use their phones, since again, these days the quality and zoom is incredible! I usually also bring a GoPro for wide angle selfies, however you can’t see the animals closely with them.

I also used and really liked the DJI Pocket for video. Safari trucks are really bumpy so the DJI Pocket makes super smooth videos, and has a zoom feature.

If you want proper wildlife photography, I use and recommend my Sony a7iii with 35-70mm lens, but you may want an even bigger zoom. You can see my full camera gear guide here though!

Other Tanzania Safari Essentials

Aside from clothing, you’ll want to bring a few other essentials for the safari part of your trip to Tanzania!

  • Sunscreen
  • Mosquito Spray
  • Small microfiber towel (for sweat)
  • Biodegradable Wipes (also for sweat, and all the dirt you collect on the safari drives)
  • Re-usable water bottle
  • Universal Adapter


Zanzibar Packing Guide

As I mentioned, Zanzibar is a mostly Muslim island, therefore it’s best to cover up there, even though you may think of it as a tropical island (which it is). This doesn’t mean you can’t wear a bikini though, don’t worry. You’ll likely only do that at hotel beaches anyway. But you definitely CANNOT go walking around Stone Town in one.

Here’s what I’d suggest packing for Zanzibar!

Somewhat Modest Swimsuits

Mostly out of respect, and to avoid awkward ogling eyes. Again, you’ll likely go to hotel beaches, which are used to having tourists. But if you go to a local beach, definitely consider wearing a more modest swimsuit!

Long Casual Dresses or Jumpsuits

zanzibar packing guide
What my group wore to the Spice Market tour in Zanzibar

You’ll likely do other things in Zanzibar besides go to the beach! Like go out to eat, go on a spice tour, and roam around the historic Stone Town. For these events, I recommend longer casual dresses or jumpsuits like the ones in the section for safari lodge clothing!

Locally Made Dresses and Outfits

tanzania packing guide
This dress was made in Zanzibar (wearing it in D.R. Congo)

Zanzibar is one of my favorite places to purchase locally made dresses and outfits! There are several little shops that women sew them from the local vibrant fabrics!

If you want one, many are already pre-made, but you can also have one made just for you if you order them several days in advance. I will try to find the exact address of the places I go to, but any guide can direct you if you mention handmade dresses!

Scarves and Shawls

You don’t have to wear long sleeves in Zanzibar to abide by the Muslim respect factor. Simply bring a scarf or shawl to throw on over any sleeveless outfit! You can also use the scarf as a head wrap when you go to the beach!