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30 Essential Items to pack for your African Travels

In this article, we will be discussing 30+ essential items that you should pack if you are travelling to Africa.

Some of them are general travel items. However, some are specific to your trip to Africa.

I want to assume you already have your basic travel documents  such as your passport, visas and all other essential travel documents for African travellers.

A. Medical Essentials for your African Travel

1.0 Mosquito/Insect repellent cream

There are lots of insects in Africa. Insects and mosquitoes  are prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa because of the tropical climate. 

If you will be on the move constantly during your visit, having an insect repellent will prove useful. This will keep the little creatures away.

2.0 Covid 19 Test 

Due to the prevalence of Covid 19, you will need to take a vaccine test to determine whether or not you are positive before you take the trip. 

Usually some countries require that you take the test at least 5 days (120 hours) before you travel, while some other countries expect that your test should be at least 3 days (72 hours) before arrival . 

You will need to visit the country’s international travel site to get more information about requirements for travel as regards the Covid19. 

I recommend the US travel site for information about travel to any country, emergency contact information for US citizens, health requirements for travellers and so much more. 

You can also check specific country’s travel information sites to learn more about specific information needed by the country for travellers or tourists.

 You should also visit WHO for more information about Covid19.

3.0 Travel Vaccine  

Consult your doctors before you travel and get all necessary medications and or vaccines before your trip. 

Certain countries in Africa require first time travellers to take yellow fever vaccinations before they visit the country. 

Some countries that requires travellers above the age of 1 to take the yellow fever vaccination  are, Cameron, Congo, Rwanda, DRC, Gabon, Guinea-Bissau, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Niger, Togo, Côte d’ivoire, Nigeria. 

Note that it is a requirement but it is sometimes not enforced or mandatory in some of these African countries. 

4.0 Vaccination Card

The vaccination card is gradually becoming an essential travel requirement.

Gone are the days where you only needed your passport and Visa to travel the world. Thanks to Covid 19.

The occurrence of Covid19 pandemic greatly affected the world, literally stopping people from moving and having people stay locked up in their homes for months. 

Vaccines have been released to help curb the spread, give people a fighting chance against the disease, and save lives. 

People are already getting their vaccinations around the world so that they can fight the disease and get back to their normal lives. 

Gradually, countries are making vaccinations a requirement for travellers and it is likely to continue on the upward trend. 

So as a traveller you need to have your vaccination cards with you because they may be required by the country you are visiting. 

Already, some African countries require you to have the yellow fever Vaccination card.

5.0 Multi Vitamins

Multivitamins are used to support the food we eat because sometimes we don’t get all the nutrients we require from the food we eat. 

They provide the nutrients that your body needs to boost the immune system and fight diseases or bacteria. They also keep your nerves and organs functioning properly. 

When you travel to a new country, especially for the first time, you need to boost your immune system so that it can fight against diseases or help you adjust to a new environment. 

The last thing anyone would want is to be ill while travelling to another country. 

You want to be strong and hearty so that you can enjoy your trip and have a good time. 

This is why having Multivitamins is essential.

6.0 Anti Allergy drugs

Anti-allergy drugs are used to prevent, relieve or control allergic symptoms. 

If you have allergies or you react to certain foods, animals or things, you should already know what to do to avoid them. The kind of medications and anti inflammatory drugs to take to control these allergies. 

You should travel with your anti allergy drugs, inhalers, or pain relievers in case of an emergency. 

You can never be too sure that you won’t react harshly to certain things in the country you are visiting. And if an emergency occurs it might be difficult to get your medication quickly.

7.0 First Aid Kit

Most people don’t think of packing a first aid kit along with them when travelling but it could be very useful not just for you but for someone around you who might be involved in an accident.   

You should consider taking a First Aid Kit along with you when you next travel.  

A small bag containing items like a bandage or medical tape, Pain relief drugs, scissors, digital thermometer, tweezers, and hand sanitizers would do just fine.

B. Security and Safety Items for your African travel

8.0 Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance protects you from certain financial risks or losses that happen to you while travelling. 

Most insurance policies cover losses like injury, accidents, theft or loss of valuables, medical emergencies, health problems, flight cancelation or delay, unused hotel rooms which have been paid for and so on.

Some Insurance companies are now including the Covid19 treatment as part of the coverage like any other sickness that occurs while on your trip.

Travel insurance has a lot of benefits.

Depending on your coverage, your insurance company will reimburse you if you missed your flight, didn’t get to use your hotel room, or had a health problem while travelling.

It is absolutely necessary and a wise investment to have travel insurance especially if you travel a lot.

I think Global Rescue offer great  services. Their services are top notch and they are focused specifically on travel services and health care for travellers. They do emergency evacuation for their clients no matter where they are in the world.

9.0 Safety Lock/ padlock 

This is needed for your luggage and valuables, as well as your place of residence depending on where you would be staying during the trip. 

Carry an extra safety lock. just in case you need it.

10.0 Emergency Contact 

Having someone you can reach out to from wherever you are in the case of an emergency is a very critical safety measure for travellers. 

You should have at least one emergency contact you can call to help you out if need be. You should also put them in the know of your every move  while on your trip. 

The contact(s) should not only be on your phone but also in your head. You should recall their numbers if you are woken up from sleep, and are asked for their numbers. That’s how important it is. 

11.0 Backpack

A backpack is a must have item for travellers because it helps you carry whatever essential item you need to have with you wherever you go. 

It is also more safe to carry than a bag because you won’t easily drop it somewhere or lose it. 

If you are not really a backpack person then you can purchase backpacks that double as handbags which are also fashionable and convenient.

12.0 Waist bag/ pouch 

A waist bag may at first seem irrelevant but I can tell you for sure that the tiny little bag slung across your waist is very useful. 

You can easily keep those essential things that you carry around with you, like your keys, phones, cards or money in your waist pouch. 

The benefit of a waist bag is that It is always on you and it gives you freedom to move your arms around. Something a handbag would not allow you to do. 

You don’t have to take it with you all the time of course, the waist bag is especially useful when going for sightseeing, adventure outings like the beach, for a stroll, to hike, to the zoo, and to other fun or laid back places. 

13.0 Water Bottle 

A water bottle is definitely a must have for travellers. You should keep your water bottle handy, as we well know the climate is usually hot in most African countries. It is doubly so during dry seasons, people get more thirsty as the sun seeks to dry up everything in its path.

So it is always good to have a bottle of water with you when you are out and about.

14.0 Torch Light

This might make you wonder if you are going for some camping or a wilderness retreat. But you can’t be over prepared for your trip. 

Some countries in Africa don’t have constant power supply, so you might actually find yourself in need of a torchlight. Preferably a rechargeable torchlight.

If you don’t want to bother yourself carrying extra stuff you can use the torchlight in your phone. That is definitely an option. 

If you want to get a light weight travel torchlight check out these few Travel ready torchlights that are affordable.

15.0 Whistle

You might likely never need to use a whistle during your stay in Africa. But is it a good security item to have on you when you travel? 

Whistles are an essential must have item for travellers because they are better than your voice when screaming for help or getting attention when you are in danger or you need help, because they are louder and can travel far. 

People can quickly pick up the noise and trace your location, plus screaming your lungs out will wear you out faster than blowing a whistle. 

It may seem irrelevant, but that little item can save a life. Invest in a security whistle it definitely doesn’t hurt to be prepared.

C. Wearable essentials for your travel to Africa

16.0 Sunglasses

Most people would definitely have Sunglasses as part of their travel checklist. 

Sunglasses protect your eyes from the sun and from outdoor elements like dust, wind, etc. It’s a good addition to your travel items.

 17.0 Sunscreen

Sunscreen protects your body from harsh sun radiation that can damage the skin. UV rays from the sun usually cause sunburn. 

Most African countries are tropical and hot and mostly sunny. If it’s not a rainy day It’s usually very hot and sunny. 

Do well to include sunscreen to your list of travel items.

18.0 Clothing, Underwear and Jewelry

Make sure to pack clothes and underwear that you would be needing during your visit.

19.0 Umbrella/ raincoats

Depending on the time of the year you are travelling, you would need to have an umbrella or raincoat. 

If you are travelling during the rainy season which is usually between March through July then you need to get an umbrella. 

Umbrellas can also serve as protection from the sun as well so you can definitely use it at any time.

There are portable, travel ready, and efficient travel umbrellas that would serve the purpose. 

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20.0 Comfy shoes, trainers; 

Getting comfortable breathable shoes is a necessity when travelling. The last thing you want to experience when touring the country, moving around the markets and visiting awesome sites is an uncomfortable shoe. It can soil your awesome day. Definitely invest in quality shoes for travelling.

21.0 Swimsuits

If you plan on going to the beach often, or going places where there are swimming pools it won’t hurt to have a swim suit. You can’t be over prepared.

D. Toiletries to take along on your African trip

22.0 Moisturizer

Take along your Moisturizer and sunscreen cream to keep your skin hydrated and moisturized throughout the day. 

The climate in Africa is mostly sunny and warm and is especially so around summer.

The sun screen will also help protect your skin from the high temperature especially if you have sensitive skin.

23.0 Bath Cream

24.0 Hair clippers and shaving sticks

This travel item is for the guys. If you cut your hair often and you will be in Africa for a while then consider taking your own hair clipper along.

Yes the barbers in the place will have their clippers and  you can definitely use the barber’s clippers if you don’t mind. 

But if you are particular about hygiene and wouldn’t want to share clippers with other people you should totally get a portable travel clipper

25.0 Bath Sponge and Soap 

Take along your bath soap as well as your sponge because in most cases you may not find the brand you use overseas. 

26.0 Toiletries: toothbrush, deodorants, towels, sanitary towels, shaving cream are very essential travel items. If you have a specific brand you use you should get them before traveling because you might not find that brand in the country you are visiting.

E. Gadgets needed for your African travels

27.0 Portable Chargers:

This one is definitely a no brainer. If you must charge your phones you need to travel with your charges. I recommend having a backup charger just in case you lose one or it gets spoiled.

28.0 Power bank:  

Power banks are very common in Africa because of the epileptic power supply there. Most people have a power ban charged up and ready to use for their phones if there is no electricity to charge with. Power banks are portable, and convenient for travelling. You can charge your phone while using your phone and carry it with you on the go.

29.0 Affordable travel Camera: 

If you would love to take pictures or make videos then you would need a camera.? Another alternative to having a camera is of course your phone. 

30.0 Earplugs:

Ear plugs are also quite useful items to have when travelling.

31.0 Selfie Sticks/ Tripods: 

So If you are a picture person and you want to take pictures and make videos about your trips taking a selfie stick along with you can make your pictures even better.

32.0 EU Adapters: 

If you are from the US, it is likely that your electrical appliances are not suitable for African voltage. The Voltage used in Africa is similar to that of European and Asian countries.

 America adapters and electronics are between 100 and 127 while the European adapters are between 220-240volts)

33.0 Sim Card Enabled Phone/ Unlocked phone

If you are from the US your phone comes connected with your T-mobile enabled. Hence it is locked and cannot operate outside the US or Europe. 

You might need to get an extra phone that is unlocked and can be used anywhere, which has a slot for local sim cards to be inserted. With these phones you can buy a new sim card in the country you are visiting and use this to make calls and buy data credits.


Getting everything you need before you travel saves you from a lot of stress and hassle.

Here is a list of all the travel items listed above. Feel free to consult this list when you are packing for your African travel.

  • Mosquito/insect repellent cream
  • Covid 19 test
  • Vaccination 
  • Vaccination card
  • Multivitamins
  • Travel Insurance
  • Anti allergy medication
  • First aid kit
  • Safe and lock
  • Waist/ pouch bag
  • Back pack
  • Whistle
  • Water Bottle
  • Torchlight
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Clothes, underwear and jewelries
  • Comfy shoes and trainers
  • Swimsuits
  • Umbrella and raincoats 
  • Trainers 
  • Hair clippers
  • Toiletries
  • Bath creams
  • Portable chargers 
  • Power bank
  • Affordable travel cameras
  • Selfie stick/ mini tripod
  • Ear plugs
  • EU adapters
  • Sim card enabled Phones

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