Essentials to Pack Before You Leave for Kenya

Backpacking Kenya: Packing Essentials

So, you’ve decided to embark on a Backpacking Kenya adventure, but you are unsure what to bring with you, as you don’t want to be left stranded or bring too much. When packing, aim to pack as little as possible, focusing on bringing the essentials only. Also, choose a backpack that is as light as possible. It is worth spending a little bit more to get the items that are lighter and smaller as well as ones that have more than one function.

Whether be it a relaxing luxury holiday to the Bahamas, a backpacking city break in Rome or a cultural trip to Namibia, packing well is essential. And though there is never one packing list that fits every destination, or for that matter, every traveler, the list below focuses on what I believe would be useful for a backpacking adventure in Kenya. The article assumes that you’ll stay in budget accommodations – a mixture of hostels, hotels and basic tents.

Pack Clothes with Comfort Rather Than Fashion in Mind

Most will probably start their packing by trying to figure out what to wear. Try to find “clever clothes”. That means items which double up and are usable for more than one purpose. Pick colors and patterns that don’t show dirt easily, as you’ll most likely wash by hand most times. If you can, get a few items with mosquito repellent fabric, too.

Bring your old, well-worn shoes and always make sure you wear clean socks. Sturdier hiking-type boots are also useful to have, as are perhaps a pair of cheap flip-flops for the shower or the nighttime short walk.


Ensuring a Good Night’s Sleep for You and Others

As the saying goes, a good night’s sleep goes a long way. Let’s be realistic: when staying in hostels or in a tent, there is always someone who snores, so bring some earplugs. If you snore, please bring some extra earplugs to hand out to your traveling companions.

Finding the Light and Ensuring You’re Connected

A torch or even better a headlamp is an absolute necessity if you go on a safari and are staying in tents with no electricity. If you’re staying in a tent, a small carabiner hook will prove useful so that you can hang it up like a lamp.

Make sure you also bring all the required cables for your phone and camera, plus a wall plug and the appropriate adapter. It may also be useful to bring a car charger 12V plug if you’re going on a driving safari as well.

Don’t leave without a Swiss Army knife (or similar) either, as it has all the tools you’ll ever need in a small package. Think knives, can opener, bottle opener, scissors, nail files, min saw, screwdriver, etc.

Essentials to Pack Before You Leave for Kenya

Photo of Zebras during a Safari by Sutirta Budiman

Different Bags to Make Your Luggage Easier to Manage

When it comes to your main luggage, select a backpack that fits comfortably on your back when fully loaded. You’ll also need a small backpack so that you don’t have to carry your large one around when going on a safari or exploring Nairobi during the day. A 10-20L waterproof bag can double up as a shopping bag and works a treat if you head for the beach. Also, bring a few smaller waterproof bags for protecting things like your passport, phone, and camera against water and sand/dust.

When selecting your toiletry bag, make sure it is large enough and that it has a hook. You also need at least one large towel and ideally, one smaller: a face cloth-sized one is useful. Pick a stain-friendly color in a lightweight travel-type material.


Keeping Your Valuables Safe and Accessible

A good money belt will be a smart investment. Make sure it is comfortable and fits all your important stuff, such as your passport, money and any medications that you need to take.

A final Word before You Start Packing in Earnest

If you love reading, consider bringing one or two books rather than a Kindle, as you can swap them with others along the road. Africa Travel Guides are also useful. Finally, ensure that everything fits inside your backpack and that there is still space to add items as you travel.

All the best and enjoy your Trip!

Featured Image: Home is where the heart is by Trust Tru Katsande