What To Pack For An Overland Trip Across Namibia
I visited Namibia in June, in what is meant to be winter in the southern hemisphere. I traveled for 2 weeks on an overland trip during which I mostly camped and occasionally stayed in a hotel. I realized that packing correctly for an overland safari in Africa, and more specifically in Namibia, is of the utmost importance.
Here are my top tips and recommendations for traveling to this part of the world.
Before You Go: Things To Keep In Mind
When packing for a trip to Namibia, there are several important considerations. My first tip – which I apply to every trip – is to pack light. The secret is to pick items that easily mix and match. With the right accessories, these items serve double duty as day wear and evening casual wear. Other things to consider for a trip to Namibia are comfort, ease, temperatures, style and colors.
It’s possible to look stylish on a safari and still feel comfortable. KÜHL apparel was Born in the Mountains, but it’s equally at home on safari. Be sure to pick clothes that are breathable, neutral and easy to layer in varying temperatures.
An overland trip to Namibia doesn’t require long trekking, but hiking around the desert and dunes in Sossusvlei and Deadvlei shouldn’t be missed. Pack comfortable hiking pants or shorts, light-colored shirts, and appropriate footwear.
Namibia is very dry and dusty, and it’s not unusual to get covered from head to toe in dust and sand. There are no laundry facilities when camping, and hand washing is the only way to go. Pack items that are easy to wash and quick dry – cotton and technical fabrics work well.
Most people think Africa is always hot. Nothing could be farther from reality. Africa is a huge continent, and there are mountains, desert, and a great variety of climates. Namibia is mostly desert, and it rarely sees rain. Days are dry and sunny, and even in winter, it gets warm during the day (up to 28 degrees Celsius). Temperatures drop dramatically at night, often dipping below zero.
Early mornings, late afternoons and nights are cold in Namibia: an important factor when thinking about what to pack for a trip there. A good packing list for Namibia should include plenty of short and long sleeves shirts and a few sweaters. You’ll need a good jacket – preferably lightweight, but warm – to wear during in the early morning and at night. Don’t forget a hat like the KÜHL SKULL CAP, scarf and gloves.
Lovers of bright colors beware: when on a game drive, it’s much better to wear neutral colors – khaki, beige, taupe, and grey – to blend as much as possible with the bush. Bright red is associated by predators with wounded animals; blue attracts tse tse flies; and white just gets dirty easily.
Essential Packing List for Overland Safari
Clothes, Shoes & Accessories
- 3 pairs of khaki pants – I love my KÜHL KLIFFSIDE AIR CARGO and my KLIFFSIDE COVERTIBLE pants. My MØVA ZIP pants were comfortable to wear after a long day on the road.
- 1 pair of shorts – I recommend KÜHL KONTRA.
- 4 cotton t-shirts, best in neutral colors – I love the KÜHL TATE, INARA and SONA.
- A couple of long sleeves shirts to wear at night or on colder days – I’m a fan of the KÜHL TRISTA HOODY and ALVA THERMAL. Alva Thermal.
- 2 sweaters such as the KÜHL LEA PULLOVER and NOVA PULLOVER to wear when it gets cold, either at night or in the morning.
- A light yet very warm jacket such as the KÜHL FIREFLY HOODY.
- A scarf, a hat and a pair of gloves.
- A pair of walking shoes and a pair of sandals or flip flops to wear around the campsite.
- Eco-friendly toiletries and mosquito repellent. I also recommend bug spray for the tent, though there aren’t that many mosquitoes in dry places.
- Good sunblock and lip balm.
- Moisturizing lotion, as the skin gets so dry in that weather that it cracks up.
- Large quick dry towel.
- Torch or headlight.
- Plug adapter and a power bank.
- Water bottle and filter. Water is safe to drink in Namibia, but I still recommend filtering for better taste.
- Heavy duty sleeping bag and a liner, and a hot water bottle in case it gets too cold at night.
- Inflatable pillow.
- Clothes’s line and clothespins for laundry, plus laundry detergent or all purpose soap.
- Thermos to keep coffee hot – I prepared mine at night and drank it first thing in the morning to warm up.
- Ear plugs in case of snoring neighbors.
A safari is a highly photographic kind of trip. Make sure to pack a good camera – a compact won’t really do – lenses.
Here’s what I recommend:
- A good DSLR, or a Full Frame camera.
- 70/300 mm lens for wildlife photography.
- 24/70 mm lens for landscape and portraits.
- 10/22 mm lens for wide angle photography.
- Spare battery and extra SD and CF cards, plus a wallet to keep all memory cards in one place!
- Kit to clean the lenses.
- iPhone or another smartphone to shoot quick videos.
- Camera bag to keep everything together
An overland trip across Namibia isn’t challenging in terms of having to carry your bags around. Yet, the limited space in tents calls for light packing. Keep weight and volume to a minimum. Choose a backpack of no more than 65 liters capacity or a medium size duffel bag. Don’t take a hard-sided suitcase.
I also recommend taking a good day pack (no more than 25 liters capacity) to carry items you need during the day like water, wet wipes, hand sanitizer, and sunblock.