Five things to pack when travelling to Africa

Dan Mew

You’ve booked on to a trip with African Adventures, had loads of fun fundraising for your trip, and your flight is just a couple of weeks away. All your vaccinations and medication are in order, your final instalment is paid, a member of staff from African Adventures has delivered your pre-departure presentation, and you think you are good to go. The last thing to do is pack your bags and head to the airport, but what do you pack for an African Adventure?

This would have all been explained during your pre-departure presentation but, if you missed it, here is a list of the essentials to take for your adventure.

It is important that you don’t forget something you will need during your time away. After all, you are thousands of miles from home! Things like your passport (obviously), the correct medication, any vaccination documents, sun cream, insect repellent, your Water-to-Go bottle, and your African Adventures t-shirt should all have a space inside your carry-on luggage or case.


This might go without saying, but you NEED your passport to travel. This is, of course, a general tip for travelling anywhere outside of the UK, but you don’t want to be that one person in your group who has left their travel documents at home. Make sure you pack it with your hand luggage, and not your suitcase, too! Keeping it close to you at all times during travel is important, as is keeping it secure in Africa – you don’t want to lose it mid-trip. You should have also sorted out your visa; more information about visa applications can be found on My AA.

Yellow Fever certificate and malaria tablets

Depending on which part of Africa you are going to, you may need a Yellow Fever certificate to show at the airport. In Kenya and Zanzibar, the vaccination is optional, so you do not need to present any documentation (but keep it with your passport if you have had the jab). In Ghana, however, you will need to show the certificate at border control to prove that you have had the vaccination. Failure to do this could mean an early flight back to the UK. The bonus about the vaccination is that it covers you for life… just keep that certificate safe! The NHS website offers more information on this too.

Your malaria tablets are also important for all three of our host destinations. Please follow the guidance on the medication closely, taking the correct dosage at the correct times. Information on malaria tablets can be found on the NHS website, and more information regarding travel medication can be found on My AA.

Sun cream and insect repellent

You don’t need to be an expert to know that Africa is hot! Protecting your skin from too much UV exposure is vitally important, as bad sunburn can ruin any trip, and can have long-term negative health effects. A high-factor sun cream is essential to protect your skin – your health is more important than that killer tan. We recommend regular applications of sun cream throughout the day, but be sure to follow the advice on the bottle. 

Africa is also home to some small but dangerous critters that can pose a threat to your health, so an insect repellent that includes DEET is important to prevent any unwanted attention from the local mosquitos. Most high street retailers will stock the sun cream and insect repellent that you need. Using your mosquito nets at night will also hopefully stop you from getting bitten on your trip.

Water-to-Go bottle

An estimated 50 billion single-use plastic bottles end up in landfill or the oceans every year. To reduce our impact on the environment, African Adventures provides every volunteer with a Water-to-Go bottle, containing an integrated filter that kills 99.9% of bacteria. This bottle, once activated, means that water which is not usually suitable for drinking is clean and safe, removing the need for our volunteers to buy single-use plastic bottles of water during their trips. You will receive your bottle at your pre-departure meeting, or, alternatively, you can order spare bottles and filters from our online shop on My AA.

African Adventures t-shirt

Along with your bottle, you will also receive your free African Adventures t-shirt prior to your trip. These look great when you are at fundraising events, and whilst volunteering in Africa. The t-shirts can be customised by adding your group name and year, as well as any logos from businesses that have provided sponsorship. We aren’t suggesting that you wear your t-shirt every day (if you did, it may walk home by itself!), but it would be amazing  to see some pictures of you with it on! Spare t-shirts are available to order via our online shop.

More information about all aspects of your trip, including flight and accommodation details, can be found on My AA, alongside a more detailed packing list to ensure that you are fully prepared for the journey ahead. We hope you have an amazing time!