An Impala – Masai Mara

The below safari essentials list is supplied as a guide on what to pack for Masai Mara Safari. Please ensure where possible that you keep your luggage to a minimum due to the weight / space restrictions of 15kg total weight allowance per person (including carry-on bags) on light aircraft and local airlines flying to and from Masai Mara.

That’s not to say that you can’t travel with luggage more than 15kg when you are headed to Masai Mara, its only a strict requirement when using an aircraft to get there.

Also depending on your travel arrangements most of your luggage can be left at you Nairobi hotel before heading to the Mara.

When packing for a Masai Mara safari, we recommend using soft-sided luggage for convenience and flexibility. Most safaris begin with a flight to Kenya’s international airport, followed by transfers on smaller safari planes to reach the lodges. These smaller aircraft have limited luggage compartments, necessitating the use of safari duffel bags that can easily be manipulated to fit into tight spaces.

Upon arrival at the airstrip near your safari camp, your luggage will need to be transferred to a safari vehicle. Soft-sided bags are more manageable and can easily fit into the vehicle’s storage areas. For these reasons, it’s advisable to avoid hard-shell suitcases, as they are heavier and less suited to the safari environment.

Below, we have recommended some soft sided and duffel bags that are perfect for your Masai Mara safari adventure.

Its important to note that in 2017, Kenya implemented a law prohibiting the distribution of single-use plastic bags — the type commonly provided by grocery stores and other retailers for carrying purchases. This legislation was motivated by the significant impact of plastic pollution.

As part of Kenya’s environmental initiative, the ban extends to single-use plastics in pristine environments that host a variety of iconic flora and fauna like Masai mara, including disposable plastic water bottles. Plastic pollution represents one of the most severe threats to global environmental health. Single-use plastics are contaminating ecosystems ranging from rainforests to the deepest parts of the ocean. When ingested by fish and livestock, plastic waste eventually enters our food chain.

Packing Checklist

This packing check list is a complete guide on what to take on your Masai mara safari.

Duffel Bag

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is travel-duffel-bag.jpgRipstop Wheeled Duffel, Telescoping Handle, 30″
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars (3,816 ratings)
Price: $99.86
Color Options: Black, Blue, Red
Size: 30″ (also available in 26″ and 35″)
External Dimensions: 33’’ – 41″ x 16’’ x 14.5’’ (LxWxH)
Interior Capacity: 87 Liters
Weight: 10.6 lb or 4.81kg
Features: Wheeled duffel in black for traveling in comfortable, convenient style.
Durable design with 100% polyester top. Multiple zippered front and main compartments
for easy organizing and secure storage.
Travel duffel bag

Wheeled duffel for traveling in comfortable, convenient style. Durable design with 100% polyester top. Multiple zippered front and main compartments for easy organizing and secure storage. This duffel bag is a great choice for your safari adventure, offering ample space, durability, and ease of transport.

Clear Toiletry Bag

One very important thing to have is a TSA approved clear toiletry bag, and this is essential for your Masai Mara and even a Kenya or Tanzania Safari packing list. As we mentioned above countries like Kenya have banned single-use plastic bags, inclusive of the ones provided by the airport because of environmental concerns.

Sports Bra

The roads to Masasi Mara are likely to be bumpy and you will thank me for adding a sports bra to your safari packing list essentials. They come in different colors, sizes, and shapes and needed for any occasion whether you’re running the Boston Marathon or a Masai Mara Safari.

Personal Toiletries

Other important items that you must include in your packing list includes personal toiletries (such as travel size shampoo, conditioner, soap, deodorant, moisturizer, hair brush, toothpaste and toothbrush), sanitary products for ladies, wet wipes and hand sanitizers, small sewing kit, small scissors and pocket knife (not in carry on bag) money pouch or money belt.

Grayl Ultralight Water Filter Bottle

When embarking on a safari in the Masai Mara, staying hydrated is crucial, but so is ensuring the water you drink is safe. The Grayl Ultralight Water Filter Bottle is a must-have item for your packing list. This portable water purifier is designed to remove viruses, bacteria, and protozoa from natural water sources, making it ideal for outdoor adventures where access to clean water may be limited. With its simple press-to-purify system, you can fill up from any freshwater source and have safe, clean drinking water in just seconds. The Grayl Ultralight is not only effective but also lightweight and compact, making it easy to carry in your backpack without adding extra bulk. With the ban of single use plastic bottles in places like Masai Mara this would make a great water bottle.

Travel Mug

Pack a travel mug with a spill-proof lid to enjoy hot drinks during chilly morning drives.

Collapsible Water Bottle

Collapsible water bottles that can save you space while packing.

Consider adding the Popdigito 2 Pack Collapsible Water Bottles. These innovative bottles are not only eco-friendly but also incredibly space-saving. The bottles can be folded down to just a few inches, making them perfect for saving space in your luggage. After you drink the water, you can collapse them to one-third of their size, freeing up valuable packing space. Made of food-grade BPA-free silicone, these bottles are safe, non-toxic, and odorless. The durable 3-ply material is built to last, reducing the need for disposable plastic bottles.


Be sure to carry a camera possibly with a zoom lens for the dramatic photo opportunities you’ll find on your Masai Mara Safari adventure. You may want to prepare a water-proof bag for the camera and extra flash cards to ensure it won’t get wet.

For your electronics including your phone and other rechargeable electronics, it is suggested that you confirm that your a/c adapter or battery charger works with 220 volts, and also bring a 3-pin square (UK) electrical adapter plug.

Neutral Coloured Cloths

So as not to be a target of the Tsetse fly, avoid very bright red colours or dark blue. For the evening clothes, if you stay inside of your camp or resort, focus on the light-coloured fabrics to not to attract mosquitoes. We offer a comprehensive guide on what to wear for your Mara safari for those interested in learning more.

Some light Clothing

Kenya is hot and at times a bit humid and you will need comfortable clothes that are not too warm especially during the day or too tight such that you can’t wear them for long. A normal day can range around in the 75° F / 24°C so dress appropriately for this kind of weather.

Warm Clothing

At dawn and in the late afternoon is when game drives are generally conducted. These periods can be cold, especially around July. The temperature often warms up during the day, so it is best to dress in layers.

Insect Repellent

Even though most of the lodges and camps in mara provide insect repellent we still encourage you to pack your own. One containing deet is the best since deet is said to be more effective against most insects and bugs on a Kenya Safari.


Sunglasses are essential for protecting your eyes from the harsh sun and glare, especially in the open savannah of the Masai Mara. Look for polarized lenses to reduce glare and improve clarity, making it easier to spot wildlife and enjoy the stunning landscapes.


A wide-brimmed hat is crucial for safeguarding your face, neck, and ears from sunburn. The intense African sun can be unforgiving, and a hat provides much-needed shade, keeping you cooler and more comfortable during your safari adventures.


Binoculars for masai mara safari bird viewing and wildlife

Binoculars are a must-have for any safari. We recommend the Occer 12×25 Compact Binoculars. These high-powered binoculars offer a 12x magnification and a 25mm objective lens, providing a wide field of view (273ft/1000yds) that allows you to observe animals from a safe distance without missing any details. The large eyepiece and adjustable eye cups make them suitable for both eyeglass wearers and non-wearers, ensuring comfortable and focused viewing. Equipped with FMC Broadband coating and premium BAK4 prism, these binoculars deliver clear and vibrant images, even in low light conditions. Their compact and lightweight design makes them easy to carry on your safari adventures, and the durable, waterproof construction ensures they can withstand the elements.

Power Bank

A reliable power bank is essential for keeping your devices charged while on the go. In the Masai Mara, access to electricity may be limited, especially if you’re staying in remote camps or lodges. A high-capacity power bank ensures that your camera, phone, and other essential gadgets have enough power to last through your safari, so you can capture every moment.

Swimming Costume

Many lodges and camps in the Masai Mara have swimming pools where you can relax and cool off after a day of game drives. Packing a swimming costume ensures you’re prepared to take advantage of these facilities, providing a refreshing break from the heat and a chance to unwind in a beautiful setting.

AICase Waterproof Phone Case

waterproof phone case for rainy days or swimming at masai mara

Adding to your safari essentials, the AICase Waterproof Phone Case is not only valuable for your Masai Mara adventure but also for any beach trips or rainy days. This universal underwater pouch is compatible with a wide range of smartphones, ensuring your device stays dry and functional in various wet environments. Whether you’re swimming in the lodge pool, visiting coastal regions, or caught in a sudden downpour, this case protects your phone from water, dust, and sand. Its unique vacuum seal technology maintains touch screen sensitivity, allowing you to use your phone as usual, even underwater. This feature is particularly handy for capturing underwater photos or videos without worrying about damaging your device. The case also comes with a lanyard for easy carrying, making it a convenient and versatile accessory for all your travel needs.

Etekcity Portable Digital Luggage Scale

Avoid overweight baggage fees with the Etekcity luggage scale. Accurate and easy to use, the perfect travel companion to avoid unexpected overweight baggage fees. This compact and user-friendly scale can easily fit in your pocket, making it a must-have for any traveler. Hook your suitcased for instant weight and save time before you wait in line.(Using a 2mm Phillips screwdriver with 4 points when replacing the battery) The travel sacle has 110lb/50kg weight capacity & 0.1lb/50g graduation,it also can measure the ambient temperature

Some Medicine

This is just a fancy way of saying ‘meds’ – stuff you need, just in case the worst happens: diarrhea, headaches, heartburn, insect repellent, hand sanitizer, bites (antihistamine), indigestion, sore throat (lozenges), eye drops, and most important – anti-malarial tablets.

Here Are Some Essential Tips To Keep In Mind

When embarking on a safari in the Masai Mara, it’s important to be well-prepared to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable experience. Here are some essential tips to keep in mind:

  • Technology and Power:
    • Bring an external battery pack to keep your devices charged during long game drives.
    • Consider carrying a power bar to expand the number of available outlets for charging multiple devices.
    • For travelers from North America, use Apple cubes for charging, as they have built-in transformers suitable for the 240-volt outlets in Kenya.
  • Personal Comfort:
    • Pack a travel mug with a spill-proof lid to enjoy hot drinks during chilly morning drives.
    • Dress in layers to adapt to the changing temperatures throughout the day. A sweater or windbreaker jacket is essential for the cool mornings.
    • A poncho or blanket can provide extra warmth during early morning game drives. Some camps provide hot water bottles for added comfort.
  • Health and Safety:
    • Don’t forget to bring sunscreen to protect your skin from the strong African sun.
    • Carry bug spray to ward off insects, although most camps provide their own version.
    • Ensure you have a comprehensive travel insurance policy that covers medical emergencies and evacuation.
  • Safari Schedule:
    • Be prepared for early mornings, as game drives typically start around 5:30 AM to catch the wildlife when they are most active.
    • Afternoon game drives usually begin between 4:00-5:00 PM and last until sundown, offering another opportunity to see the animals in their natural habitat.
    • Relax and unwind during the midday heat, as many camps have swimming pools for guests to enjoy.
  • Tipping:
    • Don’t forget to tip the safari staff and drivers. Tips are usually given separately and are a way to show appreciation for their service.
  • Packing Essentials:
    • Use soft-sided luggage for easier handling on small aircraft and safari vehicles.
    • Remember the ban on single-use plastic bags in Kenya. Opt for reusable bags and containers.
    • Pack a Grayl Ultralight Water Filter Bottle to ensure access to safe drinking water.

Last But Not Least: VPN for Secure Internet Access

While packing all your safari essentials, it’s crucial not to overlook your digital security. The Wi-Fi available in hotels and lodges during your safari will often be public, making it vulnerable to security threats. This is where having a VPN becomes essential, especially if you plan to make online payments or handle sensitive information.

Using a VPN like NordVPN on your devices offers numerous benefits for travelers:

  • Encrypts your internet connection, ensuring that your personal data is protected from cyber threats like hacking or identity theft.
  • Accesses geo-restricted content, such as your favorite shows or news services that may not be available abroad.
  • Secures your financial transactions, which is crucial when booking tours, accommodations, or managing finances far from home.
  • Maintains privacy by hiding your IP address, making your online actions less traceable.

By including a VPN in your travel toolkit, you ensure that your adventure in the Masai Mara is not only memorable but also secure, keeping your digital life safeguarded against potential online risks. This added layer of security will let you enjoy your safari without worrying about your online safety.

By following these tips, you’ll be well-equipped for an unforgettable safari experience in the Masai Mara. Enjoy the adventure and the incredible wildlife sightings that await you!


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