Packing List for an Epic Trip to Namibia

If you follow this blog or our social media, you know we are gearing up for an epic trip to Namibia next week! You’ll be glad to know that I finally booked flights and a car and most of our accommodations and excursions. So this post will give you a look into what we are packing for our trip, so you can use it when you visit Namibia

Having never been to a place, it can be challenging to know what to take and what to leave behind but I do have the experience of visiting Swaziland and South Africa a number of times, so most decisions I am basing on those experiences. But I have done enough research to know that Namibia is different in its “wildness” as well as its desert coverage, so we need to be prepared for lots of sand and hot weather this time of year. Just a note: we are not luxury travelers. We backpack and stay in lodges or bush tents as much as possible. If you are one for luxe travel, you may have a very different packing list! 😉

So as backpackers, we find one of the most important items to be the backpack itself. We love Osprey packs but my advice is for you to go to your local outdoor store and actually get fitted for a pack. Try several on with weight in them and walk around the store to get a feel for each. This is not a place you want to skimp. (And we would say the same about hiking shoes and boots!) After packing, we secure each pack in a handy zippered bag so that the straps don’t get caught in the airline’s equipment and then check them to our destination. Then we each bring a carry-on, in the form of a flashpack, regular backpack, or a camera bag with camera plus room for other carry-on items.

Suggested in carry-on bag:
  • Passport and drivers license
  • Cash/Credit card/Debit card
  • ​Copies of:
    • Passport
    • Credit cards
    • Itinerary
  • Emergency contact info
  • Snacks and gum
  • Refillable water bottle
  • Camera, memory card, charger
  • Stuff to do on the plane: iPod, journal, books, Kindle, etc.
  • Lip balm, lotion, eye drops, saline nose spray
  • Travel tissues
  • Antibacterial wipes
  • Chargers and batteries if you might need them
  • Light change of clothes
  • Basic toiletries
  • Travel pillow
  • Pashmina or scarf (optional)
  • Eye mask/blanket (optional)
  • Headphones or earbuds
  • Reading light​ (optional)
  • Medications/prescriptions
  • Contacts/Solution/Glasses/Case
  • Anything valuable that you have to bring!
Suggested in checked bag:
  • Walking/hiking shoes or boots
  • Flip flops/sandals
  • Sunglasses
  • Buff and brimmed hat or cap
  • 1 pair jeans
  • 2-3 pair walking or cargo pants/shorts
  • 3-4 T-shirts/short sleeved shirts
  • 2 Long sleeved shirts and/or base layers
  • Fleece or hoodie
  • Wool socks
  • Washcloth and towel
  • Outlet converters
  • ​Ziplock bags
  • Weather-resistant coat/raincoat/windbreaker
  • Knit hat, mittens, gloves, if needed
  • Protein bars or other snacks
  • Insect repellent/sunscreen
  • Binoculars
  • Solar charger, other chargers, batteries
  • Toiletries
  • Swimsuit, if needed
  • Undergarments
  • 1 pair of pajamas
  • OTC medicines (anti-diarrheal, pain reliever, etc.
  • Headlamp and/or flashlight

Other suggestions for the rookie traveler:

  • Don’t overpack. It can be costly and a drag!
  • Attach a luggage ID tag to each of your bags, even your carry-on bag. It’s also suggested to put your name and address on the inside of your bags as well.
  • Carts are available in airports, usually for no (or a nominal) fee. Safes are normally available in hotel rooms or hostel front desks. Make use of these!
  • Carry-on luggage must fit under the seat in front of you or in the overhead bin of the aircraft. I suggest you carry all prescription medications, a light change of clothes, basic toiletries, and any valuables in your carry-on bag. This is helpful if luggage is delayed for any reason.
  • ​A pillow and blanket are provided on the international flights. I suggest bringing your own travel pillow. Bring a travel blanket and/or eye mask if you prefer.
  • Zip lock bags, plastic bags, or packing cubes can help keep small items organized and keep dirty/wet items from soiling other items.
  • Never underestimate the power of a clean, dry pair of knickers or socks. Bring plenty of ’em or, even better, bring your own travel-sized, environmentally-friendly laundry soap, clothespins, and even a clothesline to wash and dry your items yourself.
  • Think of packing interchangeable pieces of clothes for maximum versatility and convenience. Don’t plan to bring a new outfit for each day.
  • Layering clothes can offer versatility in changing climates and conditions; plan to bring a windbreaker, fleece, or hoodie, etc., as well as short-sleeved shirts and base layers. It will be COLD on early-morning game drives and overnight in tented accommodations. Wool blankets are usually provided in game drive vehicles and bush tents but if you are someone who gets cold easily, consider bringing a knit hat, gloves, etc. Wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothes for the flights.
So this is my packing list for Namibia! What am I missing? What do you see on the list that you think is unnecessary? What other suggestions do you have?  Let me know in the comments below!

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