Murray’s Africa Packing

I had a special request from an over packer to put my packing list in the blog. I stopped packing my rubber boots in case it rained in 1988. They sit in the basement pining to leave the continent on a jet plane.

My first trip abroad I had two shoulder type bags. I lugged them around Australia and vowed not to do that again. From that trip on I strive to pack carry-on only. Then the ridiculous airline restrictions came into effect and everyone was learning how to pack less. If the lines at the airline check in counter are any indication very few got the hang of it.

Taking just carry-on not only means you don’t have to lug oversized bags around, it means you can get your ticket at the kiosk and go directly to the security line, completely bypassing the check in line. An extra ½ hours sleep by my calculations.

The theory is you only take what you are going to wear for sure. There is a backpackers saying “If you need it, and you don’t have it, you don’t need it”. It is sort of the same when traveling, except most of the time you are somewhere where you can buy what you really need. This means there is no panic if you leave your rain jacket at home, umbrellas are available everywhere, except Edmonton maybe.

So here is the list

Carry-on Bag

One pair of linen pants. People that live in hot climates wear linen clothing.

One pair tech fibre shorts

Flip Flops for wearing around hotels

2 pair of underwear

2 pair of socks. One shoe top height for when I wear shorts. One regular pair.

One Merino wool T shirt. Good for cool or hot weather.

One collared sports shirt. Restaurant wear.

Two T shirts.

A Bathing suit

Assorted drugs. Old peoples drugs, malaria pills, drugs for illness.

First Aid kit

Clothes line in a large pill bottle that I have wrapped with duct tape.

Head lamp

Shaving kit, tooth brush etc.


Cloth shopping bag to carry in lieu of a, dead give away for a tourist, backpack. Try as I might it really is impossible to look like a local.

Wide brim Tilley hat

A pair of socks I will wear to climb the sand dunes, san shoes. They will be left in Namibia.

Carry-on Bag




Noise cancelling headphones

Spare batteries


2 pairs of binoculars

Camera battery charger


Sleep masks, ear plugs

Water filter bottle


Airplane Clothes

A pair of underwear with a hole that I will discard after a couple of days. This goes for any clothes that might be on their last legs. They are not coming home.

Long pants with zip off legs

Long sleeve Merino wool shirt. Airplanes are cold and it will be good for evenings.

A water resistant jacket. Good in case it rains and it will be cold when we get home so an extra layer will be good.


The only pair of shoes I will take.

Passport neck safe

Money belt


Neither of my bags are full but I will have more than enough to get me through 5 weeks in Africa. We will do some washing in the shower and might even splurge and send our clothes out if we have enough time in one place. Local laundry establishments are very inexpensive and it is like a new start to the trip with clean clothes.

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