With a carry-on?

So, you’ve done it, you’ve booked your dream trip to the rainforest, off-spring in tow. Big old tick against the Bucket List. But, if travelling to remote jungle airstrips in light-aircraft, canoeing through mangroves, waterfall-rapelling, tree-climbing, jungle walks and night-time caiman spotting are unchartered terrirories, what on earth do you pack?

You’ve heard the old adage, ‘travel light’? Well, take that as your starting point. With wet landings and tricky overland routes to lodges often the norm, you’ll be relieved you didn’t throw in that unnecessary dress or pair of jeans. Whilst most lodges run a well-oiled system, where your luggage is magically whisked away on arrival at the airport, only to re-appear in your thatched waterside cabana 3 hours later, ideally, make sure you can carry your luggage without assistance – just in case you have to! A backpack or small rolling suitcase work well, alongside a daypack. Yes, it can be done! Abi and Sara at Bushbaby Travel, both travel long-haul with children, hand-luggage-only. If you want a little room for manoeuvre though, opt for an expandable case – perfect for those last minute buys and holiday keep-sakes.

If you do travel with hold luggage, we recommend all valuables, essentials and one change of clothing are packed in your hand-luggage as a precaution in the (hopefully unlikely) event that your bags are delayed. It’s also worth double checking the domestic airline weight restrictions (we include these on your itinerary for ease of reference), which can be much lower than International allowances. The golden rule is to ask if you are at all concerned – many of our ground agents offer a secure left-luggage service, often at no extra cost, and will deliver back to you or take to your next hotel.

In terms of a packing list, we’ve compiled our recommendations below:

• Pack light-weight, quick drying clothing (high humidity in some areas). Leave your jeans behind as they will take forever to dry. The dress code, even in luxury resorts, is informal and relaxed. For coastal areas, T-shirts and shorts are great, but take long-sleeved lightweight trousers and tops for the cloud and rainforest areas and bear in mind there is a strong likelihood of you getting wet and/or muddy when exploring!
• Light-weight, waterproof sports sandals and hiking shoes (closed-toe shoes are recommended for walking around the jungle).
• Waterproof pac-a-mac
• First aid kit and high-factor suncream/sunblock (be prepared to get through a lot, as the high humidity in some areas means it dissolves more quickly)
• Sunglasses
• Hat
• Knee-high socks for the rubber boots that are supplied at many lodges
• Trousers for riding (if that’s on your itinerary)
• Day pack for hikes
• Sweater/Fleece for the flight and for cool nights and early mornings
• Swimsuits
• Flashlight or headlamp with spare batteries (for occasional power outages or low lighted walkways at lodges)
• Water bottle
• Binoculars (with carrying strap)
• Camera (waterproof, or with a waterproof case or dry bag, sold in outdoor-equipment stores)
• Zip-style plastic bags (they always come in handy)
• Travel alarm clock or watch/phone with an alarm (don’t count on wake-up calls)
• Insect Repellent: We would recommend looking at the Which report on Insect Repellent and health advice for travellers. They recommend Boots Repel Extra Strength and Jungle Formula Extra Strength, which both contain 50% deet or for areas with a low risk of malaria, Jungle Formula Family. Biting insects are more of a problem in the rainforest and in lowland/wetland areas.

Happy packing!

About the author

Bushbaby was founded by Abi in 2004, with the aim of helping families experience authentic and memorable long-haul holidays, whilst not compromising on style and comfort when travelling with young children in tow! Abi has travelled to over 60 countries with her husband Jim (who proposed at Everest base camp) and lives in Surrey with her 3 children.

Abi Shaw - Bushbaby founder and avid explorer!

Leave a Comment

Other articles about Africa


Get In Touch

Feeling inspired? Start planning your next adventure by contacting us today.