Kenya Packing List: What to Wear and What Not to Bring

Are you heading to the upcountry? Masaai Mara? Nairobi? The coast? The different parts of the country can wildly vary in a climate, so it’s important to note the exact place you’ll be staying before you start packing. Our Kenya packing list will give you everything you need to know for a trip to Kenya.

Kenya is an incredible country with breath-taking scenery, sunny beaches, and lush mountains. Being one of the best safari destinations in Africa is an added reason to visit Kenya.

The country is considerably diverse, so your Kenya packing list will depend on which part of the country you intend to visit and the type of activities you will take part in.

Before we dive into what to pack for your Kenya trip, let us talk briefly about the weather.

Weather in Kenya

One of the most critical factors you will want to consider when crafting the perfect Kenya packing list is the weather and the season at the time of your visit.

Kenya typically has a dry and rainy season. The dry season runs from mid-December to March, and the rainy season usually starts from late April through to July and early August.

Weather in Kenya: Kenya Packing List

The country also experiences short rains from time to time. However, since the equator runs through the country, the climate is temperate, so even on the rainy season, it never gets too cold.

Assuming you’ll take part in different top excursions and adventures if you visit Kenya, here is a list of recommended items plus tons of good ideas.

21 Top Kenya Packing List Items

Clothing

The coastal part of the country offers fantastic pearly beaches, so make sure you pack smart-casual in case an opportunity for a romantic dinner date arises.

For safari trips, you’ll need to wear loose and comfortable clothing. 

Remember, avoid wearing brightly-colored clothes on a safari – one reason being you need to camouflage with the surroundings as much as possible lest you miss a chance to spot lions. 

The second reason is a safari in Africa can be pretty dusty since the roads in animals National Parks are not tarmacked.

For beach and other activities; however, your preference should guide you best.

Shirt or Blouse

If you’re headed to the Kenyan coast lightweight button-up shirt/blouse are great whether you’re strolling along the white sandy beaches or you’re out for nightlife.

Great Rift Valley and the western part of the country can get a little bit cold at night so be sure to pack a few warm clothes and cozy nightwear

A pair or two of comfortable pants would be great for early morning excursions like morning or dusk safari walk. 

Even in the dry season, the bushes will be full of morning dew enough to make your legs wet, so shorts may not be the best option.

Cargo pants, for instance, are a great alternative as they’re comfortable and can be used for adventurous activities like hiking or rock-climbing.

Hiking Shoes

Pack footwear best suited for the purpose of your trip. If you plan to have an adventure in the mountains, be sure to get a good pair of grip boots.

A smart traveler travels light, so it’s vital to pack multi-purpose clothing and footwear is no exception. Make sure your hiking boots can serve you well if you decide to go on walking safaris.

Ideally, they should be lightweight with at least ankle support, which will perfect for the bush since the terrain can be uneven and rocky. They should also be comfortable to avoid blisters. 

Make sure you wear the boots a couple of times before you travel to break them in. You can get some from here

Casual Shoes

Pack a casual pair of shoes for city strolls or night dates. Sturdy sandals are fantastic, especially if you’re going to explore the charming streets of the coastal part of Kenya.

Most high-end accommodations usually provide their guests with room slippers, but it’s always a good idea to carry flip flops just in case.

Rain Jacket

A rain jacket will be necessary if you’re visiting towards the end of the rainy season. One minute could be all bright and shiny, but the next could be gloomy and raining. You can get one from here.

Hat

Kenya is blessed with a lot of sunshine, but too much of anything will definitely make you uncomfortable. 

Whether you’ll be going on a safari, a hiking tour, or lying lazily on the beach, a hat is a must-pack item when visiting Kenya. You can get one here.

Sunglasses

If you wear contact lenses and you intend to go on a safari, you may want to wear some sunglasses to prevent your eyes from drying out in the heat.

But if you do not wear contact lenses, you should plan on having sunglasses, so you do not have to squint on those sunny days.

Tech and Gear 

Camera 

This is an obvious item for any avid traveler, but there is a need to remind you that Kenya is full of picturesque locations. Make sure you invest in a good camera to capture those unforgettable memories.

Women with camera: Kenya packing list

Plug Adapter 

If you’re traveling from anywhere else apart from the UK, make sure you pack a plug adapter. A universal plug adaptor would be great, especially if you have any layovers in destinations that use a different type of plug.

Also, invest in proper power converters as Kenyan electric switches supply between 220 and 240 volts.

Portable Charger 

This is one of the most essential gadgets as you’ll need to recharge your camera or phone if they run low on battery. Seriously, you can’t afford to miss a moment in Kenya. You can buy one here.  

Binoculars 

Binoculars are especially crucial for hiking and safaris, where you’ll have the Big Five to spot plus lots of birdwatching opportunities. If you’ll take part in nocturnal game drives, be sure to park night vision equipment

Flashlight

Power isn’t exactly reliable in Kenya or the capital. Although many high-end hotels have a back-up in case of a blackout, you may want to have a small flashlight just in case. It also helps a lot if you’re camping.

Toiletries

Wet Wipes and Hand Sanitizer 

Trust me, wet wipes and sanitizers are not among the most common items in Africa. Kenya is not any different, especially if you are traveling to rural areas. 

These items are widely available in Nairobi and other major cities, but you may not have the extra time to run to the store.

Plan to pack a few hand sanitizer bottles/ wet pipes or both. Some parts of the country are short of running water and hand wash so you’ll need a lot of hand wipes so you can stay healthy.

Bug and Insect Repellent 

The coast and the western part of the country are famous for having bugs and malaria-causing mosquitos. 

Be sure to pack an ample amount of bug and mosquito repellent spray. If you are going on a safari, beware of the tsetse flies, blood-sucking insects that transmit sleeping sickness in humans. A good bug repellent should keep them away.

Sunscreen 

This is yet another safari essential and, obviously, a must-pack for a beach getaway in Kenya. You can get one here.

Documents and Details 

Passport 

Have your passport plus your stamped visa ready for inspection at the customs offices. You might also need to provide your itinerary as well as travel insurance papers.

You should also have a list of contacts that can be used in case of an emergency.

Travel Insurance 

It is essential to get travel insurance no matter where you are traveling to. 

It’s mainly a requirement that is helpful when traveling to Kenya and East Africa in general, where treatment in an excellent health facility can be costly.

Passport Holder 

You’ll need a passport holder that can withstand both dusty and wet environments.

A Swahili Phrasebook 

This is not a necessity. Swahili is a fun language to learn, and locals appreciate any tourist that attempts to communicate in their native language. Even a simple ‘Hi’ or a ‘Thank you’ will earn you brownie points.

Medications and Vaccination 

Before you travel, be sure to pay your doctor a visit so that they can advise on the recommended vaccines. 

Most African countries require proof of Yellow Fever vaccination prior to entry. Check the CDC website to confirm if up to date information on whether or not you will need a yellow fever vaccination.

Anti-malaria drugs are essentials, especially if you’re traveling to the western or coastal parts of the country.

You will find all over-the-counter medications in the larger cities, especially in the capital but not in rural areas or in the game reserves. For this reason, it’s advisable to shop in major cities for prescribed or other drugs you might need.

First-Aid Kit 

A first-aid kit is essential, particularly if you are planning to take part in adventurous excursions.

What Do People Wear in Kenya?

Women in Kenya 

Kenya is one of the most modernized countries in Africa, according to the World Population Review. So as long as you dress appropriately, you should not encounter any problems. Wearing clothes that are at least knee-length is standard dress codes. 

Kenya packing list: what do women wear in Kenya

You might be barred from entering spiritual places like temples, mosques, and churches if you are dressed inappropriately.

Ideally, if you will be visiting any religious institution, maxi dresses will be perfect. When you’re visiting malls or other public places, knee-length skirts or shorts will do.

Men in Kenya

There is no particular dress cord, although if you visit rural areas like the Maasai villages, you might see some men dressed in traditional sheets.

Feel free to dress in traditional sheets if you like, but it is not a requirement. When you’re visiting religious institutions, wear trousers and long-sleeved shirts.

Other Commonly-forgotten Items for a Trip to Kenya

Jeans
Sandals
Heels
Headphones
Aloe Vera
Mosquito repellant
Backpack
Travel sheet
Travel pillow
Kindle/Kindle cover
Memory card
Headphones
Headphone splitter
GorillaPod
Lightweight scarf

Vitamins/Supplements
Dramamine
Lip balm
Contact lens solution
Hairbrush/Comb
Loofah glove
Underpants/Bras
Feminine products
Toiletry bag
Headlamp
Umbrella
Journal
Small lock
Swimsuit

Swimsuit cover-up
Hats/Caps
Jacket: Women’s & Men’s
Luggage/Packing cubes
Steamer
Razor
Immunization Records
Drivers License/Photo ID
Credit Card and Cash
Money Belt
Neck Pillow
Eye Mask
Water Bottle
Towels

Packing List for Kenya: What Not to Bring

It’s important to note that plastic bags are not allowed in Kenya. This includes:

  • Ziploc bags 
  • Grocery bags
  • Garbage bags 
  • Duty-free bags

When traveling in Kenya, it’s advisable to use woven reusable bags instead.

Concluding the Kenya Packing List

The above list contains all the essential items that you’ll need on your Kenyan visit. Most of the items listed are lightweight to help you travel as light as possible.

This post helps you pack everything you need to be comfortable when you are away. But at the same time, not pack too much where it becomes a burden; this Kenya packing list provides precisely that.

You should use this packing list as a checklist to make sure you don’t leave anything behind on your getaway to Kenya.

If you plan on visiting multiple African countries on your trip, our travel guide, destinations, African national park pages will provide some inspiration. Happy Traveling!

21 Kenya Packing List Items

Clothing

Tech and Gear

Toiletries

Documents

Shirt or Blouse
Hiking Shoes
Casual Shoes
Rain Jacket
Hat
Sunglasses

Camera
Plug Adapter 
Portable Charger 
Binoculars 
Flashlight

Wet Wipes
Hand Sanitizer
Insect Repellent 
Sunscreen
Medications

Passport
Travel Insurance
Passport Holder 
Phrasebook
Vaccination
First-Aid Kit

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