Eco-Friendly Packing Essentials for Your African Ecotour
Packing for a Sustainable African Tour

“Leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but memories”

You can travel in style, you can enjoy all of the trappings of luxury, and you can still be good to the environment you find yourself in. 

As we become more and more reconnected to nature and as the importance of eco-conscious travelling becomes a bit of a popular travel trend, those travellers out there, perhaps even a traveller like you, are looking for helpful advice that they can use to pack for a sustainable African holiday.  

Africa is home to stacks of truly exceptional and utterly beautiful places. Its landscapes and wildlife are among some of the last remaining untouched natural wonders of the world. And as such, Africa has become a place best explored with a sustainable mindset. 

This guide will give you all the information you need to pack for a comfortable and eco-friendly African adventure.

Accommodation for Sustainable African Tours

Eco Tourism in Africa

Africa has always been the sort of destination that ignites the imagination. It is still that sort of mystical destination, perhaps because it is well-preserved and considered wild. 

To give you an idea of the scale of eco tourism that Africa enjoys, according to Statista, some 5.1 million travellers arrived in Africa in July of 2022. 

While in the past those coming to Africa were a little less concerned with how they traversed the continent, considerations around travel in the 21st century go far beyond ticking off bucket list destinations. 

Sustainable tourism is the name of the game, and it is based on one simple principle, that our adventures leave only a positive footprint.

Instead of mass crowds following a pre-determined route, some sustainable tours are even more about conservation efforts than just travelling. Often tours can involve joining researchers on anti-poaching patrols or participating in habitat restoration projects, alongside giving you plenty of time to kick back, relax and have a wonderful holiday that still has you seeing plenty of exciting and beautiful places. 

The benefits of having a sustainable holiday go far beyond the wildlife. 

Sustainable African tours also champion local communities. You’ll stay in lodges run by and staffed with local people. This is the best way to ensure that your tourism dollars directly benefit those who call Africa home. So rather than booking into a chain lodge franchise, those who have a sustainable tour get to experience a more personalised and authentic experience which can even include learning about traditional crafts and enjoying delicious African cuisine

So why are sustainable tours now trending? 

The reasons are manifold. Environmental consciousness is on the rise, and travellers are increasingly eco-aware, and there’s a yearning for genuine experiences, and a desire to connect with the land and its people in a meaningful way. 

And sustainable tourism offers just that – a chance to explore Africa responsibly, leaving a positive impact while creating memories of a lifetime.

Sustainable Pack for Ecotourism in Africa

Packing the Essentials for a Sustainable African Tour

You’ve probably packed for a holiday before but our list this isn’t your average packing list. 

We’re going beyond the basics, to advise you about what to pack for a comfortable and eco-friendly African journey. 

As with all holidays, you should give yourself enough time to plan your packing and to collect whatever it is that you want to bring on your holiday. And since this is an eco-holiday that you are planning, when packing you should consider the bag you use as well as the weight of the items you bring. Travelling light is always a great idea, especially since the luggage weight can affect your carbon emissions. 

With a packing list like ours, you get to have a holiday that minimises waste and maximises your positive impact.

Reusable Items

Having a selection of reusable items is so important when you are travelling through Africa, especially since there are so many destinations that can be a little far-flung. 

Reusable items include all those things that you will be using regularly while on your tour. 

Generally, these items have a single-use purpose and as such are made from plastic, which as you know is not only bad for the environment but also expensive in the long run. 

When planning your trip, these are the reusable items you should pack, should you need them:

  • Water bottle with filter (reduces plastic waste)
  • Shopping bags (avoid plastic bags)
  • Coffee mug (reduces disposable cups)
  • Cutlery set (avoids plastic utensils)
  • Packing cubes (helps organize and maximise space)
  • Pack reusable face wipes (instead of cotton disposables)
  • Sustainable period products (such as a menstrual cup)


The clothing you pack can be sustainable too. 

Instead of running out to totally reinvent your style for your sustainable holiday, you can thrift some of the necessities that you will need for your trip. Make sure that the items you thrift are still in good nick, as you wouldn’t want to look threadbare while on your holiday. 

These are some of the clothing ideas to keep in mind while thrifting:

  • Neutral-colour, quick-dry, breathable fabrics
  • Mix-and-match outfits for versatility
  • Sun-protective clothing (hat, sunglasses, long sleeves)
  • Swimwear (if applicable)
  • Light jacket or sweater for cooler evenings
  • Sturdy walking shoes and comfortable sandals


While you could buy toiletries during your holiday, sometimes what you bring from home is simply the more comfortable choice, especially if you have sensitive skin. Make sure that you pack the following before you leave for your trip:

  • Solid bar soap, shampoo, and conditioner (these reduce plastic waste)
  • Reef-safe sunscreen
  • Natural bug repellent
  • Travel-sized refillable containers for liquids
Packing Essentials to Promote Ecotourism in Africa

Packing Tips for Sustainability and Space-Saving

What you pack is naturally going to be your main focus, but you should also consider how you pack. Saving space is ideal, not just because it means you travel lighter but also because you will have that extra space to bring home a few goodies from your trip. 

To help you with your packing, consider this:

Pack light

  • You can travel lighter when you use a versatile selection of clothing that you can easily layer (this means wearing a good amount of your clothing when you travel, rather than packing it).
  • Although it might ruin the holiday mood, you can also consider doing laundry during your trip. This will mean you don’t have to pack excess for your trip but reuse what you have instead. 

Invest in high-quality, multi-functional items

  • Consider buying convertible pants (long pants that can be made short)
  • A quick-drying travel towel

Use eco-friendly alternatives

  • Pack a sustainable bamboo toothbrush
  • Try using biodegradable laundry detergent sheets

Download your offline resources

  • Maps, guidebooks, and even phrasebooks should be kept digital, as this means no paper wastage. 

Top Tips for a Sustainable Trip Home

Many travellers get so caught up in the nitty-gritty of what they need to pack for their holiday that they give no thought to what to pack when returning home. Obviously, you are not going to need to worry about toothbrushes and clothing, but you can give some thought to some of the other items you might like to bring home, such as:

  • Souvenirs made by the locals that you’d like to have as a memento. 
  • Gifts for your loved ones which can include things they can consume such as sweet treats, spices, oils or soaps. 
  • Second hand goodies that might have caught your eye.
Packing for a Sustainable African Tour

With your list of sustainable packing tips in hand, it’s time to book and experience your dream African trip!

Are you ready to experience an African holiday that respects the environment and empowers local communities?

Browse our curated selection of sustainable African tours, each of which is designed to give you the best of Africa while ensuring that you leave a positive footprint.