Trip to Tanzania

Trip to Tanzania – What to put in your backpack

A backpacking trip, or even not, in Tanzania as in much of sub-Saharan Africa is an adventure in the wildest nature colored by wonderful presences that are easily recognisable: they have black faces and huge white teeth.

That’s right, Africa takes you into a new dimension where even the things you took for granted and in which you always felt like a champion, such as packing a travel backpack, become different.

On several occasions I will repeat the phrase “never more than when traveling in Africa”, because here everything is emphasised, the dirt, the tiredness, the darkness, the sun, the painful and the joyful, and it doesn’t matter which country you chose for your adventure African, I am sure you will find the following advice very useful.

What must not be missing – THE MUST HAVE


Never as much as during my travels in Africa have I needed a torch. Especially in the most remote areas, there are no street lights, even the dim ones, and the darkness is so pitch-perfect that you can’t even see half a millimeter away.
Having lost it, the one in your head that when there is no electricity is also the one that allows you to read and pass the time leaving your hands free, was a tragedy given the absence of street lamps in the streets and, in some places, the absence of electricity makes walking, but even just being able to go to the bathroom, an impossible task.

Backpack cover

Also in this case I must necessarily repeat NEVER like a trip to Africa the backpack cover, I mean the bag in which to close the backpack during bus trips was of help.
Especially in southern Tanzania where buses run on dirt roads and the trunks are opened with a kind of huge nail and where the gaps between the door and the bus are large enough for a cat to fit through, this gadget saved my backpack from kilos and kilos of red powder.
Essential if you don’t want to find your backpack weighing 2 kilos more which, when all is said and done, is just earth.
In the photo my backpack (blue cover) and how it is treated down there and why I believe that the backpack cover is essential.

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pair of brown leather boots


This is an active anti-parasitic substance and is a repellent for clothes and fabrics. It is sold in most well-stocked pharmacies in both spray and liquid form.
Essential for spraying clothes and therefore increasing the barrier between you and mosquitoes and various insects.
I brought 500ml of Biokill with me.

Mosquito repellent + Ledum Palustre (cream or drops)

Regardless of whether prophylaxis is used or not, prevention is better than cure. Prophylaxis does not mean vaccine so you are not immune to malaria or dengue. Spraying your body with mosquito repellent every day, remember that malaria acts mainly at dusk and dawn, is a good rule.
In addition I also bought a cream al Ledum Palustre which apparently changes the smell of the skin, thus repelling mosquitoes.
Ledum Palustre is sold in pharmacies or herbalist shops either in the form of cream, spray or drops.
To be used with the spray and not as a single solution.

Mobile phone (and purchase local card)

For years I traveled without a mobile phone, I always found the internet, I never booked hotels online and when I had to do so, for example when arriving in big cities for reasons of convenience I booked a cheap hostel the day before and I was happy here.
In Africa the telephone has always been providential.
The drivers, the hotels, the people you meet do not use the internet, they are not yet internet dependent, as well as wifi being a luxury for a few, they will always give you a reference telephone number.
As essential as a mosquito net in a hotel.
SIM cards can be bought practically anywhere for 2000 shillings, less than a euro. If you want a data connection it is recommended to go to the telephone shop, I opted for Airtel which both as a mobile phone and as a modem (20,000 shillings, or less than 10 euros) work practically everywhere, so the phone will be set up by them (see that the notifications are half in English and half in Swhaili).
Mobile phone top-ups can be bought everywhere (on the street, in kiosks, you’re not wrong, see the logos) and are purchased either as a scratch card with a secret number or, in many cases in the south, by providing your phone number (so bring it always behind).

Adapters (UK plug)

I say adapters because I recommend bringing at least 2. The sockets in Tanzania are the English ones. Considering that between camera, mobile phone, computer and so on and so forth, it may be necessary to charge multiple devices at the same time, perhaps the best solution is to have more than one in order to optimize times.

Sleeping bag

The sleeping bag is useful for many reasons. Because it can be colder than you might imagine, some places exceed 1700 meters and it’s cold at night, because the sheets provided aren’t exactly the best, because you sleep in a tent and yes you want to. I admit I used it more in Ethiopia than in Tanzania but due to the conditions of the bed, in the only guesthouse in the village I either enjoy the soup or throw myself out the window, I used it for “preventive” purposes, let’s put it that way.

Flip flops

Essential because you will most likely also go to the seaside but above all because I’m not sure I should shower in certain bathrooms barefoot.
I won’t add anything else. A few words to the good connoisseur.

Microfibre towel

I’m sure that in lodges of a certain level bath towels are provided. In truth they are also in those of a non-5 star category but I admit that if in some places they were clean and white in others they left a little to be desired so that without thinking too much I preferred mine holed up at the bottom of the backpack.

blue and beige camping backpack

The eligible ones – Essential but not too much (because you probably won’t use yours)

Mosquito net

I put it among the eligible ones even though it is indispensable for only one reason, I have always found it even in the cheapest hotels. Tanzanians fear malaria like us, ok they have fewer problems but in any case they don’t underestimate it.
I admit that I have traveled for a total of 4 months between Ethiopia and Tanzania and have never used mine. Useless weight all things considered (even if light).


I bought it and took the burden off myself because on several occasions I thought I could use it to pay less. The truth is that when I realized that all the buses I had to take required my presence at the station at 5 in the morning, sometimes even at 2.30, the mere idea of ​​starting to dismantle the tent at 3 am in total darkness always made me made us opt for the €5 more solutions but without too many hassles.
There is the possibility of camping in Tanzania but sometimes the difference in cost with the room is negligible so that for the most total inconvenience you choose half inconvenience.

To snoop in my backpack

Since I know that for many people backpacking can be a long and painful birth, in truth it is for me too, below are the actual contents of my backpack for a two month trip to Tanzania. Let me start by saying that I am essential.


3 T-shirts
3 Cotton trousers, the light and loose hipster style ones
2 swimsuits
Underpants and socks + 2 bras to wash in turns
1 sweatshirt
1 long-sleeved shirt (for cool evenings)
1 microfibre towel
1 Windbreaker
Gym shoes
1 pair of flip flops
1 x Lightweight Long Sleeve Shirt
1 t-shirt + shorts that act as pajamas
1 pareo bought from Masai friends

This is my day/afternoon/night outfit

All those listed on + yoga mats for the tent (so it’s basically like sleeping on the ground), I also have a tent and mosquito net
Mask and tube
4 books (I’m not a kindle fan but for practicality I obviously recommend this one, I wasn’t able to take the plunge) + 1 guide

Medicines and toiletries
Broad-spectrum antibiotics
Malarone (because if by chance Malaria strikes I use it for curative purposes)
Anti-diarrhea pills

Shampoo + shower gel + face product.

Hand backpack (or the one I never lose sight of)
Computer, camera (reflex), action cam, HD, computer charger, cables, mobile phone.

I think that’s all
Total weight of the backpack, including the tent which alone weighs 2.3kg —> 12kg
Hand backpack —> 7/9 depends on whether I put books in it or not.

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Read also: Backpack: What to put in your travel backpack

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