Best List of Gifts to Bring on African Safari

Whenever we’re visiting a friend for dinner, or being invited into an acquaintance’s home for the first time, we always like to show up with a little something special in tow – gifts to bring on African safari for the locals, youth, and even your safari travel guide.

On their jaunts through East Africa, many of our guests will in turn find themselves guests in a local village or community, and we’re heartened to hear them echo a similar sentiment on wanting to bring a welcoming gift. And while getting to know new friends is the grandest of gifts for everyone involved, we’re more than happy to support your desire to give a little extra to benefit a community, group, or cause.

Knowing the best things to make room for in your suitcase is important for both giver and recipient; so if you’re wondering what the best gifts to bring on African safari, read on for a short guide on what gifts to bring on your safari adventure.

Maasai children learning in Kenya
Maasai children learning in Kenya

Gifts to bring for African children and communities

In Kenya and Tanzania especially, communities like those established by the Maasai are often available for town and village visits, giving Penwell travelers a chance to connect personally with the people who call these areas home. Frequently, local artisans will have souvenirs to sell, so above all else bring a bit of currency with you—there’s hardly a better way to directly boost the local economy and pick up a present for someone back home all at once. 

If you’re looking to help out above and beyond, donations of common goods are benevolent boons for places often in great need. Gifts of first-aid staples can help bolster local medical centers—antibiotic salves, bandages, gauze, and soap are all welcome additions to any medicine cabinet. Dental hygiene products are also everyday needs, so bring along toothbrushes, toothpastes, and floss to help light up the wide smiles you’ll be encountering. In all cases, bear in mind to bring more product than packaging wherever possible—the plastic waste from these items can be an unexpected side effect to well wishes. If you’re still looking for the best gifts to bring on African Safari, keep reading along!

Kids in East Africa playing soccer
Kids in East Africa playing soccer

For the children of the community, toys and tools that can be enjoyed in groups are your best bet—the playground rules of “might makes right” are as true here as anywhere in the world, and solo-play toys will inevitably end up in the hands of the biggest kid. Bring soccer balls, footballs, and crayons for the toddling masses and teens to enjoy all together.

Kids in Ethiopia learning in school
Kids in Ethiopia learning in school

Gifts to bring along for African Schools

Many of the schools in east Africa, especially in the communities outside major cities, are lacking in the basic resources. A gift to bring on African Safari could be as simple as pencils and pens for scribbling with and notebooks and notepads for scribbling in are wonderful to donate—just remember to bring enough for everyone to enjoy. Chalkboards are often found in classrooms both established and makeshift, so gifts of chalk and erasers can help local teachers make a mark with their students. More subject-specific items like textbooks and maps can be particularly helpful, but be sure to check ahead of time with your travel planner for the items most appropriate for the schools’ needs. 

Penwell Founder Kathy Harvey sharing laughs with guide, Superti
Penwell Founder Kathy Harvey sharing laughs with guide, Superti

Safari Gift ideas for Tour Guides

Driver, translator, teacher, and adventure sidekick, your Penwell guide is your stalwart companion during your trips. If you’re looking for a gift to bring on African Safari for your travel guide, then look no further! It’s no surprise to us that our clients are curious about how to show more personal appreciation to their guides—we’re sure you’ll love our friends as much as we do. Top hits for guide gifts include sports jerseys and hats (their favorite team if you’re gracious—YOUR favorite team if you’re feeling cheeky), scented candles, or maybe a pair of nice shoes. No worries—we know all the right sizes. We also know who can’t get enough chocolate in their lives and who’s got a candy craving, so ask away for the deets on sweets. Basic cookbooks from your neck of the woods are a great way to let your friends share in your culture, and dining and cooking sets can help complete the picture. And if you happen to come home with a few photos of you all sharing good times together, we’d be happy to help you get a framed print into the hands of your safari partners.

Child in East Africa enjoying the simplest things in life
Child in East Africa enjoying the simplest things in life

We’re thrilled that you’re filled with the spirit of giving—and if you’re planning on bringing some extra happiness to the people you’ll be meeting out in the bush, it can pay to be properly prepared. Websites like Pack for a Purpose can offer excellent guidance on good gifts to give for specific locales, and the team here at Penwell is always at the ready to answer any particular or personal questions that might lend your helping hand a helping hand.

To summarize, here’s a quick list of all the great gifts you can bring with you on your next safari that will truly be appreciated:

  • Toiletries (tooth brush, tooth paste, floss, etc.)
  • First aid kit
  • Toys (soccer balls, basketballs, board games)
  • School supplies (crayons, pencils, chalk)
  • Cooking & Dining sets
  • Household goods (clothing, cleaning supplies, linens)

Are you eager to see how much of a difference you can make on your African safari journey? Get in touch with the travel planners at Penwell, and let’s write your safari story together. 

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