The ultimate self-drive safari first aid kit

Safari first aid Kir - a stock photo of an old / retro fist aid box in white and turquoise with red writing. It says "FIRST AID CASE - Medicines & Bandages".

I’m in full-on packing mode, Wanderlusters! Usually one to leave it to the last minute, I’ve had to be a little more prepared this time. This is a holiday like none we’ve taken before and I’m panicking a little that we are going to forget something – including the first aid kit!

As I’ve been packing, I’ve realised that we have generally been not too far from a pharmacy or chemist wherever we have travelled. So while we’ve travelled with most of the things we need, I’ve been less vigilant about making absolutely sure they’re packed. Luckily I updated our home first aid kit quite recently (did you know gauze dressings can go out of date?!) so I know we have most of this stuff. Of course some things have already been used so I’m double checking the box. I’ll grab anything we need this week before we travel.

I know you can buy some pre-packaged first aid kits from pharmacies, chemists and drugstores. In my experience, they don’t have all the things you need. I prefer to collect everything I want myself.

Note: Please remember I’m not medically trained in any way. Make sure you check the instructions on anything in your first aid kit and be sure to consult a doctor if you are in any doubt.

In the event of an emergency you should seek medical help immediately according to the procedure for the country you are in.

So what’s in my self-drive safari first aid kit?

I’ve always split our first aid kit into 2 handy sections:

  • First aid – for minor injuries, cuts, bruises and burns, creams and sprays – basically anything you put on your body
  • Medicines and liquids – basically anything you put in your body

First aid

  • Variety of plasters
  • Variety of sterile gauze dressings 
  • Triangular bandages 
  • Crêpe rolled bandages (or cohesive bandage tape that sticks to itself)
  • Steri-strips
  • First-aid tape 
  • Sterile eye dressings 
  • Eye wash and eye bath 
  • Alcohol-free cleansing wipes 
  • Antiseptic cream or spray 
  • Antihistamine cream
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Calamine lotion
  • Witch hazel
  • Hydrocortisone or calendula cream
  • Cream or spray to relieve insect bites and stings 
  • Tea tree oil
  • Insect repellent
  • Distilled water (for cleaning wounds)
  • Safety pins 
  • Disposable sterile gloves 
  • Tweezers 
  • Scissors


  • Anti-malarial medication (ask your doctor about the best medicine for the area you are travelling to)
  • Antihistamine tablets or liquid
  • Painkillers for adults and children – aspirin (adults only), paracetamol, ibuprofen
  • Cough medicine 
  • Anti-diarrheal medication
  • Laxatives
  • Antacids
  • Prescription medications as needed (plus extra just in case)


  • Rehydration sachets
  • Thermometer (preferably digital) 
  • Medicine dispensers
  • Sterile medical kit – on the recommendation of Travelynn Family we have added this as something you owed give to doctors to use rather than use yourself
  • Malaria testing kits (only required if you are in a malarial area of course)
  • Basic first aid manual / instruction booklet
  • List of important phone numbers and addresses*

*Since we will be moving around in a new country we will be making sure we know what to do and where to go in an emergency

First aid kit storage

There’s 2 elements to this – where to store your first aid kit supplies and what to store them in.

You can get some super fancy first aid kits in brightly coloured bags with a big cross on them. You can even just buy the bags and fill them yourself if you’re doing a DIY kit. This is useful if a stranger is trying to locate the first aid kit.

Personally I pack our first aid kit and all our medicines in a couple of clear zip lock bags. This means I can easily see the contents of the bag so if I need anything in an emergency I can locate it quickly. Even if it’s not an emergency I can usually find what I’m looking for without completely emptying the bag and having to repack it again afterwards.

I do hope this is useful, Wanderlusters. It’s been a bit of a revelation for us reviewing it all!

Disclaimer: As mentioned above, I am not a doctor, nor am I medically trained in any way. This post should not replace any advice from a trained medical professional. Please seek advice from your doctor. 

Emma Morrell
Emma Morrell

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  1. 12 April 2019 / 00:31

    That’s an awesome post. Very handy. I tend to be quite relaxed when travelling to countries we know will have facilities and chemists to hand but would definitely be packing a lot more if we were doing a similar trip. Enjoy your trip!

    • 19 April 2020 / 09:28

      Thanks Cath – I am usually more relaxed but I was pretty nervous about this trip!