Pack for a Purpose: Make Your Travels Meaningful

Cultures & Communities


Wilderness Blogger


An aspect of our community engagement that we are particularly passionate about is a project called Pack for a Purpose (PfaP), a non-profit organisation that is making a big difference to rural communities around the world. This amazing NPO was set up by one of our Wilderness Safaris guests, Rebecca Rothney in 2010. Rebecca explains the start of PfaP:


“During our first trip to Africa, my husband Scott and I learned that while we were limited to 40 pounds (18.14 kg) of luggage on safari, the airline had an allowance of 100 pounds (45 kg) of checked luggage plus a 40 pound (18.14 kg) carry-on. In making plans for a second trip, we looked into visiting a school near the lodge we would visit in Botswana. We contacted our safari company, Wilderness Safaris, to see if we could determine any specific needs of that school. Armed with that information, we were able to deliver 140 pounds (64 kg) of school supplies, including soccer balls, to the school.


It was enormously rewarding to be able to help the people in the community that had given us such a life-changing experience. Since then, we and a few of our fellow-travellers have made several trips to other countries in Africa and have been able to deliver an estimated 1,000 pounds (453 kg) in donations of clothing, school and medical supplies.


I asked a travel agent why other travellers did not use their luggage allowances this way. ”Because nobody thinks about it,” he said. That was our ‘aha’ moment. By asking travellers to pack 5 lbs (2.27 kg) of supplies, we felt we would be able to involve everyone who wanted to add value to his or her trip by participating. By delivering the supplies directly to the traveller’s accommodation, it would be possible for every traveller to contribute and require no logistical support. That amount would take only a small space, require little effort and still make a big impact.”


Since 2010, Pack for a Purpose travellers have taken 127,917 kg (28,417 pounds) of supplies to meet essential needs in over 60 countries.


So, the idea behind the concept is that if you are travelling (anywhere in the world, not just Africa) you can look on the PfaP website for the camp where you are staying, or otherwise any projects in the country that you are visiting and see what supplies you can bring to make a big difference in someone’s life. The website explains how to pack the supplies and gives wonderful ideas of items that are easy and light to pack, and often difficult to find in the remote, rural areas of Africa. The supplies can be left at the accommodation you are staying at and in some cases, you can deliver the goods to the community project itself.



Wilderness has a number of different community projects in Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa on the PfaP website ( We have also added the Iliso Care Society in Khayelitsha in the Western Cape of South Africa – click here for more details on this project.



By bringing stationery, sporting goods, such as deflated soccer balls and educational books, you can make a big difference in these remote rural villages. PfaP has received a determination from the Internal Revenue Service that it qualifies as a charitable organisation under the code section 501 (c) (3). All contributions to PfaP are fully deductible.



Click here to find out more.

"Have a Big Impact in the communities you visit. Simply use a small amount of space in your luggage to pack supplies needed by community projects around the world. "

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