African Drumming

Packing a Drum for Air Travel

You can buy bags for drums of all sizes, and there are plenty of online stores.

Some sturdy designs are made of multiple layers of canvas, padded linings with shoulder straps, zips and pouches and others are made of simple cloth. Double-stitching is important to withstand the weight of the drum on the straps.

If you can't find a decent bag in time, these tips should help:


A well-padded cloth bag should be enough to protect against most knocks, although I would advise extra protection for the head.

I travel a fair bit with mine and it goes into two cloth bags with about 4 laters of bubble wrap over the face just to be sure. You could also put a layer of cardboard or plywood over the drum face and tape on for more security.

Full size djembes are too big to be allowed as cabin luggage and will usually have to go in the cargo hold, where changes in pressure can affect the skin. It is under less risk of damage if slightly detuned.

Send it as 'FRAGILE' or else you might find someone has put a hook through it!

If you don't have a bag, make a cardboard cutout for the face, wrap the entire jembe in bubble wrap or foam and put it in a cardboard box or wrap it up in thick or padded cloth. Label both the drum and the box/cloth and tape it up well. Send it 'Fragile' where possible and say a prayer!


Pack in a box as described above. Most shipping companies should be able to help with packing material. Insurance is often expensive, but may be cheaper than a trip back to Senegal!


African drumming - The Djembe

The Djembe- Myth of Origin

The Djembe - Etymology

Tips for Buying a Djembe

Caring For Your Djembe

Caring For Your Hands

Packing a Drum for Travel


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Did you know?

The types of wood most commonly used to make the jembe are the worojiri, lenke, dogora, gueni and ca´cedrat.

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