We’ve used our experience and knowledge to put together valuable information you’ll need before your special safari to Africa.
We’ve got you covered, so relax and enjoy your safari with our handy and essential planning tips.
Roll clothes up when packing, it keeps creases at bay. Don’t pack too much if you are taking a relatively full itinerary with many locations. You want to spend your time enjoying yourself, not folding and unfolding clothes. Loose-fitting clothes will help to keep you cool during the hot summer months when travelling.
Dark T-shirts are not a good idea, as they attract flies such as tsetse flies.
Good walking shoes are essential, as well as a couple of pairs of khaki trousers and long-sleeved cotton shirts for the day. Take casual clothes and slip-on sandals for evening meals, and a light sweater and wind-proof jacket for chilly mornings. Carry a long shawl, sarong or a scarf.
Pack cotton socks and sensible footwear as the terrain is natural and uneven when on walking safaris.
Avoid taking large suitcases, as most safari/air charter transfers are on small planes that limit baggage to 10-15kg. All accommodation providers have laundry facilities, so travel light. Use soft luggage instead of a hard suitcase. Most camps offer laundry facilities.
Take a book. One of the great pleasures of going on safari is the afternoon siesta. While most camps have a range of reading material to indulge in (primarily about flora and fauna), it’s worth taking something of your liking to read around the pool or under a tree on a hot afternoon.
Invest in a book about local plants, birds and the wildlife. The more you know, the more you’ll appreciate your wilderness surroundings.
A small backpack is useful to carry daily essentials about. Don’t forget your pair of binoculars, sunglasses, sun-block/cream and insect repellent. A cap/sunhat that will not blow off whilst on a safari vehicle is very useful.
Don’t forget to take your own binoculars. There’s nothing more frustrating on safari than not being able to see whatever your guide is pointing to – and nothing more irritating to other passengers than having them to lend you their own binoculars. If you can, it’s also worth taking a telephoto lens for your camera.
Sunglasses that hang round your neck may not be glamorous, but they’re practical when you’re trying to juggle binoculars and cameras.
Dress appropriately when you set out for a game drive at dawn when the weather is cool. Light blankets are usually provided by the camps and lodges to keep you warm. Nevertheless a few hours later it gets hot as the temperature rises.
The African bush contains bugs – they’re part of the safari. Make sure you take insect repellent and remember to rub it on, morning and night to keep insects at bay.
A wash bag that hangs on a hook is very useful. Smaller camps might not have vast bathrooms in which to spread out toiletries. It’s also worth remembering that camps really are in the middle of nowhere, so there is no local chemist nearby. Make sure your kit contains sticking plasters for blisters, painkillers for headaches and antihistamine cream for bites. Wet wipes are handy, too.
A swimsuit doesn’t take up much room in a suitcase and could be indispensable on hot days. You’ll find that some bush camps out in the middle of game reserves will usually have a pool.
Make sure that you have the correct, current and valid passports; visas, vaccinations and re-entry permits as required. Always check with your local consulate before you travel.
Make sure you keep your passport, itinerary, credit cards and cash all in separate locations in case you lose an item of clothing or luggage.
Health care is available when on safari, but it’s not free, so you are advised to take out comprehensive medical insurance before you travel.
Make sure you check with your doctor whether any medical conditions might prevent you from travelling, or from taking part in certain activities, especially treks and adrenaline sports.
Ensure that you have sufficient quantities of prescription medication with you on holiday including precautions against malaria where needed. Anti-malaria tablets are strongly advised, particularly for those visiting game reserves.
You are strongly recommended to obtain the necessary travel insurance prior to your departure covering emergency evacuation expenses, medical and repatriation expenses.
When on safari the African bush can be very dehydrating, therefore re-hydrate and take plenty of drinks and keep your skin covered up. There is no respite or shade in some areas and good hydration and skin care is vital. It is advisable to drink bottled water when outside of main towns.
Do not detract from the main route when on a walking safari and always follow the guides carefully. They are experienced in bush craft and terrain and the trails are there to keep you safe.
Ensure that you air your shoes each night, making sure that they are fresh and dry for the following day’s general touring and walking safari.
Realise that the local people you are visiting often have different time concepts and thought patterns from your own. When talking and mingling with them, be open to their diverse ways of thinking, living and working – you will gain each other’s friendship and respect, further enhancing your holiday experience.
Walk where possible – you’ll meet local people and get to know the country better. In general, on a social level, Africans operate at a more relaxed pace of life compared to western cultures. So, relax – you’re on holiday, forget rigid time keeping, be patient, learn from each other and enjoy the visit. Don’t expect people to be the same as back home. Have a great safari!
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