What to Take on an African Safari?
Going to an African safari is synonymous to adventure. It was on my travel bucket list for as long as I can remember, and finally I have crossed it out. Considering package deals, DIY safari itineraries, choosing a guide, preparing your papers, and especially packing can be quite demanding. The essential advice is to pack light, but while you are at it, you cannot forget to take anything important. So, try to learn on my mistakes and successes. Here is a basic packing list for an African safari.
Health Comes First
If you do not have your mother on the phone when packing for a safari, you will probably forget to take all the necessary medical items. First, you will need a basic first aid kit, but you should add some mild painkillers (just in case), diarrhea tablets, antibiotics, rehydration salts, sunscreen (minimum 30 SPF), sterilizing hand gel, plasters, band aids, moisturizing face and body cream, lip balm and, of course, bug spray. Previously get all the recommended immunization and take the vaccination confirmation with you, especially for yellow fever.
Money and Travel Documents
Now comes the complicated part. Here, you cannot afford yourself to forget anything. I have literally made a list and checked a million times before I started my trip. I have made a mistake of taking most of my money on a credit card, but carrying little to no cash with me. You have to be aware that there are no ATMs in each city, so you should always carry at least a small sum with you. Just note that in some countries there is a limit on how much cash you can carry per day. Traveler’s cheques are never a good idea because they result in long queues. The acceptable currencies in most of the lodges are usually USD, GBP and Euro. Driver’s license, passport and visa go without a saying.
Clothes and Personal Items
Here is where an uninformed traveler, such as myself, can make a big mistake. I have imagined African safari as one large sauna where the weather is always hot (and dry, unlike in sauna), until it started to rain one day. The temperatures were not significantly lower, but it would be wise to pack a raincoat. Other than that, you will need plenty of cotton t-shirts, several pairs of shorts, some zip-off trousers, and a pair of sensible walking shoes, sport sandals or trainers. Sunglasses with UV protection and a sun hat are mandatory.
Pastime and Fun
African safari is incredibly exciting, but there are some hours in-between when you find yourself with nothing to do and see. Sure, playing various mind and word games is fun, but it can only keep you entertained for so long. Some of my friends brought books, but their bags were heavy as if they packed rocks in them. I like to keep my brain challenged, so I have played a Sudoku online game (yes there is WiFi in the lodges), and I was clever enough not to take printed editions.
Communication and Cameras
A high-resolution camera is a must on an African safari trip. If you cannot acquire a DSLR camera (preferably with a telephoto lens), than, at least, make sure that your smartphone takes decent pictures. Avoid enormous phone bills, by getting a SIM card of the country you are staying in with at least 2GB of data.
Hopefully, you learned something from my experience and you will pack wisely for your African safari. Have a great time and enjoy the adventure of a lifetime!
About the Author:
(Oliver Hyde is business consultant from the UK, who loves to travel. He consider himself a citizen of the world. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org)