Shorts or trousers – unless you know you’re going to be somewhere really hot, trousers are probably the safest option here. They’ll protect you more from biting insects and the hot African sun, and if you wear thin trousers, you shouldn’t get too hot. Shirts and tees – Loose-fitting t-shirts are always useful, as they will protect your shoulders from the sun and keep you cool. However, it’s also a good idea to take one long-sleeved shirt with you, maybe even with incorporated insect repellent or sun protection.
Wide-brimmed hat – to keep your face and the back of your neck shaded. Sunburn can be very painful, and prolonged sun exposure, especially to the back of the neck, can lead to sunstroke – dangerous and unpleasant during your holiday!
Fleece – fleeces are lightweight and comfortable, and will help keep the chill off when night comes and the temperatures can really drop. They’re also useful for early morning game drives, when the breeze can be very bracing, and you can simply leave it in the safari vehicle or tie it around your waist when you’re not wearing it.
Sturdy boots – unless you’re planning on doing a lot of hiking, some thick-soled boots or shoes should do the job just fine. Some comfortable socks are also essential, as your feet are likely to get hot and sweaty after a day on safari!
Sunglasses – and good ones at that! Your shades should first and foremost be a form of protection for your eyes, and not a fashion accessory! You will need sunglasses with at least 99% UVB and 95% UVA protection. Cheap sunglasses can be very harmful to your eyes, so choose carefully.
What about healthcare?
High SPF sun cream – and we mean high! Factor 50+ is the best bet, as the African sun is very strong, and even people who claim to be “used to the sun” can burn very badly, very quickly. It’s simply not worth taking the risk. Extreme sun block sticks are also useful, as they are small and light and can be applied quickly and easily to particularly sensitive areas, such as the nose and cheeks.
Insect repellent – this can be bought in spray, cream, roll-on and wipe form. For a safari, it’s useful to bring a spray for generally application at dusk and dawn, and some wipes, which can be taken out with you in your day bag. They come in very handy for reapplication – especially important if you get a bit sweaty!
Antibacterial hand soap – this is purchased in very small bottles, and is useful if you end up using the toilet facilities at road-side cafes between national parks. Soap and even functioning sinks aren’t always available, so a handy soap will help keep you hygienic.
How can I keep safe and secure?
Torch – this is always a useful safari item. Depending on the kind of accommodation you choose, and where exactly your safari is, you might need a large torch, a head torch or a mini torch. If you’re using basic camping facilities, a large torch will be a necessity. Even for those staying in tented camps or lodges, some will turn off the power at certain times of the night to conserve electricity – commendable, but not helpful during midnight toilet trips! At such times, mini torches or head torches are a blessing.
Money belt – this is the best place to keep your money, especially upon arrival in a new country, when you might have large amounts of the local currency in cash. In busy airports, or bus or ferry terminals, you will feel a lot more secure with your cash strapped to your body!
Cheap bike lock – this isn’t a necessity for everyone, but can be very useful for people planning to take long train or coach journeys in Africa. For your own peace of mind, a cheap bike lock can secure your belongings to a chair leg or arm rest, meaning you can catch some shut-eye without worrying too much – a particular blessing on longer journeys!
But what about the fun stuff!
Camera – and all the stuff that come with it! That means charger or batteries, spare memory cards (or film if you’re old school), USB cable, zoom lens, case and anything else you might need, depending on how serious you are about your photography! An adjustable tripod with grips is great for positioning your camera at awkward angles in a safari vehicle, or for a lighter option, take a small beanbag to rest your camera on.
Binoculars – definitely worth the extra weight as far as we’re concerned! Good binoculars are an investment for future holidays, as well as your safari, as often the only way to pick out tiny details is with a pair of good binoculars. On safari, you can use them for picking out tiny speck in the distance, that might turn out to be an elephant or an eland, an oryx or an ostrich, and for really taking in the details of animals that are closer by.
Bird and wildlife literature – You can use these before, during and after your safari. Leaf through your wildlife book on the plane on the way there to brief yourself. Use it whilst your on safari to pick out the difference between a Grevy’s and a plains zebra. Research in your bird book when you get home to find out what that brightly coloured bird you saw on your last day was. Guide books will really help you make the most of your safari.
So now your are all packed up and ready to go on safari! …That is of course unless you haven’t already booked your trip. If you are looking for that expert safaris tour operator in Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania or Kenya to book your trip with, look no further than Adventure Kama Safaris. All tours our tours are private and can be fully customised down to every last detail.
We are the intersection of beauty and nature.