Safari || packing & planning

What the heck do you pack for a safari trip? Trust me I sweated over this one forever, here are five favorite purchases for the trip that were used everyday:

  1. Steven Allen Utility Poncho – with this layer it didn’t matter what I was wearing underneath, when out walking or on a safari drive I was wearing the appropriate color to blend in with the bush. Lads a neutral colored jacket with lots of pockets will work well for you.
  2. A wide brimmed packable hat will keep you warm on the cooler mornings and protect you from the beating sun once it is up.
  3. A wide soft scarf that can be wrapped in a million ways to create protection from the cold and from any dust while driving thru the bush.

  1. L.L. Bean Signature duffle bag I know it is small, but for those little prop-planes you will be glad that you packed light.
  2. With Eagle Creek packing cases you will be surprised what you can fit in your bag and it keeps thing neat and easy to find.

Packing List – Packing Light,

  • 3-4 outfits in neutral colors: 1 to wear, 1 to wash, 1 for spare.
  • Sturdy pair of shoes good for walking & keeping your feet dry & warm.
  • Denim jeans are fine, but make sure they have stretch to make it easy to get in and out of the safari trucks.
  • Dress in breathable layers that are easy to peel off as the sun comes up and as the sun goes down.
  • Throw in some gloves and a swimsuit [lots of places have pools].
  • The Safari camps do laundry [leave it in the am and it is back in the evening], but don’t pack anything that is a delicate fabric with special washing instructions unless you are prepared to hand-wash it yourself.
  • Binoculars & camera equipment [lightweight long lens].
  • Flashlight with extra batteries.

So you are over the packing delimna there are still a million other things that are helpful to know before you go and to consider when on Safari. Here is what we discovered:

VisasGetting in and out of countries.

  • Have a valid passport that will not be expiring in the next 6 months from the date of entry.
  • US & Australian passport holders are not required to have Visa’s for short visits to: South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana.
  • Check with online with each countries government authorities as to what the current requirements are, they are subject to change.

ImmunizationsPreventative care = $$$$

  • Visit a travel clinic to get the latest data and advice on what immunizations you will need.
  • Check with your insurance as to what will / won’t be covered? We found that getting them for travel they weren’t covered at all.
  • Check with your GP if he will prescribe any of the requested immunizations as apart of your physical exam to get some of them covered
  • Malaria tablets were covered by our insurance, without they are roughly $10.00 a tablet, you need to take them a few days before, during and after entering a Malaria risk area, so this can add up fast.
  • As we weren’t up to date with many of our immunizations, or we didn’t have a records of them, we had a long list to get. They range in price from $60.00 to $120.00. All up per person it was about $1200.00 – Yikes! That is not counting the prescriptions we had filled.
  • Also get a prescription for something to cover you for travelers diarrhea.
  • Don’t forget to travel with your proof of immunization as in some countries it can be requested before permitting you entry.

MozziesManaging them to avoid Malaria & Yellow Fever.

  • Pack DEET at 20-30% in: spray for body & clothes; roll-on for face.
  • Wash or spray your clothes before you leave the country with an insect repellant product such as this one from 3M.
  • Put the insect repellent on when you get up for Safari; and before the sun goes down.
  • Cover-up when the sun goes down and remember to spray your clothes as they can bite straight through your pants or socks
  • Use the mosquito net in you tent / lodge, check it before you climb into bed to make sure you got them all out
  • If there is no net use the ceiling fan or incense.

SunAvoiding sunstroke & sunburn.

  • Use sunblock and a sun hat that shades your face & neck.
  • During the day the sun might not feel hot, but man can it burn.
  • And don’t forget to hydrate and it also tends to dehydrate you too.

Tipping Don’t forget to pay for services.

  • The driver / guide generally received $10-15 per person per day.
  • The tracker we also tipped giving $8-12 per person per day.
  • When we had a butler we tipped them $10 per person per day.
  • We also left some cash for housekeeping / room attendant leaving extra when they would do something special like draw a bath and leave the room filled with rose petals.
  • A massage or spa services we gave them $8-10 per service.
  • Staff behind the scenes we would leave $10-20 per person per day in a general pool at reception.
  • We noticed that not all people tipped, however it is greatly appreciated and you can typically feel good knowing that the extra money you give will be spent wisely in assisting staff with feeding their families and providing them with basic shelter and healthcare.

ResourcesFor planning, reading & learning more about your trip.

  • My Safari – great website that connects to blogs & expert travelers, along with discussion forums on all things Africa.
  • CDC – Center for Disease Control will keep you up to date on the latest health issues / risks when traveling.
  • Extraordinary Journeys – the best travel company for booking chic safari tours with a great mix of town & safari staying in stylish accommodation.
  • More photos, posts and information on our Africa trip.
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