THE GUIDE TO WHAT TO TAKE ON A SAFARI.
Packing for a safari is a bit of an art form. On long game drives or walks you’ll want to stay comfortable and protect yourself from the sun, insects and other hazards, while you’ll also need to think about more personal needs. Here’s some suggestions to get you started.
Light, breathable, quick-drying fabrics which wick moisture away from the skin make a huge difference, and neutral earth colors (Khaki, green, brown) will help you blend into the bush. And be sure not to take anything that rustles.
Cotton is a traditional favorite, although modern synthetic fabrics such BUGTech and Rufiji feature insect-resistant weaves and treatments, plus built-in sun protection, while anti-microbial or anti-bacterial fabrics also mean your clothes stay fresh for longer. And remember, you can never have too many pockets.
Layering is the best way of dealing with the fluctuating temperatures experienced during, say, early-morning game drives, which start cold and end hot. Take a fleece for colder times of the day and night. A good brimmed hat will also protect your neck, unlike a cap. You’ll need sturdy footwear and comfy, well-fitting socks, while safari gaiters offer added protection against thorns. If travelling in the rainy season, a plastic poncho offers shelter from the wet and packs down to virtually nothing.
A bandana or cotton scarf is a really versatile piece of kit, you can wear it over the mouth and nose to protect against dust when driving, or dip in wet and put around your neck for a quick cool-off. A buff wrap is another good way to keep your hair out of eyes.
Decent sunglasses are worth their weight in gold – make sure you pack a pair with strong UV protection, while quality polarized lenses help reduce glare. And keep them in hard case when not in use.
MEDS, TOILETRIES AND WATER
Most lodges provide insect repellent but pack plenty if travelling independently or for peace of mind and balm for when you do get bitten. High factor sunblock is another must, even on overcast days.
You might also want to pack lip balm or sunscreen, while wet wipes will be invaluable to say (relatively) clean and fresh during drives.
Most camps now provide water refill stations and single-use bottles for the guests, although you might want to take you own, perhaps with a built-in-filter (such as those offered by Water-to-Go) if you have any concerns about water safety.
A small daypack is the easiest way to keep your stuffs together when out on a safari – collapsible packs such as the Forclaz.
Foldable are great space savers. A journal, notebook or sketchbook are all good for recording your sightings and impressions, while some travellers also carry a field guide for reference on the go. A compact torch could be useful – a wind-up version saves the need to carry spare batteries.
Sun, sweat, dust and sunscreen can play havoc with your skin. A lot of make-up simply melts so most go barefaced, although a simplified make-up bag with basics will serve you well for evenings. Moisturizer, face scrub or face masks help revive the skin, while leave-in conditioner also protects long locks from daytime damage – and bring plenty of hair bands.
Sport bra can be more comfortable on bumpy tracks, while a sorong can function as a skirt, wrap, headscarf or even towel. And be sure to bring plenty of sanitary supplies, as required, sealed in a waterproof storage bag.