How exciting! You're about to go on a safari (or want to , at least)!
Here are some do's and dont's for packing and preparing for a safari. There are many places you can go, from Kenya, to Botswana, to South Africa...but you will basically want the same things.
SO, here are things I learned from trial and error:
1. It Gets Freezing
Yes, in Africa it can literally be freezing. Now this depends on where you are and what time of year, but my first Safari in South Africa started early in the morning in the middle of California summer/SA winter. I couldn't believe how cold it got! The safari driver gave me a wool blanket for the open-air car ride, but the wind chill was incredible and it's ALWAYS COLDER IN THE SHADE OR CANYONS.
The Lesson: Bring LAYERS! It does warm up but in SA it never got sweltering hot at all. Always wear pants.
2. There Aren't "Food Stops," So Bring A Snack
You're out in the wilderness. Don't be "that" person asking when lunch is. Come prepared to take care of yourself for a day with some healthy, filling snacks. Your tour operator MAY include a lunch of some kind, or have you eat before, but just be ready to self-sufficient.
The Lesson: I'm a health nut, but it payed off to bring to bring things like bars and nut butter. But I was really glad I brought them because drives are long and if you forget to eat and drink, you pay for it later.
3. You May Have To Cross Borders
Some safaris actually cross borders into other countries. I did this in Botswana and Zimbabwe where they both crossed borders into Namibia or Zambia and you have to be ready with CASH ONLY to pay for the visa.
The Lesson: Always carry some cash with you if your near borders and don't give all of it away to people selling you things along the way
4. You Actually Don't Walk Around Or Get Out Of The Car That Much
Bring comfy shoes but you will likely not be trekking around on technical terrain. I wear hiking boots that are above the ankle mostly to keep the dirt out when you do jump out, but you could definitely get away with good running/athletic shoes. Please note is aimed at a typical safari in a sanctuary or park where you are not walking around for photos for hours. If you do that, wear the type of boots I did. SEE THEM HERE
The Lesson: Wear something that's COMFORTABLE to be sitting in or jumping in and out of a vehicle. Make sure your skin is covered, especially from shoes to pants.
5. You Will Get Sunburned AND Windburned
It's dry. It CAN get hot. You WILL be in the car driving around getting blasted by dusty wind. Make sure you have sunscreen with you to keep applying throughout the day. ALSO bring chapstick and even a tiny thing of Vaseline for your nose, lips, or hands.
The Lesson: Don't think you're not getting burned. You are. Keep applying sunscreen. You'll thank you later.
6. Take Care Of Your Cameras
It makes sense that a safari is going to be dusty and dirty. Many of us want to take great pictures so we're constantly keeping our camera out OR taking it in and out of a bag. Since I'm a professional producer/photographer, I go to extra lengths to protect me cameras from the elements when I'm out in them...which is most of the time
HOT INSIDER TIP: Either bring a camera that isn't your baby or cost $10k OR (hot tip!) bring a plastic shower cap from home or your hotel and wrap it around the camera, especially where you insert your lenses to keep the dust and dirt out. Bring a couple wipes for your lenses if the lense itself gets a little dust on it.
So go forth and get a safari booked! You certainly won't regret it. Stay tuned for how to PACK for a safari and in the meantime, let me know what I missed! Do you have any top tips you'd throw in?
Written by Whitney Powell http://www.ironwillproductions.com Producer | Host | Athlete | Expedition Leader
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