Just like shoes can determine a day’s worth peace of mind, mood and confidence, what you pack for your African safari will determine how much you will enjoy yourself. Imagine the plight of realizing you did not carry a camera charger or extra batteries for it miles deep in the wild. Tales and memories that grow distant with age and time will be all you are left with after that trip. We zero it down to this list of the top 10 things to carry for your Africa Safari as a guide on what to pack to avoid such inconveniences or worse.
- SAFARI FRIENDLY CLOTHES
Africa is a diverse continent in terms of her people and biodiversity which two factors guide one on what to pack for a Safari. Your comfort is paramount while choosing what to wear for a safari subject to a few things. These include the culture of the country you have chosen to visit, the activities you plan to engage in on safari, the weather and vegetation.
On your East African safari does not necessarily entail a head to toe khaki ensemble. Your clothes should have colors that blend in with your environment such as brown, khaki, olive green and other dull colors because the bright colors scare animals away, blue and black colors tend to attract mosquitoes and tsetse flies. In choosing fabric, go for that which is not easily stained, easy to hand wash and dry faster. For the ladies, a sports bra will be ideal because of the bumpiness of the rides. On a gorilla trekking or forest walk long sleeved shirts, gloves, long trousers and socks to protect against insect bites and a rain poncho will do. Countries in East Africa are not entirely sunny or hot and the morning and evenings can get quite chilly. Wearing layers to remove or add as the weather changes is ideal.
A light weight water proof jacket that can be squashed into your day pack is handy too.
- SHOES FIT FOR SAFARI
Light weight hiking shoes, comfortable walking shoes for nature walks or hikes and sandals for the evenings at the lodge or camp are suitable. Activities like gorilla trekking and chimpanzee trekking may require tougher shoes because you get deep into the forests thus hiking boots come in handy. In all this, consider waterproof shoes made of material that is easy to wash without getting drenched as well as hard rubber soles such that they are not easily penetrated by thorns.
- SUN PROTECTION GEAR
Heat and Sunshine are Africa’s most renowned attributes yet the chilly mornings and nights on a game drive may momentarily make you forget how much you sweated at noon. Beyond the layered clothing to adapt to the weather changes in a day, there are other items you ought to pack to ease your response to the weather and its change. Sunscreen: the heat can get brutal so you are better off preventing the discomfort arising from the scorching heat. A wide brimmed safari hat; one with a cord so it does not get blown off as you ride through the wild and one large enough to cover not just your head but neck too.
Sunglasses; the rays and wind on the game drives can be harsh on your eyes. Moisture drops for your eyes are complimentary to the sunglasses, the discomfort that the sun has not caused, the wind may do and this is where the drops come in. Moisturizer and lip balm are worthwhile items to carry along for your Uganda Safari.
- SAFARI GADGETS OR EQUIPMENT
These are handy devices and gadgets that you will need on safari to capture precious sights and sounds in a photo or video or to help you see farther than your eyes can reach. A camera, its charger, extra battery, memory card and binoculars are a priority under this category. In addition in Uganda you will need the 3 pin UK style adapters but you are better off carrying a convertible adaptor to make your charging easy while at the camp or lodge. For night walks or caving expeditions, a flashlight or headlamp are essential items.
Lodges and hotels provide some toiletries as well as laundry services but it is ideal that you have your own in case you decide to camp far from the luxury of the safari lodge. Some of the items to carry are wet wipes whose essence is to cleanse your face or body of the dust that accumulates from the game drives before you get a full-blown shower. For the women, pack tampons because they are hard to find and may only be chanced upon in the cities far from the forest or hills you will be hiking through. Toothpaste, a toothbrush and shower shorts to carry your soap to the bathroom at a camp should not be left behind.
- DAY PACK
A day pack should be one bag that carries a day’s worth of supplies. This may include packed lunch, a rain poncho, a journal in a Ziploc bag to prevent it from getting damp or wet and a few toiletries like sanitizer, a flashlight and wipes. Be careful not to pack too much to weigh you down on your journey!
- DOCUMENTS AND MISCELLANEOUS ITEMS
A passport, tickets, travel insurance documents, safari itinerary, cash in foreign currency, necessary vaccines like yellow fever vaccine, locks for your luggage and alternative form of identification in case of passport loss. You will need these items for your safari to Uganda and Rwanda.
- THE MEDICAL KIT
This item is inclusive of some medications that would make your adventure more convenient by preventing or dealing with any unforeseen aches and pains or treat those you already had before your safari. Insect repellent, a first aid kit with bandages, cotton, antiseptic and all; anti-malaria meds, preventive medication for diarrhea, stomach and headaches, pain killers, your prescription medicines and treatment for any chronic illnesses can constitute this kit.
- ITEMS TO SUPPORT LOCAL COMMUNITIES
This is not mandatory but worth considering as you prepare to travel to Africa. If your safari itinerary includes community based activities, an item or two could change a life of a community member. From a t-shirt, to a book for a school going child, your gesture will be welcome and a means of giving back to the community that has hosted you during your safari.
- MOBILE PHONE, IPAD OR TABLET
Most of the lodges you will visit have WIFI in the lounge area. In case you are the kind that likes to upload your experiences on social media on the go – then these items will be of great use to you as you look to keep people at home informed on your journeys. You can choose to roam or buy a local sim card but this requires that your mobile phone should be unlocked.
Our final tips to you are; to leave room for keepsakes or souvenirs by packing less and reducing the weight of your luggage by packing in a duffel bag as opposed to a suit case with wheels. Packing for a safari can be cumbersome but doing so early enough could be the beginning of a great adventure!