Things to Pack for Your African Safari

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No matter where you go on vacation, experience has taught you that it’s better to make a packing list well in advance instead of the night before. With this in mind, it’s clearly more important for some trips than others; after all, you’ll need more stuff if you’re on the way to scale Mount Kilimanjaro than it is if you’re headed to a theme park.


Not everything you’ll pack should be considered a must-have; some of the things will be for creature comfort and convenience. If you can’t pretty much live without music, for example, and are traveling with a treasured group of family and friends, then your JBL speakers will help you rock out to the latest jams even when you’re several continents away from home. Now that we’ve got the accessories for a full day of jamming out of the way, there are some things you’ll definitely need if you’re headed to the land where it all started: Africa.


Packing the Proper Clothing is a Must


Although this varies from person to person, there are some important constants in the choice of apparel. You want to avoid all black clothing because of the heat and the vicious tsetse fly biting, which is attracted to dark surfaces – they can bite through even thick clothing if it is dark and attracts them. For this reason, khaki and other earth tones are recommended for clothes, shoes, socks, packs and even hats.


As you can imagine, the weather on an African Safari is hot. Quite hot, most days. However, this doesn’t mean you need shorts and tank tops – in fact, you definitely need long-sleeve apparel and pants (no skirts or shorts) to travel through the bush and grasslands. Pack the shorts and skirts if you want to relax while at the lounge – but on the actual safari, these are no-nos.


Sunglasses and hats are common accessories; as are the usual underwear and sleep outfits you might take with you on any other vacation.


Lotion and Moisturizers


These are for people with drier skin. Even if you don’t characteristically have dry skin, an African Safari is a different kind of trip and you may wish you had some. It can be quite dry out in the field – just make sure the ones you buy are TSA-approved so you can travel with them in your luggage.


Warm Clothing for Cold Days

Yes; the African bush can get cod and rainy. Depending on where you’re traveling, you may spend one day on a truck watching African lions hunt wildebeest, and the next in Ngorongoro Crater where the temperature plummets on overcast days. Pack your favorite fleece or raincoat just in case.


While you’re at it, be sure to grab a waterproof bag for transporting your stuff in case of inclement weather. This is especially important for your electronics – smartphone, tablets, power chargers and more.


Insect Repellent


Keep in mind that even powerful repellent with DEET won’t work on tsetse flies (mentioned above) so don’t think you can get away with wearing dark clothing as long as you bring your DEET. Their resistance to the chemical is well-known; but DEET will work on just about any other of the annoying bugs that are mad you’re visiting their home.


Cash Money

Credit cards are cool for the Safari lounge and all – but what happens if you want to buy native stuff in a village somewhere? They’ll certainly accept newer US bills – but most simply aren’t set up to accept credit card payments. Make sure you have a couple of bills with you – preferably in 1s, 5s, 10s and 20s.


Bring a First-Aid Kit Just in Case
Every Safari you choose will have first aid kits; but it never hurt anyone to bring their own just in case. They may not have antihistamines; or may not have enough for the insect bites you could suffer even with all the precautions. Plus; you know your body and which OTC medicines work for you. Bring some diarrhea meds too, incase the local cuisine doesn’t sit with you. These should be in a pack along with your Yellow Fever Card, which is standard for anyone traveling to certain African countries.

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