How to Get Organized For Africa Trip
My best tip for you would be – Travel light!
It is Africa, but still, people live there and you will be able to buy just anything you forgot to pack.
Bag and suitcase
Roads in Africa are not easy, many of them, specially in the National parks, are bumpy. Light, soft duffel luggage or backpacks, survive better in such roads. The best is a wheeled one, as you can see in the photo. Here some examples.
I also carry a ‘day pack‘ ,where I put my camera, water bottle, sun screen lotion, my hat and other handy personal item. There is a big variety of bags, get the size that is best for you.
Every lady who goes to Africa would like to look like Meryl Streep in ‘Out of Africa’ movie, just as every man would like to be Robert Redford. In reality, Africa is Hot, Humid in some placed, but mostly dusty (in the dry season) or muddy (in the rainy season). White cloths would not be my option when going to Africa. It get dirty very fast!
Almost nowhere in Africa one would need a formal dressing. Dress casual, choose fabric like cotton that can breath, and light in color [dark colors will ‘burn’ your skin in the sun]. For my opinion, Khaki colors are the best. I prefer cloths that need no ironing at all.
Travel light! this is the list of what is needed for two weeks Safari:
- 2 long sleeve shirts (You may want to check the UV protected shirts here Note: they are made from Nylon)
- 2 fleeces for the chilly African days or nights. Please Note that there are different thickness of fleeces, Choose a lighter one for the day, and heavy one for the night.
- 1 light nylon windbreaker for windy or rainy days. I choose the one that fold into very small pack like you may see here.
- 5 short sleeves shirts
- 1-2 pairs of shorts
- swimming suit
Unless you plan on trekking (Mt. Kilimanjaro, Mt. Kenya etc’) light sport shoes can do. You might consider open shoes (sandals) as well, for the long hours of game viewing.
Africa is Hot! and Africa is on the Equator. Most of the year the sun is just above your head. Being in the sun without protection or without the benefit of dark skin, will effect you. So, be protected!
wide brimmed hat:
Hat is most important in Africa. Get yourself a good hat to protect from the strong sun. Personally, I prefer a hat that is easilly folds into my pocket or my bag, but on the other hand, its shoulders will not be too soft.
Do not forget to bring along High factor sun screen and lip balm , and you might want to consider light sun protecting sleeves, to wear with your short sleeves shirt.
The best way to avoid mosquitoes bites is not let them touch your skin. At night (when mosquitoes are active), dress with long trousers, long sleeved shirt, and shoes. In mosquitoes affected places, sleep under mosquito net. For extra caution you might want to use:
Insect Repellent Lotions
Insect repellent sprays are a vital accessory for those traveling to Africa. There are plenty of over the counter solutions to choose from. Some of them may have a smelly odor, but that is something you will get used to.
You will see two main types of active ingredients DEET and Natural scents.
The best selling anti mosquito DEET repellent at Amazon is the Repel 100 Insect Repellent.
DEET active formula is recommended for areas with tough diseases like Malaria.
Another way for protection may be using the Mozzi small bracelet (Anti-mosquito bracelet). This is quite a new insect repellent solution which is easier to manage so you do not have to worry about forgetting to apply.
This may be one of the smartest items you should carry to Africa. It can help you reduce the risk for nasty mosquito bites, and mosquito delivered diseases.
Here is a low cost Mozzi bracelet which you can wear throughout your trip and once you have the insect repellent refill inside, the nasty flying pests stay away.
Personal toiletries: Most hotels will provide you with Soap and Shampoo. Personally I bring my favorite Shampoo/conditioner and body lotion, which I pack in small plastic bottles.
Money belt: Best way to keep money on your body, specially if you don’t travel in organized groups. See a sample of money belt here.
Flashlight (torch): Many lodges in Africa are operated by Generators, which are being switched off for some hours at nights. It is also needed for Off-the-beaten tracks in Africa.
I would recommend you to take a head torch, which can help a lot for reading, when the light in your room is too dim.
Plug adapter: Since every country has its own electric system, It will be wise to carry a universal adapter. PLEASE NOTE: the electrical voltage in Africa is 200-220v, Make sure you bring along the right adapter.
Extra pair of glasses.
Animal spotting guide (and checklist) get some recommendation in the Read about Africa section.
Small notebook to write your memories.
Personal medication: Every lodge in East and Southern Africa has in-house doctor. So bring just your personal medication + small first-aid kit: aspirin for headache, few band-aids, Malaria tablets, cough drops and antibiotic ointment.
Binoculars are very important item for your Safari in Africa. Not always your Safari vehicle can stand very near the scene, and when it comes to THE right moment (Lioness trying to Kill a Zebra), If you are a couple with only one binocular… It can lead to divorce!
So, bring a good binoculars, and No, the meaning is not for theater binoculars!
How to choose binoculars that suits your need for animals viewing:
Every binocular has two numbers (e.g. 7 X 50) The first number (here 7) indicates the power (magnifying 7 times larger). The second number (here 50) indicate the diameter of the front lenses (in Millimeters), which effect the light that can be gathered.
A good animal viewing binocular is the one, that division of the second number in the first, will give result of 5 or more. (e.g. binocular 7X50 = 50: 7= 7 , good binocular and better than 7X35 which gives result (35:7) of less than 5).
Taking photos in Africa is fun! You will bring home great memories from your Safari!
Please note: Your phone IS NOT camera! It is good only to send some photos home, but not good for the REAL game photography.
Remember: better the camera, better the photos! The camera industry is constantly changing, make an effort to buy the camera that suits you:
For wildlife shooting good OPTICAL zoom is benefit. If you are not professional photographer, choose a point-and-shoot camera, with mega zoom like this one here which is good for wildlife as well as portraits. For best photos,get DSLR camera.
Remember to carry enough memory cards, extra batteries and the charger.
Please note: African people, in general, are offended if you take their photos without permission! PLEASE, ASK PERMISSION FIRST! [ All photos on this site were taken WITH permission!]