They say that the anticipation phase of a trip is just as exciting as the actual adventure.
To sit by the fire-place in the evening, enjoying the moon and stars or the darkness. The wildlife, oh the amazing range of wildlife. The people and the conversations. Goosebumps.
Okay, here's something most people don't realize when they think 52 countries, vast 11.5 million miles large Africa. It does get cool/cold. We're talking 30-40s during the evenings if you are in areas like Ngorongoro. [Weather guideline]. This is true even if the day is warm/hot especially if you are going during the cooler month. You knew? Awesome. A fleece or sweater is a good idea. Scarfs may be necessary as well.
My advise is to stick to a carry-on. This ensures less chance of the bag being delayed on arrival [happens] plus you need to keep weight down for local flights anyway. You are restricted to 33 lbs of total weight. On KLM is 26 lbs for carry-on plus the personal carry which for most is usually going to be a camera bag.
Take a soft bag [they need to squeeze bags sometimes in the luggage compartment in the small flying taxis] that has been used for years; no pangs when it comes with extra scratches or dust.
What to pack on Safari :
– A warm sweater and/or fleece for evening. If going in cooler months, June to September/October, both would be a good idea. Always check weather.com before you leave. They have temperature for Ngorongoro and Serengeti.
– 2-3 pants. If they that zip off to become shorts, may work especially during hot season.
- 3-4 short sleeve t-shirts/tee for the day time which you can rotate. Layering is key as it will be cold in the morning and evening but warm up during the day.
– 1-2 pants and 2-3 long sleeve shirts for the evenings time that will stay clean. Mix and match is the way to go. Ladies, sneak in a light necklace for instant glam or get on in Tanzania.
Sometimes, you end up wearing what you wore on the game drive - no worries. No one is looking. Enjoy the sunset if it mean staying as long as it is allowed by park authorities and rushing back for campfire drinks.
– Scarf or bandana. The scarf/bandana can be used as a mask again dust, protecting your neck from the sun and those times you need a wipe. If small, sneak in another one so it can stay clean. Putting on a clean one in the evening feels good and instantly dresses you up.
– Closed-toe shoes. There will be some sort of walking on every Safari - even from your room to the dining tent. Closed toe shoes also to keep anything from biting you.
- Socks. Add a pair [or two] of warm socks especially during the cooler months. Remember - reduce. reuse. recycle - unless you think you need more than two pairs because only you know your body well enough.
– Sandals. I have my Birkenstock which I like as sometimes I can wear these during game drives. A good idea to pack for the comfort in your tent.
– Wind-jacket. Highly recommend this especially since a lot of the vehicles on Safari are open. The morning and evening wind does get chilly. If it is also rain-proof, even better. This one I have has been with me on many Safaris.
– Sun hat and sun glasses of course. – Hat. We do give you a Journey To Africa baseball cap either in the US or on arrival.
– 2-3 undergarments preferable quick dry ones so you can wash overnight. In most of the lodges, they will provide soap to wash but taking a small laundry bar may be a good idea.
One thing to note is that most lodges we recommend have laundry included or if not, there is a nominal fee for laundry. Take advantage of this service.
Guys, there are a few modification you would need to make but you get the idea of what is necessary.
– Hand wipes. For those times when you have to eat lunch after your game drive and you need to wipe off the dust. Dispose them off properly in the camp.
– Shampoo + conditioner travel size. Though I have to say, I used the lodge provided shampoo + conditioner the past couple of Safaris and my hair and I survived.
– SPF 30+ is a must on Safari.
- Lotion as it can be dry air on Safari. Our preferred lodges usually offer this but a compact one in your hand luggage may be a good idea. I speak from cracked hands experience.
- Nail cutter. If you are like me, and want short nails so they look clean. Plus if you are going to be on Safari for longer than 2 weeks, this may be an overlooked item.
– Flash light. In the middle of the night, should you need to go to the enclosed rest room, this may come in handy as most tented lodges turn off lights after a certain time. Most of the camps we suggest will have this but not a bad item to have.
– Mosquito repellant wipes. I got this tip from Susan of the Insatiable Traveler.
– Medical first-aid kit. Take your prescriptions as carry-on. A must!!
Then you have band-aid, Neosporin, cortisone cream, Immodium [you never know], Pepto-Bismol [read this article and decide if you want to do this on your Safari], Advil or Tylenol, muscle relaxing balm +. This is just a sample.
– Contact wearers, there is dust on Safari. But, I prefer my contacts over recommended glasses. What to do? I always wear my big sunglasses. They usually help. But I always have my glasses as back-up. I take extra contacts in case I need to put on a fresh pair mid-day. Remember to clean your hands first.
– For those who need a little make-up to feel put together, go ahead, take a small pouch. If you feel good, you enjoy more. Keep strong perfumes/colognes at home. An insect magnet.
- Consider a white noise machine for the light sleepers or those who would like to sleep in a bit - birds especially don't know you are on holiday.
And then if you forget anything, you can always buy in Tanzania in the towns before you head on Safari [except prescriptions please], re-wear as no one is really looking or ask the lodges if they can help.
The most important packing tip – your sense of adventure!