Pack light for an African safari
This simple advice, often ignored by first-time travelers, has been known to put a sour note on a safari experience. No one wants to arrive in Africa only to find there’s no room for their hard-sided suitcase, or that they’re over the limit for an internal flight. Safaris are simple in nature, and packing for one should be, too.
Here are 8 items you should, and shouldn’t, bring with you on safari.
Bring it along
- Alcohol-based hand sanitizer—long game drives and impromptu bush bathrooms make this item a must-have.
- Sun protection—in addition to a high-SPF sunscreen, you’ll want a hat, sunglasses and, if you’ll be wearing t-shirts, a scarf or some protection for the back of the neck. Those with dry skin will want lip balm, too.
- Handkerchief—it gets mighty dusty on those game drives. Your camera lens might need a wipe, too. Luckily, handkerchiefs are small and light-weight, so bring a few if you’ve got them.
- Sandals or flip flops—in addition to bring a sturdy pair of hiking boots, you’ll want something to wear around the lodge and, during extremely hot weather, in the vehicle. Depending on your lodging’s luxury-level, you may also wish to don them in the shower.
- Big lens bean bag—if you’re any type of decent telephoto lens, you’ll get ample use out of a bean bag to rest your heavy lens on. Not only does the bean bag stabilize the shot, but it also helps keep your arms from fatiguing while waiting for that perfect moment to happen.
Leave it at home
- Jewelry—the animals don’t care about your Patek Philippe watch, and you’re bound to attract a lot of unwanted attention when passing through urban areas.
- Dress clothes—even if you’re doing an upscale safari and staying in the most exclusive of camps, you’re still in the middle of the African bush and won’t be needing an evening gown or suit. One set of smart clothing, such as a summer dress or linen shirt, will suffice.
- Jeans—they may be fashionably timeless, but they’re also hot, heavy and hard to dry. You’ll be far happier with some cargo pants, or khakis. Linen pants are also an option, although they tend to wrinkle easily.
By bringing only what is really essential for your safari, you’ll soon discover that less is truly more, especially in the African bush. Bon voyage!