Essential Items for your Safari Holiday
Especially if this is your first time on safari, you may be wondering how much or how little you need to take with you for a few nights.
There is no real need (unless you specifically want to) to go out and buy any special clothes for your safari experience – most people have something in their wardrobe that will be fine!
Cotton clothing (preferably in neutral colours) is recommended, but do try and keep whites to a minimum, as white can attract bugs at night. Bright coloured clothing should be avoided if possible. Shorts are ideal for walks and the warm midday periods. Long trousers can be worn at night to protect from mosquito bites. Dinner dress in the evening is also very casual.
A lot of the lodges will offer a laundry service, but if this is not included in your rate, then it will be priced on a ‘per item’ basis, which can become quite expensive if you decide to put all your dirty laundry in to be cleaned!
Comfortable walking shoes, trainers or hiking boots are advisable if you want to go on a bush walk - otherwise sandals are ideal to wear at meal times and around the lodge area.
In addition, during the rainy months, a waterproof jacket is of course a good idea. If you are visiting during the Southern Hemisphere summer months (so from March to May) a warm sweater is useful for the cooler morning and evening temperatures when out on game drives - you also have the 'wind chill' factor of being on a moving vehicle.
During the Southern Hemisphere winter months (so between June and September), you will certainly need several warm layers for your game drives, including a hat, scarf and gloves, as it can be extremely cold when the sun goes down in the evenings, and when you first set off on the morning game drive. It is always better to have too many layers for warmth than not enough!
A strong sun block, a sun hat, sunglasses and lip balm are a good idea to have with you when out on game drives in the sun.
Also, make sure you have your camera, binoculars and spare camera batteries for the game drives too. If you have a video camera, it may be a good idea to take a spare battery for this as well.
An insect repellent is necessary, especially in the evenings. Most lodges do supply repellent for guests to use, but just in case it would be worth taking this with you.
Of course, if you are going on safari in a malarial area, don’t forget your malaria tablets! You will need to consult your doctor at least 6-8 weeks prior to travel to see what course of malaria tablets they recommend, and when you should commence the course.
If you are getting to your safari destination by a light aircraft flight, do please check what the baggage weight allowance is before you arrive to check in. For most light aircraft flights, the limit is 15 kg (sometimes 20 kg), and most airlines do require your luggage to be in soft bags (to enable the pilot to easily stow the luggage in what is sometimes a small hold in the plane).
In addition, a good field guide book to the animals of the region is an excellent item to have in the car with you, along with plenty of water and other refreshments.