Preparing and packing for your African Safari
Millions of international tourists visit South Africa every year.
They come for the sunshine, the glorious beaches, cultural attractions, and genuine hospitality. They do their Safari planning around seeing the incredible, majestic animals that thrive in the pristine wilderness of the protected game reserves.
An African Safari is inarguably one of the most exclusive travel experiences in anyone’s lifetime. Think of vast expanses of bushveld around you, and wildlife in their natural habitat. It is quite thrilling an experience and hard to put into words – it must be lived and savoured. Naturally, there are some things to keep in mind when going on safari. You still want to be safe, as well as be a responsible tourist, while you enjoy this unique adventure.
Staying healthy on Safari
Ensure you have taken all the necessary precautions when it comes to your health. Do you have sufficient quantities of your prescription medicine? Do you have malaria tablets if going through malaria-prone areas? You may want to seek advice from your doctor before your trip. It is just as important to make sure you have emergency contacts once on foreign land, should anything impact your health on a safari holiday.
Sun protection in Africa
Like most of the continent, South Africa isn’t only hot during the summer. It’s not unusual for temperatures to reach into the high 70s during the coldest months of the year.
Wear high SPF sunscreen. Do bring a hat to cover your eyes and face from the glare of the sun. Sunglasses are also highly recommended. In most African countries, the sun can be strong, even in winter.
What to wear on Safari
It goes without saying that you should not dress to impress. While it might be tempting to wear as little as possible on a safari, you want to dress appropriately. This is not only for comfort but to also protect you from insect bites – covering your arms and legs can help to ward off the likes of mosquitoes.
Loose, comfortable clothing is best. Wear natural fibres such as linen or cotton so that the fabric allows your skin to still breathe. Light, breathable fabric is a must-have for every safari excursion.
Choose to layer your clothing – a cardigan over a tank top or shirt, a scarf or hat. Bring a cardigan or a shawl to keep you warm. For instance, if you’re on an early safari tour, you might feel a bit chilly, but get hot as the day unfolds. Dressing in layers can be useful in that sense and keep you prepared for any eventuality.
And don’t forget your swimsuit for lazy afternoons by the pool!
Wear sturdy shoes
Especially if you are likely to go on a guided safari walk, hiking boots or shoes with long socks work best. Long pants will protect your legs from thorny plants and insect bites.
Save the sneakers and casual shoes for camp – or the comfortable game drive scenario.
Gear – Camera
Because how else will you capture all the amazing sights of your South African adventure? You don’t need the latest Nikon, just a decent zoom lens to find and photo nature’s shier creatures.
Gear – Binoculars
While your Rangers and Guides will do their best to get you as close as possible to incredible animal sightings, the wildlife might have other plans! For your own sanity,make sure you have your own pair of binoculars. You’ll avoid little arguments about taking turns and never miss a thing.
Gear – Electronics and peripherals
Double check that you have all the necessary chargers, adapters, and memory cards you need. And bring a laptop or storage facility to store the pictures – you will have a lot of them!
Protect your photographic gear and belongings from the elements
Whether you’re a professional or a seasoned photographer, make sure to protect your camera. Things can heat up pretty quickly under the African sun, so ensure that your bag isn’t black. Black attracts more heat and can make your equipment heat up. You may also want to cover your lenses as dust, sand, and other particles in the air could get into them.
The same goes for your belongings. Do not carry valuables or anything that could potentially fall, melt, or get damaged easily.
A word on safety – protection against malaria
The biggest thing you have to fear on your South African safari is also the smallest – the malaria-carrying mosquito. Keep a supply of bug spray handy while you’re there.
The best South African safari lodges have stringent mosquito-control programs in place. Few tourists have ever left sick, but it pays to be cautious.
You won’t have to fear much crime either, thanks to the game lodges’ remote locations. Still, take sensible security measures. Keep your valuables locked up in your room, safe and out of sight, while you’re out adventuring.
It is a privilege to get as close as you’ll ever be with wildlife on a safari. Some of species you might have the chance to see are critically endangered. Be the responsible tourist. Book your safari with professionals who have ethical practices.
Wherever you’re staying, be courteous towards the locals at your accommodation. Respect the rules and customs in the country you’re visiting.
Tipping during your South African Safari
The waiters like tips in South Africa (who doesn’t?) The norm is 10 – 15%, but you are welcome to tip according to how much you enjoyed your experience and the service. If you want to leave a tip for the busboys or cooks at the game lodge, check with your host about how.
Mealtimes and the Great Outdoors
You’ll enjoy the experience of eating outside in beautifully set up areas during your South African safari. Outdoor boma braais are an evening delight, taking place in a cordoned-off area under the night skies, taking in the sound of the nightlife and enjoying a blazing campfire.
Bask in the sunset with drinks from breathtaking views. Then the next morning, feast on a picnic breakfast during your game drive.
We hope that the above provides you with practical tips for a safe and memorable safari experience and enjoy a safari in the best possible way.
If you need any assistance, let us answer your questions and plan your trip for you. With many years of experience in this industry, we take pride in giving our customers a safari experience that will remain etched in their memories for a lifetime.
If you want to share your adventure or ask about one, get in touch with us today to help you plan your dream African adventure.