Safaris are super exciting! Especially when they are in Africa, with its amazing wildlife and rich national parks. But it’s not enough to put your faith only in the experienced guide and take a chance with everything else. If you want to truly enjoy your safari, you need to make sure that you have taken care of essentials. If not, you could end up being uncomfortable, stranded, unwell or worse. So much for the holiday experience of a lifetime. It is a loss of money, days off from work, and the chance to see something truly wondrous.
Here are a few things to make your safari tour a success:
Start with doing a thorough research on the safari. Something as simple as when you travel can make or break your trip. Many visitors go on a Tanzania safari to witness the great migration of the zebras and wildebeest. This happens through the end of May till the end of October. At that time, you can see close to 2 million animals make their way to new fields and grazing lands. Do check the time of your trip before you go. Otherwise torrential rains can make a mess of things and plans, literally and figuratively.
Most safaris exist because visitors want to spot the Big 5- rhino, elephant, buffalo, leopard and lion. There are enough and more national parks in which to do this, but do understand that during tourist season, the parks are overcrowded and spotting animals is tough. Decide what you want to do, what animals you wish to see and then go for it.
Travelling across the world requires a lot of paperwork. These documents should be in order:
Passport with proper and ample validity (6 months)
Air travel documents
Cash, including notes for tips, taxis and meals
Travelers checks if the conversion rate is favorable. If not, stick with cash.
Documents that verify vaccinations
Depending on where your safari will take you, you’ll need to pack wisely and sensibly. First off, choose light colors and stay away from the fluorescent shades. One of the most important aspects of trying to spot wildlife is to blend in. Stick with browns and greens and light shades and prints. If you’re going to be climbing mountains, like Kilimanjaro then you will need requisite clothes.
For the rest of your safari, through the national park or on cycle, don’t go in for jeans. Safaris last the entire day and jeans can get very heavy and cause chafing. Go in for pants or trousers. T shirts and shirts- preferably full sleeves, comfortable undergarments, socks and shoes are mandatory. If you think a cap or hat will help you, do make sure you carry those as well. Additionally, jackets and waterproof gear can be of use.
Footwear is extremely important, it goes without saying. Don’t try a new pair on your trip! Trust your most comfortable brand and make sure they are covered shoes that make walking comfortable and less taxing. Don’t forget your sunglasses as well and a bandana to help with the dust.
Carry the regular medication you take, with the doctor’s prescription, in case such a need should arise. Apart from this, it’s sensible to carry malaria medication- check with your doctor if you need a course before you make a trip and mosquito and bug cream. The African sun can be harsh so some sunscreen is a great idea. Carry your preferred brand of sanitary products as well. If you wear contact lenses, or glasses, make sure you carry the case and liquid and a proper case to keep your glasses safe.
A good idea might be to carry a personalized medical kit- medicine for a bad stomach, blister pads, pain gel, pain killers, bandages and pills for fever and headache, ear plugs, and water purification tablets.
Your toilet kit should comprise of things you need- toothbrush and paste, deodorant, tissues, Vaseline and comb. Also carry enough plastic bags for your dirty clothes. A torch can come in handy as well. Your phone needs to be activated to an international SIM card and a local SIM can be procured as well. Your bottle for water, binoculars, and a knapsack for your basic things is also recommended. Hand sanitizer, batteries for your camera, power converters for your phone, a pair of slippers because walking barefoot isn’t a good idea, pillow for your back on long rides- it’s a long list but keep your specific requirements in mind and decide what to take and what to leave.
You can carry all your stuff in a soft top suitcase. Carry a sleeping bag too.
Respect the country, the land, its culture and its people when you travel. That’s the key element in making your journey a successful one.