An African Safari sounds like the holiday of a lifetime, in fact, for many, it’s been a life changing experience. Preparation is the key to enjoying an African Safari and if you think it’s just a matter of loading up your bags and heading across to this mighty continent then think again.
For first time safari travellers the pitfalls are numerous. If you book a safari tour under the watchful eye of seasoned and experienced tour operators then you’ll be made aware of what preparation needs to take place before you even board your flight. However, if you intend on going solo, then you need to read the rest of this article.
Why Is Preparation For Safari In Africa So Important
Africa has a volatile and political past. There are hotspots you should avoid. By researching your intended destination you’ll give yourself the best chance of avoiding trouble. Safety should be your utmost consideration but an African Safari can also be a physically demanding experience.
What To Take On Safari
Here is a checklist of things you should consider before you leave your country and during your trip.
1. Travelling light is essential when heading off on safari in Africa. Light clothing is preferred however, you’ll also need to pack at least one or two clothing items which will protect you against the cold.
2. The clothing you pack should also be protective such as long sleeve shirts and pants. Why? Because in most cases, you’ll be spending extra time in the sun and mosquitoes can be a problem particularly around dusk. Also, include colors which are likely to blend in with the surroundings such as greens and tans.
3. Include a good pair of walking shoes. Here’s a tip; two weeks before you are due to leave, buy a pair of walking shoes and “break them in” so to speak. You’ll be doing a good deal of walking and by taking the “newness” out of the shoes, you’ll cut down the incidence of blisters on your feet.
4. Include ample sun protection. Quality sunscreen is a must as well as a large hat and sunglasses. Your clothing should also be such that it reflects the sun’s rays.
5. If you are on any type of medication make sure you have an ample supply. Better still, schedule a doctor’s appointment before you leave and get a check-up. This also applies to dental and chiropractic care.
6. Include an ample supply of bug repellent. As mentioned earlier, mosquitoes can be a real problem and repellent, while not totally guaranteed, will give you a great chance of avoiding unnecessary mosquito or fly bites. Get information on the areas you are travelling to and take particular note if malaria is a factor in those areas. A medical kit of some description should also be included in your luggage.
7. Tablets to combat dehydration are a must. Also, be wary of drinking the local water unless you have the all clear that it’s safe from respected local authorities. To avoid any possible contamination, stick to drinking bottled water.
8. One of the best pieces of advice I received was to get to know the lay of the land…particularly the road system in the countries you visit. You’ll cut down the risk of car accident by understanding specific road rules. They will vary from country to country.
9. Be careful not to have all your valuables on you at the one time especially if you are travelling through populated areas. Split you valuables up and place them in different locations within your reach that only you know. Never discuss your financial situation with total strangers!
It may sound like there is a lot of due diligence to perform both before and after an African Safari but in reality, it’s just common sense. Remember, travel light but travel smart and when you get home, you’ll have many wonderful stories to relate to friends and family about your African Safari experience!