Written by: Jessica White
Bushtracks‘ luxury safari camps are equipped with almost every amenity one could need when delving into the depths of the African bush. This said, whether you are journeying into the bush for the first time, or are a safari veteran, there are certain essentials that everyone needs to equip themselves with when heading into the wilds of Africa. Here is our list of safari packing essentials that you are sure to find useful!
Keeping protected against the elements
1. Staying smart in the sun
Africa’s temperamental temperatures call for a floppy hat that can keep your ears under wraps. Those with a string under your chin are useful during game drives so it can’t get swept away by a gust of air.
Whether you are in the wilds of Zambia, cheetah spotting in Kenya, or soaking up the sun in Mozambique, you want to avoid that awkward tight-skin, can-no-longer-bend-my-limbs sensation, so we recommend Nivea SPF 30 Light Feeling Moisturising sunscreen. Non-scented, non-greasy and with moisturising properties, it is an ideal camping companion and won’t make you smell like a coconut among the caerulea.
Carry around a lip balm of about SPF 15 to avoid being sun kissed the painful way. The tips of your ears will appreciate it too. When the sun disappears behind the horizon the heat goes with it, and therefore a fleece and beanie will help keep you cosy by the campfire on the chilly nights.
2. Keeping cool in the heat
Kikoys are culturally colourful sarongs that mirror the deep reds and oranges of Africa’s sunsets, or the vibrant blues and greens that materialise over the landscape as the season change. Our camps along the Zambezi, Chobe and Kwando rivers will have you itching to dive beneath the glassy surface of the water. Stretch out beneath the refreshing pools, or wet your kikoy to drape around your neck for the afternoon game drive.
3. Protecting your feet
Scorching sand and devil’s thorns are two obstacles’ likely to pop up on a hike, and good footwear makes all the difference. Salewa’s Capsicos shoes are light, durable and versatile so whether you are cruising the Boteti River at Leroo La Tau, or tracking game at Serengeti Sopa Lodge, your uppermost comfort is guaranteed.
4. Avoiding things that sting
Ruckomechi, and Vumbura Plains (just to name a few) have exquisite outside showers that surpass the boundary between wildlife and chalet, allowing you to absorb the night air and enrich your appreciation for the outdoors. These facilities are so tranquil that not even the scorpions can resist, and therefore we recommend a pair of sandals or rubber thongs for the short trips to and from your shower.
5. Staying dry
Monkey’s weddings are one of the many amusing events that you may attend while on safari. Guests for this occasion involuntarily welcome droplets of rain that gently cascade down like confetti while the sun remains beaming and bright above the “ceremony”. It is a good idea to keep a light, compact raincoat nearby for such events. Whether you are calmly slicing through the water in a wooden mokoro in the Chobe, or being hurled through white water rapids beneath the Victoria Falls, a small waterproof bag is also recommended to store your valuables in. Silica gel dry packs are also useful to protect your electronic devices from the high humidity.
Keeping track in the bush
Our camps are situated in a natural treasure chest, overflowing with a wealth of fauna and flora. Bushtracks’ camps will expose you to Africa in its most authentic form. Due to our vast conservation efforts and mission to connect with the natural environment without disturbing it, flocks of birds and herds of wildlife thrive around our camps. Keeping track of what you have seen and learnt is paramount. Here are some ways in which you can do it:
6. Star spotting
There are few things more awe-inspiring and humbling than standing under a blanket of stars on a clear night in the bush. The world seems darker and the stars seem brighter than anywhere else, flung across a navy ocean in their hundreds of thousands. SkyQ is an app that identifies and informs you about any stars, planets and celestial objects. It is amazing to watch images emerge from the scattering of stars under the guidance of this personal planetarium.
7. Birding done right
The Ultimate Companion is a book of Southern African birds that holds between its hard covers over 1,400 spectacular photographs of birds covering all 960 species recorded. Though this would make for a great coffee table souvenir, we would recommend taking a smaller bird book along, preferably with check boxes so that you can keep record of which birds you have seen and which you still need to look out for. There are also apps for identifying birds and mammals, such as Robert’s 7 Multimedia Birds of Southern Africa or Sasol eBirds, and eGuide to Mammals of Southern Africa by Chris and Mathilde Stuart.
8. Getting a better view
Africa, to the naked eye, is beautiful. Africa examined behind a pair of 8 x 30 magnification binoculars is exquisite. The dust coloured coat of the lion, and the thick steel grey skin that cloaks the rhino enables them to blend in seamlessly with their surroundings. The birds are decorated with patterns so delicate and colours so unique, it is almost impossible to tear your eyes away from them. Using these powerful binoculars will emphasise the beauty with the clarity and appreciation it deserves.
Snacks and sprays
9. Keeping the mosquitoes at bay
A peaceful atmosphere engulfs the campsites once dusk has set. The only thing that could possibly irritate or disturb anyone would be the incessant buzzing of an allusive mosquito. Fortunately, Peaceful Sleep is an insect repellent powerful enough to deter even these inquisitive creatures. A few squirts on your ankles and wrists will save you from an evening of manic air tennis, but be sure to keep your eyes screwed shut while you spray, or yours will be far from a peaceful sleep.
10. Keeping safe
If the occasional mosquito does manage to infiltrate your fortress of nets and sprays, a dose of Coartemor Cotexim is a fast acting (within three days), side effect-free cure. We do recommend that you take a round of malaria precaution pills before going on safari in many places though.
11. Tasty treats
Chocolate coated energy bars are a must-have in most safari-goers’ backpacks. The provide that little energy burst that will keep your eyes and ears sharp while tracking game. And of course, everything is better when its coated in chocolate!
12. Hydration is key
Rehydrate is an electrolyte replacing drink that will help to keep your refreshed and your cells replenished while spending long hours in between the strong rays of sun that filter onto your activities. With flavours ranging from vanilla to berry, this little sachet is quick to dissolve and pleasant to sip, keeping you happy and healthy simultaneously.
Apart from that all you need is yourself, a handful of friends or family (optional) and a sense of adventure. Start packing, and join us for the experience of a lifetime.
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