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My top tips: alternative items to pack for safari

Itinerary photo - safari
Itinerary photo - safari

Congratulations on booking your first safari! It’s going to be great, I promise. Everything is all booked and you have every right to be extremely excited. The departure day gets closer, and the packing starts, but you soon come to realisation that you are absolutely clueless.

So you do some online research and come across the same list of things… long sleeve tops, “zip on zip off” trousers, bug spray, walking shoes, a state of the art torch, a state of the art pair of binoculars… it goes on. So you buy it all, (even the zip on zip off trousers) and end up spending a fortune. Whilst the majority of items are generally essential, there are a whole list of other things that you should have, that you would have never thought of whilst packing for a first time safari. Having spent a good couple of months in Africa, I have accumulated a list of top “alternative” items to bring on safari, that I will happily share with you.

Wet wipes

A day on safari is not the cleanest. If you wear a white top on safari, at the end of the day, the same amount that has accumulated on your now-brown coloured top, is the same amount that is stuck to your face. A single wet wipe at the end of the day will instantly lift a few layers of dirt, finishing your day on a high.

A dust brush

On the subject of dust, it can easily get in the smallest and most annoying of places, like your camera lens. In a similar shape and style of a lipstick, a dust brush expands up, a perfect gadget for cleaning the nooks and crannies of a camera. You can pick one of these up online for under a fiver and I highly recommend it if you are into your photography.

Prescription glasses instead of contact lenses

Sorry… dust again… but it can, and will, get in your eyes. I don’t wear either contacts or glasses but I was told by everyone I met in the bush, that contact lenses are really uncomfortable with dust in so make sure you have glasses or sunglasses as a back up.

A pack of cards

Nothing goes more perfectly hand in hand than a campfire, a large G&T and a game of cards. A pack of cards, in my eyes, is the most essential item for a safari trip. You can meet a lot more people if you invite them for a game of cards in the evening or around the campfire, and for time to kill waiting for flights or transfers, this is your answer!

Lip suncream

As well as packing enough suncream for your body, suncream for your lips in particular, is really important. The combination of the heat, sun and dust, your lips may often feel dry and cracked on safari. Make sure to apply a strong suncream to your lips in the morning and reapply throughout the day which you can get in a lipstick format or as a small tube of cream.

A gorillapod flexible tripod

Another great gadget for the the photographer on safari is a flexible tripod. They are essentially lightweight, flexible-legged tripods that easily attaches your camera to a range of objects and surfaces, including the poles on roofs and sides of safari land cruisers, so you can always get the perfect angle wherever you are. I’ve been recommended a “gorillapod” one but there are loads out there to take a look at.

A journal

The beauty of an African safari is that no two game drives are ever the same. Whether it’s your first time, or 100th time out in the bush, you are bound to have new experiences each day, and with so much excitement combined on one trip, it’s easy to forget the smallest of details. So grab a journal and try to jot down some of your favoutrite moments and highlights whilst in the bush. It’ll be worth it… I promise.

A sports bra

Ladies… tarmacked, smooth roads are nonexistent on safari. That’s all I’m saying.

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