What To Pack On An African Safari
When gearing up for a safari vacation it’s important to pack the right gear for the trip. No one wants to look like the out of place, nerdy tourist that’s decked out in khaki with a pair of binoculars around their neck but the truth is, if you’re not from Africa then you’re likely to end up looking like a tomato in seconds. Avoid the mockery of your friends by packing a few smart essentials to keep you safe on your journey.
There are many African Safaris that offer hiking as the predominant way to see the sights – what better way to get up close and personal with the landscape than to walk through it? The terrain can be tough though so it would be wise to check with your guide exactly what kind of land and distance you’ll be tackling. If it’s a challenging one, make sure you have the correct shoes, nothing else is as essential when embarking on a hike through the bush! Most hiking boots are incredibly ugly, it’s just a fact, so don’t bother trying to make a fashion statement and instead look for the best shoe for the setting. A good pair of hiking boots, sturdy and cut above the ankle, are preferable as they offer optimum support and protection when walking on rough terrain. Make sure they’re water resistant, flexible and made of breathable material. If they’re brand new then make sure you wear them in before you arrive on your holiday. There’s nothing worse than having aching feet halfway through a hike in the middle of nowhere! Some people may suggest taking a pair of sturdy, open toed hiking sandals but we’d advise against it – if you step on a sharp rock, have a fall or walk through a bush of thorns you’ll be sorry your feet weren’t properly protected.
Back to the nerdy tourist kit… despite the fact that you’ll definitely look like one if you take along a ‘wannabe explorer’ pith helmet, the fact remains that a hat is vital when embarking on an adventure into the bush. The sun is harsh in Africa and on a safari in the right season, it will beat you down. That’s why a nice, wide brimmed hat is essential to cover the ears and back of the neck to avoid sunstroke. Most hats suitable for this purpose are made out of fabric that allows for proper ventilation but make sure it’s got an inner layer that is a good sweat absorber, because if you’re walking you’ll be doing a lot of that. If you can find one, also go for a hat that’s waterproof in case you get caught in a downpour although if you have a waterproof jacket with a hood then your problem is solved. A soft hat is perfect for stuffing in a bag when it’s not being worn.
This is the simple part. They need to be light, practical and comfortable – remember these things and you won’t go wrong. Don’t pack bright colors for your african safaris. Reds and pinks are a big no no as you’ll stick out way too much. Black also isn’t a good idea as it will get way too hot and white will get incredibly filthy. Rather look for neutral colors like browns, greens and creams. Make sure you know the weather of the season before hand and prepare accordingly. A heavy rain jacket or warm coat might be needed for the trip.
It might seem simple and unimportant but not only will a few practical items help you look the part (not so much that you stick out of course), but they’ll also give you greater comfort and protection while trekking. Simple tips, along with some common sense, you’d be surprised at how enjoyable your trip can be when the unforgiving sun starts to beat down during your safari vacation.
Ann Taylor is a consultant for african safaris travel and tours. She is 9 year safari veteran an expert on wildlife and adventure tours for travel agencies. For more information, please don’t hesitate to contact us for further deals and specials.