We all need our stuff with us! But you don’t need as much stuff as you think, and you certainly don’t need to go out and buy a whole new wardrobe. You probably already have what you need at home.
Because we transfer on relatively small planes between lodges, we are often weight-restricted to 20 kg/44lbs. This is no problem: you don’t need much, and there is a daily laundry service everywhere we go.
Luggage and personal weight (scheduled light aircraft transfers)
The charter companies have to comply with very stringent controls and legislation regarding weight on their aircraft – taking not only the weight of the passenger into account but luggage and fuel requirements as well. If a passenger weighs more than 100kg (220lbs), an additional seat may sometimes be charged for on the light aircraft transfers. Over and above passenger weight, there are strict luggage type, size and weight restrictions for all light aircraft transfers – 20 kg (44 lb) per person in a soft bag, including camera equipment and hand luggage, as well as within the relevant dimensions. Guests need to be familiar with these requirements as they will be requested to re-pack/purchase a new bag/leave bags at the airport should the dimensions not comply.
Rolling Duffel Bag – recommended type
If you bring a rolling duffel bag, please make sure it’s soft-sided and has only small wheels on one end. Many have solid frames on the “bottom”, which makes it very difficult to fit into the small baggage compartments on the aircraft.
Here is a list of things you will find handy.
This is a generic packing list: you will not need all of this. It depends on which safari and season you have chosen. Remember that there is complimentary daily laundry in every lodge we stay at.
As a general guide:
• comfortable, casual wash-and-wear clothes are recommended. Formal clothes are never neccesary
• Muted colours (khaki, brown, beige, green) are recommended for game-viewing. Bright colours and white are not advisable whilst on safari: it stands out too much in the bush, and quickly shows the dirt!
• Game-drives are conducted in the early morning and late afternoon, which can be very cold, especially in winter, and yes, even in Africa
• Camouflage or military-inspired clothing is not recommended for travel in African countries
• Dress in layers
The most practical items to pack for safari:
1. Sun hat/bush hat.
2. Headscarf/bandana/Buff – particularly for dusty dry regions.
3. Golf-shirts and/or T-shirts – preferably with a sleeve to protect your shoulders from the sun.
4. Long-sleeved cotton shirts (even in summer, as protection from the sun, mosquitoes and bugs)
5. Shorts and/or skirts
6. Long trousers/slacks. Jeans or safari trousers for evenings and cooler days
7. Track suit/jacket/fleece/sweater for early morning and evening game drives
8. Pyjamas – lightweight for summer and warm/possibly thermal for winter.
9. Lightweight water-proof jacket
10. Light gloves/scarf/beanie for winter drives
11. Swim and beachwear
12. Comfortable walking shoes. Boots are seldom required except on walkimg safaris
13. Socks – thermal options are recommended for the winter months.
13. Sun block, sunglasses, hat, moisturizer and lip-salve are all essentials
14. Insect repellent
1. Good quality sunglasses, UV protected, preferably polarized
2. If you wear contact lenses, we recommend that you bring along a pair of glasses in case you get irritation from dust.
3. Light torch/flashlight (and batteries). Petzl headlamps are very practical
4. Personal toiletries (basic amenities supplied by most establishments)
6. Malaria tablets (if applicable)/other personal medications
7. Antihistamine tablets if you suffer from any allergies.
8. Anti-nausea tablets if you suffer from motion sickness.
9. Moisturizing cream and suntan lotion – SPF 30 or higher recommended.
10. Basic personal medical kit (aspirins, plasters, Imodium, antiseptic cream and antihistamine cream etc.)
12. Tissues/Wet Wipes/ hand sanitiser
13. Visas, tickets, passports, money, credit cards, insurance details etc.
14. Camera equipment including spare batteries, chargers, film, flash cards, memory sticks etc.
15. Waterproof/dustproof bag or cover for your camera.
Your guide will have all the wildlife reference books you need. There are many to choose from. Don’t weigh yourself down with these. What butterfly is that? Don’t worry, he’s got the book! Dragon flies? Ditto. But you could download them on a tablet if you choose: that’s what I do these days. I love technology!
Do the same for the holiday reading you want to catch up on. By all means pack a paperback if you prefer, and consider leaving it at the lodge afterwards: it will be highly valued by both staff and future travellers.
If you are very keen, bring the best you can afford: they make a huge difference and you will use them all the time. But there are many very affordable ones on the market. The best all-round size is 8 x 40/42 or 10 x 40. Choose light ones that do not hang heavy around your neck.
One pair per person is best, otherwise you will have to share at sightings, which is frustrating.
Even a simple “point-and-shoot” can take amazingly good shots, and coupled with a tablet you can look at your pictures immediately. As with binoculars, bring the best you can but try to get every member of the group to bring a camera: they’ll be sorry, otherwise. Your guide will advise on lighting, positioning and technique. A lot of the wildlife viewing is very close-up, so you will be surprised at the quality of pictures you can get.
If you are bringing a more professional camera and lens, you will need at least a wide-angle plus a minimum 300mm lens to get what you want.
Remember to protect your equipment: it is very dusty in Africa.