Africa, for all her beauty, is not for the feint-hearted. When you embark on a safari, no matter how luxurious, you are stepping into an untouched wilderness where vast ecosystems exist in a perfect harmony.
Nights are so dark that the milky way can be seen with the naked eye. Silence is so pure that one can hear the tiny wings of a butterfly, or the crickets rubbing their legs together to attract a mate.
Although your luxury lodge provides all the amenities to make your stay completely comfortable, we’ve put together a pack list to help you get the most out of the experiences that make a safari so special, and so completely different from life in the city.
Sunscreen and a hat
The sun is much, much stronger in the southern hemisphere than the north, and a day without sunscreen is likely to leave you red. Choose a high protection cream and wear a hat. Wide rimmed hats are fashionable in the bush and protect your neck in an open-air vehicle.
A strong torch
Torches serve 3 purposes on a safari. They light the walk ways to ensure you don’s step on anything alive. A strong torch makes an excellent photography tool (read the article about light painting for more information on this). A very strong torch can be shone into the bush in the evenings to catch a glimpse of the nocturnal birds, bush babies, hyenas and assorted wildlife that will visit the waterholes and rivers close to your lodge throughout the night.
Unlike in a zoo, safari animals can cover huge amounts of ground in a single day. Your safari guide and spotter have trained eyes to pick out rare birds, chameleons, unusual trees and of course, wildlife. Whilst they will always aim to get you as close as possible to the sighting, sometimes a pair of binoculars is necessary, especially for those who enjoy the birds.
Any camera will do, however, if you have access to an SLR it will be well worth the extra effort.
A small day bag
Game drives follow the wildlife. In a luxury lodge where your drives are done on a private or semi-private basis the length of your game drives will be somewhat flexible and can last 3 to 4 hours. It is a good idea to carry a soft, small day bag with an extra layer of clothing, and lots of water!
Grass and water are surprisingly reflective.
Light cotton long wear
Evening time is when the little creatures come out of the woodwork, and mosquitos tend to be more active during the evenings when they are attracted to the warm lights of your lodge. Wearing longs in the evenings will protect your wrists and ankles from bites.
Although your lodge may provide you with repellent, Tabard or Peaceful Sleep will ensure you are bite free and get a good night’s rest. These can be purchased as a spray or roll on for those with sensitive noses.
Even if you are not planning on doing any bush walks during your stay, it is advisable to wear sturdy shoes to protect your feet from insects, sharp grasses, thorns and dust, especially in the evening when it can be harder to see where you are walking.
A soft, warm hoodie
Although the days are hot, at night when the sun is gone the evenings can be cold as there is no pollution to trap the heat. Choosing soft fabrics that are warm, cosy and quiet will keep you relaxed and comfortable.