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What to Take on Safari

Updated on December 10, 2011

Packing list for people going on safari

So, you took a hard decision and bought a safari tour in Africa, probably Kenya. When first ecstasy had gone, you probably found yourself having no idea what to take with you. It is exactly what happened with me. Only 5 days (Thanks God it's not 5 hours as I usually start packing my bag) before flight I realized I had no idea what I had to take with me. Should I dress like soldier with all unfeminine but comfortable bulky pants with heavy high-shoes, long sleeves and disgusting safari hat? Or all fears are groundless and safari is ordinary tourist entertainment and I could take my cocktail dress? Here is list of indispensable things you better take with you. I should mention that I'm talking about safari when people only watch animals, but never shoot it.

One, two.. GO!

Pelicans, Lake Nakuru National Reserve, Kenya
Pelicans, Lake Nakuru National Reserve, Kenya | Source

Safari packing list: what to take on safari

1. Binoculars. You have already spent tons of money for this trip, then how would you feel if you couldn't properly discern leopard laying in the branches?

2. Yellow fever inoculation. Not exactly about packing list, but too important to skip it. Make sure you have inoculation against yellow fever, otherwise you will probably have problems entering other countries after you've been in Africa; not to mention you could spend your desired holiday in hospital.

3. Anti malaria drugs. Other must have is anti malaria drugs. Usually you should take it every day while you're in Africa starting the day before you enter it, but check the recommendations on the pack. Good anti malaria medicines are Malaron, Lariam. Malaria is insidious disease because it could progress after 6 or even 12 months after you came back from Africa. I has flu symptoms, so it's easy to mix it with other diseases. And you could easily die from malaria if you don't receive appropriate treatment. Another problem is that some European and American doctors don't know well how to treat it because it's quite rear in both Europe and America.

Rhinos, Nakura National Reserve, Kenya
Rhinos, Nakura National Reserve, Kenya | Source

4. Medicines against: diarrhea, headache, flu, fever, allergy, drugs for pain relief, antibiotics, antiseptic napkins

5. Good repellent with high DEET concentrations. This is to prevent malaria mosquitos bites.

6. Hat, sunburn lotion, sunglasses. Remember, you'll spend many hours on the sun during the game. Even if you don't go out if car, sun comes to you..

7. Close toe shoes in case of rain and cold (it is very cold in some places and at night, for example, in Mt. Kenya region or Baringo lake). They are really not necessary for game drives, because you'll be in the car all the time, so can wear your favorite cozy flip-flops.

8. 3-4 pants at least. Some wear shorts, but I don't recommend it because of insects. However, I wore only pants, I came back all in bites. You'll need more or less changes depending on season (dry season or rain season) and safari duration. In dry season there is reddish dust everywhere on you, but in rain season your boots get dirty with mud. Also keep in mind, that if you plan to visit Hell's gate (Kenya), you'll be all dirty after it, but it is worth the effort!

9. Many t-shirts and 1-2 with long sleeves in case of cold or sunburns.

10. Camera with good zoom, you'll need at least 10x optical (not digital!) zoom. Although many animals will be really close, you'll desire to make a close-up snap of beautiful cheetah eyes..

Cheetah, Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Cheetah, Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya | Source

Where are you going for safari?

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What to take on safari: summary

In general conditions will be quite comfortable, so no point to dress like soldier. Bring your favorite t-shirts, your favorite flip-flops or other summer shoes. Take some medicine, closed shoes and long sleeves for any case. Borrow binoculars and good camera to imprint how antelope gnu looks like or how baby elephant sucks from mother's breasts. And remember “When you travel, remember that a foreign country is not designed to make you comfortable. It is designed to make its own people comfortable.” – Clifton Fadiman.

Baby elephant is sucking from mother's breasts, Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Baby elephant is sucking from mother's breasts, Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya | Source

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