Exceptional wildlife, breath-taking sunsets, unique experiences. Safaris are without a doubt some of the most idyllic and romantic holidays, suitable for every generation.
It does however require some thought-through packing to be well prepared for the adventure in the bush. Ladies in particular could be facing a set of unknown challenges while getting ready for and whilst in the wilderness. Not sure what to expect? We’ve got you covered.
- The bag: While most international airlines have a baggage allowance of 20kg+, local ones will usually only allow a maximum of 15kg per person, packed in a soft-shell bag. Needless to say, this weight limit is reached quickly, so what should you pack and what should be left at home?
- Clothes: Neutral-coloured shirts, shorts and trousers are the go-to clothes in the bush, especially the light-weight ones, which barely take up any space in the bag. One or two of each should be enough, as most camps offer laundry service. Leave any lace and white lingerie at home and focus on bringing comfortable and supporting underwear. For cultural reasons, the staff will not be washing them but usually there will be washing powder available in the room for you to use. Being in the bush doesn’t mean you are not allowed to be a girl however; don’t be afraid to bring a dress or skirt for the lazy afternoons in camp or evenings around the campfire.
Don’t forget a fleece for the cool mornings and a hat and sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun. Depending on the season you’re travelling in, you might want to bring along additional warm clothes such as a jacket, beanie, scarf, warm socks and gloves as the winters can get freezing cold, even in Africa!
- Shoes: Closed and comfortable walking shoes are a must but don’t forget some sandals or flip-flops to walk around the camp during the day.
- Beauty products: Going to the bush is a good opportunity to leave any make-up, hair dryer and nail polish on the bathroom shelf at home and make room for your natural beauty. Skincare is still important as you will be exposed to the sun and dust on a daily basis, so pack those moisturizing creams and of course the obligatory high-factor sunscreen. Most camps will provide shower gel, body lotion, shampoo and conditioner but some Agave Oil to keep that hair strong and smooth should definitely find a space in your suitcase. For those of you with long hair, I can not emphasize enough how important hair ties are. You will lose a few along the way so pack enough as trust me, you do not want to find yourself with untied hair in the African heat!
- The indispensable: Whether you are a birder or not, binoculars are a must-bring on every safari. To see the elephants’ long eyelashes and lions’ massive paws up close, is something you don’t want to miss. The same goes for the camera: No need to be an expert photographer to capture the amazing moments you will have. Another way to bring memories back home is by writing down the sightings and highlights you’ve had in a notebook, as it will help you re-live your journey when back home. And lastly, to avoid stepping on any creepy crawlers at night, it’s advisable to take a good torch with you – the one on your phone will not be strong enough.
- The wee: While out on activity, you might have to make use of a bush toilet – which in reality is just a safe spot behind the bush to spend a penny. Some consider it an unsettling experience; others love the idea of the bush toilet. The truth is, there are worst things than taking a wee surrounded by elephants (from a safe distance of course) and impalas.
Once the guide has located an ideal location, he will check behind the bush before confirming that it is safe for you to be left to your business. Make use of the toilet paper and brown paper bags which are available in the vehicle and ensure nothing non-organic is left behind once you leave.
- The taboo: Just because it is still being considered a tabu topic by some, doesn’t make it any less real. If you happen to go on safari during that time of the month, rest assured that it won’t make your trip any less enjoyable. Sanitary products do not take a lot of space in the luggage, but be sure to bring enough as you might not be able to purchase more during your trip. Important is to not throw away any of those items into the toilet but dispose of them in the brown paper bags and in the available bins. Reusable products are also a safe option and can be cleaned while in camp.
Experiencing the African bush and its wildlife is a privilege and being well-prepared for such a journey will allow you to have the time of your life. Ladies, enjoy!
(blog written by Diane Bedat)