For as long as I can remember, going on a Safari in Africa has been at the top of my bucket list.
Having recently come back from 3 weeks in Africa, I thought it would be a good time for me to list the top 11 things you need to know before going on a safari in Africa. My Safari In Africa journey started in South Africa, moved on to Kenya, through to Uganda, then to Tanzania and finished back in South Africa on the way home. I have based these pointers on those locations, mainly focusing on Kenya & Tanzania as that is where I did the more “traditional” Safari adventures.
1. Internal flights are $$$ and Skyscanner doesn’t always have every flight (look at the alternative airlines like Auric Airlines etc)
Alternative Airlines is a site I stumbled across which helped me get from one small airstrip to another.
2. Flight luggage limits: many small carrier bush safari airlines have luggage restrictions. We had a 15kg limit per person to get to the jungle in Uganda + a soft luggage restriction to the Mara Region in Kenya (so pack reasonably light or be prepared for additional luggage costs.
3. Outfits: It is cold but then it gets really hot. I travelled with a great cover-up shawl – which was perfect to keep me warm then light enough to carry around. Neutral colours are best! In Tsetse fly areas (like Tanzania & Zambia) you want to stick to light neutral colours, as darker colours attract the tsetse flies.
Bring a few pairs of long pants and some lightweight maxi skirts for walking around the villages. Avoid wearing camo, camo is regarded as military in many African countries – so best leave those camo pants at home, especially if you want to make it through the airport without drawing attention to yourself.
4. Be water smart (don’t drink from tap) – I carried with me a filtered water bottle – for when I was hanging around at the airport etc. I took my OKO water bottle, which I love!
5: Ladies bring a good supportive bra! – The roads are extremely bumpy, so the more support the better.
6. Don’t go to lion parks – for many reasons that I won’t go into too much detail here. Opt for conservation parks/establishments or simply save the animal encounters for the conservation-focused Safari adventure you have planned.
7. Vaccinations are $$ but essential – in total for 2 of us, we spent $1,500AUD. The cost and controversial health concerns with vaccines outweighs the risk of coming down with Malaria, Typhoid etc. To help keep your immune system up, look into a Vit C drip or liposomal vit c the day before, of and after injections. I remember saying to myself as we were travelling in Uganda deep into the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, thank god for the vaccines, it was bug central!
8. Bring a good Safari Hat + nice hair scarves, being in an open air 4WD you will have pretty wind swept hair and will want to protect your face from the sun, so a good hat is a must.
9. Pack extra Underwear – I made the mistake of packing 10 pairs (expecting that I would be able to get things done at the hotel laundry, however, 5 out of the 6 hotels we stayed at could wash everything except female undergarments – as they used the local men to wash the clothes and it is not part of their customs to wash female underwear.
10. VISA & Money: Look into a multi trip African visa – and carry around a few hundred of US bills in smaller notes– as buying trinkets from the locals, tipping etc is common practice when visiting hotels and local villages.
11. Support the locals: last but not least, one of the most important things you should remember is to support the local communities wherever you can. We made it a priority to visit local schools (in Tanzania) and communities such as the Massai tribe. We spent the best part of the day with the Masai community in Kenya, and it was honestly one of the highlights. No matter how little you can afford, please always try and buy their crafts, do day trips and tours and help give back to the locals.