Prepping for Safari

In addition to your standard clothing, comfortable shoes, socks, pjs, personal grooming supplies, you're going to need some specialized items to go on safari. We are going to Tanzania with Overseas Adventure Travel. This is my fourth trip with this company and I have nothing but raves for how well they treated us. Researching everything previous to leaving has been a challenge, but you might as well benefit from all that work.

Lion from oattravel.com

This website says that you do not need the Yellow fever vaccine when traveling to Tanzania, if you do not leave the airport in Kenya: africatravel.com You should have Hepatitis A, tetanus, and typhus. Start taking your malaria meds two days before going and a week after coming home. Check with your doctor for other recommendations.

You need a Visa to get into Tanzania and have at least 6 months until your current passport expires.

Use travel cubes for separating out your supplies and clothing, especially the small things and especially if you are using a duffel bag as your main luggage. I have saved those clear plastic cases that new sheets come in as a stand-in for the mesh style cubes. You can also use gallon or 2 gallon ziplock bags and squeeze the air out. Or Space Bags, available at Costco.

The pharmacist told me the secret to long airplane flights--Benedryl! It's safe enough to give children without a prescription. Figure out when it will be morning where you are going, count back 8 hours and pop the pill. I took one as we were taxiing down the run way and never knew we took off. Woke up about an hour away from England, refreshed and happy. A blow up pillow and ear plugs help too. Also, for the first few days take Melatonin in the evening of the place you are staying to get in tune with their cycles.
Since white is one of the colors you shouldn't wear, I am using a box of green RIT dye on my old white shirts. You also shouldn't wear black or dark blue, as it attracts teste flies.

Duct tape is invaluable as you travel. Keep a small piece wound around a pencil or an old credit card in your backpack. You can get it in wild colors for marking your duffle and backpack. You can use it to repair broken luggage or shoes, fix holes in mosquito netting, seal up hotel room curtains, cover the drain of the sink for laundry, tape bottles closed so they can't spill, cover blisters, etc.

I've heard that the staff will wash your laundry, except underwear. For the ladies, 3 pairs of panties, plus panty liners should work. Bring a small amount of laundry soap (I like Dr. Bronner's Castile liquid soap) for a do-it-yourself solution. Carry a small roll of TP and ziplock sandwich bags in your day pack; you may need to use the "bush toilet." Some women take a little device called "Go Girl," sort of a female urinal.

Sawyer PREMETHIN insect spray for clothing. I found this at Wal-Mart for $10. You spray your clothes several days before leaving. It will work for up to 6 laundry washings.

Buff--Survivor fans will know these multi-purpose cloth tubes used for dust masks, neck warmers, scarfs, etc.

Bring along photocopies of your passport, 2 extra passport photos, visa, credit cards, air travel itinerary and travel insurance.

Make a little first aid kit in a ziplock or tin--Imodium, antiseptic cream, band-aids, aspirin, personal meds, Q-tips.
Rick Steves' backpack. This is so useful as an airplane carry-on and daypack on the safari. I have never seen such a lightweight, durable pack. For the plane ride, load this with your passport, money, pillow, earplugs, food, reading material, puzzles, camera, medicines and an extra set of clothing. For safari, load it with binoculars, water, first aid kit, insect repellent, sunscreen, camera equipment, etc.

Dry Shampoo, also called No-Rinse Shampoo--this might work for you. Test it out before you leave. The idea is to wet your hair with it and towel it off.

If you are bringing a big camera, make a beanbag style pouch (or use heavy duty ziplocks) to steady the camera of top of the vehicle. You can fill it with rice, beans, lentils. Some people wait and fill it with sand once they get there to save on the weight in their luggage. Also, lots of memory cards, batteries and charger and converter for the charger, etc. Polarizing filters. Lens hood. One of those straps that brace around your back will keep your neck from wearing out. Keep your camera in a dust-proof case and never change lens in the field. Know your camera instructions and practice before leaving. I would suggest looking at high quality photos and website to get photography ideas and tips.

Birding binoculars work well, because they are light weight. Look for 10x40 to get the best distance coverage. Pawn shops are an excellent place to look for quality used ones.

A doctor recommended taking Pepto-Bismol before taking malaria meds to minimize stomach upset. Also it is a good idea to take probiotic pills for a week before and a week after the trip to fend off bad bugs. Taking an aspirin before long flights so you don't get Deep Vein Thrombosis (if you are not already taking blood thinners).
Bring crisp dollar bills for small purchases and tips. Use a debit card at the ATM to get local money. Use Capital One credit card -- they don't charge you for the foreign transaction fee. Call your credit card company to tell them when and where you are going.

Other little things that are small, lightweight and will make you trip more pleasant:
unscented products
old glasses
neck strap for glasses
sports bras
anti-itch stick
antibiotic hand gel
insect repellent
moist wipes
i-pad loaded with guide books, etc
flip-flops for the showers
hat with a wide brim
empty water bottle to fill before getting on the plane
energy bars
lip balm
warm layers for night and morning
alarm clock for sunrise safaris
rain gear??

1 comment:

Karen said...

You have missed your calling - you should be a tour guide - good job.