Safari Planning

Whether this is your first safari or you are a returning guest each day on safari offers a unique and memorable experience.

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Safari Clothing

To properly prepare for your safari we offer the following suggestions:

  • A useful piece of clothing is a multi-pocket safari vest (sometimes called a photographer’s vest). The vest has a hidden zipper pocket to carry cash, pockets with Velcro fasteners, pockets within pockets; D rings to attach straps to the vest; mesh pockets, etc.
  • With sunscreen, lip balm bandannas, lenses, sun glasses, etc it’s nice to have all these items within reach as the needs demand.
  • Natural fiber clothing, like breathable cottons or breathable synthetics are most comfortable in Africa.
  • Wear long sleeve shirts and long pants from dusk to dawn when biting insects appear.
  • In the higher altitudes like near Ngorongoro Crater, a sweatshirt or windbreaker is good for chilly early mornings and cool evenings, though the daytime temperatures can be very warm.
  • A bandanna is genuinely useful against the dust game drives. The bandanna covers the nose, mouth, throat, ears and lower half of the face. It effectively functions as a dust mask, but covers a much larger area.
  • One day laundry service is available in most lodges and camps for additional fees.
  • Limit white colored clothing as they may turn streaky brown from the ever-present dust.
  • A useful piece of clothing is a multi-pocket safari vest (sometimes called a photographer’s vest). The vest has a hidden zipper pocket to carry cash, pockets with Velcro fasteners, pockets within pockets; D rings to attach straps to the vest; mesh pockets, etc.
  • With sunscreen, lip balm bandannas, lenses, sun glasses, etc it’s nice to have all these items within reach as the needs demand.
  • Natural fiber clothing, like breathable cottons or breathable synthetics are most comfortable in Africa.
  • Wear long sleeve shirts and long pants from dusk to dawn when biting insects appear.
  • In the higher altitudes like near Ngorongoro Crater, a sweatshirt or windbreaker is good for chilly early mornings and cool evenings, though the daytime temperatures can be very warm.
  • A bandanna is genuinely useful against the dust game drives. The bandanna covers the nose, mouth, throat, ears and lower half of the face. It effectively functions as a dust mask, but covers a much larger area.
  • One day laundry service is available in most lodges and camps for additional fees.
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Additional Pack Items

  • Camera memory cards – The novice explorer took 10 Gigs of videos and photographs.
  • Batteries – Camera and other electronic products.
  • Large ziplock bags to keep electronics free of moisture and dust, and other uses.
  • Electricity adapters – PUT WHAT ELECTICITY IS USED
  • Flashlight – small, to illuminate the pathway back and forth to the dining hall, and to provide room light in the middle of the night.
  • Anti-bacterial Wipes and Hand Sanitizer – clean, running water may not always be available.
  • Maximum strength insect repellent with Deet. Some prefer a sun screen insect repellent combination.
  • Prescription anti-malaria medication – Carry this and other prescribed medications with you while in transit.
  • Over the counter aspirin, pain relievers, multi-vitamins, aloe vera gel for sunburn, anti-itch bug bite lotion, toiletries, personal first aid kit.
  • Hard candies/Throat lozenges – Lubricate the throat from dust caused dryness.

Photography

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A good zoom lens on a video camera, digital camera or a strong pair of binoculars can make all the difference. The sights you will see are incredible and you may never get another chance. The wildlife are often a few feet from the safari.

While the 4WD is on the move, there is a lot of bouncing motion because of the poor road conditions. Your driver/guide will normally stop often and should be open to stop anytime you wish to momentarily take photographs or videos.

Bring a large memory card or several smaller ones and extra batteries. Some newer safari vehicles have electronic changing outlets.

Luggage

Soft sided duffel bags are preferred on internal flights in Africa as there is limited luggage space below the plane. The airplanes are 8-12 seat single engine planes. Most airlines have weight limits of 15 kilos or 33 pounds, and one carry-on weighing 3 kilos or 7 pounds. The baggage is weighed. Heavier bags are placed in the rear of the plane for even weight distribution.

Don’t forget to bring a journal and pen, camera and camcorder to document your experiences.

Visas and vaccines

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You’ll need a valid passport (expiring no less than six months from your return date) to travel to Africa. Tanzania also requires a travel visa which is USD $50 for non US passports and USD $100 for US passports. You may purchase your visa upon arrival in Tanzania.

While no inoculations are required to enter Tanzania currently, Malaria is common in Africa and preventable with anti-malaria medications, mosquito-repellent spray and mosquito nets. Yellow Fever, tetanus, Hepatitis A, B, Typhoid are recommended but not required.

Staying Healthy

Safaris can be physically strenuous and mentally taxing. Travelers to Africa are at risk for dehydration while on safari; your body may not be accustomed to the hot sun and dry air of the bush and you may not even realize that you’re becoming dehydrated. Drink plenty of water. Insurance Since you will be in a remote location and will probably be spending a significant amount of money on a safari, travel insurance is virtually a necessity on an African safari. Many safari tour operators actually require customers to purchase travel insurance in order to reserve a package. Be sure to look for emergency care coverage and financial protection when booking your policy. For more information, read our guide to travel insurance.

Travel Insurance

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Travel insurance is highly recommended by the safari tour companies. The insurance should cover medical, trip cancellation, luggage, and emergency evacuation to the nearest urban hospital. Each major park has an air strip with daily flight in the unlikey even air evacuation should be required. Check whether your current health care plan covers medical reimbursements for overseas medical care. Travel insurance from a reputable provider makes good sense and should definitely be purchased. Thousands of dollars are spent on the safari. If a medical emergency arises, one would want to pay for the best medical care available. Travel Guard is a popular policy that works well for safari travel insurance.

On the road between the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater there is a fast stretch of what’s called non-sealed road (Dirt track to you and me) the fine dust that is flicked up and into the Safari trucks – even with every window closed—can still find its way in. A disposable dust/paint mask can be a life saver.

Health Information

Risk of malaria exists in most African countries. Certain anti-malaria medication is not effective in some of the African nations. Prescribed anti-malaria medication is taken 2 weeks before leaving home, while on safari in Africa, and continues 2 weeks after returning home. Mefloquine hydrochloride tablets are prescribed – one anti-malaria pill weekly for 6 weeks. Consult an overseas travel medicine physician, or personal physician, or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta for the most

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Avoid dehydration by drinking lots of bottled water. The dry and often dusty roads can dry out the eyes, throat, and mouth. Arrange with the safari operator for bottled water in the 4WD safari vehicle. Currency US dollar bills are widely accepted in Tanzania and Kenya, even by local roadside vendors. All souvenirs and trinkets are priced in US dollars, not local currency. Take 100 crisp, one dollar large-faced USA bills, printed after the year 2003. Change US dollar bills into Tanzania shillings and Kenya shillings at the local Bureau de Change office, not the bank. The exchange rate is competitive with world market rates and no currency exchange fee is charged. DO NOT exchange more US money into local currency than absolutely necessary. It is almost impossible to exchange unused shillings back into US dollars. Major credit cards are accepted in most businesses. Sometimes a credit card usage fee is also assessed, equal to 3 – 5% of the purchase price. The novice explorer did not see an ATM machine while in Africa.

Try to keep as many small notes for this as possible. Some of the lodges will let you change a $5 or $10 bill for this purpose – but are wise to it and will often say that they do not have enough.

Don’t buy the local shilling at Kilimanjaro airport, take enough US dollars to get you through a few days and change it at one of the Safari lodges instead – the rates are much better.