Going on safari in the Serengeti ranks as one of the most amazing travel experiences for anyone, but going on safari isn’t all fun and games. The dust from the roads, the discomfort of sitting for long periods on bumpy roads, and the heat can affect an otherwise fantastic experience. To help overcome these discomforts, these five items are essential packing items for your time on safari.
This is an absolutely essential item to pack for a safari. Depending on which national park you visit and the abundance of wildlife there, on most African safaris the wildlife are surprisingly close. You will however, want binoculars to spot the shyer, more elusive animals, like camouflaged leopards and the rare black rhino. The best binoculars are sturdy enough to endure being rattled around in jeeps and relatively light to make packing easier.
2. Spare camera batteries
Unless you are staying at a luxury lodge, accommodations on most budget and mid-range safaris are at non-powered camp sites. This means you’ll have to make do with going off the grid for a few days at least. A spare set of camera batteries, all fully charged, will come in handy on safari. Africa’s landscapes are gorgeous, and you’ll be snapping lots of shots and running down your batteries quickly.
Driving around with the windows down, the wind in your hair, sun on your face and a herd of elephants standing in a grove of trees just ahead of you sounds like the perfect safari outing. Add in clouds of dust kicked up by other jeeps and waves of heat carried on the wind, all stinging your eyes, and you’ll see why sunglasses are a necessity for any safari. Pack a good pair with UV protection, which will cut the glare and shield your eyes from the heat and dust.
4. Camera bean bag
If you’re relatively serious about wildlife photography on safari, you’re going to want a camera bean bag. In a pop up roof safari jeep there is no space for a tripod. A camera bean bag is lighter, takes up less space and is far more versatile. Keep the tripods at home and bring a bean bag instead. You can buy one off any number of good photography shops. Best of all, it doubles up as a travel pillow at camp.
It gets dark out in the wild. Whether you’re camping or staying in a lodge, you’ll need a torch, or even better, a head torch to keep your hands free. It’ll also be useful for when you’ve dropped something in the jeep during a night drive, or simply to light your way when you’re walking to the camp toilets at night — just be wary of all those eyes shining back at you in the bush!
Other basic things to pack include comfortable, neutral-coloured clothing, good shoes and sunblock. Above and beyond these standard items, the five things listed above will go a long way to making your safari experience an enjoyable one, whether you are staying in a luxury lodge or camping out.