Going on safari is a dream for many people. We are used to watching wildlife in all its glory on the Discovery Channel, but seeing a lion or leopard in the wild is a humbling experience. There was a time when ordinary people had no chance of ever seeing majestic creatures such as elephants and hippos anywhere other than within the confines of a zoo. These days, safaris are much more affordable, even if you are a cash-strapped student looking at online doctoral nursing programs, or you are partway through an MSN to DNP online and you need a break.
Packing for a safari is not like packing for a beach vacation, so here is our guide to what clothes you need and what other accessories you should take.
You are probably wondering why you might need warm clothes, but what you need to remember is that the best time to see animals is early morning or dusk. Most animals sleep during the day, as that is the hottest time. Game drives take place just as the sun starts to rise, and at the very end of the day. It can get very chilly overnight in the South African bush, so pack a warm jacket and a fleece to keep you warm, or you will be shivering too much to take decent photos.
Mosquitoes are rampant at dusk, so be sure to cover up once the sun starts to go down. Long trousers and long-sleeve shirts are important. Zip-off trousers are useful, as these can be converted into shorts during the day, and transformed back into trousers at night. Wear a hat to protect yourself from the sun, or at least wear a shirt that covers the back of your neck. The sun is very strong in Africa, so you will be burned if you do not cover up.
Wear Neutral Colors
Neutral colors are best for safari, as these don’t stand out and alarm the animals. Stick to beige, grey and khaki colors. You can save your brightly colored clothing for evenings, when you go out for dinner.
You definitely need a sharp pair of binoculars to see the wildlife. Don’t expect the animals to come close to the vehicle; many are shy and prefer to stay out of sight. This won’t matter if you have a powerful pair of binoculars, so buy the most expensive pair you can afford.
Digital cameras are a godsend, as you won’t need to change a roll of film at a crucial moment. Take a good camera, one with a zoom lens. Automatic cameras are the best choice for inexperienced people, as you are less likely to end up with photos that are out of focus or too dark.
Don’t forget to pack a good flashlight for your safari. It is pitch black in the middle of the bush, which might come as a surprise to anyone who is used to living in an urban area.