You always want to be prepared, no matter if you’re going on a nature excursion close to home or have planned an extravagant African safari trip. If this is your first time experiencing wildlife up close and personal, fear not. The following are seven must-have items, from clothing to tech, you should never forget to pack when going on a safari trip.
A proper safari outfit should consist of comfortable, neutral-colored clothing. Avoid white and black and opt for browns, olives, and khakis instead. Think lightweight camouflage pants, moisture-wicking shirts, cotton-blend jackets, and, of course, Panama hats. Condé Nast Traveler also recommends packing plenty of socks and a kikoy; East Africa’s version of the sarong.
You’ll also want to invest in a great pair of walking shoes. Nothing will ruin your safari trip faster than sore feet. The right footwear depends largely on when and where you’re going. For typical walking conditions, Zambezi, a safari and travel company, suggests light trail shoes and hybrid shoe sandals. Heavy-duty hiking in wet conditions warrants more robust and waterproof hiking boots.
Lions, giraffes, and zebras, oh my! The right gadgets will make sure you get a good look at these beautiful animals during your safari trip. The four-time winner of Binoculars.com’s 2014 Binocular of the Year Awards is the Bushnell Legend Ultra HD binoculars. These high-end binoculars boast unsurpassed clarity, accurately defined colors, water-repellent coating, and a lightweight rubberized body.
While we’re on the topic of tech, packing a GoPro is never a bad idea. This adventure-ready camera allows you to be hands-free during your trek while capturing amazing footage. It’s sturdy enough to handle a tumble or two, or even a curious giraffe’s long purple tongue, yet it’s small enough not to weigh you down during the day.
Having the right insect repellent might not seem important, but trust us, you’ll want the best of the best to keep these pests at bay. Choose an effective insect repellent by looking at the amount of DEET it contains, says Safari Guide Africa. The higher the concentration, the longer the product will last. One of the strongest insect repellents on the market is RID Insect Repellent, and it lasts at least six hours. Other options include Picardin (ideal for sensitive skin), Mosi-Guard, and Repel 100.
If traveling to Africa, protecting yourself from malaria and other illnesses during a safari trip is crucial. Talk to your doctor about preventing malaria before you leave the U.S., states the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He or she will prescribe you the appropriate medication based on your specific traveling circumstances. Aside from a basic first-aid kit and malaria medication, you’ll also want to remember to pack painkillers and daily vitamins.
The Panama hat is the quintessential safari headgear. However, there are other forms of sun protection you’ll also need to pack for your upcoming safari expedition. Heavy duty sunscreen, like La Roche-Posay Anthelios Mineral Tinted Ultra-Light Sunscreen Fluid with SPF 50, named one of the best sunscreens of 2013 by Allure, a few tubes of lip balm and a proper pair of sunglasses are all ideal for long days in the sun.