The Bush Telegraph: What to pack on safari – HER
Decisions, decisions, decisions: how on earth does a girl pack for a safari? In the first of our ‘Her & Him’ two-parter, Sarah Madden offers some hard-won tips.
How does a woman pack for a safari in Africa? My strained reply is always the same: ‘with great difficulty.’
By Sarah Madden.
How does a woman pack for a safari in Africa? Especially when it’s going to be a year long. I am asked this question time and again by considerate fellow female travellers. My strained reply is always the same: “with great difficulty.”
There is only one thing I hate about travelling and that is packing. Why is it that men are able to just throw a few shorts, T shirts and underpants into a grab bag and emerge a few minutes later with a smug “well that’s that sorted” look on their face?
It’s a very different juggling act for most women. Especially when you pack with a “What if?” and “Just in case” scenario at the back of your mind. After you’ve dragged out all the possible options from every corner of your wardrobe, weight is always the elephant in the room that can’t be ignored any longer.
A far better option is to start by researching the best luggage, clothing, health and technical gear that will cover all eventualities. Then be rigorous about taking only essentials. And before you go any further, treat yourself to some hand-held digital weighing scales. They will save you so much grief at the airport.
Medical/ cosmetic/ health
Having lived and worked in the bush in my 20s, I know the importance of travelling with a good basic medical kit. Although most camps have the essentials, nothing ruins a safari quicker than an upset stomach or illness. I prefer to be totally prepared and have a well-stocked small pharmacy of first-aid items. Included are sterilised needles and waterproof plasters which came in very useful for the treatment of a nasty blister beetle sting a few weeks back. You also should include make-up, sunscreens, and face creams that protect from the sun.
Travel and sickness often go hand-in-hand for a number of reasons. Firstly, you’re often tired (repeated 4am wake-ups can take their toll) and your immune system is depleted from travelling. You’re also exposed to new bacteria that may be harmless to the locals but for us quickly leads to an upset stomach, diarrhoea, nausea, cramps or bloating.
My recommedations include: capsules from BioCare that provide both probiotics, and plant oils in a daily supplement, helping to manage the digestive system.
Nature’s Plus Krill Oil (revital.co.uk) daily for the omegas we need for essential protein building in the body.
Drinking two to three litres a day is advisable to avoid the sometimes dangerous effects of dehydration. A concentrated liquid of elete, www.eleteholistichydrate.com an electrolyte concentrate which is great to add to drinking water as an extra boost in excessive heat. Incidentally, to avoid dehydration from all the heat it’s a good idea to keep a good electrolyte balance in the water from all the salts excreted through sweat.
Talking of which, a water bottle is essential and avoids thousands of unnecessary plastic water bottles being transported into the bush every year. Wilderness Safaris give all their guests a water bottle at the beginning of their safaris for just this reason.
Anti-malarials and vaccinations: Always follow the advice of your doctor. Also catch upon different countries’ requirements for Yellow Fever vaccinations before you leave. Check the individual country advice on the Foreign Office website. MASTA (masta-travel-health.com) also has advice on malaria zones, and vaccinations.
The African sun can be brutal. I recommend the SkinCeutical skin care range, as well as a Phyto Corrective Gel to soothe and calm sun-irritated skin, and Green People sun creams. They make a non-fragrant one which is good in the bush and doesn’t attract insects.
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