Packing for a Safari can be a challenge. When in the midst of a jungle, one needn’t fuss about looking pretty, or carrying cute outfits, because your #instatravels lens is going to be flipped onto nature. Weight restrictions on the small flights are minimal, plus you don’t want to be lugging around more than you need; and your camera equipment is what you need most. Since the weather is usually unpredictable, one must always be prepared. Bharati Wadhwani, who specialises in Safari trips through her aptly named travel company, Safar Traveller, gives us her expert tips on how to prepare and pack for a Safari.
Even at the most luxurious camps, the dress-code is casual, sporty travel wear. The trick is to carry less, compact your things and mix, match, repeat. In the evenings, dress it up with the colourful tribal accessories you buy from the camp shop. Wear layers and carry quick-drying, lightweight fabrics, in natural colours like khaki, green, brown, beige (avoid black, white and bright colours).
- A few long sleeved shirts, polos and t-shirts.
- 2-3 Long pants or jeans. As tempting as it to wear shorts and sleeveless, we suggest you to stay covered to avoid sunburn or getting bitten by mosquitoes, tsetse flies, ticks and safari ants.
- A light sweater or fleece. Hoodies and jumpers work too.
- 2 Light tracksuits/leggings/pajama pants for the evenings.
- 1 lightweight jacket for mornings and evenings. Ultra lightweight down jackets are great because they are compact, warm and water-proof in case you get the odd rain shower.
- Comfortable walking or safari shoes. If you don’t have them, then lightweight sneakers are fine too. It’s always smart to carry a spare pair in case one gets wet.
- Slip on shoes or slippers to wear around camp.
- 1 swimsuit/trunks, 1 kaftan or sarong/lungi for lounging in the camp or by the pool.
- A casual evening outfit which can be used for dinner or for a special occasion. Try and pack a neutral one which can be repeated.
Carry miniature sizes of all your cosmetics and toiletries.
- Insect repellent. Most camps have them but you might want to bring your own.
- If you have long hair, a scarf is always handy to keep the hair out of your face and dust out of your hair on game drives. Also helps when you’re trying to take photographs.
- A hat, sunglasses, chapstick and sunscreen is a must. The wind can be strong and the sun, especially in equatorial latitudes, can get harsh.
- Mini torch. Most camps/lodges have them in the rooms but it’s smart to take one in case. It’s very important for going to the bathroom and walking around camp at night.
- Small water spray to keep your skin hydrated.
- An old pashmina or shawl to cuddle with in the tent.
- Ipod and/or book. The afternoons are at leisure between game drives.
- Battery pack for phone. Many camps run on generators and only turn on the electricity in the mornings and evenings.
- Your camera/binoculars is a must!
Items to leave behind
All of these are heavy and unnecessary. Ditch them in the city!
- High heels. You won’t use them.
- Heavy weight clothes or bulky shoes.
- Any real jewellery or expensive watches. It’s really not worth the risk and not every camp has a safe in the tent.
- Anything white or any designer clothing which might get ruined in camp laundry (it isn’t the best, and dry cleaning is not an option in remote places!)
- Makeup. You might carry it but you won’t use it. After a few days your skin will be glowing naturally. All you really need is lip/cheek tint and kajal.
- Toiletries. Most camps have the basics but if you prefer your own, then take all miniature sizes.
- Strong smelling perfumes. Carry a sample size light floral/earthy scent for the evenings.
- Hair straighteners, curlers and hair styling products. There is limited electricity and you won’t have the time to do your hair! Borrow or use a hair dryer from the camp when you need to.
- Hand bags. You will only need 1 small sling bag for travel and to carry your essentials on safari and around the camp.