Samantha (pictured above with her camera in Kenya), one of Bushtracks expert travel planners, is out on safari in Southern Africa on her third visit to the continent. On her way out the door, she shared her last-minute travel preparation tips for African safaris.
I’m lucky enough to have had some practice packing for African safaris. This will be my third trip to Africa, but my first to Southern Africa. I’ll be visiting some of Bushtracks’ favorite African safari camps and game reserves in Botswana (Ngoma Safari Lodge, Savuti Camp, Little Kwara, Vumbura Plains Camp, Tubu Tree Camp, Chief’s Camp, Mashatu), South Africa (MalaMala, Kirkman’s, and Fairlawns), Zambia (Tongabezi and Toka Leya) and Zimbabwe (Victoria Falls Hotel). It is going to be a busy three weeks, and I’m going to cover a lot of ground, but I’m really excited about it.
Hippo mother and baby, photograph by Samantha Barbitta
In the final few days before I leave, in addition to dealing with the basics of letting my credit card company and bank know that I’ll be in four African countries, these are my final preparation activities.
- I’ve gone through all my camera gear to make sure I have plenty of memory on my cards, and that I’m familiar with my camera settings before I begin my Botswana safari (thanks to David Bristow’s camera set-up tips). One of the activities I’m most excited about will be taking photos from Mashatu’s elephant hide. A protected container has been sunk into the ground so that visitors and their lenses are at ground level and can view elephants up close, and from a remarkable perspective. The waterhole attracts all manner of animals beside elephants, including kudu, impala and baboons.
- I’m giving my traveling medicine cabinet a final check to make sure I’m well stocked with toiletries and prescriptions. It’s not glamorous, but I’ll be glad I did it once I begin my African safari. My must-haves are Imodium AD, and a prescription for Cipro. And I’m making sure I have my sunscreen, as I’m heading into Africa’s summer.
- I’ve set aside my clothes for packing, and have weighed my luggage to make sure it is under the 41 lb. weight requirement for my soft-sided luggage and single carry on. I definitely want to leave room for Christmas presents! Going on safari this time of year means that nights won’t be as chilly, so I can leave my hat and gloves (which are a must for African safaris in July, for example) at home.
- Between my camera and my other devices, I need to make sure that my charging devices are in working order. I also checked my plug adaptors, and was glad I did, because I needed to order one for Botswana.
It’s an advantage that I know what to pack for a safari, but Bushtracks provides all their travelers with a detailed packing list, or you can read safari packing tips from one of our most experienced travelers for more ideas. I’m looking forward to a wonderful adventure, and lots of opportunities for African wildlife photography.
Highlights of Samantha's Safari Are Yours to Discover
on Southern Africa's Best Private Reserves Safari