Packing for your 4x4 Safari
You’re travelling from abroad and you’ve hired a fully equipped 4x4 for your first self-drive Safari in Southern Africa! What do you need to pack?
First and foremost, travel light - space in the vehicle will be at a premium! Remember, if you intend exploring some of the more remote areas on the continent, you will also be carrying your food supplies alongside a large array of camping equipment. Bring a suitcase for your stepping out gear should you plan to spend time in Cape Town, one of the most beautiful cities in the world, before or after your safari. However, the smart thing to do would be to have a smaller bag for your trip to the bush.
Clothing: Clothes need to be comfortable and of a fabric that breathes easily so that you will not sweat excessively. With very dark colours you are likely to feel the heat, bright colours will stand out in the bush and white will show the dirt very quickly. Go with something neutral. Given the climate, lightweight shirts/blouses and shorts are normally to be recommended. A pair of long trousers and a long sleeved shirt/blouse or two should be included. Africa can get quite cold at night and in the early mornings so make sure to also pack a sweater and a windbreaker. For sleeping, we recommend that you bring a pair of long-johns and some woolly socks. Buffwear is becoming increasingly popular so you might want to get a Buff scarf or a beanie for your trip. You are likely to find many places where it is possible to swim, so throw in your swimsuit.
Shoes: A pair of walking shoes is a must but you’ll be more comfortable if you also pack a decent pair of sandals for everyday wear.
Sun protection: A good hat is an absolute necessity. You may be well advised to wait and purchase one as soon as you arrive in Africa. Many visitors to the continent underestimate the dangers of overexposure to the sun and the importance of sun protection. Be sure to pack a good quality sunscreen lotion, an after-sun cream and your favourite sunglasses.
Medicines: Aside from any regular prescription medicines, we suggest that you always travel with a very small emergency pack that includes items sometimes not found in a normal first aid kit. These include blister plasters, soothing ointment for itches and scratches and something for aches, pains and headaches. More important, you may have difficulty finding medication for vomiting, stomach cramps or diarrhea when you’re out in the bush, so travel prepared. Above all, if you’re visiting an area where malaria is a problem don’t forget your malaria prophylactics (your doctor can prescribe these) and some mosquito repellent.
Documents: Crossing borders means that you need to carry your passport. You will also be required to carry a valid driver’s license and for certain countries, proof that you have had the appropriate vaccinations. Make sure to have one or two photocopies of your travel documents, passports, driver's licenses, etc. and store each set in a different place in your vehicle - there's nothing worse than being stranded in a foreign country without any paperwork!
Camera: Make sure that your digital camera and zoom lens are packed. At Bushpig Safaris, we equip our 4x4 vehicles with a variety of power points and a USB interface so that you can charge your camera and any other electronic devices that you need to bring along.
Binoculars: We also provide a pair of binoculars with each vehicle, but if you have a good pair you should pack them.
Sundry items: There are a variety of small items that could make life on safari easier. You may wish to throw in a small torch, a pocketknife, perhaps even spare batteries for the devices that cannot be charged. Finally, do not forget to pack your toiletries and feminine hygiene products, a towel or two and any other small items of a personal nature that you cannot afford to leave behind.