Packing with a Purpose

Packing for a vacation is always one of the trickier parts. Do you really need to bring your umbrella or rain coat? How often can you wear the same jeans before you officially feel gross? How many pairs of shoes can you shove in your suitcase? Ok, that last one might just be me, but packing truly can be one of the most challenging parts of preparing for a trip, especially when traveling to multiple destinations that may have varying weather. With city travel, you can pretty much manage to get by your traditional everyday outfits unless you completely misjudge the weather. On a safari, however, what you pack actually can affect your activities and therefore takes a little extra planning.

While some of what you pack will certainly depend on the type of safari you?re taking, the time of year, and the destination, here are some general tips that can apply to most safaris.

1. If you?re planning a walking safari (or think you may partake in one) pack some neutral items of clothing to blend in as much as you can. Bright colors will draw attention to you, which could be unsafe – think of the red flag that the matadors wave to entice bulls.

2. Pack lotions, shower gels and other bath/body products that have light or no scent. Again, anything too strong could draw the attention of the animals. While it?s not particularly likely unless you?re wearing something especially pungent, it?s better to be safe (literally) than sorry.

3. Bring clothes that layer well. If you?re staying at a game park, game drives are often scheduled for early in the morning and around sunset. Temperatures in Africa can change dramatically throughout the day, and morning drives in particular get can start out chillier and end up quite warm.

4. The rainy seasons in Africa vary from country to country, and sometimes even in different regions within a country. If you?re planning a multi-destination safari, it?s possible that you may hit the rainy season, or at least the cusp of it, at least once. Rain jackets are relatively easy to pack and don?t take up too much space. Some countries, such as Botswana, can get quite severe thunder storms and with much of your time spent in wide open spaces (even at the lodges), this is a case in which a rain jacket is most certainly preferable to an umbrella.

5. Some countries require vaccination records, particularly for yellow fever. If the countries you?re visiting require this, make sure to pack this in a secure but handy spot for when you enter the country. You can learn more about required and recommended vaccinations on the CDC website.

Check out the Chimera Travel Blog for more packing ideas!


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