Preparation & Travel Tips for Your Nature Tour In Africa
Whether you’ve already booked your nature tour in Africa, or are planning to do so soon, you’ll no doubt have a countdown until your departure. As your family’s excitement builds in anticipation of your upcoming trip, you may be wondering how to prepare everyone for the adventure properly.
In the weeks leading up to your African safari, you may start thinking and rethinking, about what the family should pack, how to prepare, and what to expect. If it’s your first time, you might not be sure about the weather or etiquette. Should you carry a backpack or handbag? How should you pack for the kids? These questions and all the other answers you’ll need to be prepared for your first African nature tour is explained here.
Suitcases, Backpacks & Duffels
Depending on how extended your stay in Africa will be, you’ll have first to decide what luggage to use in accommodating your items. You may want to pack a large suitcase for the main flight. But, for your day trips in bush and nature tours, you’ll also want to carry a few items in a carry-on bag, leaving your main suitcase at the lodge. Soft duffels and backpacks are best for these day trips as they fit easily in overhead compartments on guide vehicles, and they tend to be lightweight. Keep in mind how many members of your family will need small backpacks or satchels to carry their daily trip necessities. Doublecheck with your itinerary planner, to make sure that you are packing within the guidelines and restrictions for your specific adventures.
Clothes & Wearables
While the continent itself is generally warm, you’ll want to prepare your family for a host of weather changes. The days are hot, and if you’re not accustomed to the sun exposure, you’ll want to plan ahead. It’s also key to note that early mornings and evenings present much cooler temperatures. So, you’ll want to be sure everyone in the family has the right wearables to be comfortable for both.
African safaris are casual, and you should choose your clothing based on comfort. Some of your nature tours may require extensive walking or exposure to dusty winds off of the plains. The best ensembles are loose-fitting and lightweight. Easy to dry, should you get caught in the rain, and cool during those heated afternoons. Colors are important, as well. Be sure to pack neutral shades of khaki, tans or browns. Any bright colored hats or shirts might keep you from optimizing your camouflaged wildlife viewing. It’s probably best to pack a light jacket, fleece or a hooded sweatshirt for early morning drives or evenings outdoors. Long sleeves and pants are your best line of defense against mosquitoes as well. Here is a shortlist of best wearable suggestions:
- Tee shirts and long sleeve shirts
- A sweatshirt, jacket or light raincoat
- Comfortable shorts and pants
- Cotton socks and undergarments (easiest to wash and dry them overnight)
- Sleepwear and a swimwear
- Durable walking shoes and easy slip-ons (flip flops and sandals are great to wear around lodging)
In addition to your everyday clothing, you’ll want to have all the essential accessories, without over packing. Make sure everyone has a hat. Sunhats work best to combat the penetrating sun and usually feature a chin strap to keep the hat from blowing across the plains. It’s best to bring sunglasses with UV protection as well. Pack the binoculars, either one for sharing or smaller pairs, so everyone has their own. Consider packing resealable plastic bags to help keep your accessories dry. They’re also great for sorting clean and dirty laundry. Parents, keep your money in a clip, money belt, or wearable satchel.
You’d hate to find yourself in Africa without the toiletry necessities. Some lodging accommodations may have health and hygiene products available, should you forget to include them. It’s probably best, however, to create a list for each member of the family and pack accordingly. Be sure to include:
- Insect repellent with DEET
- Sunscreen SPF 30+ for daily use and after sun lotions or gels
- Toothbrush, paste and oral care
- Pain relievers, anti-histamines, and stomach ache remedies
- Anti-bacteria hand gel
- Prescription medications and eye-wear if necessary
You know you can’t plan an African safari without bringing your camera, but what other electronics should you consider packing? In addition to the camera, make sure you pack your photography-best accessories. Spare memory cards, extra lenses, batteries, and adapters are must-haves. When traveling with the family, you may want to bring along entertainment devices too. You’ll have long flights, long drives, and downtime with the kids between nature tours. Be sure to include the appropriate chargers. It’s also a great idea to pack small flashlights, for navigating around camp or the lodge at dusk.
Snacks & Extras
If you’re bringing the kids, you may be wondering about snacks and edibles for the journey. The good news is, if you have picky eaters, our chefs can prepare American style dishes for main meals. Feel free to pack water bottles and easy to grab, dry snacks for your trips as well. While most of your meals will be pre-planned and included, you may want to prepare to accommodate your family’s off schedule snacking requests.
Our Best Advice
Probably the best advice we can offer for your African safari adventure is to have an open mind. Prepare your family to live in the present and enjoy every moment. Not every minute of your trip will be action-packed, but you’re guaranteed to meet amazing people, have an opportunity to try amazing new things and a once in a lifetime chance to see nature’s most beautiful landscape. Be prepared to enjoy it, with eyes wide open and all five senses on point. Encourage your kids to keep a journal to log their thoughts and feelings throughout the trip. Take pictures. Ask lots of questions of your guides.
If you’ve already booked your nature tour and are just waiting for the big day to depart, now is the best time to organize your preparation. If you haven’t booked yet or are looking for more travel tips, contact us! We can help design the best African safari itinerary and experience, as well as help you prepare your family to enjoy it fully.