Tanzania - Safari packing

Old Nov 20th, 2006, 07:11 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 43
Tanzania - Safari packing

Hello - We are gearing up for our Tanzania safari late January 2007. Can anyone give some advice on packing? I've seen many lists on line, but I'm still not sure on proper attire.

1 - Are shorts and short sleeves a bad idea? Do you find that people should wear only long sleeves and long pants the majority of the time due to the flies/mosquitos?

Also, I understand neutral colored clothing is best - however, do you think darker tones (greens/browns) would also be acceptable. I wasn't sure how light colored we should be dressed. Thinking a little darker clothing will be forgiving with the dirt. Nothing blue right?

2 - Any ideas for unscented soaps/shampoos?

3 - Insect repellent brands that are effective (25-50% deet)? Lotions, wipes or spray?

4 - Suggestion on strength of Binoculars?

5 - Aircraft weight requirements seem to differ on websites. Does anyone know the real max on those small planes? 15 kilos seems to be the average (=33 lbs). Per person or per bag.

Thank you, VDB
VDB is offline  
Old Nov 20th, 2006, 07:47 AM
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,354
1. During the day, long sleeves/pants are good protection against sunburn but not so useful against tstets unless you have some bug-off type clothes which really help some people (my wife did not get bitten once in a month with her bug-offs!)
I prefer short sleeves/pants during the day because I can feel the tsetses when they land - I cannot feel them when I have long pants/sleeves.
At night, I do recommend long sleeves for mossie protection.

2. Tsetses do prefer back, blue. Khaki is a good color. Since you will be inside a closed vehicle bush colors are not all that important - wear red if you like - only your head will stick out anyway!

3. Unscented shampoos? I prefer to bring eco-friendly shampoos. You will be inside a closed vehicle so unscented shampoos are less important.

4. We prefer the new lemon eucalyptus types instead of deet.

5. 15kg per person. They will weigh it in Arusha so it is best to adhere to the limit. You can try to fill your pockets with camera stuff and batteries, etc!
climbhighsleeplow is offline  
Old Nov 20th, 2006, 08:17 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
Darker clothing--I've worn olive and brown with no problem but have never traveled the time of year that you are going.
atravelynn is offline  
Old Nov 20th, 2006, 11:06 AM
Join Date: Mar 2005
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1. Shorts and short sleeves are fine. You should have long pants and long-sleeve shirts for those times of the day when the insects are most active, but otherwise, dress comfortably for the temperature. The pants with zip-off legs are very practical for safari. I think the darker tones will be fine.

According to the research, darker clothing is more attractive to mosquitoes, but I'm not sure how big a difference it makes. The tse-tse flies were a bigger problem for us, and they're attracted to specific colors - black/blue.

2. Well, ivory soap is supposed to be unscented (99% pure, too!), but I don't think it'll matter much.

Again, according to the research, scented soaps and perfumes tend to attract mosquitoes, but I think as long as you don't go overboard, you'll be fine. The scent that was most familiar to us was Eau de Mosquito Repellant with a subtle aftertone of Sunscreen.

3. I used Ultrathon to great effect. I usually attract mosquitoes like crazy, but they stayed away with this stuff. You don't need 100% DEET. What you need is something around 20% that releases over time, which is what the Ultrathon stuff does. There are other brands that also have a time release formula.

4. I used 8.5x44 binoculars and they were the right combination for me. If you have a steady arm, then something with a bit more reach, 9x or 10x, may work for you.

5. For us it was 15 kilos per person, not counting carry-on. Our carry-ons weren't weighed. Also, our group was weighed altogether. So, we were 3 people, and they put all of our baggage on the scale at once to see if we were under 45 kilos.
lifelist is offline  
Old Nov 20th, 2006, 01:27 PM
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I go with unscented everything - deodorant, shampoo and body lotion. Keeps the flying things away from the body, but apparently some of them like my ankles.

It will be hot in January, so shorts and t-shirts are fine during the day. Of course, if sun sensitive, plenty of SPF. But as the sun begins to set, the temps can drop quite a bit, so the convertible pants are usually the choice of many safari goers. Or, you can change in the vehicle to longer pants. Always good idea to have some coverup at anytime as protection from elements or temperature.

Rarely use repellent, but always have at about 30% Deet. But absolutely cover up between dusk/dawn, mossie biting time.

Consider a hat with wide brim or visor to protect from the beating sun on face, back of neck.
Old Nov 20th, 2006, 01:34 PM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 437
1 Consider wearing convertible pants, with a short sleeve shirt, and a long-sleeve shirt on top. Then you can simply remove the long sleeves or unzip the pants legs if it gets too hot, but you are ready for anything.
2) I had great luck with Eucalyptus scented soap (rather than trying for totally unscented). It seemed to deter the bugs rather than attract them.
3) Sawyer controlled release DEET is effective. Something about the formulation claims to be more effective at a percentage of 20% (I think) than regular formulations are with much higher percentage. The texture is a little better than the ultrathion (which I think has similar effectiveness).
4) It's a trade-off between strength (the first number)and shakiness, and also between field of vision (the second number) and size. If your hands aren't steady, you probably won't want anything bigger than 8x (unless you go for one of the models with image stabilization). As far as field of vision goes, if you don't care if your binoculars are big and heavy, go for a wide field of vision, but if you want a compact model you probably have to settle for a smaller number. I settled for an 8x25 for those reasons.
ann_nyc is offline  
Old Nov 21st, 2006, 07:15 AM
Join Date: Mar 2006
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We soaked our clothing in permethrin and were not bothered by mosquitoes or tsetse flies. It is reasonably easy to do, eventually washes out, and doesn't change the appearance (or smell) of the clothes.
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Old Nov 24th, 2006, 10:43 AM
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Thank you everyone for your comments. They are helpful.
VDB is offline  
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