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what do you wish you had brought on safari that might not be obvious?

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Oct 20th, 2004, 02:40 PM
  #1
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what do you wish you had brought on safari that might not be obvious?

hi

what's a must-bring item that is not obvious?

shall i spend my time looking for one of those special long billed baseball caps? i find bills get in my way when i shoot pictures. is a "gilligan" type hat better?

what about a battery operated fan for the vehicles, or will there be a breeze anyway?

since you all seem to know everything, i'll bet you have some "favorite" items that you wouldn't think of leaving home or in the room. thanks for sharing. i'm sure everyone would appreciate it, and i don't see this specific question covered in other general clothing posts.

what do YOU wish you had brought on safari that would have been useful?

(this is for botswana and south africa). thanks! kerikeri
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Oct 20th, 2004, 03:05 PM
  #2
 
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Skip the long billed cap. What time of year are you going? I went Oct-Nov and no fan was necessary. What I wish I brought was an extra camera, even if it was just a little 35mm for an emergency. It rained on one of our drives, camera got wet, and I was stuck in the most beautiful place using a disposable!
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Oct 20th, 2004, 03:15 PM
  #3
sandi
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In open safari vehicles a fan is NOT needed. In fact it will probably be downright cold/windy during those morning game drives, especially when the ranger takess off on a wild chase for some game. Same in the late evening. You'll need your layers (including scarf, hat, gloves and socks) for warmth in the morning and late afternoon/evenings.

Thankfully, we had all of the above; weren't missing anything otherwise.
 
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Oct 20th, 2004, 03:19 PM
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ok this might sound silly but i would have taken a TRAVEL MUG for hot coffee on early morning drives...we also didn't have a video camera and though I wouldn't have shot endless footage ofthe trip we really missed having it at choice moments.

i am sure there are a few more "i wish i hads" so if i remember them i will re-post!

Melissa
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Oct 20th, 2004, 04:23 PM
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I also would have brought a video camera. Not just for capturing the movement and animal interactions, but for the sounds.... The night sounds of hyena & lions, the grunting of hippos.... The intensity of Victoria Falls.
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Oct 20th, 2004, 07:47 PM
  #6
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For a return trip on safari I would definitely take along some kind of goggles to wear in the vehicles. I was greatly bothered by all of the swirling dust while out on game drives and wearing my sunglasses didn't seem to help me very much. Now my husband on the other hand didn't seem to have a problem in this regard but after 2 weeks I was pretty tired of having grit in my eyes a lot of the time. For me this will be a must, next time around.
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Oct 21st, 2004, 05:39 AM
  #7
 
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A couple of things I am glad I brought and a few I wish I had brought:

Glad I brought:

1)Small battery fan - I went in hot part of September and I am glad I had this for the first few hours of the evening when I went to sleep. Definitely even on the hottest days did not need a fan in the vehicle on game drives.

2) Many operations support local schools in various ways. I brougt a few inflatable world globes to donate to the schools. This was appreciated and its an easy way to help out.

Wish I had:

1) A better pair of binoculars. Will buy the best I can afford for next trip.

2)Small mini tape recorder to capture the sounds of the bush
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Oct 21st, 2004, 06:51 AM
  #8
 
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Just back from 18 days in Botswana and South Africa. A couple of items we could have used:
Bandanas -- Good for tieing over your nose and mouth to keep out the dust. Would also have been helpful to reduce the smell of a rotting buffalo carcass that a pride of lions was feeding on.
Artificial tears drops -- Your eyes get dusty and irritated, and these would have been great to wash them out with.
Extra videocam batteries -- Sometimes there just isn't the time or ability to charge these between game drives.
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Oct 21st, 2004, 05:39 PM
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Having been in Africa many times, including the month of September, 2004, I appreciate your inquiry. I agree about some warm clothes, about good binoculars, and eye drops. No one mentioned a good flashlight (torch), a washcloth (if you use one---they are almost nonexistent), a little toilet paper, tissues (such as Kleenex---no one seems to supply them), some detergent for your unmentionables (especially female underwear, since many camps will not wash it), and a bar of soap (my husband has to have his big bar of Dial). I always carry a small solar-powered calculator and a small change purse in which I put the local currency so that it doesn't get mixed up with any other currency that I'm carrying and is easy to extract. I may think of some other things and, if I do, I'll add to this list. ZZ
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Oct 21st, 2004, 07:24 PM
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We wished we had taken more flash cards for our video camera. We took 3 1 Gig cards and ran out of room, so we were constantly deleting. We did take our shots on a middle resolution for enlargements. It was too hard to see the little display to determine what to delete.

We were only allowed 25 pounds and we basically stayed within that requirement. We wished we had brought fewer clothes. It is so hard to think you will not need mutliple changes of clothes... but you don't. As long as your camp does laundry.

We came home with clothes we never wore.
A flash light is a MUST. Our camps said they provided, but they didn't always last the night.

Bring your own mesquito repellent - even if the camps states they provide.

We broght snacks to share with the guides. They were very appreciate of different treats. Chocolate was always a hit!
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Oct 23rd, 2004, 09:22 AM
  #11
 
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there are two items that I wished I had brought. A roll of masking tape is a must. There were so many times that it would have come in useful: Label film containers, label places and dates where gifts were bought, to hold my hair dryer plug into poor outlets, to put over a small tear in a screen. I did see one man pull out a roll of duck tape when his zipper on his suit case give out. At least he was able to be on his way to the next stop. I would also bring a travel coffee cup for the 6:30am drives. I is very cold out there
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Oct 23rd, 2004, 11:04 AM
  #12
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katj - While I don't travel with a full roll of duct tape, I do wrap quite a bit of it around a waterproof black marker. This way I have something to mark my film casings (not the canisters), and the duct tape for just about anything else. I just keep all of the "must haves" and "should have last time but will this time" items in one travel bag along with my health and beauty aids; also a thermal cup, no-see-um net to protect from flying things, a small Mag-lite, alarm clock, adapter plugs (all of them), etc. etc. - this goes with me wherever.

Not having gone digital yet, I buy film whenever it's on sale, and into the fridge it goes, as do extra camera and regular AA batteries. I always have a second camera and even disposables, just in case.

I've finally got myself disciplined enough that my on return from one trip I refill bottles and replace items, etc. before I put the pack away waiting its next use.

These are at least the things I don't have to think about when the more important issue is trying to figure out what clothing to pack. LOL!
 
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Oct 23rd, 2004, 11:04 AM
  #13
 
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"A little toilet paper." Ha, Zambezi, I took eleven rolls! Okay, it was overkill but I got to pass the extras along. Ditto with wash clothes. Those who had forgotten theirs were glad I'd brought several.

Good tip about the eye drops. I got grit in my eye that put me out of commission for one day and it happened when we'd camped in a particularly picturesque spot. Next time I would take warmer clothes and more candy (to eat and give away). I nearly went crazy looking for a chocolate bar one night in Zanzibar.

The one thing I was really glad about was that I'd packed my clothes in ziplock bags.
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Oct 23rd, 2004, 11:19 AM
  #14
 
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I wish I'd brought gloves too (as silly as it sounded while I was packing!). And wish we'd learned from our camera store how to clean our camera lens BEFORE we left. Very glad we brought a flashlight - make sure it's kept in the camera bag because you may need to change film on a night game drive and we found it tricky to do in the dark.

One thing we didn't have are a few plastic bags - like grocery bags. Keep one in your pocket on game drives for disposable items along with toilet paper and/or wet wipes in case you need to make a bathroom stop during the drive.
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Oct 23rd, 2004, 03:40 PM
  #15
 
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I also packed all my clothes in the zip lock space saver bags. Not only did my my clothes stay very organized, my clothes stayed very clean on the drives between lodges. its amazing how dusty the insides of the jeeps/vans get. The drivers do their best to wrap the luguage in blankets, it its very dusty. We sent our clothers out to be cleaned and they went back into the bags. our luggage was trashed by the time we got back, but our clothes were always clean and fresh.
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Oct 24th, 2004, 06:55 AM
  #16
 
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One more item no one has mentioned -- I wish I had brought a monopod for my videocam. Many of the shots you will be taking are at the high end magnification of your zoom lens, and even with the image stabilization that most modern videocams provide, there is significant camera shake. Unlike a tripod, you can quickly and easily set up a monopod right in your vehicle and follow the action smoothly.
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Oct 24th, 2004, 07:27 AM
  #17
 
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How many people were in your vehicle then? I certainly would not want things being set up all around me while I was trying to enjoy the sites!
Sorry..in a cranky mood today, but I am not a photographer and on our last trip to Kenya, I became irritated with others around me who stood in front of me trying to get numerous photos..never moving over to give me a chance.. because I did not carry a camera. Never said anything...but this time I intend to be a little more aggressive!!
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Oct 24th, 2004, 07:02 PM
  #18
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thanks very much!

i think i am over 12 kgs just from this list.

so on the t.p. thing. i always carry a little, but i assume there is enough in the room at the safari lodges? i mean, i don't actually have to take some from home, do i?

thanks if the answer is yes.
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Oct 25th, 2004, 07:07 AM
  #19
 
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Mincepie - the most number of people we ever had in our vehicles was 8 - 6 guests (three couples), a tracker and guide. But most of the time because it was the off-season there were only two of us plus the guide. Of the 6 guests, three people had cameras and everyone had a window-seat, so there was no need to feel that cameras had priority. Now for someone traveling alone it might be a different situation in a crowded vehicle if the animal is on the left and you happen to be seated at the right.

And kerikeri - there will be enough tp in the lodge bathrooms. But the few restrooms you will encounter on game drives won't (nor will the bush at the back of the vehicle). Bring a few kleenex packs along just to be safe.
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Oct 26th, 2004, 02:47 PM
  #20
 
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I would recommend the following and much depends on time of year.

Layers, particularly gloves and hat that covers ears for mornings.
I have a telescoping tripod for video which I will use next year for first time, I think it will help greatly. Video is spectacular for capturing sound.

Wilderness Safaris has bean bags in vehicles, otherwise you might want to bring your own.

A good camera, Canon Digital Rebel is excellent with 75-300 lense. My wife has shot great pictures and even enlarged significantly without needing to shoot in RAW.

Plastic safety glasses make great goggles to keep the dust out of your eyes. If you have sensitive eyes then tons of eye drops. My wife goes through more than double her usual amount.

Keep your main bag under the weight limit and stuff your camera and carry on. If you are going at a colder time, wear your heavy jacket instead of packing in your bag.

I prefer to dip a napkin in ice water and tie it round my neck when it is very hot. You can even get those scarves with cooling material built in.

Get your own field guide to birds, it is such a hassle to have to keep asking the guide for his, and you will want to refer to it when you are not on duty.
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