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What I wish I knew before my first Safari!

Enlightening for first-timers, or gently reminding regular safari goers



Africa Specialist
Published on

04 Dec 2017

Updated on

17 Nov 2020

Segera Lodge Biplane

There are some things that are only obvious once you’ve been told, or indeed remembered. This short article is about what I wish I knew before my first safari. It may be enlightening for safari first-timers or just a gentle reminder of some fun facts to avoid being caught out.

Kicheche Bush Camp Bush Walk
Kicheche Bush Camp Guided Walk

Hot and Cold

Safari days can be long days, generally ranging from sunrise to sunset. This means serious temperature fluctuations. Layering up is the way forward, bringing a bag to put them in when you unravel as the sun rays get stronger and vice versa come sun down. Footwear can be difficult to decide upon for some people, but hiking boots (with flip flops in your bag) suit almost all safari activities.

Madikwe Lelapa Lodge Arrival
Madikwe Lelapa Lodge Arrival

Dollar Bills

Yes, you can take out money at the airports, however, having a stash of one dollar bills or small change local currency will be warmly received as tips and makes you feel in control and comfortable from the moment you step off the plane.

Kicheche Mara Camp Sundownder
Kicheche Mara Sundowner Golden Glow

Sun Protection

The sun is not necessarily any different in Africa, but your excitement searching for and watching the wildlife passing by, means you’ll undoubtedly not notice the damage it can cause your exposed skin. Finding a sunscreen you like, with insect repellent would be even better, and putting this on first thing in the morning will mean you don’t need to worry about the sun when it soon rises. A common side-effect of anti-malaria tablets is a higher risk of sunburn so be particularly careful if you are taking them. With sunscreen at hand, before you know it, you’ll develop a golden glow.

Cheetah Plains Safari Vehicle
Cheetah Plains open 4x4

Bouncy, Windy Game Drives

Standing up in specially-designed 4x4 vehicles is exhilarating and not to be missed. It does, however, come with the risk of losing your hat if you don’t choose one that can be tightened or fits nice and snug. Equally, sitting at the back of the vehicles on especially bouncy tracks can be lots of fun, but for the ladies out there, I recommend wearing a jog bra and thinking of it as part of the adventure!

Boy Swimming
So fresh and so clean

Keeping Fresh!

Whilst all lodges will offer the chance to have your clothes laundered, they do not offer the same for your smalls. Bring enough with you to last the duration, or simply pack some clothes soap and take advantage of the strong sun to dry them out naturally.

Spices to take home

Shopping Space

With so many beautiful creative arts, crafts and exotic curio shops and markets, you’ll surely end up agreeing to take more home than originally planned. Packing soft bags and leaving some extra space in your luggage will make your life a whole lot easier.

For more inspiration, take a look at our 26 favourite safari holidays, our best African honeymoon ideas or our top family safari holidays.

To arrange your safari holiday, call our friendly team of experts on 01768 603 715 who'd be happy to help.


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