Africa, Destinations, Travel Tips, What to Pack

A City Girls Guide to Surviving Safari

January 16, 2009 • By

Needed: neutrogena face wipes, baby wipes for hands and bottom, small soap bar, ample bug spray, suntan lotion, no smear/sweat proof make up, dark finger nail polish, flashlight -aka- head torch, sunglasses, bottled water, tasty treated water tablets, backpack, trashy novel, safari pants and shirt(um nothing flashy simple beige and earth tones preferred), camera and extra battery, binoculars, malaria pills, cypro and any other anti anything pill, underwear, patience, perseverance and determination to prevail.

The City Girls Guide to Surviving Safari.

Take each opportunity to shower as if it may be your last. No lingering either or you will be soaped up and out of water.

Always have wipes and fresh undies available. It just makes you feel cleaner.

When its time to use the bush loo, search for a nice thick area of grass. It will absorb the tinkle and prevent uncomfortable splashing.

Brushing your teeth is a must but as Dr. Kane says, “dry brushing is just as effective.” Note: BOTTLE water is key. Use in moderation.

Paint your finger and toe nails a dark color. It will hide the dirt and scum now lingering since you are without a shower and running water.

Spray yourself with suntan lotion before leaving and apply as needed. The sun is strong in the bush and we can’t have you aging prematurely.

Mosquitos are deadly and flys (sp) annoying so apply your bug spray liberally. Be sure to spray your bed, linen and clothing before going out for the night. I highly recommend spraying to the point you might feel drowsy or sick. That should kill the pesky hanger oners until morning anyway.

Each night look to the sky and pinch yourself. It’s truly a gift to see the beauty of the constellations above you. I’m left to wonder why I took astronomy instead of physics senior year since I can barely identify Orion.
Don’t feed the animals. They much prefer leafy geen things to chips and chocolate. That’s why they are skinny and we are plump.

Hold on tight in the vehicle and make sure you have the front seat despite cries from other passengers. Dammit you better have the best photos.

The Big 5 are the most hunted animals not deparment stores or men you have slept with. We have lions, leopards, elephants, buffalo and rhinos in the bush.

When you haven’t slept in your tent because you heard animals screetching all night just tell your hosts you had a great night sleep. Otherwise, they offer to accompany you citing “safety.”

Take your daily dose of vitamins and malaria prevention. Just ignore the side effects since they are apparently not as bad as malaria – sun blisters, nauseau, headache, itchy hands and feet. Warning: I’ve seen the hospital here and it isn’t pretty.

When it is meal time, get there a few minutes early in order to grab the seat away from the light. Otherwise, you will be eating bugs and they aren’t on your protein diet.

After sunset, don’t leave your accomodations without a torch or light. You want to know what critters you will be encountering and tripping over camp poles is a strict no no.

Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from dust and sun. Use wipes after shaking hands with locals or using the bush loo and of course before eating. Don’t be surprised when you get to your lodge and the welcome washcloth they give you turns brown after one swipe at your face.

Finally, enjoy the animals. I’ve seen a male lion (totally awesome), a leopard resting in a tree, the migration of millions of zebras and wildebeests and the spotted hyena and that was just yesterday. It’s a bumpy ride for us socialites but the price you pay to be one with nature.

Looking for the rhino today. I can’t wait! That is after I eat my carefully cooked scrambled eggs. “I like them cooked not watery but you know not burned either.” It is just such a challenge to get good meals(sooooo kidding).