Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that I would be sitting in Zambia ogling at one the highest concentration of hippos in Africa. Fortunately, none of us had to fight off these territorial creatures but instead we were surprised to find ourselves fighting something much smaller – little blood sucking black tsetse flies. If only I had known they were attracted to black and dark blue clothing! Agh!
My plans to visit South Luangwa National Park were last minute, which meant I didn’t have much time to think about what I needed to pack. So, for the benefit of future travellers I have pooled advice from my colleagues here at Malawian Style and South Luangwa Safaris. Here is our advice for what to pack on your wildlife viewing adventure!
1. Wear neutral colors – although this is really only truly necessary for walking safaris. Lions are supposedly stressed by red and bright colors. However, on a game drive this is really no big issue. Also, it is recommended that you stay away from camouflage and army fatigues as can attract unwanted attention at border patrols.
2. As I mentioned previously, beware of tsetse flies in the evenings. They are prevalent in East Africa they are attracted to dark colors. Wear long trousers and stay away from blue or black – pack mosquito spray for the evenings as well.
3. Ladies – pack a sports bra…roads are always bumpy.
4. Book – you have lots of downtime between the morning and evening drives…
5. Batteries and external chargers -drives are usually a minimum of four hours and there can be power cuts at the lodge – bring backup so you don’t miss out on the money shot!
6. Jumper – depending on the time of year you may want a warm layer at night.
7. Heavy hiking boots are not needed unless you are doing a walking safari. Then bring broken in shoes with a thick sole to protect from thorns.
Really there is no need to go out looking like David Livingstone. Most people do still wear tan or khaki lightweight clothing, but it’s your decision how far you want to go with this– you can basically wear anything you want and decide not to look like an overexcited tourist from Out of Africa.
Other miscellaneous items not to forget…