Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Packing for your African Safari

When going on a hunt in Africa, you need to realize that the terrain can be tough and wild. You have to have the correct Protective Clothing and Equipment, not just for safety purposes, but to make your hunt and stay as comfortable as possible.

The most important factors when deciding what you need to pack
are based on 'Where you are hunting?' and 'What time of the year you are travelling?'. The luxury level of your accommodation together with the type of hunting terrain and weather, will determine what goes into your travel bag.

Remember each airline has their own baggage dimension and weight limits, so before you pack anything get this information and stick to it, or you'll be digging deep to pay over-weight. Most lodges offer a laundry service depending on their location and level of luxury. Enquire with your Outfitter which lodges you are staying at offer this service and if it is daily or every 3rd or 4th day.

Be sure you take clothes you feel comfortable in and have worn in
before. Hunting locations are not generally close to cities and stores should you need to get a quick change of clothes. The newer quick drying fabrics, shirts with ventilation and trousers that convert into shorts are all worth considering.  

Please keep in mind that some fabrics are noisy in the bush and will definitely hinder your hunting during walk and stalk. Cotton, dark brown or dark green colours are essential for hunting in Africa. Camo is an option if you are only staying at hunting lodges. If you have booked post-hunting safari trips to other eco-tourist lodges some guests will be offended by camo outfits, so keep this in mind.

Most lodges that cater specifically towards hunters are very casual
in terms of clothing; sneakers and jeans are the order of the day. If you have booked a luxurious lodge then throw in a nice sweater or evening shirt but on the whole this on not essential. As we all know hunters are very relaxed and Outfitters don't fuss over smart attire. 
Ladies we wouldn't suggest bringing along those high-heels. There may be a short walk from your lodge to the room over grass, and high-heels just don't work well in this terrain. Climbing up and down guest steps into Safari vehicles will also be awkward with those high shoes.
For the hunters, pack yourself at least two pairs of well-worn and comfortable walking boots with thick soles. The best being waterproof boots that cover your ankles and thick socks. Gators come in handy to keep the bugs at bay but must not create noise while you are walking. A pair of slip on sandals or comfortable shoes for the evenings and day tours.

Packing for an African Hunt, you have to bear in mind that the weather
can change at any minute. Africa's hotter summer months are November to end of February and winter is May to end of July. Rain seasons depends on where you travel in Africa. Cape Town's rainy season is during the winter months and the more Northern areas of South Africa

have rains during the summer months. Make sure if you are hunting in the Northern areas and plan to travel to Cape Town after your hunting days, that you time it well with the rainy seasons. Winter evenings can become extremely cold and you might just find a scarf, gloves and layered clothing comes in handy, despite the days being fairly mild.

Remember Africa's accommodations are not catered towards very cold weather, sealed windows and underfloor heating are replaced with a fireplace and blankets. A waterproof raincoat, hat and jacket are suggested sticking to the same dark colours. Ladies - Game drives can be very bumpy and a good (sports) bra would probably not go amiss.

Africa's winter and summer sun can be potent and we suggest
using odourless sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 20. Bring insect repellent as the summer evening's call for insect and in certain areas mosquitoes. If you stay in the Northern parts of  Africa during winter time, swim gear will also come in handy. Google Weather is a great friend - check this a week before you fly out!

Going out into the bush for hunting or sightseeing requires binoculars, these make your hunt a lot easier and through the lens 

you will enjoy so much more of nature. A binoculars strap is essential when considering your hands need to be free when the hunt is in full motion. 
Make 100% sure with your airlines and private charters what their packing and transport requirements are for both the firearm and the ammunition. There will also be paperwork required to clear each border you go through and having this prepared in advance is imperative.
Contact your Outfitter who can advise all these details. Bring enough ammo, you don't want to run out in a remote hunting area. 200 rounds per calibre are allowed through the South African airports or a suggested minimum of fifty to seventy rounds. Remember your rifle's cleaning equipment, however good Outfitters will supply this for you and generally have firearms available to rent. 

Whether you stay in a tent or a 5-star lodge, remember to bring your flashlight / torch. This always comes in handy as Africa's electricity supply can be intermittent.

Catch the moment... Use a good smartphone, camera or camcorder, to make your dream moment last forever. Bring with enough memory sticks or cards to ensure you do not run out of memory. 

Each electrical appliance has its own recharging cord, make sure to put this in to avoid a flat battery at the moment you need your appliance the most. In South Africa we make use of 220V electricity so bring a converter plug, South African shops in general are not well stocked with US converter plugs.

If you don't have a friend going with to take the photos, ask your Outfitter for contact details of their Professional Photographer. Hire a Professional, this is the only memory you will have of your trip. Your PH (Professional Hunter) is there to focus on guiding you and covering all safety aspects. A good book will also come in handy. You never know when flights may be delayed or bad weather comes in.

If you are using chronic or pre-script medicine, we suggest you bring along the prescription and original containers you received your medication in. South Africa is generally less austere regarding controlled medication, but it is better to come prepared. Ensure that
your travel insurance is arranged prior to your travel, in the unlikely event of an accident. If you travel to the North Eastern parts of South Africa it is recommended to discuss taking anti-malaria medication with your doctor, prior to arrival. Your Outfitter should send you a 'Client Information' form well in advance of you Safari which will cover any medical issues, allergies, food preferences etc. In this way your Outfitter is well prepared for your arrival.

The usual toiletries are essential. Again the standard of the lodge
you are staying at will determine if you also need to bring things like shampoo and conditioner etc. Make a list of contact numbers in case of an emergency. Put all paperwork, passports, itineraries, travel insurance, firearm forms and air tickets together and keep it safe. Copies of these documents left in safe hands at home can be very helpful should documents get misplaced.

If you wear prescription glasses, make sure to bring more than one pair, or use contact lenses. You will be outdoors most of the time, be prepared. Remember your mobile phone, laptop/tablet if needed. You are on vacation, but for certain hunters business back home has to continue. Keep in mind that due to the remoteness of certain lodges in Africa you may not have Wi-Fi or internet access available.

If you forget anything, most cities in South Africa have shops that cater for hunters at affordable prices.

The Hunting Outfitter you have booked with will have 99% of the answers to any questions you have! Please use their knowledge and experience, and assist your Outfitter in their preparations of your Safari with any information requested.