When you travel with Scott Dunn, you can be assured you’re working with an expert who knows the areas you’re traveling to first-hand. With our many years of personal experience traveling through Africa, we have certainly picked up a few tips along the way to ensure we have the best safari and most comfortable experience. Here our travel expert, Lyndsey, shares her top tips for pre-safari, on safari, and post-safari:
For us, conversations about upcoming travel start about eight weeks prior to travel and continue to become more frequent until we bid our guests bon voyage the day before they leave. Here are my top tips for packing and ensuring you have everything squared away before you depart:
1. Pack in layers
Be sure that you’re bringing articles of clothing that can be easily added or removed to your outfit. Weather can change rapidly, even from the sun to the shade and you want pieces that can easily adjust. Additionally, be sure that all of your tops can be worn with all of your bottoms, so you can easily rotate what you wear depending on the weather and the day’s activities.
2. Understand the weather
This is where you can really utilize your travel consultant. Many people are under the impression that safari is Africa is always dry, hot and crispy. For many counties and in many months, this is far from the truth. Work with your consultant to ensure you fully understand the possible climates of your safari. This should make it easier to pack and make you more prepared.
3. “Things I wish I had”
Here is a list that I’ve developed over the years of items that I wish I had while I was on safari:
– A second pair of sunglasses. Many pairs have been lost to a bumpy game drive or a fumble while walking
– Anti-itch cream. We do a great job of preparing to ward off mosquitoes and other insects that we sometimes forget that we still might get bit! Having a small tube of hydrocortisone or anti-itch cream can be a lifesaver.
– Another pair of socks. I am notorious for sometimes taking the “pack light” to an extreme and leaving out key items that I truly need on safari. If you plan to wear sturdy shoes or boots throughout your safari, take at least three pairs of good quality hiking socks.
– Eye drops. Whether you wear lenses or not, your eyes can get very dry from whipping around and kicking up dust in a game drive vehicle.
– Imodium. It’s never a fun subject to touch on, but the reality of it is that many people will get “traveler’s tummy” while on safari. Nothing you’re eating, or drinking is unsafe, but getting sick can happen. If you’re in camp and can access a bathroom do not take Imodium. You want to get it out of your system. If you know you’re heading out on a safari activity in the bush, take Imodium and bring some with you. This should stop things – or at least slow them down – during your activity. The last thing you want is to be getting sick while you’re out in the bush.
– Extra bags. I don’t mean extra suitcases. Depending on the country and what is allowed in (for example, Kenya has a plastic bag ban and travelers are no longer permitted to carry these of any kind), being a couple extra garment or similar type bags. They are great for keeping dirty boots or dirty laundry away from the rest of your clean clothes.
1. Don’t pigeon hole your game viewing
It’s important to share with your guide animals that you’re excited about and already know you like. But if you’re only focused on one species, you might be missing out on some incredible sightings of game you didn’t even know you liked! These guides are incredible at what they do and sometimes it’s best to just let them take control and enjoy the ride.
2. Speak up
This covers every aspect of your time in Africa. Don’t be afraid to speak up about what you like and don’t like. Most importantly, if you’re not happy with something, tell your manager or guide. They will do everything in their power to make the appropriate changes. Remember that this is your vacation and every member of staff wants to ensure you have a great time.
3. Put the camera away
This is a tough one and one that I’m certainly guilty of not doing. If you can bring yourself to do so, put the camera away for one of your safari activities. I think you’ll find that when you’re not stuck behind the lens, you’re able to sit back and really enjoy the experience.
4. Take advantage of non-vehicle activities
There is nothing like a proper and classic game drive. It’s the closest you’ll get to the game and often the most utilized and well-known safari viewing experience. If you’re able bodied and have the option at your camp or lodge, get out of the vehicle. Do a walk, take a boat or canoe, spend some time in a hide, fish, mountain bike, visit a village or school. There are so many ways you can gain a different perspective of your safari landscape and the life that surrounds it. This will help you to have a more well-rounded safari experience and ensure your time doesn’t feel repetitive.
1. Share your experience
When you get back, you’ll be completely filled and overwhelmed with the joy and wonder of Africa. Share your experiences with friends and family, be that through gatherings, phone, email or social media. Spread the word about how wonderful this continent truly is.
2. Debrief with your travel consultant
You’ll get a call from us a few days after you return home. Be sure to chat through your experience – whether it be good, bad or incredible. We are constantly learning and improving and it’s very important for us to know what exceeded your expectations and if anything fell short. This is also one of our favorite parts of being a travel consultant. We love hearing about your adventures and your passion for Africa.
I hope you’ve found this helpful and it leaves you feeling better prepared for your safari. It’s important to us that you feel comfortable and ready for what lies ahead. As always, please chat to us if you have any questions. Happy safari!