Whether you are off on a boutique Botswana adventure, a cheap n’ cheerful Kenya beach and bush escape or an escapade into the depths of the vast expanses of southern Tanzania, one of the most difficult parts of going on a safari holiday is before you even go. From ensuring you have your jabs and malaria tablets, to finding those perfect khaki shorts on the high-street in the depths of our winter (nigh on impossible), it’s good to get a little advice if you’re wanting to stay healthy and happy on safari and you dream of pulling off that sophisticated ‘Out Of Africa’ look.
While the rules vary from country to country, generally Malaria tablets are a must in most equatorial African countries. What each GP recommends varies, but one of the best brands is Malarone. It’s a bit pricier than other brands, but has less side-effects, so the risk of feeling nauseous is reduced. You will need to check whether you’ll need any inoculations too. Some take a couple of weeks to work effectively in the body, so best to visit your GP well in advance of your visit. Also, remember to pack a strong mosquito repellent with DEET, so that you can avoid getting bitten in the first place.
Another medical matter you should remember, is that while diarrhoea is highly unlikely at high-end safari camps, dehydration can occur, as the sun can be hot and you may be kept active with walking safaris and game drives. Remember to drink when you’re out and about. Most camps provide bottled mineral water on all game drives – so there’s no excuse not to keep topped up! Be sure to remember a hat and/or light scarf, and don’t forget to take plasters – just in case you get a blister.
As for the fun part – clothes! Depending on where you go and the season you choose, the weather on a safari holiday can be dry, can be monsoonal or can be somewhere in the middle. Therefore what ends up in your suitcase can vary. However, as a general rule of thumb, it’s best to pack loose, long-sleeved items that can be layered to accommodate for potentially cold nights and hot days. Try to avoid wearing dark clothing during daylight hours, as black and navy can attract the pesky tsetse fly – which likes to bite during the heat of the day! For the same reason and in order to protect yourself from the sun, try to wear long trousers or skirts, as these flies find away to seek out bare flesh any chance they get!