How do I dress for a safari?
– Always put comfort and practicality ahead of style. Never wear white, and avoid bright colours. Instead, be a chameleon and blend into the landscape with animal-friendly greens and khakis. Never dress in camouflage clothing (associated with the military) or anything black or blue (both colours are known to attract tsetse flies).
– Go for lightweight cottons, long trousers and shirts with long sleeves to protect against thorns and insect bites. Eschew fancy stetsons with faux leopard-skin hatbands in favour of a simple baseball cap that keeps the sun out of your eyes and does not blow away in a strong wind.
– Wear sensible footwear with thorn-proof soles: desert boots, trainers or lightweight walking boots. Don’t forget your swimwear (many camps and lodges have pools). And remember, Africa can be cold. The Maasai Mara may be within 100 miles of the Equator but is more than 5,000ft above sea level. On dawn game drives you’ll be glad of a jacket and sweater, even gloves. Most camps and lodges have a shop where you can buy a cotton kikoi, an African sarong that can double as a scarf, sling or turban.
– Binoculars are a must. So is a camera. I always take P20 last-all-day sun cream, sunglasses and a head torch. Use a soft bag and travel light. Local flights in light aircraft often have a 15kg weight limit. Most camps and lodges offer same-day laundry (although washing ladies’ underwear is taboo).
How to be safe in the bush?
Follow these 10 rules and you’ll be safer in the bush than in any major city:
- Always listen to your guide.
- Zip up your tent and never take food into it.
- When out on a game drive remember that animals are used to vehicles; but don’t be noisy or make sudden movements.
- Stay inside the vehicle (ask your driver or guide if you need to make a “bush stop”).
- Don’t sit on the roof. It’s not cool – it’s stupid.
- Watch out for thorns and overhanging branches when driving.
- If you’re on foot, don’t run. Only prey animals run!
- Don’t mess with baboons.
- Obey the safety rules in your camp or lodge.
- Don’t walk around at night and make sure you are escorted back to your tent or room after dinner.