What to Pack?
Many regular travellers find packing a breeze – they’ve worked out the ratio of essentials to availability of laundry service and somehow effortlessly manage to fit their luggage into a small carryon bag. However, if travelling is not in your usual routine and safari in particular is new to you, this post may well help make the process of selection and packing less daunting.
Anabezi and Amanzi camps are reached either by small propeller plane, usually flying from the domestic terminal of Kenneth Kaunda International Airport, Lusaka and landing at Jeki, the airstrip that serves the camps in the interior of the Lower Zambezi National Park; or by boat or vehicle transfer from another camp further up river. We usually advise a soft duffel bag for your hold luggage and a backpack or shoulder bag for valuables. Now that we’ve covered the bag itself, let’s get to grips with what goes inside it! As hold luggage is limited by weight restriction and we do have a same day laundry service, we suggest a less-is-more approach, but here is a list of your main essentials:
Hat – while our vehicles do have shade cover (removable on request) we always recommend a hat when out under the scorching African sun.
Sunscreen – see above!
Binoculars – we do have spares in camp and in the vehicles, but knowing and having your own pair of binos makes for easy focusing when rushing to look at a bird in flight
Camera – while a telephoto lens is great for zoom shots, so too, your basic point-and-shoot, or even phone camera will capture and keep the memories you make on safari. As a wise person once said, “the best camera is the one you have on you”!
Spare SD/ memory card – there is nothing more disappointing than being a shutter-happy photographer and realising you’ve run out of space at the very moment you see a leopard over a kill, or elephants playing in the river.
Charger – stands to reason, but good to have a reminder anyway!
Jacket and/or lightweight fleece – mornings and evenings on the Zambezi can prove particularly nippy, especially with the chill factor of an open vehicle. Lightweight layers are your friend here; you can always put on and take off.
Diary or Notebook – great to record game sightings, thoughts and happenings as and when you experience them. Picture the scene: scribbling in your notebook while sitting up in bed of an evening after dinner, mosquito net down, page illuminated by a soft bedside light and listening to the lions calling outside camp – very Hemmingway.
A pair of comfortable shoes – suitable for activities such as walking safari, fishing or canoeing
Flip flops – for relaxing around camp
Neutral colour clothing – try to stick to bush colours, khaki, dark green and brown – especially for walking safaris. Navy and dark blue are not recommended as they tend to attract the dreaded tsetsi fly which has a particularly painful bite!
Sunglasses – polarised glasses are great, especially with the glare off the water on an all-day fishing trip, but anything that protects your eyes from sun anddust makes life infinitely more comfortable.
Lip Ice / Chapstick
Sarong or kikoy – a travel must, especially in Africa. A light cotton wrap that can be used to cover fair or delicate skin in the hot sun; dampened in the heat for a cooling compress; used over pyjamas as a dressing gown/ and or sleepwear – or even as an extra blanket.
A book – Although the main area of camp has a selection of board games, a (limited) library to enjoy over the course of your stay, and wifi (which unfortunately does not extend to the rooms) it is refreshing to be able to turn an actual page and not worry about the constant barrage of notifications that is so prevalent in the age of instant connectivity and blue light from phone and laptop screens. Even if you don’t get a chance to finish your book, if you don’t bring it you’re bound to end up wanting something to do while waiting for a flight or relaxing in the afternoon.
As far as toiletries go, all our rooms are stocked with a hairdryer, shower gel, body lotion, shampoo, and conditioner, as well as Peaceful Sleep mosquito repellent, so unless you require a particular brand for your luscious locks, there’s no need to burden your baggage with bulky bathroom paraphernalia! Each guide has a full first aid and sanitary kit in their vehicle, in addition to sunscreen and reference books on local birds and animals.
What’s on your list of travel essentials?
Written by: Tara Vivian-Neal