South African Safari Packing List

A Guide to help you pack the best items on your Safari to South Africa

With over 10 million foreign visitors a year, South Africa has a big appeal to tourists and with the famous Kruger National Park, Safaris play a large part of that tourism. The country has many Safari parks, which together attract millions of visitors every year, with the Kruger National park being the biggest Safari attraction in South Africa.

We’ve worked with safari companies such as Africa Star Tours and Volcano Safaris, and in doing so have gathered some great feedback about what the best items are to bring on your South African Safari trip.

We’ve also partnered with African Wildlife Foundation to help protect Africa’s incredible wildlife and wildlands that you will be experiencing on your Safari. To find out more about our partnership click here.

South Africa’s Kruger National Park

As probably the most popular South African Safari, we’ve provided a few facts about the Kruger National park before you go. With over 1,6 million visitors a year, the Kruger National Park is South Africa’s biggest safari location, having welcomed its first tourists in 1927. The park spans 19,485 km² and is host to a wide range of wildlife including Lions, Leopards, Elephants, buffalo, hippos as well as over 500 species of bird. The Reserve itself has 21 Rest Camps, 2 Private Lodge Concessions And 15 Private Safari Lodges for you to stay at.

A Camera to Capture your Journey

Having some form of camera will be a fantastic item so that you can capture some of the rarest animals on our planet. Using just your phone camera may be fine for some pictures however, it may not be the best option for capturing animals you’re not able to get up close with.

Therefore, getting yourself a good quality camera can help you capture some of the best photos during your Safari. It will help you get some great pictures of both the wildlife and the landscape along your way and is a great way to capture your memories of the trip.

The Best Camera for a Safari

There is a range of high-quality cameras available from brands like Sony, Panasonic and Fuji. Make sure to have a look around and find the best camera for your needs.

One great camera for a Safari is the Canon 80D. Firstly it’s a durable and weatherproof, meaning it will be able to deal with dusty South African Safari conditions. Additionally, it takes an excellent quality of photo so you’ll be able to capture the sights your trip in fantastic detail. However, whilst this camera is excellent for a safari it does come at a significant cost, so if you are looking for a cheaper option this may not be the best camera for you.

 

Binoculars

For similar reasons to a camera, bringing binoculars will enhance your experience during your Safari as well. You’ll want to make the most of your time out in the wild and that partially means getting the best view of as many animals as you can. Unfortunately binoculars cant change how many animals you see, but if there are animals a long way in the distance the binoculars will help you get the best look you can.

What to consider when buying Safari Binoculars

When choosing your binoculars you’ll want to consider a few different factors before your purchase:

  • Magnification: Make sure to get binoculars that are able to see a fairly long distance away, otherwise they won’t be much use! You can also get binoculars that have variable zoom which may be a useful feature.
  • Convenience: Travelling around all day means you won’t want to be carrying any unnecessary weight, so finding yourself a lighter and smaller pair of binoculars can be very beneficial.
  • Durability: As you’ll be out in the wild all day a pair of binoculars that can cope with the terrain is essential. Make sure to look for binoculars that will be able to withstand dusty South African conditions especially.
  • Quality of Image: You’ll want binoculars that are able to clearly see a fair amount of detail through the lens. The last thing you want is to be looking at a blurry spot instead of an elephant!
  • Cost: Whilst all these factors are important you’ll need to balance these against cost. If you’re looking at a lower price range you may have to compromise on some of these features, however you should still be able to find good quality binoculars at a reasonable price.

Sun Cream and a Sun Hat

With South African temperatures regularly hitting over 25ºC, sun cream and a hat will be essential for your Safari. These would be useful items if you were just on holiday but as you will be out in the sun all day on safari they become essential items for you. It’s also important to make sure you bring sun cream with you during the day so you can top up regularly.

As well as using sun cream regularly, a great item to prevent sunburn is a sun hat. This will not only help prevent sunburn on your neck and face but also keep your body temperature cooler throughout the day, reducing the risk of sunstroke.

The benefits of Suncream

There are numerous health benefits towards using sunscreen with the most obvious being you won’t be having to endure the pain of sunburn during your holiday. However, there are also long-term benefits such as reducing the chances of skin cancer, reducing premature skin ageing and preventing blotchy skin.

Safari Specific Clothing

Having already discussed a sun hat, you’ll also want to think about the clothing that you’ll be wearing out in the sun. Out in the heat all day you’ll want to make sure you’re feeling comfortable and not too hot in your clothing.

When thinking about your attire, comfort and ease are two factors that should be essential. In scorching South African heat, having restricting clothing that may even be hard to move in will almost certainly have a negative impact on your safari experience. Another factor that could be considered is bug bites. Companies such as Rohan make insect repellent clothing which can be very useful in any country where you will face the threat of bitey insects.

Also think about Safari Appropriate Footwear

As well as your clothing, you’ll want to think about what sort of footwear you’ll need for your safari. This may depend on how much walking you’ll be doing, however, it’s probably best to look for some specific walking boots so that you won’t be doing any damage to your feet after a long day of walking. After all, you won’t want to be going into day 2 with blisters on your feet.

Reusable Water Filter Bottle

Being outside in the heat all day means you’ll need to find an effective way to stay hydrated throughout the day. The issue of hydration during the day is often solved through single-use plastic bottled water, which of course is very damaging for the environment. However in some places, tap water may not be a safe option and there won’t be many water sources out on your Safari. So what other options do you have?

The most effective way to keep you hydrated throughout the day, without having to contribute to the world’s plastic pollution problem, is through a filter water bottle. The Water-to-Go bottle can filter dirty unsafe water as you drink. This means that you can fill up from any fresh water source with confidence you won’t suffer any illness. You can therefore, fill up from any tap water or even a river or lake during your Safari.

A good tip for your safari may be to take a large over 2-litre bottle of unfiltered water and decant this into your filter bottle. This is because there is a strong chance your filter bottle won’t hold enough for a full day out in the sun. So unless you know you’ll be stopping regularly for water, make sure to carry more than enough for a full day’s safari with you.

Consider your Medication and the Threat of Malaria

As one of the most deadly diseases in human history, Malaria remains a genuine threat to anyone travelling to the African continent. Malaria medication is available in the UK and is likely to be essential for your Safari. Before going on your safari make sure to consult with your GP to ask about any vaccines or medication you may need before travelling.

Insect Repellent to prevent Bug Bites

Travelling anywhere in Africa, bringing insect and specifically mosquito repellent is an important item. The last thing you want during your Safari days is to be constantly itching because of insect bites. The spray will also help you avoid mosquitos and the dangerous diseases they carry.

As previously mentioned, you can also get yourself insect repellent clothing which will be able which is another great way to keep yourself protected. Both methods should work effectively, however to be safe it may be best to still use repellent spray even if you’ve got the clothing as well.

Essential Items for Travel

Slightly less specific for your safari, but make sure to double check you have your usual travel essentials. Make sure to check what you need for your specific journey, but some things these should include are:

  • Passport
  • Travel Insurance
  • Flight Tickets
  • First Aid kit
  • Personal Medication
  • Local Currency (the Rand for South Africa)

‘I used to take purifying tablets, not any more’ – A Traveller’s Story

Peter’s story of how he overcame the issue of safe drinking water whilst travelling

Water-to-Go customer, Peter, loves to travel all over the world. He has travelled to many colourful destinations near and far including South Africa, India, Mongolia and Rwanda.

However, when travelling Peter encounters the crucial challenge faced by so many travellers; having vital access to clean safe drinking water whilst not having to rely on environmentally disastrous single-use plastic bottles. Often when on holiday abroad water sources can be unsafe to drink from and can end up completely ruining your holiday through horrible illness. This means travellers are often forced to revert to bottled water as a means of getting essential clean safe drinking water. The problem with this is the horrendous damage single-use plastic does to our beautiful wildlife, particularly in our incredible oceans.

Peter was then at a travel show and came across an intriguing demonstration from the Water-to-Go team. The demonstrator ‘put dirty river water into a reusable plastic bottle with a replaceable filter and then filtered that water into a glass. The water was now crystal clear and he drank it’. Peter added ‘with all the demos he did that day, I did not actually check to see how close he was to the Gents!’ Seeing this demonstration Peter was amazed by what the bottles could do and bought two at the show. These bottles would then be used on every journey since including trips to India, Myanmar, Thailand, Russia, Mongolia, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, South Africa and Jordan.

 

 

Water-to-Go supports Echo in Africa project

Hello, my name is Sara and this is my story about a life-changing trip I recently took to South Africa. We all seek to make a difference in our lives and I was grateful to be able to do this for those less fortunate than ourselves. Thanks to Water-to-Go, we managed to provide the equivalent of 4,410 litres of filtered water for an underprivileged community we visited in South Africa. Read on to find out more about this project and why we were there.

South Africa is often not considered one of the African countries most ‘in need’ of support, perhaps because of some the extremes elsewhere in Africa. However, after visiting in 2018, it is clear there is a large number of South African people in need. This is where the Echo in Africa project came into effect.

Echo in Africa Project

I am a cardiac physiologist and have been working for the NHS for the past 4 years in London. This year my department has supported me in a life-long dream, sending me to Africa to diagnose children with cardiac disease. This has been made possible by the project ‘Echo in Africa’ created by volunteer cardiologists, physiologists, the British Society of Echocardiography and SunHeart Foundation.

The main focus was on rheumatic disease, an inflammatory reaction that can develop as a complication of a Group A streptococcal infection, such as strep throat or scarlet fever. This disease affects the heart, joints, brain and skin, and commonly develops silently until the advanced stages of rheumatic disease. At least 12 million people are currently affected by this disease, with 2 million patients needing hospital admission and 1 million needing cardiac surgery in the next five to twenty years.

The water crisis in Cape Town caught my attention and then during preparation for this travel, I started collecting donations from all sorts of sources. These included clothes, toys, books, backpacks, hats, nappies, shoes, towels, baby clothes, sports equipment and so on.

I was aware that the children we would be screening are from extremely poor communities and settlements. How were they dealing with this water crisis? What kind of water are they drinking? I was thinking.

My research started around what could I do to help in this area. Ideally, the intention was to make the most of any water source available, so finding an effective and practical way of filtering water anywhere was essential.

Water-to-Go in South Africa

It was at this stage I found Water-to-Go. When I contacted the company and told them about the idea, they were extremely enthusiastic about supporting me in South Africa.

We came up with a code (EAPDONATE) that when someone bought a 75cl bottle, Water-to-Go would donate a second. Plus extra bottles on top of this were donated by Water-to-Go.

In my mind I had many questions, after the 200 litres (the life of one 75cl filter) what would the kids and families do with the bottles? It’s funny how your opinion changes when you are physically delivering each bottle. You realise that 4 months of drinking water is a true gift.

The bottles were given mainly to pregnant patients and kids, who currently live in an informal settlement called Freedom Farm. As a plan of action to provide as much safe drinking water as possible, I plan on returning to South Africa in 2019. I will take more bottles with me as well as replacement filters for those communities who have already been reached with bottles.

I can only try and express how good it feels to contribute towards the reduction of single-use plastic on this planet and far beyond explanation is the gratitude seen in the eyes of those receiving these gifts.

My Time in South Africa

After completing my mission in Cape Town, I travelled to the Kruger National Park passing Johannesburg on my way to Swaziland. In the Kruger National Park I camped for 3 hot days and 3 cold nights. We also embarked on 3 daily safaris each one lasting around 3-4 hrs. Water tended to run out in the first couple of hours, however with my Water-to-Go bottle I could fill up from any non-salt water source.

This bottle was my main company and has brought a conscious purpose to be added to the experience. It has also added to the intentions of projects like ‘Echo in Africa’.

Thank you Water-to-Go for the support, inspiration and materialisation of this essential tool. I’m looking forward to our next partnership.

Guest blog post from Sara Broring, Chief Cardiac Physiologist at Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust, London

Cycling from London 2 Cape Town

Our water bottles are no strangers to adventure travel. We’ve been taken pretty much everywhere in the world; used for all sorts of amazing journeys and expeditions far and wide.

One such adventure is a journey filled with courage, determination and strong cycling legs. Adventurers Emily Conrad-Pickles and James Davis are half way through an incredible 20,000km cycle from London 2 Cape Town.

Their route will take them through 3 continents, 27 countries and they aim to do it all in 12 months. The duo will be battling temperatures of up to 55°C in the Sahara Desert; conquering 10,000ft of mountain passes in Ethiopia all whilst raising £50,000 for the World Bicycle Relief.

The World Bicycle Relief empowers people across Africa by donating bikes. They believe in mobilising people through the power of bicycles so that distance no longer prevents access to healthcare, education and economic activity. So far they have provided over 200,000 bikes to people in a number of African countries.

We caught up with James to find out how they were finding they were getting on:

“We’re only 4 months in to our yearlong expedition to cycle from London to Cape Town and we’ve already learnt that our Water-to-Go filtered water bottles are one of the most important pieces of kit we have with us.

Admittedly, we were a little nervous the first time we filled the bottles from a more ‘suspect’ water source. But, ever since, we’ve topped up from loads of places where we would never considered drinking from before – including taps in the street, cattle drinking troughs, a leaking water pipe in the desert and even straight from the river Danube – close to where we later found a dead frog floating in the water.

Even at visitor attractions we’ve scoffed at tourists who’re forced to pay for overpriced bottled water whilst we’ve topped our Water-to-Go bottles from the taps in the loos. The bottles themselves are tough and sturdy and the recently improved design of the filter makes drinking on the go even easier.

As we leave Egypt to continue south into rural Africa we have confidence that our Water-to-Go filtered water bottles will safely filter even the most questionable of water sources keeping us hydrated on our quest to cycle from London to Cape Town.”

You can follow the journey and donate to this wonderful charity at www.london2capetown.org

Ardmore: Developing Global Citizens

We’re delighted to be working with Ardmore Educational Travel who are not only helping to enhance student’s education but also giving back to people who need it the most.

Ardmore are specialists in language and educational travel programmes to students from all over the world.

We have worked with Ardmore and are pleased to introduce the ‘Ardmore, Water-to-Go bottle’. Ardmore now offer these to the students they work with to help keep them safe when travelling; and for every bottle sold they donate one to a child in need.

Ardmore offer schools a unique opportunity to send their students on a conservation experience in South Africa. The Shamwari game reserve, located in the Eastern Cape near Port Elizabeth is a fully operational 25,000 hectare big 5 game reserve and the students get involved with a range of short and long term conservation projects and the need for assistance by the award winning Wildlife and Conservation Department.

While on the reserve Ardmore groups also get the opportunity to support a service learning project at the Henrik Kanise School in the Alicedale township – only a few miles outside the gates of the reserve. As in most of South Africa the contrast is stark and overwhelming. Alicedale used to be a thriving town as a railway junction between Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth but, first the steam train was phased out in the eighties and then in the mid 1990’s the railway was stopped altogether making nearly 100% of people unemployed in Alicedale.

Today, the figure is much the same – with an estimated 96% unemployment rate. With little opportunity in Alicedale this is a tough statistic to change. However, the Shamwari game reserve supports Henrik Kanise with infrastructure and support for the understaffed teachers in an attempt to try and improve prospects and change the future for the children in the township.

The partnership with Water-to-Go means that Ardmore can support the school even better. Every Water-to-Go bottle bought by students on this or any other Ardmore tour is matched by Ardmore and are sent to the students at Henrik Kanise to enable them to access clean drinking water – a vital and life changing opportunity for these students.

In the News: Outdoor Fitness Magazine – Nov 15

We’re delighted to have been featured in this months issue of Outdoor Fitness.

Our filtered water bottles were mentioned in an article on light-weight kit for adventure travel.

Adventurers, Emily Conrad-Pickles and James Davis are currently on a 12 month adventure; cycling 20,000 miles from London to Cape Town. They mention in the article they are using Water-to-Go bottles to give them access to safe water on their trip. They are even pictured with two of our 75cl Black Bottles with Red Sleeves in their bike cages!

You can read the full article by clicking here and turning to page 18.

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