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Packing Guide: South African Safari

SmarterTravel

Where: Kruger National Park

The Situation: I am on my way to South Africa for a six-day safari in the Kruger National Park region. I’ll be spending most of my days on long game drives and bush walks. When packing for a safari, it’s important to consider the big three threats to your comfort and health: the sun, the dirt, and the bugs. In addition to packing for the bad, it’s also important to remember why you’re going in the first place and be prepared, with the help of a few tools, to feast your eyes on the majesty of nature.

RELATED: What to Wear on Safari

What to Wear

Sun Hat: When layering on the sun block, it’s easy to forget your head. Skip the scalp burn and remember to wear a hat. ($21.90 on Amazon)

SPF T-Shirt: There are many outdoor clothing options that come with a built-in SPF factor, which help keep you safe from dangerous UV rays. Remember, there’s no such thing as too much SPF. ($24.50 at REI)

Polarized Sunglasses: The sun in Africa can be very bright and you don’t want to spend your once-in-a-lifetime trip squinting into the distance. Investing in a pair of polarized sunglasses will not only protect your eyes, but will also reduce glare and haze, so you can see better. (From $8.99 on Amazon)

What to Bring

Insect Repellent Wipes: If you’re not checking a bag, packing your insect repellent in wipe form is a great way to stock up on this essential item. ($7.80 on Amazon)

Water Bottle: Invest in a water bottle with a built-in filter and bring it with you always. ($7.80 on Amazon)

Day Pack: While you’re out on game drives, you’ll want to have a back-up of everything, from sunscreen to memory cards for your camera. Always bring a small backpack and keep everything you need close at hand. ($19.96 on Amazon)

Telephoto Lens: If you want to come home with amazing close-up shots of wild animals, but also want to keep all your limbs, you’ll need a telephoto lens. These super-zoom lenses will let you keep a safe distance from animals while still nailing the shot. ($300 Amazon)

Hiking Boots: The terrain on these game drives can be unpredictable at time, so bringing a sturdy pair of boots is a good idea. (From $45 on Amazon)

Breathable Shorts: For the most part, you’ll be spending your
time sitting on leather seats under the sun. Pack shorts that will keep you comfortable and cool, and that are on the longer side to protect your from the burn of hot black leather. ($65 at REI)

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Jamie Ditaranto is a writer and photographer who is always looking for her next adventure. Follow her on Twitter @jamieditaranto.

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