It’s a fairly large undertaking to prepare for a trip halfway across the world, especially a trip to Africa where you’ll most likely be in the remote African bush for some duration of your trip.
1. Adhere to a safari-specific packing list to ensure you have all necessary items for your trip.
Know what the climate is going to be like in each of the countries you’re visiting at the specific time of year you are visiting them and pack accordingly. Each destination in Africa has a different climate and various weather patterns from the next, so it’s essential that you know what to expect in all the places you’ll be visiting.
Click here to download our complete safari packing checklist, so you can be sure you’re packing all the necessary items for your upcoming trip to Africa!
2. If you’re doing any physically strenuous activities, such as climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, be sure to train for those activities.
At least three months prior to your African safari vacation, make sure to prep your body for any strenuous activities you might be undertaking during your visit. Some strenuous activities you would want to prepare for include extensive amounts of hiking, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, and even gorilla trekking. When you can prepare your body for these types of activities you’ll have a much safer and more comfortable and enjoyable experience.
3. Note visa and yellow fever regulations for each country you’ll be visiting.
Visa and yellow fever regulations vary from country to country and can change from time to time. Make sure to check with your African safari travel agent at least one month prior to departure to see what countries require tourist visas and yellow fever vaccinations.
4. Ensure you have taken out the proper amount of cash for your trip.
Many countries throughout southern and eastern Africa utilize a currency that is unique to that particular country. Always have sufficient funds in cash of that particular currency to pay for tips, shopping, and other expenses outside your hotel. Some countries widely accept USD and credit cards, while others do not, so make sure you ask your Africa travel specialist how to pay for items within each country you visit.
5. Briefly educate yourself on the history and culture of each country you’ll be visiting.
I always suggest to our clients to purchase some literature about each country they’ll be visiting so that they’re familiar with cultural customs and history of that country, as well as a general overview of what to expect on their trip. I find that it often helps travelers feel more comfortable during their vacation when they have educated themselves on the various aspects of a country they’re visiting.
6. Review travel documents with a fine-tooth comb to ensure all is accurate and correct.
If you have booked your travel on your own, separate from a travel agent, be sure to quadruple check all transfers and confirm all hotel reservations and flights prior to departure.
7. Book any activities you wish to do in advance to ensure you have a spot.
Whether you’ve always dreamed of white water rafting on the Zambezi River or embarking on a hot air balloon safari over the Masai Mara make sure to book any popular activities prior to travel—especially if it’s a bucket list item that you absolutely cannot miss partaking in. It would be a shame if the activity was booked up on the day you wanted to participate!
8. Make copies of all of your travel documents, including your passport.
Make two copies of all your travel documents, as well as your passport, and give one copy to a family member or friend and put the other copy in your carry-on bag or personal item (such as a purse or camera bag). Keep it separate from where you place your original passport and travel documents so if in the unlikely case that you lose one bag, you’ll have another with all your important travel information and identification.
9. Visit your healthcare provider at least one-month prior to departure.
Depending on where you are traveling to in Africa, your healthcare provider might request that you receive a yellow fever vaccination (which some countries actually require and request proof of), hepatitis vaccination, or other vaccination prior to departure. Vaccinations can take weeks to start building immunities, so make sure to visit your healthcare professional at least one month prior to departure. He or she may also prescribe malaria pills for your trip, depending on where you are going within Africa.