Taking the stress out of packing for Africa

by Sandy Salle on May 7, 2020

We at Hills of Africa Travel know that packing for Africa can be a stressful time. You want to pack everything but still want to meet your baggage requirements. To help alleviate some stress, we provide our clients with a detailed overview of what they need to pack when traveling to Africa. However, it is always good to get another opinion, so we asked David Amyot (Private Guide in Zimbabwe) for his top items to pack for safari. Along the way, he also gave us some personal safari favorites and an honest story about an experience he guided. This is what Mr. Amyot had to say: 

Written by David Amyot, Professional Safari Guide, Zimbabwe:

“One of the most asked questions when preparing for safari is, what should I pack? Often while packing we overlook the small things, but a trusted flashlight should definitely be on the top of your list. Not only could it save your life, but it can also be very helpful if there were a power outage in the camp/lodge/hotel where you are staying. 

People at times take it for granted that the guide in camp will have an adequate flashlight to accompany them back and forth from their tents at night. The trouble is that the guide could have been in camp on a six-week rotation and his torch batteries could be on their last leg or dead.  Hills of Africa Travel tip: We recommend taking an extra flashlight and/or batteries with you on safari to leave behind at camp.  Bright headlamps are best because they keep the guides hands free.

There are definitely other items of importance to pack while preparing for safari. I’m sure you’ve heard the usual chant of sunscreen, a good pair of walking shoes, a good hat, mosquito repellent, anti-malarial prophylactics, etc. These are certainly vital tools for your health and comfort.  Most camps will have sunscreen and mosquito repellant for you to use. 

Most wildlife accidents happen because people didn’t see the animal in time to take evasive action. In my view, a flashlight is the most important tool to take on safari and should be at the top of any “to take” listing.

Another commonly asked question I get is what is your favorite animal? My favorite animal to encounter on safari is the lion, which I think is on the top of everyone’s list. The reason is my natural fascination with a theory that man and the lion evolved at a similar time. I believe this could be why we all love lions. It’s in our DNA.

Although that doesn’t necessarily mean I’m always right… possibly my most embarrassing moment as a guide was an occasion when I positively identified a zebra that had been killed by our resident pride of lions. A friend was guiding another group and we were enthusiastically discussing the “zebra” that evening, which they’d also seen and identified as a “crocodile”. This brought about a big debate which ended with us all taking a drive only to find that indeed it was a crocodile……

The profession of guiding for me is the magic of meeting new people and taking them on a journey of discovery in a world that I love and to share my knowledge. As a naturalist, I hope to give further understanding of a world where every day this planet loses more and more natural habitat. One day, I hope to share my Africa with you first hand.”

We would like to take a moment to thank David Amyot for sharing his expertise over the past 4 weeks. He provided us with knowledge of Africa, what it takes to be a private guide and so much more. It is individuals like him that make our client’s dreams become reality and for that, we are eternally grateful!

If you would like to get a FREE copy of our special packing guide that we send to our clients email us at hoainfo@hillsofafrica.com

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