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So you're Going On Safari.....What To Pack!

As you guys know, we just returned from an incredible two week trip to South Africa & Swaziland. Now this particular trip wasn't one, two week long safari-but it had several game drives worked into our itinerary at the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve and the world famous Kruger National Park, as well as our privately booked game drive through the Lion & Safari Park (for more info on that one, check out this post HERE!).

We both felt a bit unprepared as far as what to pack for this trip, since we couldn't find a really good source with info for the time that we were going. Our trip was in September 2016-during the "dry season", and right on the border of Winter / Spring in the southern hemisphere. And we both definitely over packed, and ended up ditching stuff along the way as a result. Hopefully this gives you a good idea of what to expect, and the essentials to pack.

First things first...you need to pack for COMFORT! These are usually long days, with fluctuating temperatures throughout the day. Our Kruger National Park game drive was about eight and a half hours long. When we left at about 6am that morning, it was absolutely FREEZING. Prepare yourself for chilly mornings, and warmer afternoons. Another thing to keep in mind is that you'll be in open air vehicles. Even in the afternoon, I got a bit chilly at times from nothing other than driving with the wind. Some game reserves or companies will provide you with blankets, others will not. I recommend coming prepared as if they are not.

Somewhere, in our pre-trip paperwork, they did indeed recommend dressing in tans and khakis for our own comfort. In the end, everyone from our group (and other groups that we saw) wore a mix of whatever they wanted, and nobody got hurt.

The key to deciding what to pack is layers, layers, layers! You may start out shivering in the morning, and be sweating before you break for lunch.

For starters, I purchased a cheap, $20 jacket from Old Navy for this trip. It had lots of pockets, was lightweight, and tied at the waist. And it wasn't just amazing for safari days-I wore this jacket throughout the entire trip. And the best news is Old Navy almost always has something similar in stock throughout the year.


And now for tops. I wanted something with long sleeves that rolled up easily, could be layered easily, and was lightweight. My mind went immediately to my favorite tunics from Modcloth and I ordered two more for our game drive days in natural colors. They're called the "Pam Breeze-ly Tunics", and I've had a few of them over the years. For this trip, I added one in olive, and one in white to my collection. I also packed my black one as well. The sleeves roll up and stay put with a handy button, and they're lightweight to the point where they're almost but not quite sheer. Perfect for throwing over the top of a tank top, and boom! Layered and ready to go. Stick to lighter, neutral colors. Black absorbs the heat, and you'll regret it once the afternoon heat hits you.

At our lunch break around noon time. We had went from shivering to OMG it's a bit warm out. Time to ditch the jacket and blanket and roll up the sleeves! Shirt is the Pam Breeze-ly Tunic from Modcloth in Olive. Shorts are Old Navy.
  Vanessa opted to go for another layered, comfortable option in the form of Columbia button down shirts, which she layered over tank tops as well. They have lots of options to choose from. You can usually find great deals on them at Kohls, or even on eBay.

 I'll confess....a big part of this post was just to post this video of her doing her dance on the morning of our game drive at Kruger. "What? This is going on the blog?" Continues to dance......this is why we're friends. Fucks given=ZERO.

As for bottoms, that all depends on the time of year and your personal preference. Since we were there during the "dry season", that equated out to a low mosquito population. We both opted for nice, lightweight, comfy shorts. We grabbed a few cheap pairs from Old Navy for this trip. If we had been there during the "wet season", we probably would have opted for a pair of lightweight linen pants instead-which you can almost always buy at Old Navy as well for under $20. You're stuck in these clothes all day-think comfort!

When it comes to shoes-COMFORT! You don't get out during these drives and chase the animals-you're sitting in your vehicle except when you break for lunch. There's no need to go crazy and buy expensive hiking boots. A comfy pair of sneakers or flats work awesome. You have to climb and pull yourself up into and out of these safari cars. Please don't be that fucking idiot who wears heels. Not only will you look like a complete dumbass, you'll be providing the entertainment while we all watch and laugh at you attempt to get in and out over and over again. I wore my Toms a lot, and Vanessa opted for a cheap pair of memory foam flats. Both were excellent choices.

Vanessa opted in for a headband to keep her hair back and out of her face, which is a solid choice because it gets WINDY in those open vehicles. I opted for a hat to help keep the sun out of my eyes, which can get intense at midday. No matter which you choose, don't forget your sunglasses-preferably polarized. That sun can be brutal!

 The reserves that we stopped at all had places to grab a bite to eat, as well as rest rooms. Unless you're hiring a private vehicle, you usually stop at about noon time-prime lunch time. It was crowded during the off-season, and I can only imagine it during peak. We packed some granola bars with us to be on the safe side. We also both purchased water bottles that keep your drinks hot or cold for 12 hours for this trip. They're amazing, and worth every dime. We'd refrigerate bottled water the night before and fill them in the morning before heading out. And we still had ice cold, clean water by the time we got back to the hotel.

Also worth tossing in your bag is a bottle of bug spray. I don't think we saw a single mosquito, but better too be safe than sorry. You'll definitely need it during the "wet season". It's also recommended that you look into the anti-malaria tablets with your doctor as well.

Hopefully this was helpful, and gives you a good idea of what to expect! I'll leave you with this handy dandy link that gives you average temperatures for Kruger throughout the year, as well as a checklist summary.

Average temperatures for Kruger National Park: HERE!

Packing checklist:
  • One lightweight shirt that you can layer (preferably with sleeves that roll) per game drive day
  • One pair of comfy shorts or lightweight linen pants per game drive day
  • One tank top to layer under your shirt per game drive day
  • One lightweight jacket
  • One pair of comfy, flat shoes or sneakers
  • Sunglasses (polarized if possible)
  • Hat or headband to keep your hair in check
  • Bug spray
  • Granola bars or snacks
  • Reusable, insulated water bottle
  • Small amount of cash for shopping or lunch breaks
  • A bag to stash your stuff in (a book bag or a small, reusable folding shopping bag worked perfectly!)
  • Camera with a large capacity memory card 

Check back soon-I have SO many more ports left on this trip!

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