A safari veteran’s guide to light travelling

Saturday October 6 2018

Safari

Travel is about you discovering things and the way to do that is by travelling light. Leave unnecessary baggage home, including emotions that weigh you down. PHOTO | NMG 

By RUPI MANGAT
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I live to travel and have learned to make my life simple when I’m on safari because the last thing I want is to be bogged down by heavy luggage.

My luggage is always standard.

Vanity case

It’s a small purse that fits in the palm of my hand. It carries a kohl stick (a pencil black eyeliner), a lipstick, eye drops and lip balm.

Johnson’s Baby Cream, non-fragrant

It’s my top-to-toe cream in a jar. The non-fragrance is to keep the bees away. I once got stung all over my body and since then I’ve been fragrance-free. I keep my skin hydrated by drinking plenty of water, I keep it moisturised and I eat well.

Khanga (cotton wrapper)

I won’t step out of the house without this fabulous piece of cloth. It can go from a sarong to a scarf to a swimsuit in minutes. On safari, mine also becomes a towel because it dries fast.

A black handbag

It fits my essentials from notebook, vanity case, sun glasses, torch to tissues and a sanitiser. With silver chain straps, it adds glamour even though it’s dirt cheap. I don’t want to be worrying over expensive, branded stuff as I travel in remote places.

Footwear
I always wear Bata brand brown flip-flops because they go with the safari vibe. I always have a pedicure before and after so my feet look reasonably cared for. A pair of Bata old school lace free sneakers because they are easy to hike in and to slip on and off. You want footwear that you can cross rivers in without getting too wet, and during the day to keep your feet cool and fresh.

Safari wear

Cotton dresses, shorts and T-shirts that fit in a carry-on. Also a swimsuit. But it pays to wear good, dark underwear that can double up as a bikini just in case you find a great pool, river or lake to dip in. Of course, you must never jump into any without a local telling you it’s safe. Underwater currents, hippos and crocodiles are some of the things you have to look out for.

Jacket or cardigan

To keep warm on chilly mornings and evenings. The African wild can also be tempestuous.

A Swiss army knife

Always a good idea for its multifunctional use. Some come with a fork, knife and spoon.

Water bottle

Get one and keep it filled. You don’t want to faint from dehydration. For the car, I have a five or sometimes 10-litre bottle of water from where I refill my bottle. Remember, the planet’s not a dustbin. The more you throw out, the more the planet fills with rubbish.

A First Aid kit

An antiseptic cream and/or powder and a Band-Aid box. Insect repellent is always useful. Get an Amref Flying Doctor membership for emergency evacuation.

Travel is about you discovering things and the way to do that is by travelling light. Leave unnecessary baggage home, including emotions that weigh you down.