600 dollars for vaccinations, that’s what I spent in preparation for an upcoming trip to Tanzania. A pile. Still, it’s better than the alternative: getting a near fatal or certainly trip ruining illness. Now that the sticker shock has eased and I’ve got full use of my arm again, I’ve turned to gathering my belongings for an upcoming safari trip.
Here’s a round up of what’s in my bag.
A cotton sleep sack from Cocoon. I’m doing a camping trip; most of the time I’ll be sleeping in a tent. I’m packing my old down bag because it’s lightweight and warm, but I’ve added a sleep sack permeated with insect repellent. It’s good for warmer nights that don’t need a sleeping bag, the few hotels I’ll be in, and I’m all about not getting bitten. Speaking of which…
Serious DEET packed bug repellent. The travel clinic I use recommends Ultrathon from 3M. I’ve got some cream to pack and spray for my clothes — I’ll do that before I pack. My sprayed clothing will be protected for more washings than they’ll get on this trip. The cream is 34% DEET — that’s a lot of DEET, but it works, it really works. I used this same system for Southeast Asia and I did not get bitten once.
Packing cubes: I’m not usually a system packer, but I’d like to keep the dust out of my things just this once. The cubes I’m trying out are from Innate. (I’ve stuffed them inside the bag I reviewed here.) I’m hoping they’ll convert me into an organized packer, if nothing else, they’ll keep my clothes fairly clean, and whoa, is my luggage neatly organized. Sure, my things are crazy wrinkled, but whatever.
A cute sun protection cap. It’s tempting to go all pith helmet on this trip, but I’m a baseball cap wearing kind of girl. Mine comes from Sunday Afternoons. It’s vented, has a drawstring to hold it on in the wind, got 50 UPF (ultraviolet protection) in the fabric, and a little pocket on the inside for holding… um, your hotel card key? Your beer money and ID?It’s also got a split bill which means it packs down flat.A lightweight, mostly second hand wardrobe. There’s a reason you see travelers dressed in khaki and pale green colors. The biting bugs (it’s all about the biting bugs) like dark colors. Pale earth tones? They’re not so interested in those. I have long sleeved shirts — to keep the sun off — and very lightweight pants. The pants are from Ex Officio, I reviewed a few of their products here, but I’m also trying out their BugsAway line.
Running shoes and sandals. I’m always stumped by shoes when I pack. Luckily, there are a bunch of cute new mary-jane styles that come on sturdy hiking type soles nowadays; they’re good enough for dress up in most cases. On this trip, I’m not doing any huge hikes or anything that requires nice footwear. I’m looking at a running shoe/hiker hybrid from LOWA and a pair of Chaco sandals with Vibram soles. I don’t need anything else. Hmm, maybe flip-flops for the shower?
A windstop fleece jacket: Word has it that nights get cold in the bush and the mornings can be a chilly too. I may pack the pocket loaded Valkyrie from Triple Aught Design that I reviewed here, but it’s equally likely that I’ll pack the corporate branded by an out of business start up fleece and just leave it behind.
Still on my wish list? A pair of really good binoculars. New noise cancelling headphones; I’ve got 20 hours of flying each way and mine developed “issues” on my last long haul flight. A rain shell that packs down to almost nothing, just in case. My mom keeps trying to send me one of those vests with all the pockets, I think I’ll let her. A “Swahili for beginners” audio book. I need to pick up some sunscreen and some airplane snacks and all those last minute odds and ends that you end up stuffing in the outside pockets on your pack.
Have you been on safari? Anything you wish you’d packed but didn’t? Besides, you know, a much better camera lens and a past that allows for more luxurious travel in the present?
Photo: Selous River Camp by Willem vdh, Creative Commons/Flickr.