African sun is merciless! Oops…all sun is merciless these days. Your skin, your hair, your eyes will all thank you for a little forward planning.
Thanks to early training (M’s), various emergency supplies, along with the ubiquitous tool kit and First Aid box, always find their way into our vehicles. Sometimes, when plans change, essential stuff in our “surprise” bag allows us to seize the day.
The non-negotiable essential is a good sunblock – even on a grey day, you can still burn and some of us burn quicker than others. Even before we were across the Crocodile River, we’d both used lots of Nivea Moisturising Sun Lotion 50+. Big plus; it’s not too strong smelling and it works for both our skin types. So keep some of whatever sunblock is your best, in the bag. Along with strong sunshine, the resultant glare makes game spotting difficult and leads to cataracts and wrinkles, so sunglasses are very important. A cap or sunhat helps with both problems too.
A word about smells here: It’s well known that it’s not a good idea to smell too delicious while communing with nature. Most wild animals will have smelled you long before they see you anyway; I mean, we smell like people! They will either run away (not good) or check to see if you look edible (also not good) or feel threatened and decide to attack (even worse)! Far better if they don’t even know you’re there. Products for sensitive skin are usually low on the added fragrance and an unscented deodorant won’t clash with that expensive bottle of Eau de Pricey. Leave your purse spray in your bag and the dust, heat, humidity etc. will have you smelling like a paid-up member of the socks-and-sandals brigade before long. That’s when a container of cooling, soothing (unscented) hand wipes come in very welcome and a spritz of natural pure water is total bliss. Even viewing nature from a vehicle, it’s wise to be inoffensive!
|Life at the Waterhole|
Our “Surprise” Bag essentials:
Hand and body cream/lotion
Empty plastic spray bottle (fill from the bottle of mineral water you should be drinking)
Caps (or sunhats)
Hand wipes (low or no scent)
Bug repellent spray
A clean T shirt (for each person)
Change of underwear (for each person)
Toothbrush and toothpaste
T(oilet) Paper (flattened roll)
This is only what works for us. Your essentials will, no doubt, be different. We always travel with laptop, camera, our two cell (mobile) phones, car chargers and our sunglasses anyway. And then we have the aforementioned First Aid box and tool kit and even sometimes our picnic kit (wine opener, salt, pepper grinder, glasses, bush plates, knives and forks, tea towels (dish cloths). All this stuff packs up really small and fits away in available nooks and crannies… And this is not intended to be a comprehensive list of everything you may need for a safari: Just a few supplies to make life more pleasant when civilization is not all that far away...
*Thanks to © Jenny Rollo for the Meerkat photo.