Wildlife. Captivating, prodigious, eternal wildlife. It draws you to Africa. But there’s one safari beast that may vex you more than any other.
We are, of course, talking about packing.
Let’s face it, nobody likes to pack, and packing for a safari seems particularly daunting. We understand. We’ve been there. And we here at Micato have tamed the packing beast.
We’ve experimented tirelessly with how to pack (Hint: rolling your clothes actually saves more space than folding) and we even equip all our guests with a safari bag for their smartly-rolled belongings. And of course, the Pinto family and the rest of the Micato team have extensively field-tested what to pack, resulting in the constantly evolving packing lists that we send to our guests.
Much of what we recommend in the way of clothing and supplies likely wouldn’t surprise you. But over the years we’ve learned that some items that may not seem obvious are ones we simply wouldn’t want to do without. Here are five of our top-secret essentials.
1. Convertible pants.
We know what you’re thinking. No way would you agree to be seen in public in trousers with zip-off legs. But convertible pants really are just the thing for a day on safari. Days in the bush often start on the chilly side, and you’ll be in full pants mode. But by noon you’ll zip down to shorts and will want to stay that way, during your game drive and through the late afternoon. As the sun sets and your thoughts turn to what cocktail you should have first during your sundowner, you’ll be zipping those legs back on again. Let’s be honest, no one’s going to mistake your convertibles for Prada, but you’ll find that several outfitters sell some perfectly practical and stylish pairs of these handy pants.
2. Neck cord for your sunglasses.
As with the convertible pants, you may not like the idea of being seen with a neck cord dangling from your glasses. But remember, while Micato safari vehicles have above-average suspension, the roads throughout the game parks can be bumpy at times, in which case, securing your favorite specs to your face is prudent. Just imagine you’re a lifeguard—then it’ll seem cool.
While gearing up for safari many of our guests tend to treat themselves to a new pair of walking shoes—or hiking boots, if they’re bound for one of our Rwanda gorilla treks. And of course with new shoes come the possibility of blisters. Even if you’re bringing along your favourite broken-in footwear, the bush may bring a bit of extra moisture that can find its way into your shoes. Soft moleskin—sold as patches or tape, and often self-adhesive—can be cut to size and applied to sensitive skin to keep developing blisters in check. Applying moleskin strategically to parts of your feet prone to chafing will also prevent blisters altogether.
4. Bathing suit.
The hippo on the African Splendour safari page and her swimming brethren can’t have all the fun. Pack a swimsuit, because as you’ll see from thumbing through our brochure, we go out of our way to arrange for our guests to stay at hotels, lodges and camps with spectacular bathing opportunities. Whether you’re lounging in the rock pool of a nearby mountain stream or taking a dip in your private plunge pool, you’ll be glad you’re prepared for a soak—and it’ll be all that much more pleasurable without aching feet. Aren’t you glad you brought along the moleskin?
5. Polaroid camera.
Our guests bring all manner of photographic equipment with them, from old-school to digital, but the one device that often isn’t top of mind is a Polaroid. When visiting the Micato-AmericaShare Harambee Community Centre (a highly recommended stop on all of our safaris), you’ll most likely find yourself swarmed by local children eager to meet a new friend. These children will delight in receiving these instant photos as keepsakes—photos of them enjoying the moment, as well as ones of you with your dashing zip-off pants and sunglasses neck cord.