It is always difficult to know exactly what to bring but I would always recommend that guests have at least US$500.00 with them in small notes ( $1 , $5 and $10 ) Any more than that is at your own discretion when it comes to tipping, shopping. etc, bear in mind that nearly all expenses are covered in the price of your trip, Credit cards are also not always useable, except in the larger centres and big airports.
On most safaris you will be transferred between the various destinations in light aircraft which have strict baggage restrictions ( you cannot pay for excess luggage on the bush airstrip! ). They are also limited with space so soft canvas type bags are recommended. If you are going on to other destinations that require more elaborate clothing then in some cases a plan can be made to store this luggage and get it to you at the end of the safari. This should be pre- arranged.
This is at your own discretion but remember that in nearly all camps a laundry facility will be available so you don’t need to carry two weeks worth of clothes. Colours to avoid are white and any very bright colours. In general a light jacket for night time and early mornings will be necessary, 3 x long sleeved shirts, 2 x T shirt’s, 3 Trousers (zipped on legs is very convenient.) a broad brimmed hat, underwear, comfortable walking shoes and socks.
There are books written on this subject so for those that are experienced photographers there is little I can tell you except that you should be prepared with your equipment to guard against dust as many of the roads are very dusty, also bear in mind that when you are walking it can get uncomfortable carrying a big heavy lens around. Tripods also are not always very practical and in general a plan can be made if you need to steady your camera. For the less experienced there are some very good digital cameras available today but you should make sure that the optical zoom not the digital zoom is at least 6x or more or your camera will only really be suitable for scenery and people photographs. I personally use what is called a “Crossover Camera; I find it very versatile and good for most safari conditions.
Another subject that there is much to talk about. My contribution to this is that personally I use 8 x 32 binoculars and they work well for me in most conditions and I would always recommend you getting the best quality that you can and waterproof if possible, as cheap binoculars borrowed from a friend for the trip will not let you see what you could potentially be looking at.
<p> In camp and on my person I always have a first aid kit, however any personal medications that you need should be bought by yourself and bring enough for the trip as it is likely they will not be available. Prophylactics are essential and you should get medical advice on these before travelling. Essential also is a good sun cream and bug spray.</p>
Most safari camps and operators will insist that you have travel and health insurance prior to travel - what we recommend is that your health cover has you covered for the country you are travelling to and includes a remote evacuation cover. For the Travel Insurance we suggest you take this out shortly after booking your safari and buy the insurance that has a cancellation " for any reason " clause. Often a safari is booked a good many months ahead and you never know what might happen to you or your family in the time leading up to your safari. Often the deposits are non refundable and the closer you get to your safari travel date reduces any possibility of a refund for the safari. So if you do have a drama prior to your safari it is a relief to know that you will not be out that money as well. I think the saying of insuring what you can't afford to lose applies here.
This is something expected and relied on by the staff in all the safari camps and countries, we will send you specifics prior to travel as to what is relevant in that country and the currency to use. But as a rough guide, budget on approximately US$20 per guest per day, which is in general handed over at the end of your stay and distributed amongst all camp staff and some specifically for the guides. But please remember that you are not obligated to do this and is dependant on what you feel is the effort and level of service you have received.
Before you travel it’s a good idea to get some idea of the conditions to expect to help your packing decisions. We will also give advice on this when discussing your safari.
The weather can also effect which areas are possible to visit and potentially what the game viewing will be like, and with this, it can be a factor in the costs for the various camps depending on the time of year you would like to travel.