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How to Select an African Safari

Select an African Safari: Important Accommodations
Safaris are wonderful getaways, but the fun will stop in a hurry if you forget your sunscreen!
Safaris are wonderful getaways, but the fun will stop in a hurry if you forget your sunscreen!
Darrell Gulin/Getty Images

It'd be a real bummer to get all the way to your destination and realize you forgot something, wouldn't it? Here are some tips from the experts on key items to pack for your safari vacation:

  • Sturdy, fuss-free clothes and boots
  • A big hat to protect against the sun
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug repellant
  • A pair of flip-flops or slippers (in case your boots get wet or dirty -- don't underestimate the importance of clean, well-ventilated feet at the end of a long day)
  • A waterproof bag (also great for warding off dust)
  • Binoculars
  • A kikoy, or African sarong, which can be used for just about anything from a cover-up to a great pillow substitute [source: Hack].

When you're planning your trip, it's also important to be aware of extra expenses. Don't forget to factor in flight costs (usually between $1,000 and $2,000), gratuities and a night in a hotel in an African city before and after your safari to make travel easier. You'll also need a course of anti-malarial treatment; check to see if this is covered under your health insurance.

One key issue you should also take into account is safety. While you should by no means expect to become an evening news story during your trip, here are a few key precautions you'll be glad you took.

  • Stay healthy. Africa has some impressive diseases to go with its impressive wildlife, so get vaccinated against illnesses like diphtheria and yellow fever beforehand. A basic first aid kit that includes malaria medication is also a must-have [source: Magical Kenya].
  • Bring appropriate currency. While many establishments accept traveler's checks and credit cards, it never hurts to be prepared [source: Lonely Planet].
  • Don't be a target. Africa is generally safe for tourists, but you don't want to be among the unlucky few. In this arena, common sense is your friend: Dress simply and practically, steer clear of fat wallets and consider investing in a money belt or clip to keep beneath your clothing. Finally, pull out those acting chops: Even if you're lost, maintain your calm and confidence: Both animal and human predators gravitate toward easy prey [source: Lonely Planet].

Despite a few challenges, for many, an African safari is a truly life-changing experience. Explore our links and lots more information on the next page for great recommendations and tips on your safari vacation.