- Book months ahead if you're travelling here during high season, especially during Christmas and European summer holidays.
- If driving, fill up with fuel at every available opportunity – you never quite know when supplies will run out, and off-road driving uses up much more fuel than you might think.
- Distances can be long – plan your trip to see a few places well instead of trying to see everything and ending up spending all your trip driving.
- Wildlife seasons are quite specific and vary significantly across the region.
- In the main safari areas, book your luxury lodge, tented camp, or your self-drive campsite, many months in advance for peak periods.
- Book months ahead also for your 4WD rental vehicle in Southern Africa.
- At many luxury lodges or tented camps, laundry is usually included, so no need for a really full suitcase.
What to Take
- Binoculars and a field guide
- Mosquito repellent, net and malaria medicine
- Neutral-coloured clothing for safari
- Small beanbag for steadying camera
- Torch (flashlight)
- Wind- and waterproof jacket
- Yellow-fever vaccination certificate
- Spare camera batteries and memory cards
- Swiss Army knife
- Photocopies of important documents
- Water purifier
Lonely Planet (www.lonelyplanet.com/africa) Destination information, hotel bookings, traveller forum and more.
Safari Bookings (www.safaribookings.com) Fantastic resource for booking your safari, with expert and traveller reviews.
Expert Africa (www.expertafrica.com) A tour operator with extensive online coverage of the region.
Travel Africa (www.travelafricamag.com) Features articles on every corner of the continent and a useful 'safari planner'.
Africa Geographic (www.africageographic.com) Nature-focused Africa online mag with good wildlife and birdwatching info.
BBC News (www.bbcnews.com/africa) Good for up-to-the-minute news from Africa.
- Ensure your passport is valid for at least six months and has plenty of free pages for stamp-happy officials.
- Inform your debit-/credit-card company that you’re heading away.
- Arrange for travel insurance.
- Leave time for researching visas and making visa applications.
- Arrange vaccinations well before departure.
- Ensure you have a yellow-fever certificate.
What to Wear
Africans generally expect visitors to dress neatly and respectfully, so loose-fitting, light casual wear is the recommended minimum; avoid dirty, torn or overly revealing clothes. At least one nice set of clothes (eg a button-up shirt for men) or two is a good idea for nicer restaurants and hotels. Out in the bush, light neutral tones are recommended. In rural and/or predominantly Muslim areas, clothes that cover most exposed skin are recommended; a scarf of some description is worth carrying by women so that you can cover your head when visiting mosques; it can also be useful for keeping wind-blown sand at bay in drier areas.