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Brew from Manhattan Beach asked

What non-essential items to bring on safari?

We are traveling to Tanzania for a 2 week safari with our extended family.  Our two kids are 5 and 7 and we are trying to determine what to pack for the family. For instance, binoculars?  One set to share, a pair for everyone?  

Any advice on items that may not be absolutely necessary, but will make our trip much better would be greatly appreciated.

Africa   Tanzania   Ngorongoro (Tanzania)

5 Answers
answered first by
Christian from Danville (California)

I traveled to Tanzania, Kenya and South Africa for a month...wet wipes, shammy (like the sham wow guy) , highly recommend a small digital HD video camera, not your phone. most importantly make sure all kids electronics, phones, ipads stay at home.

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Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Tanzania (attraction)
  2. Kenya (attraction)
  3. South Africa (attraction)
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answered by
Katie from Portland

I've been on safari in Tanzania, Kenya, Zimbabwe and Botswana. There are a few non-essentials that have come in extremely handy for each of these adventures:

  • Headlamp and/or miniature flashlight. The nights are very dark and even in luxury camps, there will be hours during which the electricity won't work. It's best to be prepared with your own source of light.
  • Journal. You'll want to capture the magic of your trip, the sensations of taking in stunning landscapes and viewing breathtaking wildlife, and even simple notes about what you've seen and where. You're going to be exposed to a wide array of animals and including amazing birdlife, it can be easy to forget what you've seen or what you took pictures of without some notes for future reference.
  • Wildlife book. Especially for the kids, a compact and lightweight book (don't forget those luggage weight restrictions) with pictures of the wildlife of Tanzania or East Africa can be very helpful. Again, especially with all the birds, a book with images can help complement the expertise and information your guide will provide.
  • Camera. Your cell phone camera will not do justice to what you're going to see and experience, so plan to take a DSLR or compact digital camera.
  • Binoculars. Your guide will probably have a pair in the vehicle that you could use, but you'll want a pair of your own, especially for a group. I'd say one pair for every two people would be great.

Stating the obvious, but don't forget to get your vaccinations and pack a miniature first aid kit. Take wet wipes and/or hand sanitizer as well. Most of all though, take your curiosity, spirit of exploration and a bit of patience for moments in which the wildlife may be elusive. Enjoy!

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answered by
Joachim from Mönchengladbach, Germany

Binoculars: Yes! Good camera: Yes! 

Depending on what style you travel (tent based vs. lodge based) there are of course different things to bring. Wet wipes and hand sanitizer are a good idea anyway.

A few thoughts about malaria are worth to be thought from my experience:

A good mosquito repellend with DEET is important and long shirts and pants+socks are good in the evening to protect against bites and cool nights.

I do not take malaria protection but I do carry a first aid medication to be taken if I do think I have malaria - ask at a local pharmacy, they are true experts.

A good mosquitonet with impregnation (see: ) is a good idea as sometimes the nets in the accomodations are not of good quality or broken or of poor shape and you touch the net from the inside and get bites anyway.

You can buy the very good Vestergaard mosquito net (WHO-Approved) and the first aid malaria medication at a local pharmacy. That is as common as aspirine and a flue to them. Any doctor in Tanzania will take care of you if you think you might have malaria better then at home because they know exactly what to do. 

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answered by
Darwin from Quezon City, Philippines

If you are camping, bring inflatable beds.

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answered by
Lisa from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

If possible, everyone should have their own binoculars. That will keep the kids from fighting over them. Also - check out - check your destination to see if any neighboring village schools have any needs or requests. Your lodge will collect them from you and get them into the right hands.

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