African Safari Planning Checklist:
Accumulated Wisdom from many Safari Trips!

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This African Safari Planning checklist will help you to decide on what to take along on your African Safari and what to leave behind. I always find that I tend to take along to much stuff and then end up never using it. This immediately tells me that I should remove it from my checklist as it was probably just a "Nice to take along item". On the other hand, you cannot just leave something at home just because you did not use it, such as vehicle spares or recovery equipment. These are essential items to take along on an African Self Drive Safari.

You might not use it but believe me, if you get stuck and you do not have your high lift jack with you just because you did not use it on the last trip.....My Friend, you will discuss your decision in versions of French that nobody even knew existed!

So, it is just as important to decide on what to leave behind as it is to decide on what to take along. On an African Self Drive Safari you usually have to be self reliant for most part of the journey so you have to plan for all eventualities.

On the other hand you do not have to take all of your household contents along just in case you need it. You do not want to cart unnecessary weight around. Also, packing space is usually at a premium which usually results in some heated discussions between the family members as to what they consider important enough to take along!

For example: What do you Pack and what do you Leave Behind?

First Aid kit - Important. You might not use it but you cannot go without it.

Portable TV - Nice to have. You might enjoy having it around during the world cup final but it is not essential to take along. If you really must, you can always listen to the cup final on the car radio.

You get the picture. Plan carefully so that you do not take along unnecessary stuff but also that you don't leave essential stuff at home.

Your destination obviously plays a role. If you go on a self drive safari you will take along more stuff as opposed to going on a guided safari where you probably only need to take your clothes and personal stuff such as cameras and binoculars.

Below you will find a few African Safari Planning Checklists to help you start with your planning.

African Safari Planning Checklist:
Camping Equipment

This is the fun side of packing for an African Safari. This is where you can pack all the creature comforts to ease the roughing it in the wilderness, but be careful! It is very easy to go overboard!

  • Tent
  • Flysheet
  • Tent Pegs
  • Tent Poles
  • Guide Ropes
  • Ground Sheets
  • Porta Potti
  • Hammer
  • Axe
  • Gazebo
  • Spade
  • Insect Repellent
  • Catapult
  • Extra Ropes
  • Shade Cloth
  • Locks
  • Camping Chairs
  • Camping Table/s
  • Rubbish Bags
  • Washing Line
  • Washing Pegs
  • Water Purifier or Purifying Tablets
  • Water Container
  • Tent Canvas Repair Kit
  • Broom
  • Lights 12v (If you have a Caravan or a Trailer equipped witha 12v battery)
  • Spot Light
  • Torch
  • Extra Batteries for Torch
  • Spare Globes for Torch and Spotlight
  • Gas Lamps
  • Candles
  • Matches
  • Gas Bottles
  • Gas Bottle Extension
  • Gas Bottle Key
  • Gas Bottle Cooker Top
  • Gas Stove
  • Skottel Braai
  • Extra Mantles for Gas Lamp
  • Spare Jets for Gas Equipment
  • Stretchers
  • Sleeping Bags / Bedding
  • Inflatable Mattresses
  • Pump for Mattresses
  • Hot Water Bottles
  • Pillows
  • Mosquito Nets
  • Solar Shower
  • Shower Cubicle
  • Hand Mirror
  • Toilet Paper (White Gold!)
  • Camping Fridge
  • Cool Box

African Safari Planning Checklist:
The Camp Kitchen!

I love cooking, so this is one of my favorites! This will largely depend on the menu that you have decided on for your safari. Only take along utensils that you will use and try to pack utensils that will perform more than one function to save on space and weight.

For example, I always take a flat bottomed cast iron pot along. Ideal for cooking a stew or potjiekos as we call it, bacon and eggs in the morning or even to bake a bread. You do not need to take a pan, a pot and a bread pan. But then again, it is all up to you. I am sure you can think of a lot of things not included on this list. Enjoy!

A good idea is to invest in a picnic set that caters for either 4 or 6 people.

  • Pots
  • Pans
  • Braai Grid
  • Braai Tongs
  • Tripod
  • Knives
  • Forks
  • Spoons
  • Tea Spoons
  • Paring Knife
  • Bread Knife
  • Wooden Spoon
  • Serving Spoons
  • Glasses
  • Plates
  • Mugs
  • Tupperware Containers for Leftovers
  • Bottle Opener
  • Cork Puller
  • Can Opener
  • Dishcloths
  • Pot Scraper
  • Kettle
  • Firewood
  • Charcoal
  • Bread Plank
  • Casserole Dish
  • Egg Lifter
  • Tin Foil
  • Plastic Bags
  • Vegetable Peeler
  • Whisk
  • Knife sharpener
  • Gloves
  • Recipe Books
  • Serviettes
  • Trays
  • Dish Washing Stand
  • Dish Washing Liquid
  • Table Cloth
  • Flask
  • Water Container
  • Coffee Pot
  • Tea Pot
  • Sieve
  • Firelighters

African Safari Planning Checklist:
Emergency Spares and Tools

  • What is your destination?
  • What route are you following?
  • How far into the wilderness are you going?

These are all questions that needs answers and these answers will determine what spares and tools you need to take along. If you are taking the N1 from Cape Town to Johannesburg you probably need very little above taking along a spare wheel and a jack. However a trip into the Richtersveld or overlanding it through the Kruger National Park from Pafuri to Vilanculos in Mozambique will require you to be able to do your own emergency repairs if necessary.

Problem is, you never know what might break. A word to the wise. Do not undertake trips such as these on your own. Always go in a group of at least 2 or more vehicles. Preferably have someone along who has already done the trip.

Another good idea is to have your vehicle properly serviced before departing. If you are really going to go bush, replace everything that might possibly break during the safari and take the used parts along as spares.

  • Fan Belt
  • Oil Filter
  • Fuel Filters
  • Radiator Repair Kit
  • Exhaust Repair Kit
  • Air Filter
  • Globes
  • Fuses
  • O Rings
  • Pipe Clamps
  • Radiator Net
  • Spark Plugs
  • Water Pump
  • Wheel Bearings
  • Fan Belt Pulleys
  • Engine Oil
  • Gear Box Oil
  • Transfer Case Oil
  • Spare Radiator Cap
  • Windscreen Wiper Blades
  • Tire Repair Kit
  • Tire Levers
  • Spare Tires for Car and Trailer / Caravan
  • Tubes
  • Air Compressor
  • Grease
  • Fuel Pump
  • Extra 12v Battery
  • Electrical Wire
  • Air Pipes
  • Radiator Pipes
  • Distributor Cap
  • Coil
  • Shock Absorbers
  • Rotor
  • Points
  • Condenser
  • Engine Mountings
  • Brake Fluid
  • Distilled Water
  • Power Steering Fluid
  • Anti Freeze
  • Radiator Coolant

Toolkit consisting of at least:

  • Allen Keys
  • Hammer
  • Plug Spanner
  • Hack Saw
  • Pliers
  • Needle Nose Pliers
  • Side Cutters
  • Spanners Sizes 6 through to 24
  • Socket Set
  • Screwdrivers: Flat and Phillips
  • File
  • Shifting Spanner
  • Feeler Gauge
  • Funnel
  • Duct Tape
  • Insulation Tape
  • Wire
  • Super Glue
  • Pratleys Putty
  • Zip Ties
  • Q20 (Water Repellent)
  • Jumper Cables
  • Wheel Spanner
  • Jack
  • Emergency Triangles
  • Tyre Pressure Gauge

African Safari Planning Checklist:
Recovery Equipment

Once again, your destination and the route that you will be taking will determine what you need to take along.

Tarred roads all the way? No Problem. You do not need any recovery equipment.

Sandy tracks? Compressor, sand ladders etc.

Rocky terrain? High lift jack and tire repair equipment. You get the picture.

  • High Lift Jack
  • Plank to place High Lift Jack on
  • Tow Rope
  • Spade
  • Sand Ladders
  • Snatch Block
  • Winch
  • Kinetic Rope
  • D Shackles
  • Tree Protector
  • Air Compressor

African Safari Planning Checklist:
First Aid

A good First Aid kit is always a good idea. Speak to your doctor or your pharmacist who will be more than willing to suggest a good kit to take along. At least make sure that you pack the following:

  • Plasters
  • Bandages
  • Antihistamine Tablets and Salve
  • Broad Spectrum Antibiotic
  • Antiseptic Cream / Liquid
  • Painkillers
  • Sun Screen
  • Tweezers
  • Re- Hydration Treatment
  • Scissors
  • Eye Drops
  • Nose Drops
  • Anti inflammatory Cream and Pills

Medicine to treat :

  • Motion sickness
  • Sore throat
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Constipation
  • Malaria
  • Stomach Cramps
  • Nausea
  • Coughs
  • Heartburn
  • Constipation
  • Burns
  • Colds

And off course if you suffer from some chronic condition such as hypertension, do not forget your medication!

African Safari Planning Checklist:
Personal Stuff

Fun stuff again! Pack according to what your are going to be doing on your trip. A camera and binoculars is always handy. Do not leave home without them! Here are some pointers:

  • Camera
  • Binoculars
  • Fishing equipment
  • Diving Equipment
  • Bird Guide Books
  • Animal Guide Books
  • Tree Guide Books
  • Games
  • Playing Cards
  • Astronomy Guide Books
  • Snake and Reptile Guide Books
  • Music
  • Magazines

The African Safari Planning Checklists above are pointers as to what you may need on an African Safari. Add to them, remove from them. A checklist is never complete and they vary from safari to safari, from destination to destination. Have fun!

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