No matter how many times you have travelled to Africa on safari, seeing it through the eyes of children is like seeing everything for the first time! Can you remember your first giraffe? Even for those of us who are regularly in the bush, showing children the wonders of wildlife is so rewarding.
Of course you have to pack as many suitcases as you have children and your own one too! Here is the suggested packing list for the months to come. I hope you find this helpful. Remember, mornings and nights are cold and there is nothing worse than grumpy children who have been woken up too early and who are now freezing on a game drive. Just as you pack for layering on and off, do the same for the kids.
The children will also be able to take up to a maximum of 20 kg each – remember that includes the weight of the bag. They can each have a back-pack for hand luggage where they can pack their electronic entertainment, books, cards, spare fleece, torch, etc.
For the morning drives or boating activities:
Light thermal vest (sleeveless or short sleeve or if they feel the cold, long sleeve)
Long sleeved t-shirts
Warm jacket that is wind-proof – once the vehicle starts moving the wind-chill factor kicks in
Jeans or similar long pants
Comfortable bush shoes (trainers or hiking boots are good)
Beanie or hat
For siesta time:
Shorts or light cargo pants or leggings (for the girls)
For afternoon tea and evening activities:
Here you just reverse the process from the morning activity. Starting light and layering up as the sun fades and the stars appear. Remember to take all your layers on the vehicle with you.
There is no need to change for dinner, it is perfectly acceptable to come straight from your activity and warm up around the fire before sitting down for dinner. However, if you want everyone showered and changed for dinner, put them in the next day’s clothes that they can just take off after dinner and put in a pile to pull on in their sleepy state when they are woken for the early morning drive or activity the next day.
Warm sleepwear – whatever they like.
You will pack the most in your bag, but for the kids, they need the following basics:
Toothbrush and toothpaste
Small wash cloth
Shampoo and conditioner (remember to decant into your travel containers)
Brush and comb
Clips and tie-bands for long hair
Sun cream (both face and body cream)
Hand cream/body lotion
DEET or anti-bug and mosquito spray
You probably will carry all of this in your medical bag, but just as a reminder for you, here is what you need to take in case one of them gets ill:
Anti-malaria medication (as prescribed by your health-care practitioner)
Vitamins (if the kids take them)
Prescribed medicines (have a copy of any ‘scripts’ in case you need to acquire more for any reason such as lost luggage or something similar)
Anti-nausea or diarrhea medication
Flu or cold remedy
A broad spectrum antibiotic (or homeopathic equivalent)
Anti-histamine cream for bites and tablets for any allergies
Antibiotic or antiseptic gel
Motion sickness pills if required for flying (or homeopathic equivalent)
If you are doing a lot of walking, bring muscle rub or anti-inflammatory cream
Remember to alert your hosts to any allergies the children may have at the start of your safari and keep any emergency medication easily available in the event that it must be taken immediately.
Binoculars (it is really better for each of the children to have their own set)
Head torch (so they can read at night)
Camera (this is a great way for the children to capture their safari, even if they take pictures of half a giraffe, it gets them totally involved. Get them to make a video while they are on safari too, it will keep them focused on the content and then give something to do during rest time).
Chargers and spare batteries
Electronic entertainment (remember, there is not likely to be Internet connectivity on safari so download games and other entertainment apps before travelling).
Luggage locks – use the combination locks to avoid worrying about keys
Copies of all passports and travel documents (including travel insurance)
All Wilderness Safaris camps do same-day laundry, so when you’re in camp for more than one night, put the clothes in for wash, that will help with the number of garments to pack. Remember your safari colours that make you blend in instead of stick out. Avoid white and anything camouflage or bright. Black is okay, so long as you are not walking. Keep it to khaki, deep greens, browns, tans, beige, blue and soft russet reds and you will be just perfect.
Would you like to learn more about planning an African safari for the whole family? Contact us.
Written by Marian Myers. Photographed by Mike Myers. This article has been reposted in partnership with Wilderness Safaris.