Safari Staple.

One Safari essential I have been happy to have with me on Safari for the past few years.

My Wind Jacket.

selfie_carhatt_jacketDid you know that during the cooler months it can be around 50s-60s during the early morning and evening times. Ngorongoro Crater can go down to 40s. The cooler months on Safari in Tanzania are usually from April/May to September/October.

It has been a life saver for those cold early morning game drives as well as the evening sundowners. Layering is so necessary on Safari. Even during the cold months of June, during the day, it can warm up hence having an easy zipper jacket to remove is quite convenient. Open vehicles add to the cold factor but oh so fun.

Keep it Nylon. I have a Carhartt jacket that I ordered from Zappos. It has worked well for me but there are so many options for you to consider.

Why I like a nylon wind-jacket?
– It folds into a small bundle. When opened, it does not wrinkle.
– It is very light weight but packs a warm punch. I only carried a carry-on during my last 10-day Safari in Feb/March 2015. Weight was important in my packing.
– Easy to clean. Your favorite drink spills during the bumpy ride, no worries, wipe it off.
– Acts as a rain coat. I was caught in a down pour during my June 2014 Safari in Serengeti. I was dry and so was my Canon T3i once tucked inside my jacket.

Do you have any favorite jacket that would work for your Safari?

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Get in touch via email – Safari@JourneyToAfrica.com
Call us at 1.877.558.6288 or 713.592.6228.

Together, we can plan your Safari to Tanzania for the memory books. Life worth Exploring. ™

 

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Safari documents + Travel Insurance

Here is an incident I am embarrassed to admit. I have advised clients on this matter after all.

I was checking into  Zanzibar Airport coming back to Arusha after a great time in Stone Town and the beach of Nungwi with my husband and the kids. At the check-in counter, I could not find my paper ticket for my flight back. This was not the little Safari airstrip where guides take care of you. This was the International Airport. I frantically searched all the pockets of my backpack. No luck. Lucky for me, I was going back to Arusha [and not getting on board an international flight], the Regional Airline office was near by and they printed a ticket for me.

traveldocs Lesson learnt. Always keep your documents in one bag.

This means always carry with you at all times your :
– Passport. A client had given me a copy of her passport and when they were in South Africa, their bag was stolen. I was glad I could help by emailing them their passport copy.
– Paper e-tickets. Print your International Airline tickets before you leave. Don’t depend on your phone.
– Money. Keep $100 per person for the visa should you be getting that at the airport. Then have some for tips, drinks and shopping. We have guidelines on our Traveling Tips.
– Vaccination paperwork should you be coming from another African Country

Note here:
When you are on Safari, your local flights ticket on the Safari route from say Manyara to Serengeti and Serengeti back to Kilimanjaro will be with your Safari guide in Tanzania. The airstrips have you on the flight manifest and you don’t need a ticket printout. If you are flying to a location where our guides are not with you, we will have a tickets for you so you don’t fall into the predicament I was in.

We also highly recommend getting Travel Insurance. I know you have heard of this and it is another cost to add to your Safari but it is so necessary. I always get it. My thinking is what if I get hurt and I need to be evacuated back to the US. I will need all the help possible. From getting a seat on a flight to financial assistance.

We offer via AIG / Travel Guard. You have lots of choices at different price level. If anything, get the basic plan so you can have some protection on your Safari. Life happens! Be prepared.

Twende Safari – let’s go Safari.

logoLife worth Exploring! ™
Make memories on your Journey To Africa Safari.

Get in touch //
Email – Safari@JourneyToAfrica.com
Toll Free within US – 1.877.558.6288
Outside of US – 1.713.592.6228
Form – Request Information

My camera gear on Safari

My Safari camera bag is getting prepped. Everytime I head out on my Safari, the what camera and lens to take itch starts. When you follow some awesome photographers you can’t help but want to come back with those amazing pictures. Those captures where you can see every lion whisker or see the feathers on a flying bird crystal clearly. I aspire to be like them.

But I have to remember that is their passion. Their job. They have high-end camera equipments and are prepared to carry the heavy weight lenses in special bags. They may sell those pictures or publish articles. Or maybe they just really love photography and the camera and lens is part of the enjoyment. Some of my professional photographer clients have bought two seats to accommodate their camera gear.

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70-300 mm on Safari in Serengeti

I am a hobbyist photographer. I shoot mostly in auto and play a bit with the custom settings. I love good pictures but the weight of the lens and length size is a factor. I am going to suggest what I am taking on my upcoming Safari.

Another thing that I have learnt in the many years of going on a Safari. Rent. Camera equipment is expensive. The only time I get the itch to get new lens or camera is when I am heading out for a Safari. I have found a local Houston renter called the Photo Rental Source that I used last time and am going to do so again. They ship around the US. Some other reputable dealers are BorrowLenses and Lens Rental.

In my camera bag, which is my bag-pack with a camera insert, I am going to carry ::
– My old model Canon T3i.  I would like to stick with my body or I may rent the 60D.
– I really enjoyed using the 70 – 300 mm f4-5.6 L IS on my last Safari and I am sticking with the lens. I liked the photographs I got with this camera. The other option I was considering is the 100 – 400 mm f4-5.6 L but I am going to be doing some walking in Ruaha and Selous and this lens is a heavy. I hope I don’t regret it since I am starting to like birding and this is a birder favorite. I know most pros like prime lens. Love what they get with those large lens.
– For taking pictures of the lodges that I need to review and when I did my walking in Serengeti, I enjoyed using the 24-105 mm f4 IS. It was easy on my back for the whole day walking. I know pros go between this and the 24-70 mm f2.8.
– My Canon Powershot p95 was a good little one for tight squeezes like when I was co-piloting.
– And the iphone 5s – always handy.

My accessories ::
– Camera cleaning kits. A good cleanup end of the day is a good idea.
– Battery charger.
– Converter for the prongs. Most of the chargers are 110-240 V but the prongs vary.
– 2-3 batteries. Our vehicles have charging stations which makes it easy to always have a spare ready.  Evenings at the lodges are also a good time to recharge.
– 2 -3 memory cards. Adjust size and quantity depending on your length of Safari and how much you like to take. Normally you average 400-600 per day. Make sure you get a fast speed card. Nothing more frustration then taking an action shot and your card has to ‘think’.

That should be it. I hope this gives you a starting guideline on camera and lens gear for your Safari with Journey To Africa. Happiness is being on Safari.

I can’t wait to share pictures on the blog from my upcoming Safari.

Life worth Elogoxploring. ™
Make memories on your Journey To Africa Safari.

Get in Touch //
Email us – Safari@JourneyToAfrica.com
Toll Free – 1.877.558.6288
Outside of US – 1.713.592.6228
Fill out a simple form – Request Information

What to pack on your Safari?

The excitement of my Safari is mounting.  The say that the anticipation phase of a trip is just as exciting as the actual adventure. I agree.

fireplaceI can’t wait to sit by the fire-place in the evening enjoying the almost full moon and stars with Paul or my client Sally and go over our day.

It does get cooler during the evenings even if the day is hot. A fleece or sweater is a good idea. A more heavy one is needed during the cold months.  Last time in June, it was quite chilly during the day time so I had long pants. Paul emailed to say it will be ‘hot and beautiful in Natron’. I plan on taking shorts on this Safari. There will be lots of walking on this Safari. Closed toe shoes for sure.

I am trying to keep it to a carry-on as I will be doing a lot of local flying. I am restricted to 33 lbs of weight plus my weight limit on KLM is 26 lbs for carry-on. I am taking a soft bag [they need to squeeze bags sometimes in the luggage compartment in the small flying taxis] that I have used for years and don’t worry when it comes with extra scratches or dust.

Clothing items I plan on taking on this Safari.
– A warm sweater or fleece for evening. I love this fleece cardigan from Nordstrom.
– 2 pants and 2 shirts for the evenings time that will stay clean. Mix and match is the way to go. Ladies, sneak in a light necklace for instant glam.
– Scarfs. I have one for evenings and one light one for day time. The vehicles tend to be dusty so keeping them separate is a good idea. The scarf can be used as a mask again dust, protecting your neck from the sun and those times you need a wipe.  Putting on a clean one in the evening feels good and instantly dresses you up.
– 2 shorts and 2 hiking pants with 3-4 t-shirts for the day time.
– My closed-toe shoes. I used privo clarks to walk in Serengeti for a whole day and my feet were happy. I may just wear this on the plane as well.
–  Sandals. I have my Birkenstock which I like. A good idea to pack for the comfort in your tent or even on a game drive where there is no walking.
– Wind-jacket. Highly recommend this especially since a lot of the vehicles on Safari are open. The morning and evening wind does get chilly. And when in Serengeti, there was the unexpected rain. I was prepared.
– Sun hat of course.
– Undergarments preferable quick dry ones so you can wash overnight. In most of the lodges, they will provide soap to wash but taking a small laundry bar may be a good idea. This is a good brand as it is environment friendly.

One thing to note is that most lodges we recommend have laundry included or there is a nominal fee for laundry. Take advantage of this service.

Guys, there are a few modification you would need to make but you get the idea of what is necessary.

Personal items:
– Hand wipes. For those times when you have to eat lunch after your game drive and you need to wipe off the dust. Dispose them off properly in the camp.
– I usually take face wipes. Saves on liquid worry at the airport as well as a water savers.
– Shampoo + conditioner travel size. Though I have to say, I used the lodge provided shampoo + conditioner the past couple of Safaris and my hair and I survived. I may skip this again.
– SPF 50+ is a must on Safari.
– Hat.  We do give you a Journey To Africa baseball cap on arrival.
– Flash light. In the middle of the night, should you need to go to the enclosed rest room, this may come in handy as most tented lodges turn off lights after a certain time.
– Mosquito repellant wipes. I got this tip from Susan of the Insatiable Traveler.
– Ladies, umhh, I have used these pee directors and can vouch for them. Enough said.
– Medical first-aid kit. Take your prescriptions as carry-on. A must!! Then you have band-aid, neosporin, cortisone cream, immodium [you never know], Advil or Tylenol. This is just a sample.
– Contact wearers, there is dust on Safari. But, I prefer my contacts over recommended glasses. What to do? I always wear my big sunglasses. They usually help. But I always have my glasses as back-up. I take extra contacts in case I need to put on a fresh pair mid-day. Remember to clean your hands first.
– For those who need a little make-up to feel put together, go ahead, take a small pouch. If you feel good, you enjoy more. Keep strong perfumes/colognes at home. An insect magnet.

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My trusty hat and wind jacket

And then if you forget anything, you can always buy in Tanzania in the towns before you head on Safari [except prescriptions please], re-wear as no one is really looking or ask the lodges if they can help.

The most important packing tip – your sense of adventure! 

Camera gear next.
Looking at binoculars as well. I always use the guides but this time I am thinking I need to get one of my own especially since I am going with Paul who is an avid birder. I don’t think he will be willing to share with me.

Life worth Elogoxploring. ™
Make memories on your Journey To Africa Safari.

Get in Touch //
Email us – Safari@JourneyToAfrica.com
Toll Free – 1.877.558.6288
Outside of US – 1.713.592.6228
Fill out a simple form – Request Information

Travel Insurance

A friend in the industry recently was recalling an incident when her phone was stolen from her hand in Dar-Es-Salaam, the capital city of Tanzania. Things happen even at home but become cumbersome when it is not on your own turf.

When clients head to Safari, we always recommend getting travel insurance.  We took our own advise and purchased our travel insurance from our provider Travel Guard.

Some of the reasons why our clients have been glad they had travel insurance.

  • Jann F was scheduled to leave in two days when she had an emergency appendix operation. The recovery was going to take a week and if they did end up going to Tanzania [accounting the international flight penalty and fare change], they would have missed most of the Safari with their friends.  Luckily, they had travel insurance with Travel Guard and her and Bernie, her last husband, managed to enjoy the same Safari the following year with some other friends.
  • US ambassador Thomas Pickering was all set to head on Safari when his daughter broke her arm right before her Safari. She could not join them  and had to cancel her Safari. Refund was provided by Travel Guard.
  • You can not climb Mt. Kilimanjaro with a broken leg. Our client Debbie G was in Amsterdam ready to board her flight to Kilimanjaro Airport when she fell in at Schipol airport and broke her leg.  She was devastated she could not join her friends for the climb. She had to fly back to the US.  Travel Guard reimbursed the extra cost of the flight from Amsterdam to US and refunded her Safari.

These occurrence are not common – thankfully – but they did and do happen. Losing the Safari + international flight money would have added more injury to the already hurt wound.

And then there are those clients that don’t let a cast stop them from enjoying a ‘limping’ Safari. Darrell and Drew Howton enjoyed their 2nd Safari with Journey To Africa in Katavi and Mahale + Lake Natron and Southern Serengeti with professional guide Paul Oliver.

Darrell enjoying Katavi with a cast on his leg

A broken leg did not stop Darrell from enjoying Katavi