Packing for Safari: what to wear
WE’VE all avoided this moment at some point in our life. Packing is not for everyone and it’s the time when we learn about the limits of our patience and organizational skills. So unless you’re Marie Kondo or an extreme Virgo, perfectly folded clothes lying neatly in the luggage might only be your goal but is not your reality.
Below are a few recommendations for those who don’t know what to pack for their safari adventure in Namibia. Here you’ll find general guidelines and tips from a traveller’s perspective during her trip to our beautiful country.
Shelter from the sun
You will be outdoors most of the time and the African sun doesn’t have any mercy for those who come unprepared. So please put on enough sunscreen before heading out and reapply when necessary. There are several hat options and a light scarf not only protects you from the strong rays but also acts as a shield from the dusty winds. For those who want to glam up the outfit, a pashmina or sarong is an option. Sunglasses are a must as the sun’s reflection on the dry land and sand can be quite intense.
From my experience, I recommend packing a pair of comfortable closed-toe shoes and a pair of flip flops (plakkies). This way, you will always have an option for all weather conditions. Temperatures can change drastically depending on which time of the year you visit Namibia. So for the cold mornings and evenings you can snuggle your feet in your warm socks and closed shoes. The plakkies will come in handy in the hot afternoons, when the heat is so unbearable that even your toes need a breather. For the ladies who insist on bringing heels, choose an ankle boot with a small comfortable heel. Your feet and your back will thank you later.
Layering like a pro
During the dry season in Namibia (May to October) it can get quite cold in the evenings and mornings and moderate to warm during the day. So always check the weather forecast before travelling. If you’re visiting during the colder months, make sure to pack a warm winter jacket as temperatures can be freezing in the desert area. That means that you will need gloves, a thick scarf, a beanie or something warm for your head and socks.
It’s always good to layer up so you can start taking them off as the day progresses. For instance, you can always wear a t-shirt, then a long-sleeved shirt on top, add a sweater or jumper if you can’t handle the cold at all and then your winter jacket or windproof jacket. Same goes on the bottom, you can always switch from trousers to shorts. I would also recommend bringing more t-shirts or whatever item you will be wearing as the bottom layer. The top layers are mostly for when you start feeling cold.
Unfortunately I only rely on a cell phone to take photos so I would not be able to advise what equipment you would need. But what I can tell you is that having a camera is always a better option on safari as the different lenses allow for a much better quality when you zoom in. Keep in mind that you are driving through a national park and the animals roam free so they are not always at close range. Another trick is to bring a pair of binoculars (it acts as the zoom) and take a photo with your cell phone through the lens. Drones are not allowed in the national parks so to avoid hassle leave them in your hotel room. But if you’re travelling with one you must report it to the park guards at the entrance gate. They will inspect and document it so you have to comply with all the inquiries they have.
Please remember to pack all necessary documents and medications. Know where you’re staying as you will be asked to fill in the address on the arrival immigration form. It is also useful to travel with a small first aid kit for emergencies. Mosquito repellent is a must during the warmer season, especially if you’re O+ blood type and are a natural magnet for them.
Namibia is a very dry country so make sure you have enough moisturiser! Some people get a nosebleed, that’s how dry the weather is. I usually bring a jar of coconut oil and plenty of lip balm. Last but not least, stay hydrated! Drink lots of water and always carry a water bottle with you. Create memories, be amazed and have a great time in Namibia!
* About the author – I’m Dani, a Chinese-Brazilian who is retiring her sea legs and has an obsession with Namibia. I love camping and I’m trying to make the most of this journey we call life.