An African Safari – The Romance, the Wardrobe and Winning with #VenusOnTheGo.

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#VenusOnTheGo.Safari.

For me, talk of an African Safari conjures up dreamy images of Meryl Streep as Karen Blixen in the movie Out Of Africa.

Living and laughing through the challenges of early pioneering days in Kenya, made bearable only by her love for Denys Finch Hatton aka Robert Redford, great devotion to the continent and MOST adorable wardrobe.

What a seductive setting it portrays with lions roaring by night, the call of a jackal at dawn, treks into the wilderness with stays in mobile camps. Walking through the bush, rifle slung casually over the shoulder for protection, the thrill of the unknown, the anticipation of discovery, not knowing what nature will deliver next.

Truth is, as much as more fences have been erected since then with game kept under close confined protection, these wilderness experiences are still available, sans rifle, and should be sought out and cherished. I do believe that an African Safari remains one of the greatest gifts you can award yourself.

As a matter of interest, the term safari originates from the Arabic word safara, which means ‘a journey’. Having made it’s way to East Africa with early explorers, the word was adapted to the Swahili verb kusafiri which means ‘to travel’ and is said to have been introduced to the English language by the legendary Ernest Hemingway. Who himself loved Africa.

Today the very word speaks of romance and love for Africa, with its wide open plains and abundant game. One of 4×4 vehicles, competent guides and remote camps where you are invited to reconnect with nature, be humbled by the big skies and offered insight into the wild.

This romantic notion lives strongly in my mind, with Meryl’s wardrobe and those unbelievable cotton shirts, co-ordinated khakis and knee high boots never far from my mind as I pack for my trips to the bush.

I haven’t quite mastered her class, but I’ve learnt that a big floppy hat, healthy collection of interchangeable scarves and a little slip of a dress to make you feel beautiful on those warm summer evenings, goes a very long way.

As for the rest, here are some useful guidelines.

– Pack light and ideally in a soft bag, especially if your trip involves light aircraft transfers. Try to keep the weight of your main bag to 12-15km maximum. You don’t need as much as you think you do.

– Autumnal hues are best – beiges, browns, greens etc. It can get very chilly on the back of the safari vehicles and layers are a must.

– The safari experience is relaxed and all about reconnecting with nature, you can leave your best clothes and jewellry at home, replacing it with an open mind and heart.

For a 2-3 day safari you will need.

  • Sun block, sunglasses, wide brimmed hat, lip balm.
  • Blouses and shirts with long sleeves even in summer, they will protect you from the sun and from mosquitoes. A light cotton or linen works well.
  • Neutral colours and shades of blue, the rule is no bright, neon or white in the bush.
  • T-shirts, shorts or a light skirt. Cotton pants, jeans or safari trousers for evenings and cooler days. The days warm up and whatever time of year it is, you’ll want to be in something light and cool for around midday.
  • A fleece or sweater and a warm jacket for game drives. This applies all year round as you are likely to be in an open vehicle and the wind factor is real.
  • Good walking shoes or trainers, as walking trails are often on offer. Sandals or havaianas for around the lodge. You do not need heavy hiking boots unless your safari involves climbing an actual mountain.
  • A light, compact raincoat is a good idea for the summer.
  • A swimming costume as most camps and lodges will have a pool.
  • Binoculars and a camera are a must with lots of memory cards and even an external to backup your photos each day. You will need much more storage space than you anticipate.
  • Make sure that you don’t bring your best clothes if you are planning on doing a walking safari or spending time in a more rustic camp, they could get caught up on thorns, or damaged a little on a long stay.

Here are some of the the items I’d pack – my new selection of Country Road t-shirts, a collection of scarves from Poetry, my amazing Rare Earth Trainers, sunglasses from Avante Garde and my current favourite item, a Venus Snap in it’s cute holder that easily slips into my bag, because being on safari is no reason to be furry.

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General for most travel:

  • Passport, visas, airline tickets.
  • Yellow fever vaccination certificate if travelling to East Africa or Zambia. This needs to be obtained at least 10 days prior to travel. I always keep mine with my passport, in case.
  • Day pack or small carry on bag to put your camera in when you go on your on drives or for the walks.
  • Anti-malaria medication if required. Either way a good insect repellent.
  • Personal First Aid Kit including necessary prescription medicines
  • Travel tissues and Wet Ones for the drive.
  • A small flashlight or torch for the more rustic camps.
  • It’s a good idea to take a water bottle to refill, this prevents too many plastic bottles from being used.
  • It is important to have some cash on you for gratuities and to settle your bar bill. Not all camps and lodges have credit card machines.
  • Also your personal toiletries, ideally all environmentally friendly as you are in sensitive areas – and your Venus Snap to keep those legs looking smooth and good of course!

Most of all, an open heart, generous appreciation for nature and humble respect for the animals and the environment that you are in.

After all, an African safari is more than something you tick off your bucket list, it’s a privilege.

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While on a walking safari at a secluded Rhino sanctuary near the Masai Mara.

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Big floppy hats are a must, as is a scarf over your shoulders to keep the sun away.

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In the Masai Mara it is acceptable to wear red and these incredible traditional blankets are supplied to help keep you warm on the morning drives.

This post is part of a series sponsored by the #VenusOnTheGo competition.

Venus is giving away a shopping spree worth R20 000.00 at Topshop to a very lucky girl and all you have to do to stand a chance to win is:

  1. Buy one of their cute as can be Venus Snap razors, the compact design is incredible.
  2. Snap a flat lay image including your Venus Snap.
  3. Upload it to Instagram using #VenusOnTheGo
  4. Do take note that the competition closes on 15 January 2016.
  5. Visit GilletteSA on Facebook for the terms & conditions.

Read my previous post for more: #VenusOnTheGo – Also My Struggle With Packing.

That time I enjoyed the Pafuri Walking Trails. Into the Wild. Makuleke Concession safari.

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Dawn Jorgensen is The Incidental Tourist

The Incidental Tourist is a Personal Travel Blog of a conscious traveller with a deep love for Africa, its people and the environment.

Here I bring you narratives, stories, video and photographs from my travels around the globe, including accounts of gorilla trekking in Uganda, tree planting in Zambia and turtle rescue in Kenya, accommodation and restaurant reviews, as well as details of the conservation efforts that I support.

A self proclaimed earth advocate and beauty seeker, I invite you to join me here and share in my love of sustainable travel.

Dawn Jorgensen
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