Going on Safari in Africa
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Going on Safari in Africa

Prepare for break down on African safari. Easy tips and tools they might not tell you in your tourist guide.

It's a bit mysterious, the dark continent. How will you know how to survive? Here's a quick glance at some simple tips to apply and tools to have on hand at all times.

When traveling through remote parts of Africa, you have to be prepared for the unexpected. A simple day trip can turn into a crisis very quickly. You must be prepared to spend more time than you expect; sort of like sitting in a big traffic jam! You need to consider protection from sun, rain, wind, dirt, hunger, and boredom.

The sun can burn your skin and harm your eyes. Too much squinting into bright light can damage your vision and even cause headaches. Excess sun exposure can burn, irritate and dry out your skin. Wear your daily sunblock with minimum of 30 spf protection. Make sure you pack a light layer to wear over your arms, legs, and head. This can be a light weight jacket, and light weight work out pants or khakis. You should always travel with a hat, preferably with a visor to shield your eyes. Sunglasses are a must. Bring the kind that has polarized lenses so you can still see the road if you are facing the large western African sun!

Rains can be heavy, prolonged, and unexpected! Be prepared with a waterproof layer should you be found outside exposed to the elements. Staying dry is very important. If you and your clothes get soaked through, you might be wet for a while. Your body will have difficulty staying warm and you'll be prone to getting sick much easier. Don't forget your rainboots! Hopefully you won't have to walk in the rain, but if you do, you'll be thankful for these! The rains can also cause flash floods, which could damage or strand your vehicle. Make sure your 4x4 is outfitted with a snorkel to prevent engine flooding when driving through deep rivers. Prior to the floods, beware of soft dirt roads. A vehicle could easily slide around or sink in the mud leaving you with a few tons of vehicle to dig out! Be sure to drive on high ground, or at least on road that looks packed down and able to handle the weight.

The winds of Africa can be heard almost 2 minutes in advance of feeling them! They can be very strong and come on very quickly. If you've set up camp, be ready for a sudden gust. Make sure your tent and other accessories are decently pegged into the ground. Weigh down important items if you can, or they may fly away or get damaged. Also remember to keep a kerchief or scarf handy. When riding in a safari truck or 4x4, they are helpful to tie around your head to keep your hair from becoming a tangled mess. Lots of safari 4x4's are open air or don't offer air conditioning, so plan like you're riding with the top down!

The wind brings the dirt! Beware of a sandstorm! Everything you eat or touch could get blasted with a layer of sand. This is especially not fun when it's clothes or the inside of your bed! Keep your tents zipped and have tight screens on your windows to block most of the airborne particles. When you do have to clean it up, it's a dirty situation. Keep sanitizer on you at all times, and keep your hands clean!

You could be stranded for a long time and you will surely get hungry! Always keep some snack foods on you for emergency. Light carbs and even protein bars can really pick up your energy when in crisis mode. You'll want to keep your blood-sugar levels up and  avoid fatigue. You need to think clearly, repair and move on fast or the danger of hunger will find you inside a lion's hunting path!

Lastly, when you've exhausted all your options and simply waiting on help to arrive, you need to keep your mind occupied! Mental boredom can wear you out and be discouraging. Be ready to pass the time with a book of crossword puzzles or mind games. Even a few magazines or a short novel stashed in your truck will help out. If all else fails, be creative! Engage those with you and keep a positive outlook.

When breakdown occurs, you need to be ready. Keep the above tips in mind and travel the African safari plains like a pro. You'll have a much better experience and live to tell the stories of your adventure!

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Comments (5)

very interesting and informative..........thanks

if only I had the time.. the money.. and no more fear of flying.. I would love to see giraffes in the wild.


christine marie

Great article!! Very informative!

I agree with you and being in the safari industry I always like to remind my folk "keep a sense of humor"!