Quick Tips On Heat, Hydration, and Safe Drinking Water on an African Safari
A safari is the trip of a lifetime. Being aware and prepared for the effects of the sun is an important consideration to make sure you enjoy fun in the sun without the worry. It can get very hot on on safari. Depending on your destination and the time of year, the heat and challenges around staying hydrated may vary. Read our quick guide on heat, sun protection, hydration, and safe drinking water on safari.
IS THE WATER SAFE TO DRINK ON SAFARI?
The answer to this depends on your destination. In some places, the tap water is safe to drink. In others, the remoteness of safari lodges may impact water quality. Always check with the lodge whether water is potable (and potable for non-locals) - preferably before you travel. If you are going on a walking, horse, or mobile safari, check with your operator. Many lodges supply drinking water to guests, so you won't need to worry. However, make a plan for drinking water at the different stages of travel - including transfers - to be safe.
Pristine Water - Without the Plastic. For many travellers, the idea of bottled water is at odds with the pristine nature of these places. Disposing of plastic water bottles can be immensely challenging for remote operations. Many lodges provide filtered or treated water and supply reusable bottles to reduce their footprint as much as possible.
Safe drinking water quick tip: Take along reusable bottles for water without the waste - and fill up at every opportunity to stay hydrated. Choose a large steel or aluminum variety, which is better at remaining cool and less toxic than plastic. If you're worried about the safety of drinking water, sterilisation kits or portable water filter systems do exist. Do your research before you buy.
HYDRATION IS IMPORTANT - NO MATTER HOW HOT IT IS
The heat can sneak up on you on safari. Dehydration and heat stroke are sure-fire ways to ruin your holiday. The best way to avoid dehydration is to drink small amounts consistently throughout the day. This is important even when you don't feel hot. The dry heat in some destinations can be deceptive, so keep sipping to stay hydrated. Also pack rehydration packs just in case.
Quick tip for parents: If you're travelling with children, keep a close eye on how much water they're drinking during the day. Children tend to be more active than adults, so assign them a cool water bottle and watch their water consumption.
Signs of dehydration: Some early signs of dehydration and heat stroke include headaches, confusion, and nausea. In fact, having an upset stomach on safari can often come as a result of dehydration. Get out of the sun and drink small sips of water mixed with salt, water, or a rehydration pack (always follow the instructions on the pack and seek assistance if symptoms aren't resolved).
HOW TO HANDLE THE HEAT ON SAFARI
Cover up: The best way to beat the heat on safari is to cover up. In high temperatures, this demands high-performance clothing that's lightweight and breathable. Choose safari clothing with built-in sun protective technologies. SAFARITech sun shirts and BUGTech™ clothing feature built-in UPF50+ sun protection - the highest rating available for a garment. They also have design features for flexibility - like roll-up sleeve tabs and zip-off trouser legs. Additionally, these moisture wicking fabrics help your body to regulate temperature more effectively. They do this by pulling moisture away from the skin and then drying quickly.
Get ahead of the heat: Protect your head and neck with sun care accessories. A wide-brimmed hat is an important packing essential for this. Another way to protect your neck is by covering up with a lightweight Head&Neck Scarf with nanoweave technology and built-in UPF50+. We always take along a kikoy in safari-friendly colours for a bit of extra cover when you need it.
SAY NO TO SUNBURN
Beating the heat and avoiding sunburn go hand in hand. Pick a high-SPF sunscreen and apply and re-apply regularly to avoid burning, painful sunburn. When it comes to preventing sunburn, your best first defence is always going to be to cover up - as above - in sun protective safari clothing.
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