SAFARI ACCESSORIES ADVICE:
Essential items to take with you on safari.

It is the little things which often make the biggest difference: not only to the enjoyment of your safari, but also to keep you comfortable and safe while you are in the wilds of Africa. These are items which keep you protected from insects, the sun, blisters, and night-time creepy crawlies.

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Essential safari accessories are like the glue which keeps your other gear together.

Protection from biting insects:

Avoid being bitten: If you are travelling to a malaria area, you will need to take insect repellent as one of the precautions against being bitten (and bite relief in case any other flying insects bite you). The best way to avoid malaria and insect bites is to cover up in the evenings and use insect repellent. In some areas of the world, you may also find that flying and biting insects are active throughout the day. This is where applying a high-quality insect repellent which works is very important.

The more DEET the better?: This is simply not true. We have to be honest and say that, for a year or so, we believed that this was true - until we discovered and tested RID repellent, that is. The Australian scientists who created RID have debunked the "more DEET the better" myth bandied about by most insect repellent manufacturers (usually for marketing purposes). The makers of RID have proven through extensive tests that the effectiveness of the insect repellent does not increase once the level of DEET rises above 20%. What does increase is how long the product lasts on the skin. A standard 20% DEET repellent will usually last 4 to 5 hours. A product with 80% DEET will last for 8 to 10 hours. RID 19.5% tropical strength formula, as stocked by The Safari Store, lasts for at least 6 hours (tests show it is usually between 7 and 8) due to its additional synergists that extend the length for which the product is effective. Through RID's own research, levels then have to jump to over 70% DEET to attain between 8 and 10 hours protection. DEET at high concentrations is highly corrosive to your precious camera gear and binoculars - and to your skin! The World Health Organisation and most medical authorities recommend that DEET products be below 50% as levels higher than this are known to cause severe skin irritation.

Kids & sensitive skin: It is recommended that DEET products for children and infants be a maximum of 7% (which is the level of the KIDs RID product). Having said that, in RID's 54-year history, they have not received any complaints regarding skin irritation across their range and KIDs RID is the only product specifically available for children.

RID & Tsetse flies: We are very interested in the RID vs tsetse fly debate. From our findings and independent tests in Ruaha National Park, Katavi National Park, Mana Pools National Park, and in Botswana (before tsetse flies were removed with DDT), RID Tropical Strength Roll-on was found to provide 100% protection against the tsetse flies in those areas for one hour after application. The roll-on was applied in copious amounts and re-applied after each hour. Again, these are not our findings, but the finding of guides, tour operators, and lodge managers in the areas listed. But - and there is a but - we have not tested RID in all areas of Africa, nor do we have control over how RID is applied and how often. Our research has shown that there are 25 species of tsetse fly in Africa and, of course, we have not tested RID against each of those species. Therefore, please do let us know if you have used RID in the following way and still been bitten by tsetse flies:

1. Applied RID Tropical Strength Roll-on in copious amounts;

2. Re-applied RID Tropical Strength Roll-on at least once every hour and, again, in copious amounts;

3. RID had not been removed from your skin by sweating or towelling down.

Our interest is sincere. The findings so far on RID have been very positive but, given the number of species and varying conditions, we have to be realistic and accept that RID may not work in all conditions and for all species. It would, perhaps, be fair to state that the only 100% protection from the tsetse fly would be to go on safari in a bee keeper's suit. Along with burning dung and using smoke pots in the Land Rover while on safari (neither of which provide 100% protection), this is simply not practical. As a result, our research into RID vs the tsetse fly continues. Please ensure that you do not pack dark blue or black clothing as these colours are thought to attract the flies and their bites are painful. The Rufiji™ clothing range is all the ideal colour and RID is the only repellent proven to work against these flies which carry sleeping sickness and have a painful bite.

Why do we recommend RID and why is it so effective: The success of RID insect repellent lies within the formula. Invented in the paddocks of tropical Queensland, RID has been perfected over 54 years. The active ingredients in RID produce an invisible chemical barrier around and on the body and clothes on to which it is applied, repelling incoming insects. RID will protect you from all biting bugs (mosquitoes, sand flies, midges, ticks, fleas, and even tsetse flies), mosquito-borne diseases, and those pesky flies, ants and leeches, just as it has been doing for the last 54 years. RID also contains two additional repellents, including a fly repellent, that other insect repellents do not include in their formulae. Furthermore, RID contains antiseptic to kill a wide range of bacteria (introduced by the insect bite or by scratching the area around the bite) which helps stop the spread of infection. The range is medicated too and contains Vitamin E for moisturising, chamomile for its soothing relief, and Triclosan (an anti-bacterial/inflammatory agent).

For maximum protection: Combine RID with our BUGTech™ range of clothing.

Protect yourself from biting insects on safari.

Protection from the sun:

Avoid sunburn: With mean high temperatures reaching mid 20 to mid 30 celsius on most safaris, and with safari areas in Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana, and Zambia high above sea level, the effects of the sun will be pronounced on your safari. Safaris involve outdoor activities almost by definition. Ensuring that you do not get burnt on the first few days after you arrive in Africa, which could make being in the sun not much fun for the rest of your safari, should be your top priority. Most of us travel to Africa for the sun - and so it makes sense to enjoy your time in the sun safely and with a good level of protection.

Pack a wide-brimmed hat: To prevent having your face and neck burnt by the sun during your safari activities you will need a wide-brimmed safari hat. Modern wide-brimmed hats are conveniently packable too and so do not lose their shape when you take them out of your luggage as the hats of yesteryear used to do.

Wear effective sunscreen: Pack a highly effective sunscreen which has been proven to work under an intense sun. It is sensible to select a sunscreen which offers high protection and is a broad spectrum, long-lasting transparent protection from both UVA and UVB light. As most safaris are active, also opt for a sunscreen which allows you to perspire without losing the efficacy of the active ingredients. As a general rule we recommend aerosol sprays over creams for this reason. Re-apply sunscreen frequently after prolonged physical exertion and if you have towelled yourself down or worn a shirt after swimming.

Wear a wide-brimmed hat on safari to avoid sunburn

Other essential accessories:

Pack a good torch: While it is true that high-end safari lodges do have askaris to walk you back to your room at night, they are not always shining where you are walking. Packing a good torch is important for all safari as it increases your safety while in camp. Not only does a good torch mean that you will avoid standing on any reptiles, arachnids or insects at night when walking within the camp, but you will also be able to spot and avoid wildlife which may have wandered into the camp in the evenings as most camps are unfenced. That aside it is also great fun to use your torch to spot nocturnal wildlife from the safety and comfort of your room or from the lodge.

Take comfortable socks & good shoes which prevent blisters: Walking in the bush while on safari is the quintessential experience. We recommend it to all who go to Africa. Whether you go for a short nature walk with your guide, or a multi-day walking safari please ensure that you pack socks which offer a double layer for blister protection. Blisters, especially on longer walking safaris, could make for an uncomfortable time in the bush. Please bear in mind that the terrain in Africa is often uneven and may be hard and rocky too. If you anticipate that you will be walking in sand, we recommend shoes which will minimise the amount of sand which will go inside the shoe and which may also cause a blister. Again though, on foot is really the best way to see and experience the bush.

Binoculars: We rate binoculars as the most important safari accessory and so we have created a separate advice page for binoculars. Please click here to view the page. For clothing and luggage we have also created separate advice pages.

Take a torch with you on safari.
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