Essential Safari Gear
Updated: Mar 3
Access and Transfers – Scheduled daily flight services connect Lusaka, Livingstone and Mfuwe. Ntanda is able to book seats for domestic scheduled services or arrange private charter flights or road transfers.
What to Pack – Binoculars, Camera (with spare batteries), Sunscreen, Insect repellent, Warm jacket for months of June and July (it is very cold early morning and at sunset), Neutral coloured clothing (not white), Comfortable light-weight walking shoes, Torch (with spare batteries), Raincoat for months of November to March, Hat or cap, US Dollars cash in most recent notes with big heads and smaller denominations (some Airport departure taxes are not included on charter flights, The Zambian Entrance Visa is $50 per person and it is payable on entry and gratuities. Laundry is done daily in most camps . Pack luggage in soft bags. The weight should not exceed 15kg per person for many flights. Pack a sarong which has a multitude of uses and a foldable bag with pockets.
What to expect of a day on Safari – Sunrise: Hippo and Bird sounds, and a friendly morning knock on the door Breakfast: Light continental breakfast Morning Game Viewing: Walk or drive Midday Lunch: Buffet or picnic Early Afternoon: Rest, read, write , a swim or hide viewing depending on camp. Afternoon Tea: Tea/coffee with cakes or biscuits Afternoon Game Viewing: Evening game drive with sundowners and spotlight viewing after dark. Sundowners: Enjoy pre-dinner drinks and bar snacks Dinner: Three course meal beneath the stars.
Camera Tips – Two main choices: Single Lens Reflex (SLR) Main advantage: can change lenses from wide angle to telephoto Lens: Point and Shoot Easy to use with a zoom lens, Wide angle (18mm-50mm) best for landscapes, Telephoto (80mm-300mm) and lenses bigger than 300mm require a tripod or bean bag.(some camps provide bean bags) Camera Bag – Protection for your camera and equipment is necessary. Batteries – Travel with spares, as some camps have no charging facilities. Cleaning – Don’t forget a blower, brush and cloth to clean off the dust. Filters – Polarizing filters increase colour contrast saturation, remove reflection and darken blue skies (although they may absorb some of the light) Manual focus cameras use a Linear Polarizer. Most auto focus cameras use a Circular Polarizer. Check In – Remember to take your camera and equipment on the plane as carryon luggage!
Child Policy – age restrictions vary from camp to camp. Parents are advised to pre-book private game viewing vehicles for maximum flexibility. Children must be 12 years or older for some activities. Private Vehicle/Private Guide – Can be requested at time of booking at additional cost.
Malaria Area – Please consult your doctor before departure.
Battery Charging– avail at some camps (220V), please carry spares.
Currency – USD Cash is the currency of preference. Notes must be new with big heads and smaller denominations (older notes not accepted by Zambian banks ) Visa/Master Card credit cards – are accepted at some camps.
Visas: Required for most passports Single entry visa costs US$50 per person at the point of entry to Zambia. Kaza visa maybe applicable and covers entry into Zambia and Zimbabwe and a day trip to Botswana.
Arrival Airport Meet and Greet – To be pre-booked at the time of booking.
Airport Information – Lusaka, Livingstone and Mfuwe International Airport have customs and immigration facilities.
Airport Taxes – most are included but private charters departing for a destination within Zambia US$16 per person. Flights departing for an international destination US$40 per person.
Flying within Zambia – Luggage allowance on smaller aircraft is 12kg per person, to be packed in soft bags. Flight reservations can only be made for confirmed bookings , cancellation charges and flight restrictions apply. Discounts for children under 18 years may apply on some scheduled services. All flights subject to availability at time of booking.
Survival Instinct – Even in the most Luxurious lodges, Africa can be tougher than home. Remember to stay hydrated, pack plenty of sunscreen and lip balm. Don’t forget your vaccinations! Carry a copy of the prescription for medication and keep essentials in your hand luggage. Let your agent know in advance if you have any allergies. Ensure your travel insurance is valid for country of destination.
Respect – Life is very different outside of the lodge for the local community, remember to be considerate of the local cultures and customs.
Sense of Humour – Nobody knows the definition of ‘African time’ better than Africans themselves. Africa is still a developing continent and things have a tendency to run behind schedule. Just take it in your stride, it is all part of the experience.
Zambians are very friendly and have a great sense of humour.
Enthusiasm – A safari is infinitely better when enjoyed with eyes wide open. Do try and sample the local dishes and try every safari experience offered by your lodge or camp. Ask your guide lots of questions. Take photos at every opportunity.
Consideration – Unless you have booked a private safari vehicle, you will more than likely be sharing one with other travellers, so do avoid wearing bright colours while on safari and be considerate of your travelling companions.
Acceptance – The idea of a Big-5 safari goes back to the age of safari hunting in the early 20th century. While they are awesome, so are the many other species especially the endemic ones. While guides are experts at their jobs, the wilderness is not a zoo and no sightings can be entirely guaranteed. A safari holiday experience is much more than just ticking off animals on a list. It is a holiday of a lifetime made up of special and thrilling moments, fireside stories and embracing local cultures. Do look out for the “green five” and the “small five.”
Generosity – Giving out cash to everybody who approaches you on the street is not recommended, most lodges do offer their own initiatives to help benefit the surrounding community and the wildlife within the reserve. Donations are gladly accepted and are a lifeline to the conservation of the area, its wildlife and the people who live there.
In Touch – Remember in remote bush destinations internet availability is intermittent and often comes with limited access. Plan to relax in Africa. Enjoy the peace of being out of touch.
Social Media Responsibility While Travelling. Please protect Zambia’s wildlife.
Poachers can use unsuspecting tourists to hunt their prey. While on safari and posting photos of animals to social media sites, embedded within the post or the photo is a geo-tag containing the GPS location of the photo or poster and allows poachers to track animals.
TIPS – to keep your posts private and remove any geo-tags, just go into your phones settings to turn off your GPS location.
iPhone: Settings > Privacy > Locations Services. You can turn off Location Services entirely or just on your phone’s camera.
Android: Settings > Geotags disable. OR Settings > Locations > Tap on the green button to turn off tracking completely.
Twitter: Geotagging will only be turned on in the app on your phone if you have done so manually in the settings menu under Privacy > Location Services. If posting from a computer click on the gear icon in the right corner and go to settings to check privacy settings.
Facebook: Settings > Privacy > Location Services > Facebook > Select ‘Never’. Within the Facebook application, tap the menu in the top right-hand corner. Go to Account settings > Tap location > Disable location history.