There is an old African saying - Anyone can be uncomfortable in the bush. Why not make things just that little bit more comfortable with a couple of handy accessories? Below you will find, in no specific order, items that we know will help you enjoy your adventure in Africa.
1. Toilet paper, a.k.a. white gold ;)
Oh yes, toilet paper. It's always handy to have an emergency roll of TP with you. Whether you are in an international airport or a small airstrip in the Serengeti, nothing will put a bigger smile on your face when you notice there is no toilet paper left in the dispenser - because you came prepared! It comes in handy during a self drive adventure in South Africa, and just as well during an overland group tour in Mozambique. And it weighs next to nothing... so make sure you are never caught without it.
2. Mosquito spray. zzzzz
There are not many things as annoying as a mosquito! As we all know, it takes only 1 small mosquito to ruin a lovely nap or a good night's sleep. No-one likes waking up at all hours of the night to hunt down an elusive mosquito... that is why it's so handy to have mosquito spray. You can either spray a room or tent before you hit the hay, or spray some on your clothes and uncovered skin when you are outside. That will help keep them away... and it might quite literally save your life!
On a more serious note:
- According to the World Health Organization (WHO) there were 216 million cases of malaria in 91 countries in 2016.
- In that same year, 445 000 people died from malaria globally.
- The 11 countries with the biggest burden of the disease are Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, India, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Uganda and United Republic of Tanzania.
3. Hat/ cap
One thing we have lots of in Africa is sunshine. And it can be hot! In some areas, summer temperatures can soar into the 40s (over 104°F). You need to cover your head. You can get sunburnt easily... even in winter. Your body temperature can also rise to an unhealthy state... and if you don't drink enough water, you will soon dehydrate... which can also result in death. No-one likes dying on their holiday in Africa, so cover up so you can keep a cool head and stay healthy.
4. Multitool.. like a Swiss Army knife... just more multi.
My personal travel accessory favorite. Why? It gives you a reason to buy one! I always saw these multitools in camping stores or outdoor shops and they look cool and handy, but what would you actually do with it? Will you ever use it? Do you really need a multitool with built-in pliers, a knife and a screwdriver? No. But it sure can come in handy! You never know when you might have to remove your wife's earplugs after one breaks off mid-ear... or when you have to open a can of something or tighten a loose screw. Super handy. Every man deserves one. Ladies too.
5. Earplugs. Shhhhhhhh
There's always that one guy... someone loudly snoring away... next to you on the airplane, in the tent or room next to you, making noises that can scare away a lion! Earplugs are the way to go. They cancel out most (if not all) the noise and you can enjoy some peaceful sleep. Apart from someone snoring, they also cancel out lots of noise coming from the airplane itself... or from cars on the road outside your hotel room window... or crickets and frogs down by the watering hole not too far from your tent. And in the unlikely event that one ever gets stuck in your ear, you should have a multitool with pliers to remove it!
Back to what we were saying about the sun... we have lots of it in Africa. Blue skies just about every day. As mentioned before, the sun can be quite hot, but it can also be very bright. That is the real reason why sunglasses were invented... to protect you from the glare of the sun and not just to look cool. But now you have good reason to wear your newest and coolest looking sunglasses every day in Africa. They will become a necessity during your adventure safari in Africa... instead of being a fashion accessory under the gray and gloomy skies of Europe;)
You don't know how wonderful a pillow is until you don't have one. This is especially true when it comes to our camping tours in Africa. We do provide camping mattresses, but not a pillow. Most people end up using a sweater or hoodie or towel or their bags as pillows... which work well for a night or two, but then you start missing a pillow. We always recommend that camping clients buy a cheap pillow on day one of their tour. It makes a world of difference... and you can give it away at the end of your adventure in Africa. To many, it is a luxury item not everyone can afford.
8. Headlamp. Let there be light.
This is one of the handiest tools you can buy. If you join any of our African Group tours or climb Mount Kilimanjaro, you will need a source of light every night. You can bring a flashlight/ torch, but believe me, a headlamp is the way to go. Most importantly, it gives light of course, but it frees up your hands to do whatever you need to do inside the tent. And it is just as handy outside of course... you can carry stuff around and the light shines in whichever way you are looking. It is also lightweight and super compact. Worth every penny.
9. Solar charger
Back to talking about the sun... here is a scenario: Everyone has a smartphone on tour in Africa. Super handy of course... making phone calls to loved ones back home, sending messages, listening to music, taking photos of lions hunting... that is until the battery dies on you. It might be a couple of hours before you get to a place where you can charge your phone again... unless you have come prepared with a solar charger! Hang that bad boy in the sun and enjoy the free energy provided by the African sun.
10. Copies. Back it up
What happens when you go white water rafting on the Zambezi River in Zimbabwe, only to realize you forgot to take your phone out of your pocket? Then it pops out and into the raging torrent... and gone are all your phone numbers. You can't call anyone because you didn't memorize any phone numbers... and no-one can get hold of you and they think you are lost in the dark wilderness in Africa... To prevent panic, it is always a good idea to have some important info on paper with you. Think of travel vouchers, important phone numbers, insurance company details, copy of your passport etc. The hope is that you never need to use any of it, but as with all the items on this list... you will only realize how much you need something, until you don't have it.