African Safari – Flying back over the Serengeti -eyes closed!

African Safari Day 6
Location: Morning Serengeti drive and flight back to Arusha

On our final day, we journeyed back to Arusha by flying back across the vast expanse of the Serengeti which we had crossed in the days before. Normally, I do just fine in planes but on this particular day, I sat in the very back of this small aircraft. Let me just say it was not my best attempt at sitting back and enjoying the ride.

Thankfully, I have since proven to myself that I can fly in smaller, private planes. Still, this was truly an incredible way to end our unique and unforgettable adventure.

One of the most practical takeaways I wrote down from the evening lectures had been about (The Real) 10 Essentials for a grab-and-go bag. These are:

  1. something to make shelter (i.e. large orange trash bag)
  2. something to start a fire
  3. 25 feet of cordage
  4. leather gloves
  5. fixed blade knife with a 4″ blade
  6. Insulation
  7. paper & pencil
  8. Tooth brush & paste (luxury item)
  9. Head light
  10. Duct tape (plus a few additions like food, rum, or aspirin)

I remember it poured that morning and we were able to get some great shots of the animals and landscape during and after the rain let up.

Photos from my Canon Rebel T5 lenses rented from Borrow Lenses.

As a final takeaway, if you’re ever planning a trip like this for yourself, I’ve compiled a helpful list of items that were either helpful or superfluous to have along on the safari. (Shout out to April for the great questions).

  • What are you SO glad you packed?
  • What do you wish you had packed, but didn’t?
  • What did you pack that was unnecessary?

I’m so glad I packed…

  1. A pocket knife & small flashlight. I pretty much carried both on me at all times.
  2. Extra can of DEET bug spray for ankles and wrists (we had also sprayed our clothes with the anti-parasite, Permethrin)
  3. Bush hat (which I randomly acquired at Bed Bath and Beyond)
  4. light rain jacket (the ones from Mountain Hardwear are light and durable).
  5. Bandana to wipe or cover my camera (both from weather or prying eyes)
  6. Selfie stick (I know it’s ridiculous but it was fun and helpful for group shots)
  7. iPhone cable charger, US adapter (the outlets in the Land Cruisers actually had US ports) and a small, portable external battery. Battery saving Tip: Put your mobile on “airplane mode” to save power.
  8. Lightweight but durable bush walking shoes (found a great pair from Columbia Sportswear)
  9. A lot of my clothing and gear was from Mountain Hardware. I also wore a number of great athletic tops & pants from Athleta which held up well during our travels.
  10. An extra duffle bag (Mountain Hardwear) for leaving behind extra clothes and having as an alternate carry-on.
  11. Camera gear: I rented two lenses (70-200mm and a 2x tele-extender) from a great vendor, Borrow Lenses.  Absolutely no hassle and a great rental price.
  12. Our guides provided lots of bottled water but I also had a water bottle in my backpack that had a built in purification filter.
  13. Snacks (trail mix, protein bars etc.). Even though we were well fed, I always pack snacks.

I wish I had packed (but didn’t)…

  1. US currency ($1 bills handy for tips). Effectively, there is no universal currency for Africa and based on our route through Tanzania, the Shilling was the local currency. I had been misinformed and brought a bit of South African Rand but everyone from the merchants we engaged with to the porters we tipped for transporting our bags preferred US dollars.
  2. One more change of clean clothes. Girl’s gotta have options 😉
  3. baby wipes; it was pretty dusty out there at times.

Items I did not need on the safari…

  1. tri-pod. You never get out of the vehicle to set up a shot. The best idea I heard was using a sock, sand and duck-tape to make a make-shift beanbag for your camera to rest on since you’re shooting from inside the vehicle bracing against the window or top railing.
  2. Incorrect power adapter. I had purchased some on Amazon but they turned out to be incorrect for what was needed so I’ve provided a picture below of the outlets that were in our hotels so that future travelers can see the prong shape and outlets to avoid making the same mistake.