The Bushtrack Backpack: Our Selected Essentials
Bushtrack’s Luxury safari camps are equipped with almost every amenity one could need when delving into the depths of the African bush. However, there are a few essentials that any safari veteran would recommend.
For keeping up with temperamental temperatures, it is essential to bring with sunscreen, a hat and a pair of sunglasses. Whether you are at Bilimungwe Bushcamp in Zambia, Borana Lodge in Kenya, or Benguerra Island in Mozambique, you want to avoid that awkward tight-skin, can-no-longer-bend-my-limbs sensation, so we recommend Nivea SPF 30 Light Feeling Moisturising sunscreen. Non-scented, non-greasy and with moisturising properties, it is an ideal camping companion and won’t make you smell like a coconut among the caerulea. And as hard as we try to create red luscious lips, there are less painful ways to do them than through sunburn, so it is always handy to carry a lip balm of SPF 15 with you. The tips of your ears will appreciate it too. When the sun disappears behind the horizon the heat goes with it, and therefore a fleece and beanie will help keep you cosy by the campfire on the chilly nights.
Kikoys are Africa’s version of a beach sarong. Whether you are at our camps along the Zambezi, Chobe or Kwando Rivers, you will have a panoramic view of the river and a swimming pool to escape into. These culturally colourful kikoys are perfect to stretch out on, or even wet and draped around your next to keep cool on the afternoon game drives.
Scorching sand and devil’s thorns are two obstacles’ likely to pop up on the hike to your boat cruise or game drive, and good footwear makes all the difference. Solomon shoes are light, durable and waterproof so whether you are cruising the Boteti River at Leroo La Tau, or tracking game at Serengeti Sopa Lodge, your uppermost comfort is guaranteed.
Ruckomechi, and Vumbura Plains (just to name a few) have exquisite outside showers that surpass the boundary between wildlife and chalet, allowing you to absorb the night air and enrich your appreciation for the outdoors. The tranquillity of these facilities are so alluring, that not even the scorpions can resist, and therefore we recommend a pair of sandals or rubber thongs for the short trips to and from your shower.
Occasionally, guests involuntarily attend a monkey’s wedding, which transpires when the sun is shining through a light drizzle. It is a good idea to keep a light, compact raincoat nearby for these amusing events. Whether you are calmly slicing through the water in a wooden Mokoro at Chobe Game Lodge in Botswana, or being hurled through white water rapids beneath the Victoria Falls, a small waterproof bag is recommendable to store your valuables. Silica gel dry packs ware also useful to protect your electronic devices from the high humidity
Our camps are situated in natural a treasure chest, bursting with a wealth of fauna and flora. During your time with us you are going to be exposed to Africa in its most authentic form. Due to our vast conservation efforts and mission to exist in harmony with the bush, the birds and wildlife thrive around our camps. Keeping track of what you have seen and learnt is paramount, and there are a few tools to help you do this.
There are few things more awe-inspiring and humbling than standing under a blanket of stars on a clear night in the bush. The world seems darker and the stars seem brighter than anywhere else, flung across a navy ocean in their hundreds of thousands. The Celestron Skyscout identifies and informs you about any stars, planets and celestial objects. It is amazing to watch images emerge from the scattering of stars under the guidance of this personal planetarium.
The Ultimate Companion documents over 1400 spectacular photographs of birds covering all 960 species recorded. Though this would make for a great coffee table souvenir, we would recommend taking a smaller bird book along, preferably with check boxes so that you can keep record of which birds you have seen and which you still need to look out for.
African birds are decorated with beautifully intricate details, and as we encounter them in their natural habitat, the birds are often in flight or perched in a tree. Similarly, most of the wildlife such as lion, cheetah and even rhino blend in seamlessly with their surroundings to increase their predatorily abilities. Taking a pair of 8 x 30 magnification binoculars will enhance the experience of seeing and appreciating this wildlife. There are apps for birds and mammals (birding app- Robert’s 7 Multimedia Birds of Southern Africa or Sasol eBirds, and eGuide to Mammals of Southern Africa by Chris and Mathilde Stuart).
Peaceful sleep is an insect repellent powerful enough to repel the most incessant bugs out there- mosquitos. A few squirts on your ankles and wrists will save you from an evening of manic air tennis, but be sure to keep your eyes screwed shut while you spray, or yours will be far from a peaceful sleep.
If the occasional mosquito does manage to infiltrate you fortress of nets and sprays, a dose of Coartemor Cotexim is a fast acting (within three days), side effect free cure. We do recommend that you take a round of malaria precaution pills before going on safari.
Throughout your stay we will work to the best of our ability to ensure that you have the most relaxing and enlightening experience possible. However, long days in the heat and the excitement that accompanies game viewing can be overwhelming and slightly exhausting. We would like to suggest a chocolate coated Jungle oats energy bar floating around in your backpack, partly for the energy, mainly for the chocolate to give you that additional boost and keep your eyes and ears sharp whilst tracking.
It is also useful to carry a sachet or two of Rehydrate with you. This electrolyte replacing drink is perfect to quickly shake into your water bottle if you worry that you are taking in too much sun and not enough water. They come in a variety of flavours and make for a refreshing and replenishing drink.
Apart from that all you need is yourself, a handful of friends or family (optional) and a sense of adventure. Start packing, and join us for the experience of a lifetime.