We spend a lot of time making sure travelers have everything they’ll need on a safari or a trek, but what about the things they won’t need? If you’re really looking to get the most out of your experience in Africa, feel free to leave behind the…
Perhaps unsurprisingly, countries like Tanzania just don’t have the kind of internet infrastructure westerners are used to. Where there is internet access, it’s often slow, unreliable, and intermittent.
And then there’s those vast swaths of wilderness where there just isn’t internet access.
Beyond the question of whether or not you’ll be able to get your Facebook to refresh, there’s the issue of keeping your laptop safe, charged up (our charging stations are equipped for smaller devices like cameras), and free from the safari dust blowing around the plains.
We recommend that travelers always carry expensive electronics with them for safety; consider whether you want to be saddled with a (mostly non-functional) computer when your guide finally spots that elusive animal you’ve been waiting to see.
Our Recommendation: Unless you absolutely have to be in contact for work, leave the laptop at home (and welcome the opportunity to let an out-of-office autoreply answer emails for you).
Instead, Bring Your: Kindle. The long battery life means that charging won’t be an issue, and the single-functionality will help you focus on the beauties all around you during your trip, while still having a fun way to spend your down time.
There is cellular service in Tanzania.
Just not EVERYWHERE in Tanzania.
For a western traveler, the charges for using your phone while on safari will be high, your calls may be dropped, and if you thought your internet connection was slow, wait until you see it on a cellphone…
Satellite phones are available for travelers who have to stay in constant contact, but the average safari-goer won’t need to use his or her cell phone during the trip. And don’t worry: if anything were ever to go wrong while you’re out on a drive, your guides, drivers, or camp staff will be able to place a call for you.
Our Recommendation: Due to the high expense and unreliability of service, it’s probably better to turn your phone off during your trip.
Instead, Bring Your: Camera. It’s amazing how much more you’ll take in when you’re looking for a great shot, and not looking to see if anyone has played you in Words With Friends!
There are some things you’ll want to think about seriously before hauling them halfway across the world, but one thing you shouldn’t even consider packing is your hair dryer.
Not because you shouldn’t look your best on safari (although most people will probably be more interested in the wildlife than your wild locks): because it won’t work.
On a Thomson safari (as on most tented camp or camping safaris), electrical outlets in your room just aren’t an option. Solar-power will light your room and the dining tent, but it won’t be enough to run your hair dryer (or charge a laptop or cell phone, in case you were wondering). In our signature Nyumba tented camps, you won’t even see an outlet!
Our Recommendation: Save space and weight in your luggage and don’t haul around an ultimately useless appliance.
Instead, Bring Your: Safari hat and a bandanna. You’ll need the former to keep the sun off your face, neck, and shoulders, anyway (which might undo all your hair drying magic, anyway), and the latter can act as a dust-guard during wildlife drives…or a rustic hair tie! And don’t worry – that slightly unkempt look is integral to safari chic, anyway.
Author: Thomson Safaris
Thomson Safaris has been providing photographic Tanzania safaris and Mount Kilimanjaro treks for over 35 years.