Sunday, December 2, 2012

Safari planning....more crossed off the checklist

Since I have next to no actual planning to do for safari (I mentioned before that the tour operator planned it all and we just need to show up and travel, so no research, no looking for restaurants, etc....) so I have spent a lot of time in recent weeks looking for clothes and gear to travel appropriately.

First up was a duffel bag, as luggage doesn't do well in the dust and rough terrain (and handling) of the Serengeti.  We take a very small commuter plane from an airstrip back to civilization at the end of the trip, so the duffel has to be small enough to fit in the hold and without wheels that could get caught on something.  I got a 30" duffel from Eagle Creek.  I went higher end with this as I want to ensure I can secure my underwear well enough that it isn't meeting me in open air on the carousel when I arrive in Kilimanjaro.  But, my friends, 30" is small.  Really small, compared to what I'd usually use to travel to Europe.  I'm more than a bit shocked.  There will be plenty of practice packing going on between now and departure time.

To help with the packing, I bought packing cubes, which two of  the references for our tour operator recommended.  This will put some order into the less than vast duffel bag.  I hope.

Next was a pair of hiking shoes.  As I never hike and knew I'd need something more sturdy, more waterproof and more likely to withstand dust and dirt than sneakers would be, I went sort of low end on this and bought a pair of hiking shoes on sale on REI's website.  I figure we won't be walking that much that they need to be uber-comfortable, and they were so cheap that if worse comes to worse and I am short on space coming home, I can ditch them there and not feel bad about it.

Finally, I knew I'd need muted tone clothing that is summer appropriate and quick drying (both in case of sweat or overnight laundering) but now that it's full on winter here in the Boston area, it is near impossible to find summer-like clothing.  I found a post on Fodors forums that recommended Sierra Trading Post, and there I was able to get two pairs of capris, one pair of long pants, three tops and a sun hat specifically for safari-going, all on sale with an additional 30% off my first order.  I already have a pair of shorts and a pair of capris I'll take too, so that should do me well for 11 days on safari.  I hope!

All that's really left is figuring out what to do for a day bag, buying travel sized cosmetics, getting my yellow fever shot and finding binoculars.  Oh yes, and that one final payment to our tour operator.  We're just about 70 days out...wheeeee!

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