Regardless of how your African story will later be told, it will be more fondly recounted if you arrive well-equipped. So, many a big safari starts in the show room of one of England's premier gunmakers, for how else would a true sportsman want to face-down his adversary than with a traditional British double rifle?
Today, many safari-goers carry a camera rather than a rifle but the hard-learned lessons of yesterday's adventurers remain in the memory banks at Westley Richards and we can apply two hundred years of continuous business in the sector to ensure that we equip our customers with, not only the finest sporting arms, but the best clothing and equipment with which to survive the rigours of the bush.
The challenges of packing for safari are multiple. Africa can be stifling at mid-day but close to freezing at sun-down. Everything that grows tries to scratch you and everything that moves wants to bite you. You will have restricted baggage for a long haul flight that may culminate in a bush-plane, then a Land Cruiser before you reach camp.
With that in mind, we have created a travel list of essentials that will make sure your trip will be memorable for all the right reasons.
With its soft, comfortable Italian linen construction, ample pockets for passports and tickets and light weight, this makes the perfect top layer for your journey from Europe to Africa, via congested airports and constricted airline seats. Sufficient to protect you from the chill when teamed with a good shirt and T-shirt yet easy to stuff into you bag or wear with just a T-shirt if it gets hot or stuffy.
These lightweight, yet robust, cotton khakis have a relaxed cut and look smart enough for international travel but will stand up to bush life, once in country.
The perfect all-rounder safari shirt. Can be worn as a mid-layer in the mornings or alone in the heat of the day. Patch pockets and cartridge slots, if you need them, and tough enough to withstand the thorns and the camp laundry. Think of it tucked into trousers as as a cool weather shirt, or worn un-tucked as a hot weather jacket.
When the sun is high and the sweat is running you will appreciate the technical fabric construction and the fast-wicking and drying qualities of this shirt, as well as the SPF protection it provides. The best shirt for really hot days in the sun.
Classic tailoring and tough cotton make these ideal for daily wear in camp, especially where tsetse flies or mosquitos make shorts a risky option.
Sometimes it just gets so hot you need to let the air circulate and nothing beats shorts. Our safari shorts have the tailoring detail and features to be smart and comfortable around camp or out hunting. Featuring patch pockets for essential items, side pockets for quick-access, plus zip pockets for valuables or a folding knife.
Even when the mid-day sun boils the mercury, the temperature that same day can drop to uncomfortable degrees of chill in the evenings and early mornings. The reassurance of a properly warm and windproof top-layer banishes any anxiety and discomfort from your safari.
Designed to provide a coccoon in a lion or leopard blind, where it is crucial to be alert, settled and composed when a big cat shows, this also works beautifully as a travel jacket when flying in via cooler climes and makes cold mornings and chilly evenings a pleasure rather than a feat of endurance.
A Useful Rule
The rule in camp is three of everything basic: three shirts, three trousers, three pairs of socks, three pairs of under garments. One to be worn, one clean and one in the wash. That way, every time you get back from a hard day in the bush, you can have a wash, change into clean clothes for the evening and never be out of essentials.
Good quality hiking socks, like our Falke Trekking Socks
Sunglasses (different coloured lenses can help with game spotting in varied light conditions)
A light neck scarf or 'snood' will keep your neck warmer when it gets cold, will shield you from bugs when they are busy and the sun, when it is high in the sky.
A pocket knife
Spare laces. 'You don't know what you've got 'til it's gone' is certainly true of boot laces. Not only will they save the day in the case of a break but they come in useful for all kinds of emergency situations in the bush.