If you’re an animal lover, going to see the wildebeest migration is the trip of a lifetime. It’s a chance to go out into the African Serengeti and see nature at its most primal, undisturbed state.
A trip to a whole other continent, though, and into the wilds at that, is no easy undertaking. The successful explorer will need to take the right supplies.
The question is, what are the right supplies, and why are they important? That and more will be explained in the next few paragraphs.
1. Anti-Malarial Pills
This one has to be at the top of the list, because, before all else, you’ll need to stay alive and healthy. Africa, and really any place with largely temperate weather, is going to have a mosquito problem, and where there are mosquitoes there is disease.
You’ll have to take Malaria pills with you to counter it. In fact, medical preparations begin long before the trip does. You’ll need to schedule an appointment with your doctor a few months before leaving.
The doctor will give you a set of vaccinations for various diseases native to Africa, such as yellow fever. Mosquitoes are a different issue since the vaccines don’t work on mosquitoes or malaria.
Binoculars are a safari staple and for good reason. While a close-up view of a wildebeest herd is truly a sight to be seen, it may not be something you want to risk.
One of the most common species of wildebeest can be over four feet tall and weigh 550 pounds. Plus, if you’ve ever seen photos of a wildebeest migration, you know that there can be thousands of them stomping through all at once.
Needless to say, it might be best to keep your distance.
A modern adage advises travelers to get pictures. Otherwise, there is no proof that the trip ever occurred. We live in a society that often doesn’t take things at face value, so you may need proof every once in a while.
Of course, the purpose of pictures are more than just showing them to friends. They’re also a great reminder of the experiences you’ve had.
That’s the important thing at the end of the day. The pictures are for you.
4. Warm Clothes
This may sound like a weird one, but, yes, you will need warm clothes. The thing people never tell you about a lot of tropics, deserts, and even the Serengeti is that their reputation for being blisteringly hot is only true during the day.
At night, temperatures in the Serengeti can drop quite rapidly, although they don’t tend to get too low. The average nightly temperature is around fifty or sixty degrees.
Essentially, you’ll need to be prepared for a range of temperatures, and it’s up to you how you want to do this. Some may prefer a range of layers, but you can probably get by with a hooded sweatshirt, shorts, boots and long, thick socks.
The good news is that you won’t need to pack too many outfits, because most Serengeti camps have a laundry area.
5. Sun Protection
If keeping warm wasn’t enough reason to bring a hooded sweatshirt, sun protection might be. The Serengeti’s temperatures do not get too extreme during the biggest months of the wildebeest migration, but it does get incredibly sunny.
There are a lot of ways to stave off the sun, and you might want to use a few of them. Sunscreen is definitely recommended, and you might want to bring some sort of headgear.
How much skin you want to cover up is your choice. It means less sunscreen, but more heat. It basically comes down to what you find less irritating.
You may have heard of something called light pollution. For those who haven’t, it mostly happens in big cities, where there are so many lights you can’t see many stars.
This is important because the Serengeti doesn’t have any. This means that it will get a lot darker at night than probably any place you’re used to.
Because of this, it’s important to bring a flashlight on your trip to see the wildebeests. Keep in mind, the lodgings on a safari aren’t like most campsites. A lot of them have public bathrooms attached to them, and some even have private bathrooms for each separate room.
There’s a reason for this, and it has to do with the local wildlife. Getting attacked by an animal on a safari is actually quite rare, largely because of how their eyes process images.
A lot of animals notice shapes and structures, and can’t distinguish between, for instance, a tent with humans in it, versus an empty tent, so they won’t feel a need to approach it.
When a person is out wandering alone, that’s when they are seen as a living creature, and that’s when people become vulnerable. The bathrooms are inside so that a person’s need to venture outdoors is limited.
So, if you’re not going outside, why get a flashlight? Here, we come back to light pollution. Even though you’re not going outside much, your room will still be dark, so you’ll need a flashlight if you need to see anything, inside or out.
7. Travel Documents
This may go without saying, but you’re definitely going to need to have all your necessary paperwork in place. You are in a foreign country, after all, and depending on your particular trip, may be crossing borders.
You will need to be able to prove that you have been vaccinated, have the proper authorization to visit the country, etc.
Being on a safari can get boring at times, seeing as there are no TVs, computers or books provided on your downtime, so you might want to bring your own entertainment. You could go with a laptop or a tablet or even a few books.
Books might even be preferable. You don’t need to recharge them and you can still use them, even when the internet is out.
However, while you should bring something to do in between journeys, you might find that you don’t need them as much as expected. When left to your own devices, you’ll probably be able to hear the sounds of the world all around you, from lions roaring to elephants trumpeting in the distance.
These sounds will probably unsettle some people, but others will love the opportunity to listen to it all. If you’ve ever been camping, bird-watching, or even visited a zoo, you may know what this is like. It can be a truly memorable experience to eavesdrop on nature.
What Not to Bring
Just as there are guidelines for what you should bring on a safari, there are also things you shouldn’t bring. For instance, you’ll need to bring food with you but should probably avoid alcohol. You’ll want to be at your best during this trip.
Also, don’t wear bright colors, especially blue. Bright colors are easier to notice, which means the animals are more likely to see you and stay away. Blue is especially important because tsetse flies are attracted to it.
Tsetse flies are a distinctly African creature that behaves similarly to a mosquito. It bites prey and drinks blood, and a few of them carry something commonly known as sleeping sickness. Sleeping sickness is a disease that can eventually attack the nervous system and cause death.
Also, don’t wear anything that seems like it might be worth stealing. You may be traveling with a lot of other people, and there’s always a chance one of them may not be trustworthy.
Also, do not wear camouflage of any kind. Both Tanzania and Kenya are pretty safe, but Kenya shares its northern border with Somalia, which is one of the most dangerous countries in the world.
This means that Kenya does have a problem with terrorism. Although this problem mostly happens in the north, far away from where the safaris take place, the local authorities are still wary of anyone who looks even remotely militant. This means no camouflage and nothing that could be considered a weapon.
The Wildebeest Migration and You
Visiting Tanzania or Kenya for the wildebeest migration is, to a certain extent, like visiting any foreign country. It comes with a few new rules that are part of everyday life.
If you want to know more about Africa and the potential things to see and do there, please visit our website. We can offer a few tips, in case you want to climb Kilimanjaro.
Maybe you’ve got your heart set on taking a safari but aren’t sure where to visit yet. We can help. Plus, if you want to know more about what you shouldn’t do on a safari, we can offer a more in-depth look.