The following points may help prepare for your Safari better, especially if you are not a frequent jungle goer.
– What you wear is an important aspect of your Safari. While clothes and fitting are a matter of personal choice and comfort, the thumb rule is to wear something not tight fitting. Similarly with colors, dull colors like Khaki, Olive Green, Brown and so on are considered natural colours and blend in with the jungles. Bright colours like Red, Yellow, Orange, and Florescent and so on are not preferred for two reasons (1) Animals spot them easily and the chances of them moving away are higher (2) Insects are attracted to bright colors and to light. You do not want flies and bees buzzing around you while on a Safari. A wide brimmed hat is useful in the summer.
– Similarly with Deodorants and Perfumes, it’s important to note that animals have a keen sense of smell and will have figured your presence out much before you get to see them, and would have vanished behind the bushes. Ralph Laurens, Christian Diors, and D&Gs have their place, but not in the jungle.
– The Safaris are normally operated at dawn (6:00 AM to 9:00 AM) and late evenings (3:30 PM to 6:30 PM). Do carry some water and a few biscuits especially if there are youngsters around for the high adrenalin sustenance while on Safari, as it can drain your energy a lot more quickly.
– Do carry a trash dispense bag, collect the trash (biscuit covers, can lids and so on), and dispose them off in garbage cans when you return to base from the jungles.
– Carry some rain proof clothing especially during the monsoons. An added rain proof pouch for your cameras, lenses and so on would come in handy during a down pour though the vehicle is well shielded for the rains.
– An emergency survival kit and a first aid kit and those small little pouches with medication can come in handy though the chances of getting lost or getting hurt is extremely remote.
– A small scrap book and pencil, plus a decent pair of Binoculars (8X40 or 10X50 magnifications are ideal) along with your camera gear (depending on whether you are a novice or a pro) would be good. Try not to carry your mobile phones along, and if you have to, turn them to silent mode.
– A Safari normally lasts anything between 2.5 to 3.00 hours inside the jungles on a jeep or a boat. So, it is important to plan your bowel habits in advance. A full bowel is a nightmare on a Safari. Do plan to empty your bowels and bladder just before you set off on a Safari.
(We will discuss points to bear in mind ‘During a Safari’ in the next episode)