Forget the tigers and bears, I don't want one of these big cats nomming on my skull. These eight tools will help you stay alive — and possibly even let you enjoy — your trip to Africa.
Unless you naturally tan a golden bronze like I do, the sun in Africa is strong enough to turn you into a crispy critter the second you step off the plane. These British-style pith helmets will keep the sun of your face and neck while protecting your dome from random Zulu attack. $US23.
If this is your first time on Safari and you're in need of practical advice on how to observe animals — beyond "don't pet the hyenas" — The Safari Companion is a must-read. It includes tips on using binoculars and photographic equipment, as well as data on 84 species found on the African Plains — including the ones that are bigger than you (they're the ones you need to watch out for). $US22.
What sort of arsehole flies halfway around the world to shoot animals with a gun? Not me. I'm the sort of arsehole who flies halfway around the world to shoot them with a camera. And oh, what a camera it is. The Nikon D700 has a 12.1MP resolution, a rugged magnesium-alloy body and an ultrasonic sensor cleaning system. $3799 RRP in Australia.
As animals on the savannah aren't there expressly for you amusement (no, no — they're there expressly for mine) they may not saunter on up to the truck for your gawking pleasure. And unless you want to spend your trip squinting real hard, I'd suggest you get yourself some binoculars — like the Steiner 8x30mm Safari Professionals. They're lightweight but practically indestructible — both waterproof and shockproof — and have a handy autofocus feature that keeps everything more than 18m away in clear contrast. $US180.
According to Wikipedia, "Symptoms of malaria include fever, shivering, arthralgia (joint pain), vomiting, anemia (caused by hemolysis), hemoglobinuria, retinal damage, and convulsions." Screw. That. I'll take my pill-a-day of Malarone. It's a combination of two drugs (atovaquone and proguanil HCI) and is 98 per cent effective. The other 2 per cent of protection comes from my rugged good looks. $US1-$US2/pill - prescription only.
Image: One Way Bombay
This should be called, "How Not to End up As a Head on a Pike in the Front Yard of a Riverboat Captain Who Completely Lost His Mind" because if you don't read this book and try to take a cruise through the Congo, that's exactly what will happen. Or you'll be eaten by an anaconda. $US7.
The normal voltage supply in Africa is about 220V and the plugs are specific to the country you're in. You plug your toys in over there and your toys will go *pop* with a little puff of smoke. That is, unless of course, you've got a converter like the Walkabout Solution. It automatically adjusts incoming voltage to a safe level and also includes a USB port for charging your mobile phone. $US30.
Why no, I wouldn't like to sleep on the ground among the insects and snakes (and lions). I'll be safely on top of the truck if you need me. $US1660-$US2700.