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Perhaps you have vowed never to wear a multi-pocketed "bush" vest, but I hope you will accept the fact that this is the single most useful item of clothing you can wear on safari. I own several. One has 14 pockets, including several "hidden" inside pockets. My favorite is my Domke Photojournalist's Vest (pictured at right), which totes sunglasses, pocket comb, travel toothbrush and small toothpaste, Kleenex pocket packs, Wash-Up towelettes, antibacterial hand cream, emery board, mini
MagLite, insect repellant, chapstick, throat lozenges, itinerary, ink pen, Swahili phrasebook, field guide, bandanas, film, digital camera, a bottle of water and more. This is the easiest, safest way to carry things. So if you don't own one, invest in one. Don't skimp on this item. Make sure it is durable, lightweight and well-made, khaki or light olive (doesn't show dirt as much, and these shades don't attract mosquitos!). Wear it on the plane so all those "extras" don't take up luggage space and weight. You can take it off after you are onboard. Remember, you don't need to be a "fashion-plate" on safari. You'll want your clothing to be comfortable and functional, and to keep the items you need close at hand. If you don't think you need the "bellows" pockets and are sure you won't have an excess amount to carry, try the Multipocket Travel Vest (lower right) from Travelsmith.
A personal essential for me is my neck wallet. Eagle Creek and Travelsmith have them. The Kelty Pangaea is an excellent one that is rugged and organized and is my personal choice. It also has a belt loop. I usually wear mine across one shoulder and beneath my vest or jacket. It holds my passport, health certificate, some traveler's checks, cash, credit card, IDs, small notepad, ink pen, etc. I prefer this over a money belt, as it is versatile and comfortable. You can order yours on the Internet, or visit your local REI, Benchmark, or other sports shop. Another "essential" is an inexpensive wristwatch with alarm. It means not having to carry an alarm clock, but isn't fancy enough to attract attention. Please, leave your "jewelry" (including expensive wedding rings) at home where it will be safe.
The new chewing gums (Arm & Hammer Dental Care and others) that are an occasional substitute for brushing teeth come in handy inflight and on safari.
If you are not an experienced international traveler or think you may have difficulty with the long flight, bring along an inflatable neck pillow, eye shades (blindfold), ear plugs and perhaps some Dramamine tablets. It is not advisable to take sleeping pills inflight, but you might try some Tylenol PM to help you relax.
If you need reading glasses, be sure to have them with you on the plane. Carry reading material such as magazines or a newspaper that you can discard later, so you won't have to lug it along after arriving in Africa. Don't bring a book unless it's a small paperback or a lightweight guidebook you'll want on safari. This is your dream journey of a lifetime. You won't want to spend it reading a novel!
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