8 "runner ups" - "What to pack"
- Permethrin: We sprayed Permethrin (Insect Repellent) generously all over our clothes. This seemed like a better idea than spraying Deet all over ourselves! It seemed to work. Maybe it was the season (November?) , or maybe we were just lucky. We had almost no problem with insects or bugs biting us! (We brought insect repellent on the trip, but didn't bring the Permethrin on the trip to do any respraying, etc.)
- Sleeping Pills: Why waste a day or two getting caught up in jet lag, and not being able to sleep? We took sleeping pills on the first and second day, and didn't run into any of the issues that others did with not being able to sleep.
- Allergy Medicines: Both of us are allergic to quite a lot of things, so we brought our load of medicines. However, even if you just get lots of hay fever, consider bringing some over-the-counter drugs, like Claritin or Benadryl® .
- "Regular Medicines": Bring your aspirin, ibuprofen, and whatever else you generally like to keep handy. It just would have been out of the way for us to find the medicines when we needed them.
- Rainjacket or Poncho: Really helpful, since it started raining as we were hiking. This came in handy in both Rwanda and Tanzania. That said, a cheap poncho would have worked out just as well for us - it takes less space than a full-sized rainjacket and it works pretty well.
- A safari vest: It sounds cliche, but those pockets are really handy for lens caps, Purell, etc. We didn't do anything particularly strenuous, such as hiking up Mt Kilimanjaro, so I can't say anything about that. Really, we just looked for something semi-decent looking/fitting (to improve the chances of wearing it again), reasonably priced, and not too heavy (for those days when it gets hotter). On a side note, the Weekender® Traveler Air Vest is one that a decent number of (casual) photographers seem to like - but which we haven't tried ourselves.
- Socks that are longer than ankle length: We ended up tucking our pants legs into our socks. This was handy to protect against insects and mud. Those who brought only ankle length socks struggled to tuck. The lightweight hiking socks from SmartWool and from REI seemed to work really well. They run ~$12/pair. It sounds silly - because after spending all this money to pay for the safari, the $40 additional to buy a few pairs of socks shouldn't have seemed like such a big deal. But for some reason, I just wasn't sure. But I can definitely say that it was a good idea for me! Even if it's not muddy, there are bugs and insects flying around - and after a while I was always tucking my pants legs into my socks!
- More snack foods: There's a lot of food, all the time! But sometimes we just had a hankering for some snacks from back home. We probably would have brought some chocolate, and maybe some salty snacks.
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