Hi 🙂

I’m exactly 19 hours from my trip. At least first part of it, which is getting there. Probably the most tiring step, to be honest. All the packing, leaving notes to my roommate behind, on how to use my things when I’m away and barely available on all the normal communications, like Facebook, or texts.

That’s it, part 1, which is packing. My ‘travel light’ philosophy is working quite all right with everything but photographic equipment. As i promised myself to finally blog responsibly, here is the must-have list. I have gone to places on my own a few times and these are the things I nearly always find necessary.

1. Must have number 1: pen knife. With not too many functions, as it must be handy, with a nice grasp. I am in love with my Swiss Army knife in the equestrian edition, which is very handy indeed, with all you basically need: large lockable blade, a little but sharp saw, tweezers, ‘needle’ – and a hoof cleaner. This is possibly not very useful for most people, but if you are horse riding in the bush, you may find it invaluable. You can have a look at it in here: http://www.swisstool.co.uk/st/product.php?productid=334&cat=256

2. Must have number 2: head torch. LED one, light, handy. No need for red/blue or whatever fancy colours they come in. Mine is very simple, but water-resistant. I also have another, very small led torch, just in case I need some more light I need to point at things. It is also a nice souvenir I got in China.

3. Spare batteries. And I mean the AA, AAA as well as the camera ones.

4. Headphones. Because of my luck to be seated close to either crying kids or noisy, drunk adults on planes.

5. First aid kit. I have only the things I am sure I know how to use in my kit (btw, it is useful you actually at least read about how to give the first contact help! and in Africa, this should include how to deal with bites. Yes, snake bites as well. just in case). My first aid kit is a few bandages, elastic bandage (the cohesive support bandage is a must! do get one!), some plasters, anti-septic wipes and aerosol, vinyl gloves (THIS IS IMPORTANT. HIV, remember?), two mouth-to-mouth pieces, the special foil rug to keep someone warm… and some meds. Apart from a few basic ones, as paracetamol, aspirin, calcium (helps with mosquito bites), vits C and A and something for flu, I always have some basic meds that help against dehydration, like imodium. Cheap but can save you a lot of trouble. And I have them all packed into a bag, not the boxes, as it saves space, but I do have all the paper prescriptions from the insides of the boxes.

6. Clothes and shoes: not many. As I said, I travel light. My luggage this time is, apart from underwear, 4 pairs of trousers ( a lot for me!), 1 windstopper blouse, 1 goretex, walking shoes (above ankle), trainers, a pair of toms (light, good looking, for the cities on the way) and a pair of wellies. And, oh yes, a hat. Who cares if you look funny, as long you do not get ill from the sun, or whatever? And the essential items this time include Italian army pants (women uniform) – durable, lots of pockets, etc, and a travel vest.

7. A good book – as I cannot force myself to read from all these Kindle things, the book of choice is Tim Thornton’s Alternative Hero, that I picked at a sale today, and also one books for studies…. Some other books include absolutely fantastic Safari Companion by Richard Estes,  Lonely Planet Africa Phrasebook, A field guide to mammals of Southern Africa by Chris and tilde Stuart, Bradt guide to Southern African Wildlife, and also a Bradt guide to Zimbabwe… That’s it, I think.

8. Camera equipment. Now, this is my favourite part. My current gear consists of Nikon D3100, 18-105 and 55-300mm Nikkor lenses (18-105 is a f.5.6 DX format 67mm wide AS-F, VR lens, the other is f.5.6, DX, 58mm diameter, AF-S, VR lens), Nikon SB-700 flashgun, GP-1 GPS unit, a full-sized SLIK tripod, LowePro Stealth Reporter 550D bag… and yes, that’s it. Some tricks are performed using Hama variable neutral density filter, UV filter and gradient grey filter… I think that’s it. And yes, a rain-coat (Zim is very wet in March/April).

(btw, I just killed a huge mosquito on my computer screen and I have it still there, which impaired my vision)

That’s the longest post I have ever written!

9. Oh, I forgot about one think. I pack myself into a backpack. This is crucial. 1) easier to carry around then a suitcase. 2) you won’t pack too much, because you won’t be able to lift it.

 

Ok, tomorrows plan is:

13:26 train to Manchester

17:45 flight to Frankfurt, where I also join with my father

22:10 flight to Johannesburg

On the 23rd (which is also my birthday):

10:05 arrival on Tombo airport in Johannesburg, airport notorious for loosing your luggage

14:40 flight to Harare

*sightseeing in Harare after a bit of refreshment, maybe a blog update, birthday dinner with my father*

 

General plan is:

Day 1: Harare

Day 2: Flight to Victoria Falls + seeing the Falls

Day 3: still at the Falls, but a safari drive in the morning, probably a sunset cruise, maybe a horse ride

Day 4: drive to Hwange National park

Day 5: at Hwange

Day 6: Drive to Gweru, stopping on the way at Bulawayo and Great Zimbabwe ruins

Day 7: Antelope Park, where I want to introduce my father to my lions.

Day 8: My father leaves, I stay at AP, as a volunteer at Lion Rehabilitation Programme.

The basic plan

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