Packing for safari

As conservation editor for Overland Journal, I am fortunate to be involved in some interesting projects in the U.S. and abroad.

For two years now I’ve worked with African Conservation Fund to help promote community-based conservation efforts in East Africa, particularly with the Maasai communities along the Tanzania-Kenya border. Last year the South Rift Association, a Maasai land trust, asked us to help them develop and promote a new 4WD safari route from Maasai Mara to Amboseli National Parks, stopping at five of their communities along the way and help them evaluate their planned eco-tourism camps, trails, and activities.

Tomorrow we leave on the trip – I’m being helped by Jonathan Hanson, Overland Journal’s executive editor (and my husband), and we’re being joined by Overland Journal subscribers Al Walter, Cal Hoagland, and Linda Lanzl, among other safari guests, who will be acting as consultants and assisting with evaluating the route and facilities.

We’ll each be driving vintage, restored Land Cruisers from Cruising Cruisers.com of Nairobi, which will give us the perfect capability for the difficult and unknown terrain we’ll be encountering in this well-off-the-beaten-track route. (We’re also talking with Safari Drive, which offers completely kitted out Defender 110s and a much more ready-to-roll hire service than Cruising Cruisers at this time; Safari Drive currently hires vehicles for the north-central portions of Kenya, and we’re hoping to establish the South Rift Circuit as a route they will hire out for as well.)

Because I have so much gear this time, I needed to keep my personal kit to one small duffel. My trusty Filson duffel is now completely seasoned (read: so embedded with African dust) and I love its utility, but I was getting tired of having my clothes end up wadded up and looking like old laundry before I even got on safari – since I lead the trips, I do like to look at least mostly presentable.

So last week I went out and bought several Eagle Creek accessories – an 18″ Pack-It Folder and a couple Pack-It Cubes. I have to admit, I was skeptical for a long while of fancy “travel accessories,” thinking they were for, shall we say, more traditional high-end travelers? But after I managed to pack 4 weeks of safari clothing (3 pants, 3 skirts, 6 shirts, swimwear, jacket, and vest) into one Folder, and the rest of my socks, etcetera, into the larger Cube, I was sold. My clothes look neat and pressed, and don’t get messed up when I have to rummage.

I’m impressed that, with the help of these simple packing tools, I was able to fit into my small duffel: a down sleeping bag, Luxury Lite cot, clothes for a month, toiletries, a down pillow, and my “possibles” bag for adventures (leather gloves for tire changing, repair kits, compass, cord, zip ties, etcetera). 

Keep checking here for updates from our safari!