Ever wondered why everyone wears khaki coloured clothes on safari? Ever dreamt about going on safari and getting up close and personal with Elephants? Lucy Hedges, Lead Nurse at Nomad Bristol has the answers based on lessons learnt on her recent safari to Kenya and Tanzania.
Like many others going on safari I wondered what clothes I should take away with me? When you read advice, light coloured clothing is always advised. I had always assumed this was so you can blend into the African landscape more easily. I decided to heed the advice and packed a mixture of light coloured clothes including a couple of pairs of trousers that could be converted into shorts. My fellow travellers seemed to follow the same rules but some opted for dark clothing. We discovered that there is a reason for the advice when we got to the Serengeti National Park. Everyone is familiar with the importance of avoiding mosquitoes while on safari to avoid contracting diseases such as Yellow Fever and Malaria but they are not the only insects around.
Tsetse flies are found in parts of sub Saharan Africa and have a particularly painful bite as well as being carriers of a parasite that can cause the disease African Trypanosomiasis also known as Sleeping Sickness. Tsetse flies are attracted to movement so will often follow moving vehicles and as my fellow travellers wearing navy discovered; are attracted to dark clothing.
I would recommend following the advice as I did discover how painful the bites can be – definitely something to avoid!
Everyone looked up into the evening mist to see the outline of a large bull elephant flapping its ears about 500 metres from our dining circle. As we all stood and stared in amazement our tour guide and cook were both shouting at us to get into our truck for safety.
You see so many wildlife programmes on TV so you think you’re prepared for all Africa has to offer but I was blown away by the experience. One lesson I learnt on the trip was as beautiful animals can seem they can also be dangerous. We were camping for the night in a campsite on the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater; we had set up camp and were just helping ourselves to the amazing Spaghetti Bolognese made for us by the talented cook when the peace was shattered by crashing coming from the trees nearby. Everyone looked up into the evening mist to see the outline of a large bull elephant flapping its ears about 500 metres from our dining circle. As we all stood and stared in amazement our tour guide and cook were both shouting at us to get into our truck for safety. In a daze we followed orders and slowly made our way to the truck. Some even took their dinners with them while our brave cook managed to scare the elephant away with this pots and pans.
Once the excitement had died down reality sunk in.
As tourists we were all staring at the awesome sight with little appreciation of how dangerous the situation could have been. The bull elephant could easily have charged us and 500 metres would have taken no time at all for such a large animal cover. It is so important to respect the animals you meet on your safari and don’t be tempted to hang around trying to capture the moment on your camera when you could be putting yourself at risk of serious injury. The wild animals are a spectacular sight but best viewed from a safe distance.