When I returned from a seven-day buffalo safari in Tanzania last September, friends who were planning their own safari asked what I’d learned on the trip. Here are a few of the tips I shared with them.
- Tsetse flies are tough to deter, but Avon Skin-So-Soft works pretty well. I found some at my local REI store. The flies seem to be particularly annoying when you’re riding in a vehicle, and they are especially attracted to dark-colored clothing.
- There’s not much you can do about the misery of a sixteen-hour flight (especially if you’re flying in coach) except sleep. Bring a sleep mask, earplugs, and your favorite over-the-counter or prescription sleep med. Drink lots of water–more than you want. That will keep you hydrated and also force you to get up occasionally.
- Consider arriving in the country a couple of days before your safari begins. This allows you to sightsee and recover from jet lag, and builds in a safety valve of time if any of your flights are delayed or you miss a connection. You can take day trips to Ngorongoro Crater from Arusha, for example. Your travel agent, booking agent, or outfitter will help you set something up.
- Practice, practice, practice with your safari rifle, especially if it’s a heavier caliber than you are used to shooting. My practice regimen consisted of shooting twelve to fifteen shots at a session from sitting and kneeling positions and from shooting sticks. I did this once a week for three months, and the practice paid off handsomely when I was able to place good shots on two nice buffalo.