Preparing for a long camping tour in Africa

Oh camping!

I am only a few days away from my 45-day camping tour and I am excited and anxious at the same time.  I have booked a trip with Intrepid Travel for a camping tour from Nairobi, Kenya to Cape Town, South Africa.  During that time we will visit many national parks from the Serengeti in Tanzania to Chobe National Park in Botswana to Victoria Falls in Zambia.

A few questions popped into my head recently:

  1. What was I thinking?
  2. How do I pack for such a long camping trip?
  3. Will the people on this tour be friendly? I will be sleeping in a tent with them the entire time. I hope they are lovely!
  4. What if a lion pounces on me while I am sleeping?
  5. What was I thinking?

To cope with all these questions, I tried to prepare myself mentally and physically.  Hopefully, I will be prepared for such a long camping tour in Africa. But who knows?  Who is ever fully ready?

Preparing myself mentally

After coming back from South America, I had a few weeks to relax before my overland trip to Africa.  The countries included in the camping tour are Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Botswana, Nambia, and South Africa.

Kenya to South Africa Trip Map

Based on my research and consultation with U.S. Department of State (, the U.S. embassy recommends obtaining a visa for Tanzania in advance.  The process of the Tanzania visa was quite simple and you can send all the paperwork  to the Tanzania embassy in Washington D.C. The cost of the visa currently is $100 USD and it takes a few weeks for processing.

Visas for Kenya ($25 USD for single entry) and Zambia ($50 USD for single entry) are available at the port of entry.

To relax and enjoy my last few weeks in the States, I did the following:

  1. Eat all my favorite food including noodles and fruits.
  2. Enjoy the hot showers for a longer duration. Yes-I know this may not be environmentally friendly but you just have to enjoy the simple pleasures sometimes.
  3. Sleep a few extra hours each day.

Preparing myself physically

So you might have thought by the title that I went to the gym or trained by climbing mountains.  Unfortunately, that was not the case. Vaccinations were on my to-do list.

Medicine away!

Fortunately, I had most of my vaccinations completed from my Southeast Asia and South America journeys. The one pill I find most cumbersome is the antibiotic for malaria, a mosquito-borne disease.

There are several antibiotics to take, but I opted for doxycycline which was more cost effective (month supply costs about $25.00 USD) and side-effects supposedly do not include nightmares (ex. malarone).  Medication starts a few days before you arrive into the malaria-stricken area and has to continue 4 weeks after you leave the area.  Consult the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)  for more information.

Packing for the long-run

Ahhhhhh… What can I say?  Packing for a camping trip is CRAZY! What was I thinking?  But I then think of all the lions and open landscapes and begin to smile again.

Packing Camping Style

Besides my basic items in my packing list, I am packing a few extras for a camping trip.

  1. Flip flops (can be used for outdoors and possible showers)
  2. Wide-brim hat
  3. Neutral colored clothing for the safaris (khaki, green, gray, tan)
  4. Head torch and spare batteries
  5. Travel Pillow
  6. 3/4 season sleeping bag
  7. Sleeping sheets
  8. Sarong for bathing and for swimming
  9. Compact quick-dry towel
  10. Refillable water bottle
  11. Binoculars
  12. Digital SLR Camera (normally I do not bring out the fancy camera, but I am going to see some amazing animals)
  13. Granola bars (just in case I not feeling well and need something simple to eat)
  14. Bungee cords (to hold my sleeping bag on the outside of my pack)

Well, I hope that the people on my tour are friendly and sharing quarters with them for 45 days will be bearable. I am sure it will be an adventure either way.  In any case, I hope I do not encounter a lion while I am sleeping.  My plan is not to leave the tent in the middle of the night.  If I do leave the tent, I may have to pretend I am a lion and ask for courage from the Wizard of Oz.


About Jan

In 2004 and 2010, I set aside time to travel the world in 3 parts. In 2004, I traveled to Thailand, Europe, and Pacific Northwest region of the U.S. In 2010, I traveled to 3 continents: Asia, South America, and Africa. I am not sure if I have a fascination with the number 3, but I seem to be constantly traveling by numbers.
This entry was posted in Africa, Destinations, Health Concerns, Packing List, Passport & Visas, Planning, Research and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Preparing for a long camping tour in Africa

  1. Shu says:

    Farewell Jan!! Take amazing pictures =) Its going to be so much fun. Stay healthy and have a fantastic journey!!!

  2. Sing says:

    you are the bravest person i’ve ever seen. have fun in africa Jan! :)

  3. Lianne says:

    I hope you found your tent-mate bearable in the end 😉

  4. JO says:

    This has been great fun to read. Good job!

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