Part 2…What to bring for an African safari….Lions…yep…we’ve got more today…

When looking closely at this photo, we noticed a fourth lion behind the male, appearing to be another male.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

This morning’s eight zebra visitors. Pellets were on the menu!

Prior to continuing with “What to bring for an African safari” we wanted to mention that today’s lion photos were taken yesterday when we ventured out around noon when Josiah was here to wash the veranda and tend to clean up in the garden.

A male lion walking on the bank of the Crocodile River.

He usually arrives around noon requiring we either move indoors or head out for the now daily drive. Rather than stay inside when often Martha is cleaning at the same time, leaving for a while makes more sense than sitting indoors which we seldom do.

From inside the house, we can’t see what’s transpiring in the garden and since we try to avoid missing the arrival of any visitors, staying outdoors makes no sense at all.  

This could be two females with this male lion or a female and a young male whose mane has yet to develop. There’s a male behind the male in front.  

Even on the hottest of days, we stay outside from the time we’re up and dressed until we go inside to get ready for bed. People often ask why we get as many visitors as we do and the answer is simple. The wildlife sees us here all day and it’s irresistible to avoid passing out pellets and veg each time they stop by.

These elephants came down the steep embankment to the river while we were watching the lions, a sight we often encounter but always appreciate.

Unfortunately, the helmeted guineafowls are also here most of the day and they’ve become experts at snatching pellets for their own diet. When we’re trying to feed three little pigs or a dozen kudus, 60 guineafowls can certainly impede their feast.  

We provide some birdseed for the guineafowls but not enough to keep them from pecking for their usual food sources which include worms, grubs, and insects.  

Alternate view of the lions.

As is the case with all the wildlife, the food we provide is more of a snack than a meal. They cannot become totally dependent on us providing food to the point where they don’t continue to forage and graze for their usual food sources.

Here again, we spotted these not too far from “Two Trees” overlook.

After the morning’s activities and staff arrived to clean, we had considerable success at the river as shown in today’s photos. Again, for our new readers, we must mention these lion sightings are often very far from our vantage point on the Marloth Park side of the river.  

The fence between Marloth and Kruger Parks often interferes with the quality and clarity of the photos. When we get closer to the fence we can get better shots by shooting between the wires in the fence but this is very tricky and trying to hold the camera steady for the distant shots and, avoiding the metal barbed-wired fence makes it all the more difficult. We do the best we can.

A lion family near the Crocodile River, where mealtime isn’t a difficult challenge with many animals near the water.

Continuing with our suggestions for items to bring for safari here are the balance of those items we’ve found to be imperative. For yesterday’s post with clothing suggestions, please click here

1. Digital:  
a. Cameras: (many tourists use their smartphones and tablets for taking photos. We see them hanging out the windows of their vehicle while self-driving through Kruger. If taking photos is not your thing, this is fine. But if you want to get great shots, a camera is a must); including multiple camera batteries, chargers, tripod and plenty of storage (SD) cards if you don’t plan to download your photos daily (as we do).
b. Universal travel adapters and converters: suitable for Africa’s outlets which can vary from country to country.
c.  Cellphone: It is less expensive to purchase a SIM card in the country your visiting than buying a global SIM online. In each country, they are available everywhere such as supermarkets, petrol stations and more.  You can purchase airtime for calling and data for maps, etc. (data is expensive, calling is not). However, if you plan on making calls back to your home country we suggest you use Skype or another free service. You’ll pay a small fortune to call using the SIM card on the phone.
d.  Laptops, iPads, and other tablets: If you’re an avid user, feel free to bring them along in your carry-on luggage, and don’t forget plugs-in!
e.  Binoculars: If you prefer to use your camera’s viewfinder to spot your subjects that’s fine if you don’t already own a good pair of binoculars and don’t want to invest at this time. Otherwise, we’ve found using a camera and binoculars is an ideal match when for example in spotting today’s posted lions. I use the camera while Tom hunts via his binoculars.
e.  Wi-Fi: Most hotels and some bush camps provide free Wi-Fi for its guest but service can be sketchy in remote areas. If staying in a holiday/vacation home, verify with the manager/owner that free Wi-Fi is included and any usage limitations. We’ve been pleasantly surprised by the quality of the service here in Marloth Park and at this home.  For us, Wi-Fi is imperative. For you, it may not be as important during your safari adventure.

Something caught the eye of the two of them.

2.  Medication:  
a.  Prescriptions: Regardless of where you’ll be staying it’s a must to bring copies of your prescriptions and ample medication to last at least a week beyond your expected stay in the event of some unforeseen delays. Many common prescriptions can be purchased at local pharmacies in small numbers to get you through a crisis with a copy of your current prescription, although narcotic medications cannot be purchased in this manner. A local doctor must be seen. If you take a narcotic drug for medical purposes, only bring enough, along with a recent prescription, to last during your stay. A large supply can cause serious issues at the airport.
b.  Over the counter medications: If you’ll be in a remote area, it’s a good idea to bring the following: aspirin, Tylenol (call Paracetamol in Africa); allergy meds; insect bite creams (antihistamine and cortisone creams); sunscreen; band-aids; Visine or similar eye irritant solution (dusty conditions can cause eye irritation; contact lens solution/cleaner if applicable include replacement lens since dusty conditions may require a new pair of lenses); your usual favorite toiletries in small sizes suitable for your stay. If you won’t be in a remote area, feel comfortable bringing only those must-use items since all of the above are readily available at local pharmacies. 
c.  Insect repellent: Bring only a small amount of 35% or less DEET. Insect repellents are made for specific areas based on insects indigenous to the area you’ll be visiting. If you will be in a remote area, bring an ample supply of a DEET based product. Repellent must be worn day and night due to the possibility of malaria, and other diseases carried by insects. Reapply based on suggestions on the label.

Male lion resting near the other three lions.

See your local doctor as to any vaccinations you may need or the use of malaria prophylactics. We cannot make any recommendations in this regard. Only you and your doctor can make these decisions.

3.  Sunglasses: t’s wise to bring more than one pair if you’re prone to losing them. The bright sun of the savanna is often blinding and good sunglasses are a must. (Oddly, we rarely see South African wearing sunglasses but they must have adapted accordingly).

4.  Miscellaneous: In our own unique ways, we each have items we like to have with us when traveling. For you, this may be a favorite book, a Kindle, an item of clothing, a packaged food item, a special pillow or headrest.  It’s important to carefully access what makes you feel comfortable and yet is easily packable (check with your airline for weight restrictions). Africa is hot, dusty, and often windy and can be uncomfortable at times especially when bouncing around in a safari vehicle or car on dirt roads while on safari for extended periods. (If you have a serious medical condition, a safari may not be a wise choice but a place like Marloth Park can be ideal when the wildlife come to you while you lounge on a veranda at a holiday home or resort).

We’re posting various shots of the same scene for nuances.

Please feel free to contact s by email or comment here with questions regarding this topic (or others). We’re happy to be of assistance.  We continue to grow in our knowledge of life in Africa but we’re neophytes in comparison to many others. If you have any added suggestions we may have missed here, please let us know and we’ll update these posts.

Have a pleasing and fulfilling day!

Photo from one year ago today, September 13, 2017:

It’s fun to watch the hummingbirds stab their fine pointed beaks into the tiny holes of the feeder. To see the link for our easy recipe for the syrup, please click here.

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