Game drives are one of the most fun, exciting, memorable and special experiences of your safari. Twice a day, you head out with your guide on an adventure in the bush, searching the Manyeleti for all the wonderful creatures that live in this wilderness.
With game drives making up such a big part of your trip, it makes sense to come prepared for the bush, and bring along the most important items that will make the experience all the more enjoyable.
So, while you are planning your next trip to Tintswalo, have a look at this list to make sure you are prepared for the fun.
We might as well start with the single most important item you will take on your game drive.
Safaris are all about enjoying the animals and birds that make this wilderness so special. The beautiful Manyeleti is no zoo; wild animals can be wary of people so you need to have a good set of binoculars to spot the camouflaged creatures through the bush, in the trees and across the plains. Yes, we have a tracker and experienced guide with trained eyes, but the more eyes on the bush the better. Binos also make bird-watching so much more fun and interactive, as you are able to really appreciate the colors, shapes and species up close. If you don’t have your own nice pair of binos, you can always hire from the lodge.
Field guide books—birds, animals and insects of Southern Africa—are a great addition to any drive. Our guides all carry field guides, and they will refer to these often when chatting about the animals you might see on the drive. But it’s even better to have your own books so that you can review species in your own time, and to also keep track of the things you see. Field guides are the most important for keen birders, as it is wonderful to page through the species lists, comparing colour changes, and challenging yourself to identify each new species.
A warm jacket – layers, layers, layers!
Our game drives leave in the early morning and late afternoon, so it can get chilly on the road at times. We do provide warm blankets and hot water bottles on the drive, but don’t forget to layer up because the temperature can change quickly. A wind-breaker of some kind is very helpful too for the longer sections of driving in the very early morning.
Every guest at Tintswalo is given a glass water bottle with cooling jacket on for the duration of your trip. With bottle holders in each vehicle, make sure to pack yours for each drive so you can keep happy and hydrated during the hotter parts of the day. All of our water bottles are reusable and recyclable.
Don’t forget the camera! There will be unmissable moments, and memories to last a lifetime, so you want to have at least one camera to capture these moments. If you love your photography, you are probably sorted. But if you are more of a newby, then it makes sense to do some research and get a great multi-purpose camera. Make sure it has some zooming ability for those close ups. It should also be able to switch between video and stills: you never know when something incredible happens and a video might be a much better tool for capturing the moment.
Safari Lodge also has a wonderful media centre, where you are able to review all of you images from the day, and then print the best ones in large, professional format for taking home. This is a wonderful thing to do at the end of each day, as you re-live each moment. And for those of you, who don’t own a camera, do not worry as you can hire one from the media centre.
Sun protection: sunscreen and hat
This is very, very important! The African sun is renowned for being a scorcher, and sometimes you don’t think you are burning because you are driving around, but make sure you bring sunscreen to apply to your face regularly during the day. Also, a nice, wide-brimmed hat is essential for keeping the sun off the face and scanning the distance for animals.
The vehicle is moving around quite a lot, so insects are not a major problem. But it’s best to be safe, especially when we are stationary at sightings for an extended period. Make sure you bring a good citronella-based repellent to squirt on your ankles and neck. Our vehicles are stocked with insect repellent, so we can always help if you don’t have your own.
While you are spending most of your time on the vehicle, there are still occasions when you are going to want to jump out and explore. Whether it’s a short walk to track animals with your guide, or a drinks stop by the dam, or bush drinks in the evening, you don’t want to be walking around in fancy shoes or light slippers while walking in the bush. Hiking boots are not necessary, but some nice, multi-purpose walking shoes are ideal.
Don’t forget to pack; lip ice, tissues, eye drops, hair ties and a beanie. These all come in handy for the rigours and weather changes of game drive.
A sealable bag
Game drives can get dusty, so make sure you have a day bag to put your belongings in during the day. This is especially important if you have a camera, as you want to avoid the dust at all costs. This is also the bag that holds the rest of your items listed above: to ensure they don’t fall down and slip around beneath the seats.
The Safari Lodge Shop
If you have forgotten any of these items: don’t despair. The curio shop at Safari Lodge stocks most things you will need on game drives. From binoculars to warm jackets to sun cream and more. Your guide is also on hand to help select items or lend his binoculars, and generally make sure you are comfortable for the duration of your stay.
The Tintswalo Team