Whether you’re going to a private game lodge or a tented camp, going on safari is not as straight forward as it may sound. You need to get up before sunrise; you can take but a limited amount of luggage on the small plane that will put you down on a dirt landing strip; and you have to rely on a cell phone and camera that have to operate where Wi-Fi is limited. Also, don’t forget that while you might be lucky enough to see one of the big 5 game from a distance, you may not be able to move from your seat in the open-top Land Rover for fear of disturbing your surroundings. Reducing stress, maintaining comfort and capturing memories of the amazing time you will surely experience means you need to consider these twelve new essentials that can help make safaris even more enchanting than you can imagine.
Best Hi Tech Travel Gear To Take On An African Safari
Creators of this amazing piece of luggage describe it as “Smart, Connected Luggage.” The Bluesmart suitcase is a carry-on bag that is sturdy enough to withstand the harsh treatment of a checked bag. The GPS technology allows you to track your suitcase anywhere in the world through an app on your smart phone. The app also makes it possible to lock or unlock the case and check the weight of the contents through a digital gauge without lifting it on to a bathroom scale. But the best feature may be its ability to charge two devices at the same time – your IPhone or Android and your tablet – through two USB ports, which you can use after the suitcase is charged.
Getting Around in the Dark.
Using a flashlight at the crack of dawn or late at night? No way! What you need is a headlamp. The LE Headlamp LED, 4 Modes Headlight, Battery Powered Helmet Light is lightweight, adjustable and provides four levels of lighting with up to a 20 foot beam of light. It’s the right choice for moving about in the dark, reading at night, finding outlets in the dark or looking for bugs that may be in your hut. For the best animal watching, you will need to wake and move about the camp in the dark whether alone or with an escort. You won’t be disappointed with this headlamp to illuminate your path. It even fits around your hat or helmet.
Capturing the Safari Experience
On safari, your camera is your number one device for capturing this once in a lifetime experience. There are a number of features you can get with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ100. For under $900.00, you’ll get an easy-to-use camera with a super zoom lens capable of high definition video recording. This is a little camera – no bigger than a basic SLR– with big performance. It has .09 second auto-focusing feature, Wi-Fi and NFC (wireless data transfer that can detect and communicate without an internet connection) and a port for an optional stereo microphone to capture sounds of the bush. It’s compact, yet sturdy and will give even the amateur photographer a feeling of confidence, with its tilting screen and good sized handgrip.
The GoPro HERO5 Session, a little wonder, weighing about a quarter of a pound, may be worn on your helmet or mounted to the side of the rover you’ll be riding in, so at any moment you can grab HD video footage of perhaps a monkey with her babies or if you’re lucky, some newborn lion cubs. Don’t worry if it’s raining because it’s water-proof– even for those who happen to take it swimming. Best of all, it’s voice activated or turned on with the push of one button, so you can command it to start shooting or click it on, giving you the freedom to operate your hand-held camera, too. This GoPro features an easy-to-use editing app. When you upload your images, you can sort and combine them to create a short film to tell the story of what you did on safari.
Turn your IPhone 6 or 6s into a live action camera? You can with a NUJIA Waterproof Case with 170 Degree Wide Angle Lens and GoPro Adapter. This is a phenomenal choice if you want to use your phone to capture wide angle video. The NUJIA case is completely waterproof and extremely sturdy. On safari this can give you peace of mind for the occasional downpour, unpredictable bumps and inevitable dust. It comes with GoPro adapters.
You never want to lose the beautiful photos you are going to capture. You need to back up your images, ensuring you have a least two copies of your experience. What’s required is a hard drive that goes on safari. It should be small, able to fit into your camera bag, reliable, doesn’t require an external power source and is cost efficient. That’s what you’ll get in the lean and mean Seagate Seven 500 GB. Advertised as “the world’s thinnest 500 GB portable hard drive,” it will make backing up photos from a day in the game park easy.
Back It Up Again
Another great way to back up your data and ensure plenty of room to take more photos is an ingenious new wearable belt that features a magnetic belt buckle to hold the flash drive. You won’t stand a chance of running out of memory on your phone or camera, and you won’t lose or misplace that little device with all of your data. The Toka!Flash – Smart Wearable Belt With Flash Drive Storage is a really cool way of carrying around a flash drive by eliminating the need to drop it into a bag or the chance to forget it on the desk. You can transfer data between IOS, Mac and Windows devices; it offers Apple Lightening connectivity; and it’s all on a hands-free hip belt built for durability, convenience and practicality.
The Eye-Fi card is the little engine that could. It is a tiny SD memory card that you insert in just about any type of digital camera, letting you quickly and automatically upload your photos to your smart phone or tablet for sharing with the world on any of your social platforms – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or email. EyeFi Mobi software finds the signal from the camera and after detection sends new images from the camera to the mobile device. This can be handy if you misplace your camera and it’s picked up by someone else…once the detection system picks up the photos, you’ll see what they are – and likely will be able to see where they are, giving you a good chance of getting the camera back into your hands. Eye Fi has a great organization system, giving you the opportunity to create albums and sort into groups by name, place or whatever filing system you choose.
Option II – Wireless Streaming for Social Media and more
The Kingston MobileLite Wireless G3 is not a hard drive. It’s a travel-size wireless memory card reader that lets you transfer or stream photos, video or other files seamlessly from your camera to your favorite social media platform without going through the cloud or email. It allows you to back up your photos, videos and contacts, and functions as a battery charger for your IPhone or tablet. You can fully charge your phone several times or stream video for hours — as long as an entire day. The other unique feature of this gadget is its ability to create a hotspot from a wired connection. It has a strong security system that is password protected.
Do We See Well?
The world is learning more and more about eye health, hence the importance of UV sunglasses. They are essential equipment for any safari. You can’t see the UV rays that can harm your eyes, and you’ll want to cut the glare and improve the depth of everything you see. Oakley HD lenses are among the best on the planet. The technology they call Plutonite is infused into every pair and truly increases your visual clarity. The minute you put them on you’ll experience their comfort and literally SEE the difference they can make. One of the original lightweight styles is Batwolf for Men or Frogskins for Women – both styles have an everyday design with character and panache.
As we all know, being out of cell phone range can be a shock to the system. The goTenna Off-Grid Text & GPS is not only useful if you happen to be completely lost and out of cellular range, but it’s just plain great for texting your friends or family when you don’t have service. These handy, relatively affordable sticks help you turn your cellphone into a communications device by generating a radio signal. They are smaller and more functional than a satellite phone and have reliable performance. They attach easily to your pack or backpack. You need the GoTenna app to get started.
What Do You See and Hear?
Let’s face it – even the best of us doesn’t always recognize the animal in front of us. So enrich your wildlife experience by downloading a couple of apps to your phone or tablet before you go. That way, you won’t have to rely on the Internet to look up information about the animals or birds you’ll see. The best apps have photos, identification and behavior features, a way to keep track of the ones you see, and sounds you can play aloud to attract the animal or bird’s attention. There’s nothing better than sitting under a tree, spying an African hawk and playing a bird call that gets noticed. Try the Kingdon Guide to African Mammals or the Sasol eBirds of Southern Africa (other location guides are available), both of them are by mydigitalearth.