A Dry Run

Yesterday morning I took photos for the post I planned to publish, then I headed off to an eye-appointment. It’s been a while since I’ve been to the eye doctor and I had totally forgotten that they dilate your eyes. Unfortunately, there was to be no picture sorting or post writing after that.

Vaccines…My Experience

Before getting into today’s post, several folks have asked about the vaccines I had to get before my upcoming trip to Africa and how those went. When traveling to that continent, at least to the area where I’m going-Kenya, it’s not required that you get a Yellow Fever vaccine if you’re coming from the United States. But the CDC and all the travel clinics highly recommended you get Yellow Fever, Typhoid, Hepatitis A and take pills to prevent Malaria. There are a few other vaccines they suggest but those are the main ones that the travel clinic I visited really insisted were necessary.

The travel clinics here will not give you any of these vaccines (without written consent from your doctor) if you are 59 years old, or older. I’m not sure why they have that rule, but I’m pretty sure I read it at the CDC site, too. I didn’t have to get consent since I’m not 59 yet,  but I’m sure my doctor would have approved it.

Yellow Fever and Malaria are transmitted to humans via a mosquito bite and is a very common disease in certain parts of Africa.


Source: Wikipedia


Typhoid can be gotten when eating food or water contaminated with Salmonella Typhi. Even though I’m staying in very nice places during my visit, I read that the only way the water is totally safe is if the place you’re staying uses reverse osmosis, and apparently that’s not very common.

Update: The water was safe to drink at Mahali Mzuri Safari Camp because they do use reverse osmosis there.

The travel clinic said Hepatitis A is good vaccine to have anyway, especially if you plan on traveling to other countries, not just for travel to Africa. I will need to go back in 6+ months for the second part of that vaccine, then I’ll be immune for life. Yellow Fever vaccine is good for 10 years. I’m not sure about the Typhoid vaccine..how long it lasts.

There isn’t a vaccine for Malaria, just preventative pills that are taken two days before you leave, once a day while there and for several more days after returning. I’ve heard they make some folks nauseated so it’s recommended they be taken with food. I’ve had issues in the past with medicines making me nauseated so I will definitely follow that advice.

Each vaccine was given as a separate injection into my arms and within a few hours, my arms were hurting so badly, I could barely move them. That makes me think they are probably injected into the muscle.

As evening approached, I began to ache all over like I had a good case of the flu. I also experienced a lot of bloating. I felt like an over-inflated balloon. I almost found that more disturbing than the aches and pains.


Source: Wikipedia

The next day I still felt terrible and was overcome with the need to sleep. I guess that’s how our body copes when it’s fighting off a bug, we feel tired because all our resources are going to battle the intruder. I slept for 4-5 hours that afternoon and had no trouble sleeping again all night.

Before going to bed, I was beginning to feel a little better. The achiness wasn’t quite as bad and the bloating had gone down a little. When I awoke the next morning, the bloating and achiness were pretty much gone. My arms were a lot better, too. They weren’t totally back to normal (that took a couple of more days) but they were enough better that I could raise them to desk level to type out a post.

So, for me, the effects of the vaccines came on quickly, were pretty intense for a 24-36 hour period, then ended very quickly, pretty much overnight. I was shocked how fast I went from feeling awful to completely back to normal!

I’m sure everyone reacts differently but I wanted to share my experience just in case you ever decide to visit a country where Yellow Fever, Typhoid and Hep A are suggested or required.


Source: Wikipedia


The other super important thing to do when traveling to Africa is to put on plenty of a really good insect repellent when outdoors. The travel clinic I visited gave me a thick folder with information about all the dos and don’ts while traveling in Africa. Inside, it stated the level of DEET that needs to be in the insect repellent you wear while there.

I purchased this one since it was the one recommended in a lot of places online. It has 34.34% DEET and apparently is used by the military. This insect repellent can be found here: Insect Repellent

Update: I didn’t find that I needed to wear this insect repellent very much at all. I think I put it on once during my entire trip. The reason for that is because whenever we were out on safari, I wore light-weight, long pants, a light, long sleeve shirt and a hat. So the only part of my body that wasn’t covered up was my face and my hands.

When back at Mahali Mzuri, I never saw any bugs. I have a feeling they must treat all around the camp for that because I never saw any bugs or mosquitoes at all. So, it’s a good idea to take a really good insect repellent in case you do need it, but depending on where you go and what type clothing you’re wearing, you may find you don’t need to apply it all over. Just use your own judgement, rather to be safe than sorry.

Ultrathon Insect Repellent


I was also warned about something called Traveler’s Diarrhea, TD for short. Have you ever heard of it? Basically, the entire time I’m in Africa, I need to make sure I do not drink the water. I was told to only drink bottled water.

That sounds easy enough but the sneaky way you end up ingesting the water is when you forget and drink a beverage that has ice in it…or you forget and rinse off your toothbrush after brushing your teeth…or you eat fruit that’s already been peeled and possibly rinsed…same for a salad. Further down in this post I’ll share how I’ve tried to set myself up for success in avoiding the dreaded TD!

Update: I didn’t have to worry about not drinking the water. The two places I stayed (Mahali Mzuri and Giraffe Manor) both use reverse osmosis so the water was safe to drink.

All the vaccines that are recommended are pretty pricey and they are not covered under most insurance plans, except maybe the Hep A. The office visit and vaccines were going to be $525 at the travel clinic that’s connected to the hospital where my primary care doctor practices.

I made an appointment with my county health department and paid $373, still a good chunk of change but better than $525. I have filed the Hepatitis A part with my insurance company so hopefully they will help with that since it’s a recommended vaccine these days, anyway. The malaria pills were inexpensive, I think around $8.

So, that’s the low-down on the vaccines and how I fared. It was intense for the first 24 to 36 hours, but thankfully, the symptoms didn’t last very long at all. Of course, it can be different for everyone. Be sure and check with your physician before ever getting any vaccines!

Packing Light for Safari

After a lot of thought, I think I have finally come up with a plan on what to pack for my trip to Africa. I’ve run the gamut from thinking I was going to have to spend the entire week in khaki clothing (ugh) to deciding that was really unnecessary. In the photos I’ve seen at the Mahali Mzuri site, the folks on safari aren’t dressed in all khaki and neither are the guides.

Since I’ll be flying in small planes a few times during my trip, I’m only allowed to bring a soft sided bag. It can’t have wheels or a pull handle. I’m going to use this Pendleton Weekender bag because it has a long shoulder strap which will allow me to wear it in a crossbody fashion.

Filled, it doesn’t weigh 33lbs, but I really don’t want to be burdened by a larger or heavier bag, so I’m determined to get everything I’m taking (other than my laptop and camera equipment) into this one bag. It’s gonna be a challenge!



Clothing for a Safari

Packing for a trip to Africa, particularly one that involves going out on safari 7-8  times while there, requires some intense planning, especially when you’re limited by the kind of luggage you can take. In all the reading I’ve done (and I’ve done a lot!) the articles of clothing that kept being mentioned over and over were: light-weight, long-sleeve shirts, long pants-preferably the kind that can be turned into shorts, a light rain jacket, a fleece for chilly evenings or nighttime safaris, two pairs of shoes (like tennis shoes and sandals) and a hat.

Here’s what I’m taking, a dry run for the packing I’ll be doing. Some of the clothes below I’ll be wearing on the trip over, so thankfully not all of these will have to fit inside the weekender bag.

Starting on the left, the pajamas and vest may not make the trip at all, there just may not be enough room in my bag. The sandals will go, they are very light weight. Update: Okay, you guys have talked me into reconsidering on the vest. It was made for this kind of trip so I guess it’s foolish to leave it behind. πŸ™‚

Packing for Safari_wm


I may take my ECCO sandals  (not pictured above) along, too.  They are perfect for any trip. Do you have a pair of these? They are the most comfortable sandal, ever! I purchased mine in Dillards a few years ago, but they are also available here: ECCO Sandals

Ecco Sandals


From the top left and moving across, I’m taking two pairs of Zip-Off Nylon pants (khaki colored and a dark gray) that can be converted into shorts, and two light-weight, long-sleeve Columbia sports shirts with sleeves that can be rolled up and buttoned to become shorter sleeves when needed.

I’m taking a navy Vineyard Vines fleece pullover. Navy is not a recommended color to wear because it can attract the biting tsetse fly, but I only have two fleeces and they are both navy. Plus, I’ll only be wearing my fleece at night (I think) and I’m hoping tsetse flies don’t fly at night. lol

Packing for an African Safari


After thinking this over a lot, I decided that linen would be a great fabric to wear while in Africa because it’s light-weight and very cool, making it perfect for hot weather. I have a fair amount of linen pieces because, along with cotton, it’s one of my favorite fabrics for summer.

So starting again on the left, I’m taking a pair of casual white linen pants (originally purchased for a beach trip) and two long sleeve linen shirts. The pants are super casual, tying at the waist. Both shirts function exactly like the Columbia sports shirts do…meaning the sleeves roll up and can be buttoned into place to become a shorter sleeve.

They don’t recommend you wear white while on safari, it’s too dusty and dirty, so the white linen pants are for camp time, especially for dinner time when I want to dress up a little nicer. I thought I’d wear them with the white, open weave tunic and my white t-shirt.

Packing for an African Safari


Below the linen pants and shirts, you’ll see a pair of white crop pants. As long as I have bug repellent on my legs, I think crop pants will be okay when I’m at camp and not on safari.

I’m taking one pair of shorts to lounge around the pool, in case it’s warm enough for that. It may be too chilly, I think the temps only reach the middle to upper 70’s this time of year so it may be too chilly for any swimming.

Packing for an African Safari


For the hat requirement (every packing list insists you need a hat while in Africa) I found an adorable Tilley Hat. Have you heard of the infamous Tilley hats? They are made in Canada and are extremely well-made. Apparently folks get very attached to their Tilley hats and they are often passed down through the family. I guess they are a little like Barbour coats, in that respect. πŸ™‚

Most of the hats I saw that were “safari” style hats, looked really masculine. I knew I’d never wear it again once I returned home. I wanted to find a hat that would be cute enough I’d feel comfortable wearing it while gardening, at the beach or wherever. You’ll see the Tilley hat I chose there on the right.

Packing for an African Safari


Here’s a close up of it hanging on my old dress form here in the office. I love the little band going around the hat and how it hangs down in the back…so pretty and feminine.

Tilley Hat for Safari or For Beach Trip_wm


I also love how the band can be swapped out for a scarf or another color band. I found my Tilley hat here: Tilley Hat. You can read a really cute story involving a lion and a Tilley hat here: From the Lion’s Mouth

Tilley Hat for Beach or Everyday Wear


The other items you’ll see below are tennis shoes to wear on safari,  3 pairs of socks (stuffed inside the shoes) binoculars, hair scrunchies, Wet Ones, Airborne, sunscreen in individual packets, insect repellent, disposable tooth brushes, antibiotic in case I’m struck with TD (the travel clinic recommend taking this and my doctor called it in) malaria pills, my RFID neck stash for the important stuff like my passport, Visa, airline tickets, proof of Yellow Fever vaccine, credit cards, cash, etc…

Packing for an African Safari


The disposable toothbrushes are a genius idea. They come with the toothpaste already on them and you toss them after you use them. I’m hoping this will keep me from forgetting and absent-mindedly rinsing my toothbrush under the faucet. I plan to place a towel over the faucet handles of the sink to remind myself to not drink the water in the room. Even if they use reverse osmosis where I’m staying, I don’t think I want to risk it. You’ll find these disposable toothbrushes here: Disposable Toothbrush

Update: I may not have to worry about the water after all. Apparently, Mahali Mzuri has a very sophisticated filtering system. You can hear more about it in this video: Mahali Mzuri

Disposable Toothbrush


Just for fun, I paired up some of the outfits I’ll be wearing on safari. Below you’ll see my 30-year-old Banana Republic vest, a Columbia shirt in a gorgeous aqua color (so glad they make one in that color) and one of the two pairs of zip-off pants I purchased for the trip. The Columbia shirt can be found in aqua here: Columbia Shirt in Aqua and in khaki (the other color I’m taking) here: Columbia Shirt in Khaki The zip-off pants fit perfectly. I’m 5’4″ and they are the perfect length. They can be found here: Zip-Off Nylon Pants for Hiking

Columbia Shirt with Zip-Off Pants and Vest For Safari_wm


When we head out on safari in the early morning, it will be pretty chilly. That’s when I’ll leave the sleeves down and perhaps wear a jacket or fleece. From what I’ve read, things warm up very quickly once the sun comes up, so then it will be time to roll up the sleeves and button them. I may even zip off the legs of the pants  if it gets really hot, although, I’m not sure the world is ready for the blinding reflection of my blazing white legs. πŸ˜‰

Photography Vest with Columbia Shirt for Safari Vacation Trip_wm


This is the rain jacket I’ll be taking along on the trip. I absolutely LOVE this jacket! I like it so much, I’m seriously considering buying a second one in another one of the many colors it comes in.

Waterproof Rain Jacket & Zip-Off Pants for Safari in Africa_wm


It was only $40 and I’ve been needing a rain jacket for a long time. This will get tons of use when I return home. It’s going to be my go-to jacket when a spring/summer rain hits and I have to run errands. It’s so warm, I may end up wearing it into the fall. You’ll find it here:  New Englander Waterproof Rain Jacket


Waterproof Rain Jacket in Aqua


I found the sunscreen in packets, which mean no bottles of sunscreen spilling out into my luggage. It can be found here: Banana Boat Sunscreen

Sunscreen Individually Packaged for Trips


So, this is the plan at the moment. I’m still trying to decide what I’ll wear on the long plane flight over…I’m thinking of going with the crop pants below, one of the linen tops and either the fleece or the rain jacket. The fleece is so bulky, I may wear it to make more space in my bag.   I welcome any suggestions or ideas.

Packing for an African Safari


To see the other bag I’ll be taking along on this trip, check out this previous post: Packing for an African Safari

Packing for African Safari

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  1. Love your safari trousseau! My fave is the hat. How fun to replace the current band with a giraffe-print scarf. And you’ve had that vest for 30 yrs, obviously keeping it for just this moment; wearing/carrying it is a must!

  2. Wow you sure are prepared and have put a lot of thought into the details. You will have a wonderful time.
    Those vaccines are so important. My niece got a bad case of Dengue fever while in Asia. She just thought they were sick with a flu and stayed in their room until they ran out of bottled water. As soon as they went into the market and the proprietor saw them a boat was called to take them to where they could be brought to a hospital where they spent 10 days being treated. Much longer without treatment and they would have died.

    • Lori, this trip was a lot harder to plan and pack for than any trip I’ve ever taken…so limited on space and the requirements for the clothing are so different. I’m not taking a lot and fortunately the places I’m staying will wash clothes for you there. I’m so picky about how my clothes are washed, not sure I’ll do that, though. lol
      Wow, soooo scary! They mentioned Dengue Fever when I was there and it sounded terrible. I’m so glad your niece got help, good thing they ran out of water and had to go to the market. It sounds really dangerous.

  3. Mary from Virginia says

    Cute clothes!

    A good friend of mine visited Africa and went on Safari. She wore jeans and a tee shirt. She said it was really hot and dusty, so the lighter the clothing the better. She said you can get a pizza in Ethiopia, I don’t know why I find that so funny, but I do.

    She brought back the most fascinating photos. Enjoy your time! I will be thinking of you.

    • I only have a couple of pairs of jeans and they are so heavy, seems like they would be really hot. You just reminded me, I need to take a scarf. I read that they are good for tying around you face to keep the dust out of your nose. Thanks, Mary! I’ll be blogging while there so hope to have some fun pics to share. πŸ™‚

    • regarding pizza in Ethiopa — we use to frequent a pizza parlor and the owner lived in Ethiopa as a child (parents were missionaries) and he learned to make pizza from the Italian immigrants there — they came during WWII, if I remember correctly. His pizza was amazing!

  4. Lovely outfits. Are you also taking TP???? Soap for washing clothes???Spot remover???nail file, a bandanna.
    Can you tell I am a grandmother who has everything my family needs on a trip? Plus I used to carry scotch tape, scissors and wrapping paper for family vacations…impromptu gift giving…..I saved many a day in my time. LOL
    Wonderful tips on getting vaccinations well in advance etc.
    Enjoy, enjoy.

  5. Are you bringing underwear? hahah not in photo shots….

    • No, no room in my bag. I’m going commando!
      (Pauses, waits for that to sink in.)
      Yes! lol I’m taking underwear, it’s just not in the photo. I may throw it away though after wearing. I read once that it’s good to take old underwear on trips and just throw it away each day. That way you’re not having to carry home used underwear and you have more room for souvenirs. πŸ™‚ I definitely won’t have any space for souvenirs…barely enough for my clothes.

      • YOU ARE a HOOT!! I HAD to throw away my underwear after an awful case of “Montezuma’s Revenge!!” (DO NOT DRINK THE WATER!!) fmp

        • lol! I’m going to do my best to avoid it. I’m dying to take a bubble bath in the claw-foot tub I saw on the website, though. I just have to make sure I don’t splash any water in my face. Do you remember that scene in the show Sex and City where Carrie has just been left at the alter by Big so she and the girls all go to Mexico (or somewhere like that) on what was supposed to be Carrie and Big’s honeymoon. Charlotte is showering and forgets and let’s some water go into her mouth. The scene that follows is pretty hilarious! I do not want to reenact that scene in Kenya!!! πŸ™‚

        • Franki, check out his video…it sounds like the water may be okay at Mahali Mzuri afterall: https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=88&v=WE_pDKK4ulI

  6. What a pretty collection for your amazing trip. Love the colors and your selections. The shots are a lot to be put through and the medication. You have done it all. This will be one fantastic trip and you should enjoy every minute of it. I can’t wait to see all your beautiful photos.

    • Thanks, Peggy! I’m hoping to take Grand Circle Travel’s Ultimate Africa trip one day. At least I won’t need all the shots again if I do it in the next ten years. lol

  7. Marlene Stephenson says

    Well it sounds like you are ready and you will look great in your outfits. It’s great going on these kind of trips and know you will have a wonderful time. No matter what have fun and relax.

  8. Hi! Great info, thank you! I thought you were going to Italy????? I couldn’t understand why you were getting vaccinated!! Happy Travels!

    • Thanks, Debbie! Yep, Italy is still on for October. It should be a breeze packing for that trip compared to this one since I can actually take a real suitcase. Wonder if I can wear the pants I bought for this trip on that one or if that’s a big faux pas in Italy. lol

  9. Many years ago while still active duty we received overseas orders and had to take vaccinations before going. We were told to go home afterwards and move our arms alot to keep from getting so sore. We went home and raked the yard. It worked! Later when visiting the Philippines I quickly realized that the white pants I had brought were not a good idea. The streets were dirt and I ended up wearing the same pair of jeans all week. I joked that they could stand by themselves at the end. You end up adapting quickly in these situations and style goes out the window :). Have a wonderful time!

    • Wow, wish someone had told me that! Maybe that would have helped. It felt like someone had frogged me as hard as possible in both arms. I’m only going to wear the white clothing in camp, which is a pretty nice place. There’s one afternoon we may go down to the market…that day I’ll wear something more practical. I just hate to eat dinner every night in dusty safari clothing. Also, would like to have something nice to wear when I meet the giraffes at Giraffe Manor. πŸ™‚

  10. While I was teaching school in the Middle East, I traveled quite a bit. I had all the shots, with the exception of Typhoid (because I was told it was not necessary), and took the pills for Malaria. I was fine while I was traveling, but then contracted Typhoid while teaching school in Bahrain. Not fun at all, but I did fully recover. My suggestion to any traveler is to take all recommended vaccines and always err on the side of caution. It looks like you have all your bases covered and you will look so fashionable too. I will be so excited to read more of your great adventures!

    Big Texas Hugs,
    Susan and Bentley

    • Wow, how scary! How long were you sick, Susan? I’m glad I got the Typhoid vaccine now.

      • The acute phase of Typhoid lasted only a few days. I was hospitalized and put on massive amounts of antibiotics administered intravenously. I was permitted to go back to work after a couple of weeks. The worst part of the illness was the recovery. I suffered from internal bleeding for quite a while and had to make weekly visits to the hospital. It took 6 months to a year for me to be completely well. I returned to the states after the end of the school year, not to return to the Middle East again.

  11. Hi Susan, Your friendly retired flight attendant again. So impressed with your great preparation. Wish I could give you some pointers, but never worked any flights to Africa. When Delta started those routes I was over 60 and not required to get the yellow fever shot (too many health negatives associated with the shot). Wondering why you have 3 bags. I assume your flying big D, and they only allow 2 carry-ons, and you don’t want to check any bags. Have a wonderful time, and be sure to take a photo of you wearing that Tilley hat! So cute!

    • I am flying Delta and their “partners” which are Air France, KLM and Kenya Airlines, but just taking two bags, my camera bag and the Pendleton Weekender bag. What was the other bag you were thinking about? Oh, was it the giraffe purse? I bought that thinking I might stash it in a suitcase to take, but that there’s really no point since the neck stash that I’ll wear under my clothing will hold everything I need. I’ve been using the purse here at home, though…just enjoying it here. That may be the other bag you saw. I don’t want to check any luggage because I’m worried it will vanish. Just want to travel light and not have to worry about anything getting lost. Thanks! I’ll try to get one in the hat. πŸ™‚

  12. Sounds like you’ve got everything under control! My suggestion…..wear the fleece on the plane…it gets cool on long flights! πŸ˜‰

    • I think that’s what I’ll do. I always freeze on flights, even short ones, especially my feet. So I’m taking socks and I like your idea of wearing the fleece. πŸ™‚

  13. Susan, I need to talk to my brother’s gf who just returned from a trip to South Africa, but I remember seeing many photos where she & her sister were in fleeces in the am, then tied around waists in the afternoon.
    I would ditch the pretty slide sandals and take the Eccos – so much more practical with the straps. I would wear the travel vest if there was any doubt of taking it (those pockets are priceless, trust me) over a Columbia shirt and zip off pants – those are the travel clothes of choice for me and my husband (and I take a pr of socks for airplane travel). Those travel shirts and pants are so, so useful in that they can be washed and dried so quickly, so I think you’ll fair best with those. I would also consider taking my own mosquito net for nighttime protection in your sleep.
    My husband has had the same Tilley since 1998 (they refurbish or replace them too!). If your hat doesn’t have a chine strap, consider adding one for open vehicle rides.
    TD – one of my sisters traveled to Uganda two years for nursing mission trips – didn’t get sick the first trip, but almost everyone on the second trip got TD. It did her in, and she says she will not be going to Africa again. I think it was toothbrushing that did it, and they put plastic bags on the faucets to help remind themselves. Btw, mosquito nets were one of the many items they packed and handed out to the women and children of the villages they treated.
    I hope all your planning puts you in good stead…it sounds like you’ve really done your homework. Can’t wait for your reports back.

    • Rita, that sounds about right. I think it’s chilly in the morning because it can get down into the 50’s at night, but then it warms up quickly each day. I think I read that Africa is near the equator so their temperatures remain pretty stable all year long. Yeah, I probably just take ECCO sandals. The slides were just going to be for wearing at dinner but they probably aren’t very practical. The tent I’ll be staying in his screened all the way around, plus the bed will have mosquito netting, too. Hopefully that will keep out those blood-thirsty beasts! Thanks for the tips and info, Rita. Appreciate all your suggestions!

  14. Sister and family did Safari after stint with Doctors without Borders. They packed a pr. of flip flops for the return flight and left their sandals (along with whatever was collected on them) in Africa.

  15. Susan, you are the most organized, efficient person I know! Kudos to you for thinking everything through (at least as much as possible…there’s always ‘glitches’ along the way).

    I agree that you need to take that photography vest, and keep the white items to a minimum. No one dresses up on these trips AT ALL. As for the plane, wear the most bulky items on board, and that includes the sneakers. They take up more space than anything, plus they’re comfortable to wear on board. And ditch those nice white shoes too and bring the other, more comfortable ones.

    I’m getting so excited for you!!

    • Thanks, Doreen…I’m trying to think of everything but I’m sure there will be surprises. Yeah, I think you’re right, I’ve had that vest all these years, I should put it to work. lol Good idea about the bulky stuff…space is definitely limited in that bag.

  16. Whatever you do, do not leave the photography vest behind. Wear it on the trip. You can tie a fleece by the sleeves on your bag the same way you’re tying the travel pillow if you think you will need it during the trip.
    Ditch the white sandals and take the ECCO sandals – you can wear them on the trip over and back also…unless you want to wear the tennis/walking shoes…but don’t leave them behind. Comfort before style, trust me.

    • I will Sonia, you guys have convinced me the vest needs to go with me. πŸ™‚ Will the airport folks let you tie a fleece onto the bag? I was thinking about putting the fleece on with the rain jacket over it, but I would be dying walking through the airport that way. I couldn’t wear it very long, that’s for sure. lol I’d be passed out trying to get through security.

      • I always tie sweaters, shawls or fleeces on to my bag straps on carry-ons and no one has ever said anything…The rain jacket can be packed small by folding and rolling it – tuck it in a corner of one of your bags – even in the camera bag if you have room.

  17. that mosquito repellant is so so good. the hubs had to get all these shots and the lotion for when he went to the phillipines a few years ago, and we are still using it! it came in super handy in alaska, where they joke the mosquito is the state bird. lol.

    • That’s awesome to hear! lol about the mosquito being the state bird…they must grow them big! No telling what size they are in Africa…probably huge there, too. I think I’m most worried about the tsetse fly. Apparently, no insect repellent stops them. They will even bite you through clothing if it’s not thick enough. Wonder if they can bite through a linen shirt. Hope I don’t have to find out. lol

  18. Just in case Susan, bring Imodium!

  19. Looks like you have everything set. You will have so much fun. Can’t wait to see your pictures. As for the shots I have to say they Typhoid shot is what made your arm hurt. Got that one while in the Navy. They said to keep your arm moving and rub it because if not it will get stiff and hurt. Safe travels!

  20. You certainly put a lot of thought into this trip and packing and preparing. That is good! Doesn’t the tsetse flies bite cause elephantiasis?
    I thought I heard that.

    • Good gracious, I have no idea. I’ll have to google that. I thought it just hurt like the dickens…didn’t know it caused a disease. Yikes!

  21. I have those exact same sandals and they really are comfortable and worth every penny. We are packing for a trip to Hawaii so I’ve enjoyed seeing what you are taking on your trip. We went through a lot of the same for a hike down into the Grand Canyon and four days rafting the river two years ago. I didn’t know Tilley made women’s hats but my husband couldn’t live without his Tilley. Have a wonderful trip!

    • They are! I was just thinking how great they are for garden tours where the ground can be uneven. You know what’s funny, Tess…I put my hat on the other day to wear it around the house to see how I liked it and when I got ready to leave to run an errand, I didn’t want to take it off. It felt a bit like a security blanket, I just loved having it on. I can see how folks get hooked on wearing hats.

  22. Travel bedroom slippers?

  23. Love all the different wardrobe ideas. You have given us lots of great ideas.

  24. That rain jacket…PERFECTION!!! Luv the color as well!! franki

  25. Ditch the cute white sandals. Ditto the white pants and top. You probably wouldn’t wear white if you went to NYC or any other big city. I’ve been to Africa, and it is dusty. I take my fleece on board on every flight. It can be cold on a plane. I also use the fleece as a pillow. Or, if pillows are provided, I wrap the fleece around the pillow. You don’t know if the last person who used the pillow drooled in their sleep, had a cold, etc. A lot of times the airplane pillows end up on the floor. You don’t want to put your face on a dirty pillow. I never wear capris on a flight. You can turn off the air over head but you can’t turn off the air current that is circulating at floor level. The pilot decides the temperature for the plane and can set it low. Since the air is circulating at floor level you legs will freeze in capris. The recommendation is not to wear navy. Follow the recommendation and buy yourself a new fleece. It will be money well spent. Are you bringing sun glasses?

    • I have a travel pillow I’m taking that will hook onto my bag, so I don’t have to carry it, but that is so smart to use the fleece as a pillow. I may be using mine for extra warmth since I’m so cold natured. Rachel, you are right about the air on the floor of the plane. I remember being miserable once on a short flight because my feet were freezing. I dug back into my closet last night and found the perfect pair of khaki colored pants to wear on the trip over, so I think I’ll wear those. I need to lose about 5 lbs for them to be comfortable but they are perfect. Thanks for mentioning about how cold it could be in the capris…you probably just saved me from two miserable 8-9 hours flights!

    • Oh, and yep, I’m taking my sunglasses. I have some that fit over my regular glasses. I may not take my contacts since it will be so dusty.

  26. pam ~ crumpety cottage says

    Susan, you are so well organized, this trip is going to be a breeze. πŸ˜€ I have to say, I don’t believe I would have had all those vaccines at once! That is a lot of medicine to put into your body all at one time. I’m glad you’re okay now. Too bad you didn’t know about the arm flapping trick. πŸ™ Between the vaccines and DEET, I might have talked myself out of the trip, lol. I’m glad you didn’t though.

    Well, I definitely agree about letting us see you in that Tilley hat. I’m sorry I don’t have any other advice. Good thing some of the ladies posting are seasoned travelers. I wish you the best. I know you’ll have a ball. πŸ™‚

    • Yeah, that kinda worried me. I asked the nurse who you consult with at the travel clinic about that and she said folks do it all the time. She said most don’t want to make multiple trip back and forth. Some of the shots you have to get at least 10 days in advance so I didn’t have a lot of time to wait. I’m kind of glad I got it all over with at once. The arm pain was the pits!
      I’ll get the folks who I’ll meet at Mahali Mzuri to take some pics of me to share. I know the guides do that, too. I’m normally camera shy but I can’t go all the way to Africa and not get a few pics of me there. lol Thanks, Pam!

  27. bobbi duncan says

    Susan, feel like I’ve been out of the loop for some time due to get-away trips we do more often during the summer, but I’ve kept up with your posts and all I can say is, I’m taking you with me on any major trips…you have researched this so well that I just can’t imagine anything going wrong. You are going to have the most marvelous vaca and I can’t wait to hear all about it. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!

  28. What an exciting adventure! I’m so happy you’re about to take such a wonderful trip! I hope you enjoy every minute!!

  29. Susan – I’m having so much fun reading this post and all the comments…..it’s just like being at a pajama party and staying up all night chatting things over ! I’m so thrilled for you but more excited for you to see the Amalfi coast…..my all time most beautiful sight.

    • Thanks, Sandy! I have the most wonderful readers in the world…and I love them all! It really is just like a big slumber party with all the girls and a few guys every now and then.
      Oh, I can’t wait to see it, too! I know it must be just beautiful in person!

  30. Cyndi Raines says

    You go girl!! You surely have done your research. I agree with all of the comments above, leaving the white behind, and taking the fleece and the safari jacket. Love the Tilley hat too! Can’t wait to see you kissing a giraffe. What great memories you’ll have forever! God speed!

  31. i am sooooo excited for you going on this great adventure!! After reading all your posts I can’t wait to see pictures of you with the giraffes. You certainly have thought of everything for packing light. Have a fantastic time!

  32. Ditto the kudos about your trip Planning skills. I’ve already purchased several of your suggestions for my upcoming sailing trip to Greece. Including your scratch off map! Have a grand time!

    • Don’t you love that map, Patricia! I’m not going to scratch off Paris since all I’ll see is the airport. But maybe one day I’ll see more of that wonderful place. Have you been busy scratching off the places you’ve been? It didn’t take me very long. lol

      • i had a blast scratching off all the places I’ve been to. Including Paris-tres fab! But I am hiding mine because I actually bought 4 others for gifts and I don’t want to give my peeps any ideas! Leaving next week for a sailing trip to Greece and more places to scratch off.

        • I bought one and gave it to a friend, too. I just think they make the neatest gifts for friends or family…be a great Christmas gift! I bet your map is looking super colorful, Patricia! πŸ™‚

  33. The malaria meds made me dizzy. So I was so glad that I timed it to take them at bed time (africa time). Also, those tzetze flies loved me, even with the deet. Hope you won’t have the same experience. Giraffe Manor is awesome and the giraffes are great fun!

    • Mari, did you take them with food? If they make me dizzy, I may not take them and just take my chances. Oh, you’ve been to Giraffe Manor? That’s awesome! Can’t wait to see the giraffes. I’ve watched the videos on YouTube so many times, I already know most of their names. πŸ™‚

  34. I really found this informative, especially the packing.min two weeks we leave for a two week trip to Scotland and England. Very different climate as I have to prepare for cold, damp and wet weather. Because we are on the move nearly every day, I also can’t bring much. I think there will b a lot of black, with pops of color with scarves and a few statement necklaces, earrings (in Edinburgh staying at uber hotel Balmoral and anniversary dinner at Witchery). But I also need to pack fleece, boots, hat, and umbrella. Anyone know of a great, small umbrella? Any tips on clothing for Scotland in late September? How cold is cold? Wishing you a fabulous safari, thanks for the tips!

    • That sounds like a good plan. I think if we just mostly change our tops, noone really notices the pants we’re wearing, especially if they are black or a neutral color. More important to be comfortable than anything.
      Debra, I’ve been checking the weather each day in Kenya, to just see how it’s running. In another couple of weeks, you’ll be able to view the extended forecast online, so maybe that will help with knowing the temperatures. Also, if you google a phase like “average temperature in Edinburgh in September” you should have some sites pop up with that information. I’ve done that for Italy and found sites that showed graphs of what the weather was like. Also, google “What to pack for Scotland in September” and I bet you’ll find a site discussing that. There are tons for Africa. Some contradict each other but most are on the same page in what they advise.

  35. Oh Susan I’m so excited for you. After reading your post a few weeks back concerning what type of carryon you would buy, I took your advise and bought one similar to yours and I love it. I’m going to France and England in July 2016 taking my granddaughter and daughter.
    Back to you, I’m going to be checking out some of the purchased items you have thinking I might add some to my list. I’m looking forward to your trip with you knowing the experiences and pictures I’ll hear about and see when you return. Please give us the dates of your trip because I’m going to be praying for safe travels and fun times. I’ve never met you but after following your blog now for several years I feel like we’re good friends and I care about you my dear.

    • Thanks so much, Kathy…appreciate your sweet thought and those prayers! Your trip sounds so wonderful…two places that are definitely on my bucket list! I hope I get to travel with my grandson and any future grandchildren one day…that would be sooo much fun. I know you will have a ball!

  36. Congrats! Can’t wait to see your pics & updates on the blog – I’m sure you will be spying a few tablescapes at the safari lodge. Giraffe manor is wonderful & they have a lovely gift shop on the grounds with the most beautiful ostrich eggs for purchase. I’ve tried to cut down on souvenir purchases in the last few years & take photos instead but I love my ostrich eggs.
    You could do a youtube video on perfect packing skills as meticulous & efficient as you are!
    I don’t know where you are staying but in Kenya these are some wonderful places to easily access by taxi: David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage – if you become a member & sponsor elephant before you go you can arrange to be in the stall at feeding time. Public feeding times are around 11am. Nairobi National Park – awesome couple of hours to get geared up for your early morning safaris – we did this on the way to our hotel from the airport if you can believe it. Karen Blixen museum can be bundled with a visit to the Nairobi animal orphanage – you can walk inside a cheetah cage & pet one. You’ll be glad you have the vest…Where is the bathing suit? Nothing like a dip in the pool after a muggy safari. Just don’t be wear those nice white sandals when you do! Safe travels

    • Thanks, Teresa! I’ll be spending my last night in Kenya in Giraffe Manor. I’ll check out of Giraffe Manor around 10 AM and will have the whole day to visit places before heading to the airport, so love the suggestions. After I check out, a driver/guide will be showing me around the area until my flight leaves that evening. I was thinking of asking him to take me to the Karen Blixen museum. I’d love to see the baby elephants, too. I’ve heard there’s a bead factory that’s really interesting to tour. Appreciate all your suggestions!
      The first few days of the trip, I’ll be staying at Mahali Mzuri and going on 2 safaris each day in the Olare Motorogi Conservancy and in the Masai Mari National Reserve. I hope to do a nighttime safari, too. πŸ™‚

    • Oh, forgot to answer your question. I think it’s going to be too cold for a swim…the high’s are only in the upper 70’s…maybe as high as 81. I’m very cold natured, so I would freeze. I am going to take shorts so I can just put my feet in…if it isn’t too cold. The area around Mahali Mzuri is all boardwalks so sandals are okay there. I definitely wouldn’t wear them on safari, though. lol

  37. Oh I can’t wait to see your pictures! Thank you for sharing as you plan your trips…those of us who can’t go can feel like we are there… (almost!). I do have a question… I too have two or three pairs of linen pants that I love to wear in the heat. However, I always look like I slept in them. Do you iron your linen, or just go with the crinkly look? When I do iron them, it seems almost worse after an hour or two!

    • Thanks, Patti! I normally iron my linen pieces but a few days ago I wanted to wear one of my linen shirts and it hadn’t been ironed. I always wash them in my handwash basket in my washer and hang them to dry. Anyway, I didn’t have time to iron it so I just put it on and smooth it out a little with my hands. It was so hot and humid that day, in about 20 minutes, it looked fine. I was shocked by how good it looked.
      Many years ago, I was shopping in Talbots and I purchased two linen suits…they were jackets with matching skirts. I still love and wear those suits today. I wore one to my son’s rehearsal dinner when he married a few years ago. Anyway, when I was at the counter buying the suits, I mentioned to the associate how much I love linen but complained about easily it wrinkled. She replied saying that you can tell the quality of linen by how much it wrinkles, adding that the better the linen, the more it wrinkles.
      The suits I purchased that day had tags inside saying they were “Irish Linen” and they definitely crease up a storm when I wear them.
      So, I normally iron my linen clothing but they still wrinkle as soon as I bend my arms or sit down. I really don’t mind, though…it’s just the nature of the beast…it’s what linen does. I love the way it breathes on a hot, humid Georgia day enough to put up with the wrinkles. πŸ™‚

  38. Two things I will never forget on an overseas trip again…
    1) some kind of Vaseline for the inside of nostrils while flying…the airplane
    air is very dry and after hours of flying it hurt to breath in and I actually got
    a few sores in my nose.
    2) a nasal decongestant…with so many flights all the up and down can be so
    painful for ears and at times one of my ears has stayed plugged, even for days. Taking a decongestant really helps and the pills are very small.
    I also always travel with 1 or 2 clean pillowslips (or pillow protectors with zipper opening) tucked in my suitcase.
    That travel pillow may start out clean on the 1st lag of a long trip but more
    than once I have had mine either brush up against something or somehow
    get soiled or smelly and it is so nice to just slip it into a clean cover. Also, you end up without it…one time when the traveler next to me spilled his coffee on mine, I was so happy to have a pillowslip I could slip a sweater into it and make my own “pillow.” Plus, I like the smell of home around my head when I am falling to sleep…think it helps me fall asleep faster on a flight or in an unfamiliar place.
    Also, you can use the pillowslip as a bag in your suitcase for separating soiled
    clothing from clean on the way home.
    I am not usually “fussy” about things but have gotten that way about using my own pillowslip whilst away from home.
    Have a safe, comfortable and fun trip.

  39. Susan, You certainly are efficient and organized and seem to be ready for your trip. I would ditch the lovely white sandals and linen clothing. Linen is loosely woven and I bet those little buggies can find those little holes between the weave. I would not wear a lot of perfume, especially those with pheromones and scents of local flowers. You would be a veritable feast for the little buggies. I would wear Ecco or Merrill sandals with a heel strap. Travel Smith and JJill’ s Wherever clothes are great for travel. Roll your garments in tissue and you will have very few wrinkles. Upon return, I would wash all my clothes twice with liquid Lysol along with your regular detergent. I guess you are excited and ready for your trip. Forget about us, have fun and stay safe. Ashley

  40. Wow! You are so prepared. I’m sure you are going to have the trip of a lifetime!
    Michelle from simplysantabarbara.blogspot.com

  41. Marie Barnes says

    Susan, you are going to be so cute. All I wore were long sleeved white T-shirts, jeans, white socks and tennis shoes. And a yellow fleece pull over. Everyday for two weeks.
    Have fun it will be great!

  42. Susan, Beautiful scarf in the animal print, but it will be hot because of rayon fabric. Maybe you need a few men’s bandana handkerchiefs in lighter colors as they are mostly cotton and washable. Like myself, you are being way too fashionable rather than practical for the great outdoors. Take Marie’s advice
    and take some long-sleeved white T-shirts. I love your hat. Have a great time!!! Ashley

    • Thanks, Ashley! The shirts I’ll be wearing on safari are a special light-weight fabric by Columbia that are designed for outdoor activities where you want to stay cool and have UV protection. They have built in air vents in back and under the arms to keep you cool. Plus they dry very quickly when washed. So they will be better than long sleeve cotton t-shirts that will be hotter and take longer to dry when washed.
      That’s also why I’m not wearing jeans but taking special outdoor/hiking/camping style pants that convert into shorts when needed. They also wash/dry quickly. I think jeans would be way too heavy and hot and would take forever to dry, if I needed to wash them, although they do your laundry in all the places I’m staying.
      All the info I’ve found says to not wear white or very dark colors on the safaris, so that’s why neutrals are best.
      I love that hat, too! I probably won’t need it since we’ll be riding in a vehicle that has a shaded type roof, but it will be great for lounging around the pool at Mahali Mzuri and may come in handy when we stop for a morning snack in the bush while on safari.
      Mahali Mzuri isn’t your typical safari camp, it’s built up off the ground and has boardwalks leading to the main lodge/tent, so it’s a bit different than the normal roughing in the bush experience. πŸ™‚ Oh, the scarf…I’m not sure I’ll even take it. Someone told me to not wear any animal prints, it confuses the animals apparently. The scarf is small and would just be across my face/nose, but I definitely don’t want to confuse any animals. lol

  43. A few more suggestions – take some very strong antibiotics if you can get them from your dr., like Cipro. Also, if you get UTI, get the meds for that illness.

    I went to West Africa a long time ago and took a long dark skirt. Since we were traveling via car and gas stations were not readily available, the skirt gave a bit of discretion when nature called. And a flowing skirt is sometimes much cooler than pants. It was also more culturally acceptable in some of the villages I visited.

    Whenever we stopped we drank the beer since that was refrigerated and the sodas/waters were not. Beer is also brewed so in case there was a bad day for the water system, you weren’t in trouble.

    If you are a blood donor, be aware that you will not be able to give for a period of time when you return since you took specific drugs and were out of the country. Also, if you get sick when you return, tell the ER clerk or Dr’s office that you were in Africa. They’ll put you in isolation until you are cleared. I had an allergic reaction on the way home and went to the ER since it was the weekend. It was funny to hear them discuss what possible disease I might have when it was just a severe case of hives.

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