Africa might be our favourite continent.
Africa can be hot. And Africa can be humid.
Which can make for uncomfortable days and nights on holiday. Especially on Safari, where getting closer to the wildlife you have travelled halfway around the world to see takes priority over your air conditioning.
And yet. Some folk seem to breeze through their Safari looking like they have a secret posse of stylists behind the scenes. Consistently cool and collected but never sunburnt or dripping buckets of sweat.
There are some tricks to this staying cool trade, we are not going to lie, but lucky for you we were fed these secrets with our biltong as children… then we added our own twist or two as we grew into Travel Designers and we can’t wait to share everything we know with you.
Ps: These tips are perfect for any hot weather Safari, but they will translate well to other tropical summer destinations too.
About your Hair
Try not to colour your hair right before you plan to have a lot of sun exposure on Safari.
And if you are going to sit out in the sun bring an intensive hair masque to make the most of the heat.
Mix a little of your conditioner with water in a spray bottle and spray your hair with it whenever you feel a little dry.
Don’t wash the conditioner out of your hair at night. Leave it in your hair to dry overnight.
Use a UV protectant on your hair.
Don’t over-shampoo – try to keep it to 2-3 times a week. Use dry shampoo in-between washes.
Shower and condition your hair before you swim in the pool or the sea– if your hair is wet with neutral water and conditioner it will not absorb chlorine and salt.
Bring a detangling brush to minimize breakage.
If you have hair that wants to curl then the best Safari advice is to let it!
A dryer sheet will calm frizz (and make your hair smell good too). You can also use a little lotion on your hands.
There is nothing a fabulous wrap or hat cannot hide (and it can do double duty as extra sun protection as well!)
About your Skin
Work your way up to drinking 2 lt of water- preferably before your holiday begins. Needing a comfort break every 5 minutes does not work well on a 3-hour game drive.
Carry face blotting paper, sunscreen, wet wipes and lip balm wherever you go. We also love having a small face misting spray on hand.
Cleanse and moisturize well, as usual.
Keep your skin clear with an appropriate exfoliator.
Keep your skin bacteria-free by bathing regularly. After bathing, dry off to keep bacteria build-up to a minimum.
Add neem leaves or Dettol antiseptic to your bath to treat prickly heat (small red itchy spots, prickly feeling, redness, and swelling). Resist the temptation to scratch.
Aloe Vera is the perfect addition to a body lotion on Safari – keep all your lotions in the fridge if you can for extra cooling.
Check your SPF expiry dates.
Pack natural fibres – stay away from synthetics.
About your Sleep
When we are sleeping without air conditioning in high temperatures, we wrap ourselves in a wet kikoi or chitenge (A thin multi-use Sarong-type cloth that can be bought locally throughout Africa)… the first couple of seconds may be a little unpleasant, but you will quickly appreciate the endothermic reaction of evaporation kicking in and pulling the heat from your body.
A Cautionary Tale
In high temperatures, in the hot countries of Africa, the sun is never your friend. Heatstroke is a severe medical emergency and it can happen quickly and will ruin your holiday. It is also straightforward to avoid through proper hydration, staying in the shade or indoors during the heat of the day, wearing appropriate sunscreen every day and keeping your body cool.