Now it's time to shop for safari essentials. Some items to consider are the right camera and lens for wildlife photography, binoculars and clothing suitable for safaris. Blue and black clothing attracts insects; earth colors of tan, green and brown are preferable. Clothing coated with Permethrin will discourage most flying and crawling insects, including malaria-carrying mosquitoes. Outdoors outfitters such as REI usually carry shirts and pants that are pre-treated; some are sold under the Buzz-Off brand. You can also find Permethrin at these types of stores to coat the rest of the clothes you plan to take.

Test your hiking boots to make sure you can wear them blister-free for long hours. You should treat the boots with extra water repellent. A small daypack is good for carrying camera equipment and water.

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Finally, many African safaris involve one or more flights on small prop planes with strict luggage weight restrictions. I've been known to pack for a big trip in 15 minutes, but the fear of having to leave some of my freshly poisoned safari clothes beside a dirt runway somewhere caused me to do the unthinkable before my first safari -- "practice" packing. Something to consider as you make your final preparations for what is sure to be an unforgettable adventure.