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  • Writer's pictureJolene Botha

In the Bag: Packing made easy with Bushtracks

Thought choosing a safari destination was tricky?  Wait until you try and get all your gear into a bag that is small, light and soft enough to fit into your light aircraft that will buzz you into the African wilds!  Happily, every Bushtracks Expeditions traveler gets a custom-made travel bag to turn this onerous task into child’s play.

Bushtracks Expeditions traveler Deborah models with her Bushtracks Expeditions travel bag

Meet your new travel companion: The Bushtracks Safari Duffel Bag

Let’s call him Mr. Duffel for short.  He’s a mild-mannered bag, not flashy or uptight, with that laid-back charm one wants from a good safari companion.  He’s sturdy, and good under pressure.  And dare we say stylish?  He’ll be with you as you fly over some of the planet’s most incredible landscapes: mysterious mountain ranges that sprout from vast plains, jewel-bright winking rivers, or perhaps the filigree of channels that make up the lovely Okavango.

Bushtracks has drawn on over 30 years of travel experience in Africa to design a travel bag that not only complies with the stringent needs of small bush aircraft (there’s never any space to spare), but allows easy access to your possessions.  Many camps and destinations in Africa are best reached by flying in on a light aircraft that seats as few as six to nine passengers.  Their charm is that they can fly low enough to spot elephants striding along far below; the compromise is that they have small holds and must be well-balanced for safety.  Bag size and weight matters: each traveler is allowed a maximum of 33 to 44 pounds (15 to 20 kilograms), including hand luggage.  Restrictions vary from country to country and from aircraft to aircraft, and are strictly applied.

Aerial view of travelers flying over birds and a herd of wild buffalo

How to get it

Nobody wants to go searching for a suitable, soft-sided bag with the correct dimensions before going away on holiday – and goodness knows such bags are not easily available.  So, every traveler who books a safari with Bushtracks is sent a travel bag, whether it’s a custom trip or not. It’s our gift to you.  Your duffel will arrive well before your departure date, so that there’s plenty of time to get acquainted.

Two travelers about to begin their next safari activity with their guide

Leaders of the Pack

Our duffels have impeccable credentials. Bushtracks has used its private air expertise to design two bags to meet all guests’ needs.  The first comes with wheels and a telescoping handle, but is soft-sided and relatively flexible.  Inside is space for all the essentials you require on safari.  The bag has a large, U-shaped opening which allows you to see what’s where, and haul it out speedily.  There’s a spacious end-compartment for shoes, and a gusseted front pocket to keep documents and essential bits and bobs close to hand.  Like your safari wardrobe, the bag sports muted shades of brown and cream.

There is also a “mini-me” version, which foregoes the wheels and handle to save five precious pounds for those areas with the strictest weight limitations.  Like its wheelie sibling, it was designed with attention to detail, with quality zippers and stitching.  And, both are as roomy as possible.

Bushtracks will send you the appropriate bag for your destination.

Bushtracks Expeditions travel bag zipped and ready for safari

How to fill it?

All Bushtracks guests are supplied with a detailed packing list (see a sample packing list, here) to help them with the tough decisions.  A trial packing run to see if you comply with the limitations is always recommended to avoid last-minute surprises.  It’s best to travel in one set of clothes that you can also wear on safari, and wear any sturdy walking or hiking shoes you’ll require on the plane.  This will leave more room in your duffel – and remember that lodges and camps have reliable laundry services… weather permitting.

Binoculars, cameras with lenses and notebooks – plus chargers – are all essentials that add weight fast.  Avid photographers may find themselves seriously challenged.  If all fails, desperados can speak to an expert Bushtracks trip planner about purchasing an extra seat to allow for extra gear.  But on the whole, the Bushtracks Safari Duffel’s dimensions will help you hit the right weight, fast.

Camera and Bushtracks Expeditions travel bag filled with safari outfits

Be Well-Prepared on Safari

As Bushtracks knows so well, being well-prepared is essential on safari.  The handy duffel and detailed packing lists delivered to you are just part of the service Bushtracks offers to keep things simple.  Bushtracks believes in looking after the details – so that you can soar over the savanna in peace, breathing in the beauty and space that surrounds you.

For any packing queries, call a Bushtracks expert at +1(800) 995-8689.

The first version of this article was posted on 05 Feb 2020 at 7:00 AM.

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