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Mims Reed's Africa CheckList

What do you need for a trip to Africa?

Jambo! You are off on the greatest adventure ever. It is 15,000 miles away and there are no corner convenience stores, gunsmiths, medical clinics or hardware stores. If you did not pack it... oh well! It is the little things that make or break a trip. Here is a list of suggestions that may make it all work a bit better. There are also a couple of damn stout warnings too.

In order to pack better maybe you should take 24 pills instead of the 36 in the box. Tear off the instructions and put it and the pills in a zip lock bag. If something leaks, it does it in the bag and not on your other goods.

Consider these items. (Bold items I consider very important)

Matches. Any kind is better than none if you get caught out and need a fire.
Benadryl tablets and cream. Zinc Ointment. Aspirin. Drixoral . Aleve , great for bad necks, back pain etc. Q Vel (for muscle cramps).

Surfak (stool softener ). Imodium AD (anti diarrhea). Preparation H. Mylanta II (heartburn & indigestion)

Wash & Dry Moist Towelettes (for the trip to the timber etc.!) Lambs wool . Moleskin.

Spenco Blister Gel Kit. Foot powder. Corn cushions . (If you can not walk you can not hunt.)

Ace bandage. Q tips. Tweezers. Kleenex tissue packs. Sunscreen. Bactine Hydrocortisone. Mentholatum. Eyewash, Band-Aids (all sizes & shapes), eye patches, Iodine & Iodine swabs , Ambesol (toothache), nasal spray, cough drops (no noise in the leopard blind), Unscented liquid soap for body, hair & clothing if needed.

Dental floss & sewing needle (dental floss makes great thread). Swiss Army knife (Hunter model) has tweezers, game saw, corkscrew and bottle cap opener (there are no pop-top or twist off tops in third world countries). Leatherman Tool. With the Hunter model Swiss Army and a Leatherman you can ‘fix' the world! Leave your sheath knife at home.

Any eyewear you might need plus extra pair . Small magnifying glass (in case you lose / break your glasses).

Various size 4 mil Zip Lock bags , rubber bands, safety pins, electrical tie straps , and a couple of 39 gal. trash bags . (I put my luggage in a trash bag to keep out bull dust and spilled diesel fuel on one trip.) Roll of nylon strapping tape (not silver duct tape) which will fix nearly anything.

Lens cleaner fluid and tissues for various optical lenses. Take down rifle cleaning rod (#1120 Rapid Rod from Atsko Inc.) Small whetstone, compass, orange surveying tape (mark your way or location of kill), screwdrivers & wrenches necessary for screws on firearms and scopes. 100% cotton balls soaked in common Vaseline Petroleum Jelly will make super fire starter in any rough conditions.

Bug spray with Deet. Leather gloves and full brim hat (not a baseball cap). 3 pair of everything... long pants, long sleeve shirts, long socks, underwear etc. Laundry is done every day in camp. You can always cut off legs and sleeves. (Remember, if it is summer here, it is winter there.) Two of broken in footwear and extra laces (I wear running shoes). Shower thong shoes. The most important clothing item I took was a Shannon Bug Tamer Jacket. This saved me from bugs and flies. You can tape the bottom of your pants around your leg or use a rubber band to do the same thing. Down jacket. Bandannas. Rain poncho. Sweater (One with the product called Windstopper inside is great.).

Take a zillion batteries for any thing that runs on batteries. Electrical converter (nothing is 110 volts over there). Two good flashlights. A great canteen (I like the 2 qt. Bladder type as used in Viet Nam. As water goes down so does size) Have water purification tablets on your person in case you are a long way from the truck and need to refill from the local source. Do Not Share Your Water With Anyone! I repeat... do not share your water!!!!!

Ask your doctor for a strong antibiotic (Cephalexin), something strong for intestinal worms (Metronidazol) and the latest ‘stuff' for Malaria. NEVER GIVE YOUR MALARIA MEDICINE AWAY! TAKE IT ALL . Listen up and heed the water and malaria warnings! Sunday is pill day! Start taking it before you go. If you get home and get ill with flu like symptoms make sure your doctor tests you for malaria .

Take the best ammo (usually the heaviest grain weight in your caliber) and the best optics possible . I think 8 by 30 or 42, full size (not pocket size) binoculars are the best. You will spend long periods looking through these optics. Good optics locate trophy animals and do not cause eyestrain. German / Austrian optics are the best no matter who says what.

Take a zillion photos (of everything ) in case your trophies do not make it back. The photos are some of you best memories in later years and may be all you have. I kept a diary, which I wrote up each night. Animals seen and shot, birds, camp life, names and addresses of people met, etc. The diary and photos of my trip are as important years later as the trophies that now hang on my wall. Have your taxidermist make up 4 laminated shipping tags for each trophy you intend to bring home. One each for skull, horns, feet and skin.

Some vaccinations take several weeks to complete and are good for only certain periods of time. Do not forget the little yellow immunization record book nor forget to have the Dr. sign off that he gave you the required shots for the country you are going into. I put mine inside my passport. If you show up at the airport and can not show their customs that you had those shots you most likely will be on the next plane out of the country. You will never get out of the airport.

Make photocopies of your passport; shot record book and prescriptions in case you lose them. Keep them separate from the rest of your luggage. Life will be much easier when you show up at our embassy to get new passport etc. Some countries require a visa too. You will need a CITES permit to get your cats and elephant home. Take care of that before you go.

Go to U. S. Customs before leaving . Take your firearms and they will give you a form 4457 to fill out showing serial numbers etc. Your return into the U. S. at Customs will be a breeze because it shows these were the firearms you left the country with. No duty owed. You must take the firearms (not just the serial numbers) when you go to Customs. Do this or you could be charged with "trafficking in implements of war" which is a felony crime.

I suggest you travel in a rolling hard case made by Tuffpak . You put your firearms inside soft padded cases and then into this super case. It looks like a hard, black golf case instead of an obvious gun case. You will be amazed at what you can put in this great case besides your firearms. Saves you from carrying allot of other luggage. You can only take 3 long guns , no pistols, no semi auto anything. Ammo limited to 5 kilograms or 11 pounds . Note: In South Africa one person can not have two firearms in same caliber.

I go to Africa in a Tuffpak, duffel and my day pack. The day pack has my passport, candy, paperback book, tissues and other needed items I might want on the plane or with me at all times. (Like a change of shirt and underwear)

Keep taking things out condensing and re-packing. Items packed in clear Zip Lock bags are easy to see and they pack flatter as they slide into place. I take my ketchup, hot chocolate mix, candy and plenty of Crown Royal whiskey. One bag, my day pack and my rolling gun case are all I take even for 21 days. I only have two hands! I carry any keys needed on a chain around my neck .

You might want to take an inexpensive Polaroid camera and film to take photos of you and your trackers with your trophy. Give the photo to your tracker. They appreciate being included and having a memento of the hunt.
Leave any items you do not wish to bring home like old clothing, extra medicines etc. What you might think is worn out or no good may be a treasure to camp staff. Less to pack and bring home.

Tipping: I base tips on 5% to 10% of the daily rate. I leave camp staff a good tip but after consulting with PH. Staff may want tips in local currency.

Register with the U.S. State Department - This is a reminder once again. Go to http://www.travel.state.gov and click 'International Travel'. Then hit 'registration with embassies' from the menu on the left side of the tool bar.

By providing contacts, your itinerary, passport number and other information, you offer the embassy one simple means of tracking your whereabouts. If you give permission they will also release information to relatives and friends that inquire about you. Simply another precaution to take in these sometimes turbulent travel times.

Have a great adventure! I wish I were going with you! Send me a photo so I can share in your adventure.

PS: Try to get in better physical condition before you go. It will make for a much better trip. Now that you are in the habit of doing the exercises or walking, keep it up when you get home.