This is a no-brainer for the photographers, but in addition to your standard camera equipment and lenses (in a waterproof/dustproof bag), an extra memory card and spare, fully-charged camera battery often come in handy. Inevitably, it will be when a lion pride is on the hunt that your battery will die (again, I speak from experience). A light scarf or kikoi is helpful for shielding cameras from the sun and dust, and lightweight tripods are great for night/astro photography.
Binoculars are crucial, but again, do your research. Guests visiting &Beyond lodges enjoy the complimentary use of a pair of SWAROVSKI OPTIK binoculars for the duration of their safari. It is one pair per room, so if you’re a couple of birders or bino hogs that don’t like to share, then do bring a second pair. The SWAROVSKI OPTIK universal VPA (variable phone adaptor) isn’t provided, but it’s a great tool to bring along.
Torches are another useful item worth asking about beforehand. Most lodges will provide them in the suites. Security guards carry torches to escort guests to and from their rooms at night, so no need to have your own. If your night vision isn’t great, an added cell phone torch or the torch from your suite are handy.
Most lodges have universal plug points and USB ports in the suites, but it’s advisable to bring the right plugs/adaptors just in case. A USB splitter with multiple ports is convenient for charging multiple devices and a small battery pack is also handy for keeping devices charged during game drives (some vehicles do have plug points, but this is not the norm).
Bring a well-stocked kindle or a good book, along with some headphones and playlists for the flights, road transfers, afternoons by the pool and those sporadic, but unavoidable ‘Africa-time’ delays. Many lodges have Bluetooth speakers in the suites, but in my humble opinion, when you’re in the bush, the sounds of Mother Nature are far more enchanting.
There is no need to bring a bird book unless you’re an avid birder. Most guides will have their own bird, mammal and tree books on the vehicle and will pass these around to guests at sightings. At &Beyond lodges, guests also receive a convenient Guide’s Journal with beautiful illustrations of the flora and fauna—great for jotting down a list of the wildlife witnessed on your safari.